Switch off

Commentary

Today I’m not going to drink more than three cups of tea, no matter how much I convince myself that my throat hurts or I have that craving. I will drink more water and I will make a mental tally of the liters I down by night time. It will be close to the big two and I will feel a sense of achievement for doing something that should be part of my mundane routine anyway.

I will not spend hours getting tangled up in website links and referrals and e-mails and replies. I don’t have to update my facebook status or tweet that I’m drinking water for the day because it is not important. I will not open photoshop to edit any one of my candidate photos for flickr. I won’t even browse other photographs for inspiration and I most definitely will not log in on tumblr. All that inspiration and clicks can be downright distracting, especially if it leads me to etsy. I cannot allow myself to go on etsy, or any other online shop for that matter, because today of all days, there will be no window shopping. Even my metaphorical wallet is empty.

I will make the bed in the morning, and I will actually eat breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day I persistently choose to forget. I will call my mom to see how she is because I will remember to reach out across the telephone line that separates the measly distance between us. If I’m ambitious, I will also make the 10-minute drive to see my grandmother, who speaks in television language because that is all the company she has. I will make her day by sitting down next to her and listening to all the episodes I missed during the week. I will call my friends for a casual coffee drink of water and I will make the effort to be more than a Facebook friend.

Today, I will set aside time to read my book, even if I’ve forgotten its title from the time it’s been to hold it. I will not do this before I sleep because I want to read more than just a couple of sentences. I will write in my real journal, not my blog, about the thoughts in my mind, the things I most wish for, the quotidien that saturates my minutes. I will think of friends abroad and actually call them. Or better yet, I will sit down and write them a letter, not an e-mail. I will play songs I’ve forgotten about and I will sing along fearlessly. I will take a walk on the beach and I will write a poem. I will jot down my ideas on actual paper that is inside a thought notebook, not a post-it note.

Today, I’m changing everything. It all starts today.

On bigshots

Rants

I think my friends in Chania, will be able to relate to this letter. In fact, the whole world has had the privilege of dealing with the worst kind of mankind: the bigshot.

Dear Mr Important,

You stride in and take a seat all up in my face with your fancy shoes and your nervous smile. You are agitated, though you are selling me the spirit of I-know-it-all. You start to mouth your $5-dollar words with the hope that I can’t decipher what you’re saying, but hey, I’ve spotted your grammar mistakes too mister, and don’t get me started on your idioms.

Your “it’s not me, it’s you” mentality is truly charming. Sure, blame it on the new kid while you polish your new status car and jingle your car keys before me, because God forbid I mistake that for change in your pockets! You only deal with big fat bills, after all. Or your American Express. A credit card or what I like to call fake money, bigshot.

So stop playing with what’s not there and focus on the big picture. Have a look in the mirror and look at your sorry self staring back at you pathetically. Ask yourself where along the line you forgot what it’s like to be a person with a three-dimensional personality. But hey, who am I kidding? You’re living your dream of being a prick and screwing everyone over: you jab and you kick at me and everyone you know, smirking in your fancy suit like the big idiot you are.

Funny, how a few 2-cent words will do to paint a picture of you, mister. How does it feel to be so worthless now?

Your truly,

plainbananas xx

On summer

Rants

Hello summer,

We’ve been waiting for you. We’ve quantified you to the certainty of 30 degrees Celsius and we monitor the weather forecast like hungry wolves. Clouds tomorrow? Saharan dust? Let that not come in the way of your arrival, we beg. But the tell-tale sign arrives overnight, and we don’t even need to check our thermometers to confirm your entrance. Suddenly, hair frizzes up, furniture is coated with a thick film of moisture and we are scooped up in a dense cloud of opaqueness. Humidity heralds your arrival. And instead of a warm welcome, we’re thinking, how could we forget about what you do to us every year?

