Ode to circuses

Odes

The savagery of fear

caged behind bars for exhibition,

laughing men cry out in cheers

for a round of applause, they pray

for a snicker or two-cent appreciation.

Vast canopies of entertainment of days begone

randomly make appearances in the mundane.

It’s a circus, we say

a play of the absurd,

an ode to all things stupid,

a staged production of no essence.

It’s entertainment these days:

slapstick on your plate,

served cold and rotten.

A meal we digest well, it seems.

Advertisements

Tying the knot

Commentary

Everyone assures you that there’s no pressure. As a matter of fact, this very statement makes my heart stop for a few seconds. Why the reassurance for something that isn’t an issue to begin with? This catch-22 forms the very core of Cypriot culture: don’t worry too much, but we’re watching you; don’t stress yourself about it, we’re already stressed out for you; no need to push yourself, we’ll push you. At times it feels as if living my life is a vicariously shared experience with half the people in this town. Oh wait, facebook granted me that.

But let me give facebook some credit. If anything, facebook redefined relationships: single and looking, it’s complicated because I’m that cool or in a relationship and it’s serious. Recently, on my newsfeed more and more relationship status changes are creeping up: from relationship to engaged and, lo and behold, from engaged to married! Don’t get me wrong — there’s nothing better than seeing friends living their version of happily ever after but does this happy ending have to happen to everyone at the same time? My savings account pleads otherwise.

Add all of this in the real dimension and you’ve got yourself set up for moments of awkwardness. Last week we were in a bit of a pickle, my boyfriend and I. Seated at a local alternative hotspot with a couple of friends, drinking our wine and fooling around, we thought the alcohol had gone to our head when we saw a ring on our friend’s finger. We were flabbergasted but elated, we were delirious and exploded in riotous laughter: it was a moment of utter and complete joy.

But then.

Yes, then as we were about to toast to new beginnings, my significant other and I were the odd ones out. It didn’t matter, really, but it was an “all-eyes-are-on-you” kind of moment, and my boyfriend, not one to disappoint, was tactfully trying to remove the perrier bottle cap ring in mock-engagement to a life of gas and bottled liquified happiness. Sure, no pressure.

So here I am, hanging out here at the bottom of the barrel and I am simply echoing we are still young. Can we move to a new dimension, where I am still armed with the element of surprise and I can actually move beyond the tight little squares under my feet that dictate my directionless movement? When I get there, I’ll update my facebook status. Watch for it in your newsfeed.

Do you speak djeaksli?

Commentary


Hwia j jekhuiosdk H skunm, eippaem oi husyehj hjs. Apwoke nmxh hs kuawer sk? Rjia ojk pwopen ase.

In my head, all of the above makes sense. I have the uncanny ability to take words and mix them up, re-invent them if you like. I make nonsense out of sense, because that’s simply more fun than logical. I often don’t know what I’m talking about and I most certainly can’t understand my thoughts, but at least I know that I created the confusion in the first place.

It works wonders for my sanity.  Others may be intimidated by life and other such existential questions, but no, I am anything but deterred when it comes to lifting my little finger and dusting off the “where am I going” chapter of yours truly. That’s a big question; I hardly ever know where I’m going literally, let alone figuratively or worse yet, in ten years’ time! To avoid from going insane, I start to think / speak nonsense, because I understand it better than I  understand the big questions of life. All I’ve realized is that there are no answers. And the questions? They keep getting harder if you listen to the little, tiny you inside.

So when the going gets tough, the tough gets nonsensical. Try it, it wklwues.

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.

Ode to teenagers

Odes

To misunderstood teenagers everywhere: It gets better. Wait for it.

This is for you:

Back to those zit-infested mornings

where your face was like pizza,

or the ugly side of the moon

shining on a class full of strangers

who cannot understand what you are

going through. Loveless

eyes scanning the area desperately

for lips to hang from, and words to decipher.