We get carried away with romantic notions of the Ss: sun, salty sea, seashells, sand. As we slap on our sunscreen with SPF 1,000 under the scorching sun, we soon realize that it’s about time we bought our own beach umbrella because there’s very little hope we’ll ever manage to get the few sunbeds that offer it as option. As we enter the water, we yelp silently, trying to look good as we enter a liquid version of our freezer. Of course it’s refreshing, we fib. “Look at me, I’m diving in, ha ha,” and our heart comes to an abrupt halt before resuming again when we break the surface. “God that felt good!” we say through clenched teeth. Around us, a few hundred others do the same, and we try to ignore the persistent question, as we hit a warm spot while we’re swimming. It’s the currents, we convince ourselves, though we know as we eye the crowd that it’s plain human nature. Oh yes, gross, summer, gross.

Then come plans for traveling and discovering and getting away from worries and people (though the latter, few of us would admit). We make grand plans for escape, and monitor prices closely before booking on the day when unexpectedly, prices rise, dammit. We buy travel guides and optimistically keep them on the coffee table, hoping that we’ll pick them up before the trip. We make our budget so that we never keep it, and come back with empty pockets and ticket stubs that we’re not sure whether to keep as souvenirs or throw out. As for our peace of mind? No room for that, surely, with the stress of seeing all the sights, avoiding all the touristy places and getting our value for money. Going back to work no longer seems like a bad idea, actually.

And when we start to take at least three showers a day, we remember why it is that you stink summer. We are gullible people, we like to live life in postcards that say “Wish you were here!” or go to work dancing to summer beats, sipping on mojitos. But when you arrive, you bring with you the unbearable heat, those long long days, that need filling. So we venture out to coffeeshops more, we go out at nights, because we wear denial on our sleeves, and by the end of it, we come out of August broke and in despair. We wait for the first rain eagerly, and monitor thermometers for temperature fluctuations. We are people of routine and we work in this cycle.

For now, in early June, all I have to say is “Welcome back.” By the end of it, we’ll hate you, that’s a promise.

plain bananas x

On 26

Commentary

Dear 26-year-old self,

To be clear, this is a letter of goodbye. You and I are being held together by nothing more than a cobweb string of a hours that separate us from the new and cool 27. You see, it’s still OK to look forward to the next self, there are no drops of perspiration as I extend my hand to meet my new older persona. We need to part, and I’m ready for it.

I’m sure going to miss you though, fool. Remember that time you decided to get a new piercing on the wrong side of your face? You kept walking around trying to convince yourself that it looked like the kind of thing you would do — the kind of thing you had expected even! Until your sister pointed out that there’s too much metal on the left side of you face, so you took the earring out just like that.

You were always a restless one though. You considered staying too long in one place the way to rot your brain and curiosity. It’s no wonder that you moved locations 3 times without blinking about it. And you loved the packing, the unpacking — the excitement of possibility. You moved fluidly between borders, you travelled mentally and literally and there was never a dull minute with you holding my hand. Remember Paris? Remember Berlin? I would have never gone ahead if it weren’t for your impulsiveness, your endless drilling. Let’s face it – you would never stop until you got your way. It worked to my advantage. Most times.

It’s normal, I guess, to have ups and downs, but your ups and downs were intense roller coaster rides. You went from deliriously happy to grimly morose in the flash of a second. I had to choose my words carefully when I talked about life, about love, about what it means to be free. This issue really kept you sleepless. You wanted to choose wisely, surely, independently. You wanted to be free but would talk endlessly about your fear that love cripples your freedom. And it pained you to place these two ideals as polar opposites, to force yourself to choose between such lofty ideals. You let love win every time, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a defeat you secretly welcomed gladly. You were a true contradiction, as such.

And then my dear old 26-year-old self, you had a bright idea. You needed some direction, even though you didn’t even know it then. You were a little lost but you had convinced yourself you were right on track, as always. It came in the form of a small box with an air balloon on it. Inside there was a bag of beads, and you were confused. Until you started to toy with the idea of using them. And overnight, awoke a new streak of creativity that lay dormant just below your fingertips. And then, you gave the act of creating, a name, and attached a blog to it. For that I thank you old self. Because of you I am here now and I am writing to tell the rest of the world what happens next.

I will miss you,

plain bananas x

On vegetarianism

Rants

As a vegetarian, I have lost count on the number of times I have had to answer the question “But why?” What usually follows is a diatribe on why I should reconsider my options. And I am tired of 9 years of having to deal with it. I share my open letter to fellow carnivores here, and dedicate it to vegetarians across the globe.

Dear carnivores,

Ever since my decision to stop eating meat, you have made it your personal mission to make me convert. You sit smugly on the top of the food chain devouring protein after protein, but no, that is not enough. You salivate over chicken breasts, spare ribs, liver and other animal body parts but no, you want me to salivate along with you. So you like meat? I get it! Can you skip along and let me carry on with my salad?

I wonder why it is you feel it necessary to ask me the same persistent questions every time I meet one of you. Oh the shock! Oh the horror, at the revelation that meat is not part of my diet. “Chicken too?” you ask naively. Carvivores, please, know your meats. When you down that KFC, when you wolf those chicken thighs down, do you ever, for a minute, doubt that you’re getting your meaty fix? I didn’t think so! So don’t feign confusion when I tell you chicken counts as meat too. If this slander ever gets out to the chickens, they’ll be hell to pay, I’m sure.

And then the ethics kick in. How did it happen? What went wrong? You look for explanations, expertly bypassing the ones offered to you, and your zeal evaporates by the time the food is served. By then the conversation has come to a close, until you have your plate of cooked meat, bloody and horrific, which you knife and fork hungrily. You briefly ridicule my leafy salad lunch and wonder what kind of weirdo I am. But guess who has more room for dessert? And guess who’ll outlive you, carnivorous fiends? Your cholesterol friend is a sneaky bitch, you’ll see.

Yours,

plainbananas

On dust

Rants

Among the many joys of renovation is dust, my dear friends. I’ve often imagined what it would be like if dust were an actual person that I could beat up / yell at / simply evict.

I share my open letter to dust with you here.

Dear dust,

I have decided to write to you because you and I have recently developed quite a relationship. In fact, some may mistake it for a friendship, and of course, why wouldn’t they? You and I have been living together for over 5 months now, a period during which I have come to know you quite well. And I’ve decided there are a few things I want to tell you.

Firstly, how dare you spread your filmy fingers over all of my possessions with such glaring ease? It’s bad enough that you’ve taken over my entire book collection like a hungry bookworm, you’ve also infiltrated my technological equipment! It’s no longer worth keeping up pretenses: I know you raped the printer; I know you violated my laptop. You greedy bitch! As if that wasn’t enough, you took over all of my wardrobe and stained my clothes with your filthy grey breath so that when I wear an item, I carry you with me like a curse.

At nights, you sneak into bed uninvited and take over all the space without permission. You fondle my hair when I least expect it and it takes days to wash off your grimy touch. I fucking hate you.

And stop eating my food. It makes me hungry! The thought of your sooty lip stains on my daily meals makes me lose my appetite, which is of course to your advantage since it makes you take over drinks, utensils and the like at a rapacious pace.

I want you out of here, dust. The door is open, I’ve traced your escape route on the ground across your body. I hope that hurt. Because you and I, we’re through. Get the hell out or there will be blood. I’ll introduce you to my friend, the vacuum. We’ll see who laughs then!!

Yours,

plain bananas

Writing to reach you

Jewelry, Musings

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Thank you postman. I simply love receiving letters (as well as writing them) and when I do, either of the two following scenarios take place:

a) I savour it until the moment is right, atmosphere ambient, music on etc

b) furiously rip it open and devour all its contents hungrily

I do wish more people actually sat down to write letters, or even postcards. In fact, I’m going to cut you a deal: Provide me with an address and I will mail a postcard to you anywhere you are. Anywhere. Play along with me here. I’ll be waiting.

Yesterday was an unparalleled day in productivity and inspiration and I managed to take some photos of the new jewelry items today. Check out my flickr for the new stuff and leave a comment if you feel like it. It will make my day.

Now, let me get myself a real pen and some scrap paper and get to writing a letter. Reciprocity is part and parcel of keeping those letters flowing.

Deliver me please!

Deliver me please!