Back to days where insignificance

is of such great significance,

where the high is the low,

if you want to fit in

with the in-crowd of moaners.

Katy Perry reminds us well

of those hot days in summer with lovewords

pasted in online chatrooms.

It was the dialogue of the era.

A constant buzzing chatter, meaningless

communication. This was.

Meow

Commentary


I grew up in an apartment block. Loosely translated that means that I have no fond memories of kicking the ball around with the kids next door, or riding my bicycle through the streets without a worry. I had to turn 27 to do that.

To be fair, it’s not that the neighborhood vibe didn’t exist where I lived, but the view from the one side was the busy avenue with cars and beeps and danger, while the back view used to be an abandoned field that turned into a football field on weekends and a car park by night. I never ventured out to play because I was afraid of balls, and besides it was much more fun to be the writer, madly typing made-up stories on my typewriter about what life would be like on the streets. I was a peculiar child.

It wasn’t until 13 that I learned about cats. We were always a dog-loving family; we considered cats too indifferent to love and a bit of a hazard at the height of five floors. As such, I never experienced the incessant meowing in the dead of the night, when all but the cat kingdom lays still. I got my fair dose of that while staying over at my grandmother’s while the parental units were on vacation.  The TV was playing the popular telenovela of the time (before  dubbing hit the scene) and suddenly I heard something. A few minutes later, I heard it again. Surely it was coming from the garden. I raised an eyebrow and wore my Sherlock Holmes expression and rose to the investigation. As I neared the back door to the garden, the sound became louder and it was unmistakably a…a….baby! A baby in the garden! My mind was scribbling stories of a heartless mother, an unwanted baby abandoned in the garden to be found and raised by us. The excitement!

I quickly went to my grandmother and whispered that I had something urgently serious to tell her. I pulled her to the side and whispered the breaking news: I think there’s a baby in the garden. Listen.

Quiet. Followed by fits of laughter.

How was I supposed to know it was a cat? I’m sure someone else has made this comparison before, no? It’s the freakiest love call in the world, if you ask me. I’m  convinced it’s an ultimatum: I’ll stop your ears from bleeding if you give me some.

And hey, I’m not even being vulgar.

What bananas don’t want

Commentary

by Adventures of Miss ViVi Gold

There was one thing I was sure of this year: the present I wanted for Christmas. I came up with all the legitimate excuses to console myself that this was the be all and end all of necessary fun, currently absent from my life.

The must-have object, as is always the case, came in a sleek box and cost something in the range of the three digits. Previously decried as the quintessential boy object (make that previously synonymous to the middle ages, mind you), I became possessed with having this perfect little companion on my piece of furniture. To dust off and to show off, surely. Let’s face it girls, calling something “boys only” is so last century. The broiling feminist inside me wanted to win this one out.

So I worked myself up, and hinted lightly at first, throwing in a word or two, followed by a smile. Who me? A present? Don’t be silly! Well if you really want to buy me something so much then sure go ahead and get me a ————. Never serious, but totally so. As Christmas day neared, I followed a more persistent approach: I started browsing accessories to go with said possession, as though I already owned it. Anyone heard of positive thinking? Invented by me, I assure you. Did it work? Hell, yeah! I know this because quite unsuspectingly, without having the thing, I felt like I did already. I even window shopped for it, I acted like I had it and I had it — in my head. And with having, comes overuse, and with overuse comes boredom. And then a new resolute: NOT to own this stupid object. EVER.

As I marked it clearly on my 2011 resolution list, I was thankful for everyone around me who paid me no mind. All the presents under the tree where things I never asked for, and I still have lots of time before boredom sets in.

Happy new year everyone!

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

Those 90s

Banana Observations

It’s not every day that I reminisce of forgotten decades, let alone past centuries, but this flashback is courtesy of the bar below my house that’s currently dishing out tunes that make me feel like I’m in a Now That’s What I Call Music 32 prank I’m not aware of. The repertoire has included such classics as a butchered version of Alanis’ of You Oughta Know and Cher’s tone-deaf version of Walking in Memphis; I’m suddenly a pimply teenager again with a broken sound system rocking to the tunes and dare I say I’m feeling nostalgic.

A quick glance at photos of me at the time confirm that there is no reason to miss the early years of dressing like a boy with oversized t-shirts and shoes that I would rather die than wear today. It’s clear upon re-inspection that awkward arms dangling  uncomfortably do little by way of distracting from my big frizzy hair. Were there no hair products at the time? A quick look at the cast of 90210 confirms that the world chose to boycott good looks in the 90s — with the exception of Luke Perry whose waxy do and forehead wrinkles still reeks absolute coolness.

I remember my 3 CD hi-fi as a sacred shrine of trite music, later superseded by my green discman. Ask a kid today about having a hi-fi and wait for the “Don’t you mean wi-fi?” At first, I used to cringe upon the realization that all the kids I teach were born well into the 90s and have no recollection of the decade. Dr Martens might as well be an obscure doctor, not a shoe brand; Screech is most definitely a verb, not a character from Saved By the Bell. Spice who? Why yes, Tamagotchi is probably the new sushi restaurant for advanced pop culture teenagers.

It used to make me feel old, but now I just accept it. Besides, I’m on the lucky side of life and tonight proves it. The music is entirely too loud, but I’m not going to phone in a complaint to the police; I’m just going to sit back and sing along to Meat Loaf’s I’d Lie for you (And that’s the truth) because boy oh boy, that’s what I call music!

Summer bummer

Commentary

Photo credit: gege.gatt

They usually count me among the lucky ones who get to sit around during summer. Formally speaking, that may be true; but I’m here to convince you otherwise. The little voices in my head are telling me that there is no way I can get everything I need to get done within the entire month of August.

Go ahead, roll your eyes, wince at me. It doesn’t stop it from being true. Even the ants here are staging a retreat below the keyboard – some brave lookouts comb the white plains of the ibook for the deathly fingers of yours truly much to their utter bad luck (the fingers are lurking). What am I on about? Is it the heat? Or maybe it’s the stress of  knowing I won’t get all my to-dos done that makes ants miraculously appear out of nowhere on my laptop, in my bowl of cereal and most likely swimming somewhere in my stomach too. As you wonder whether I’ve now become positively insane, let me take a moment to explain everything that I plan, but won’t have time to fulfill.

The Summer Wishlist

Thank you magazine articles for constantly letting us know what the best summer / beach reads are. I have feverishly read all the summaries, religiously circled the ones I might be interested in and now all I have to do is pack a beach towel, head for the nearest beach and root myself in the most cancerous looking spot of sun. It’s what I did every other year, but this year it seems like the hardest thing on earth possibly because my perception of hard has changed dramatically. There’s one reason for this, and you can blame it on the kids.

And yes, thank you too billboard ads, mailings, radio and TV advertisements. I now know that I can’t afford even the best deals in travel packages. My financial situation is so dire that I can hardly even get to the average hotel that’s down the street (not that I would want to anyway). Yet at night, when I tend to get more delusional than usual, I search the web frantically for ticket prices and accommodation and convince myself with midnight maths that I can afford it. I wake up with a number hangover, but luckily with no great debt as of yet, at least.

And oh, let’s not forget sleeping late, going out, meeting with friends and the general paralysis of all things normal in your schedule. In the 100% humidity we’ve been experiencing lately, the only paralysis I feel is that of my brain.

I think the message is clear: Get out – even the ants are vacating. I would hide under the table for a week until people start wondering where I’ve disappeared too, but that’s not possible because the carpenter will be delivering the dining table in September. I don’t even have a bed to crawl under, for shade if nothing else. I could of course sandwich myself in the bookcase; perhaps surrounded by books I could feel a touch of the escape from the mundane even briefly, before the bookcase topples over me.

It’s going to be a short one month, I’m sure.