Monday, 20 February 2012

The Bathroom Less Travelled

Right. I've got one foot in the stirrup. If someone could just push a little here...and here....and perhaps pull a little bit there... thank you. Now I'm on my high horse, and let me warn you, this post is going to be a bit of a rant. I don't normally rant but I find myself exceedingly annoyed today by something that happens pretty much daily at work. The sad thing is, before I began this post I wondered whether I was turning into my mother (whose best stories all, for some inexplicable reason, end up being about weeing herself in various locations and in various stages of inebriation) but I shun this thought in favour of entertaining you with said rant. Let the tirade begin.

Firstly, I consider any bathroom to be a sacred place. To me, a bathroom is like Vegas - whatever happens there, stays there. Many private things are done in the bathroom and need never ever be discussed outside of it. The first rule about the bathroom is, you don't talk about the bathroom. This is in part because I have had many accidents in the bathroom (it's true that it is in fact the most dangerous place in the home, but I suspect for most people this is not because they have ever tried to rhythmically shave their legs while listening to Disturbed and balancing an array of rubber ducks on their head) which I have not and will not share with anyone, except perhaps on my deathbed. Some stories are best left untold. The scars have mostly healed. Mostly.

The toilet at work is a likewise sacred place. Because of the layout of the department and because I work with senior staff (I use 'senior' to mean 'important', rather than 'elderly' otherwise this post would already be heading in a totally different and perhaps slightly tragic direction), we have an individual room with one toilet, rather than the room with multiple stalls used by the peasants across the corridor. I really enjoy this toilet. It has a locking door, which of course is a basic part of any bathroom - although I must admit I have worked in more than one place which did not care about this idea and seemed to view hinges as an optional extra, which developed my calf muscles nicely over the years - and is rather flatteringly lit by pleasant lights. The door itself has a small indicator on it which displays a green sign when the door is unlocked, and a red sign when the door is locked, corresponding to the universal colours for "stop" and "go". I realise that I am stating basic facts but trust me. It's about to get real, yo.

So, earlier today I visited the bathroom. Imagine my shock and horror when, in the middle of a perfectly nice and relaxing wee, I was rudely interrupted by someone jiggling the door handle. If I'm honest, 'jiggling' is too nice a word to use. This person basically threw their entire weight at the door several times, completely disregarding the red sign which clearly indicated that the toilet was occupied. If you have ever been in this situation, you will understand the level of discomfort I experienced (I don't know if anyone has ever tried to stand up in panic during a wee, but I suspect the consequences would be dire) while this happened. It made me wonder two things - firstly, whether whoever was on the other side of the door was such a complete imbecile that they were unable to grasp that the red sign and the fact that they couldn't open the door as indicators that the room was occupied, and if so, I worry about the responsibilities they have within my company; secondly, whether their need for a toilet was so immediate, so extreme, that trying to ramraid a solid six-foot wooden door was preferable to walking fifteen feet or so to the next available bathroom.

This wouldn't be so bad if it had been the first time, but I have been with this company for over four years now and I experience this exact situation, on average, about four times a week. It ruins my wee. I don't have many small pleasures, and I really don't ask for much from life, but I do expect to be able to vacate my bladder in peace.

If you'll excuse me, I've got some unfinished business to attend to. It's Yo Momma. And she doesn't like to be kept waiting.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Poultry In Motion

I was enjoying an Indian takeaway with Wetsoks last night. I hadn't had spicy food in some time so this was long overdue and much appreciated. Unfortunately it also led to the following conversation.

Me: This is so GOOD.

Wetsoks: Isn't it?

Me: Mmm. Wait, what do you have?

Wetsoks: Chicken something. Er (looking at the top of her carton) - Diazepam Chicken!

For those readers who are not from the UK, Diazepam is a drug used for purposes of sedation.

Me: (mouth hanging open in horror) I'm pretty sure that's not what it's called.

Wetsoks: It is!

Me: It's bloody not.

Wetsoks: (ignoring me) Anyway, remember you owe me for the pots I bought to replace the ones we'd cooked to a crisp?

Me: I do remember. I feel like we should be given an award or something, because making metal look like that is something that took real effort, time and culinary idiocy.

Wetsoks: Totally.

Me: So, how do you want the money? I could give you the princely sum of £15 now, or I could give you a £1 a day for the next 15 days.

Wetsoks: The second option.

Me: I was kidding.

Wetsoks: I will not accept more than £1 per day from you.

Me: Goddammit!

Wetsoks: Please present me with your first pound.

Me: What if I don't have a pound?

Wetsoks: Then there will be consequences.

Me: Consequences like Diazepam Chicken ?

Wetsoks:.... Perhaps.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

This Is Something FutureOtter Can Deal With

Good morrow, fair otterlings! I do apologise for my lack of recent bloggage. I have in fact been rather busy doing various productive activities (including Yo Momma, who works like a beast of burden and is a credit to Yo Family, furreals). I have started writing again, much to the delight of some and the horror of many, including, I am sure, my immediate family and friends who will be forced to read and give their opinions on my literary endeavours whether they like it or not. I don't know why they are so afraid to do so - it is not like I summon them to my lair and then swivel around in my chair to face them while stroking a menacing looking cat.

Back to the point. I have been writing short stories. I intended to submit some of these to magazines in the hope that someone somewhere would recognise my eccentric brilliance and give me lots of money (my own personal fishmongerer would also be nice, although if they could also monger cheese that would be even better. Note to readers: if you can monger more than one thing, please apply for this position. Sexually graphic applications will be put into a separate pile and considered later) so that I could take a couple of weeks off work to write, or attend a writer's residency somewhere nearby, or even just to go towards the eventual collection which I imagine I would self publish on Kindle for ease of distribution. It is, of course, entirely a coincidence that the residencies I have discovered on the internet all seem to be beside local vineyards.

In any case, I am considering creating a project on Indigogo and asking for donations. However, before I launch myself into what is potentially a stupid idea - and I am patting myself on the back for actually thinking something through for a change instead of charging in like a drunken badger in mating season - I wondered what my readers thought. Perhaps you have been with me since the very first post, or perhaps this is your first time at Wit and Pendulum (and if the latter, please indulge me and go look at some of the previous posts, especially and and especially which will give you more of an idea of what the hell is happening here). The stories I write tend to run along the same lines - slightly dramatic, with a dash of comedy and a soupçon of morality. Essentially if you've enjoyed the blog, you will probably enjoy these too. So please, leave your comments and feedback below. Much like a date, I don't like to ask anything of you (at least not before I've had a chance to ply you with wine and tell you repeatedly that you don't look a day over fabulous) and frankly I find it embarrassing, but here goes.

I shall leave you with a reference to an old blog post regarding misquoted song titles, because apparently among the things you should not do at a somewhat sombre family gathering is point out how you always thought the line from Abba's song Super Trouper was "when I called you last night from Tesco", because it makes everyone in your immediate vicinity laugh so hard that their beverage of choice comes out of their nose. You have been warned.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Turn The Otter Cheek

My mother called me earlier this evening to inform me that she'd seen War Horse at the cinema with her friend on Monday.

Mum: And it was great - I mean, you wouldn't think a horse could act but this one did!

Me: Um...

Mum: No, really! It looked sad when it was supposed to, and then when it was running through the fields and stuff it looked really happy.

Me: It's amazing what cinematic technology can do.

Mum: And then there was this part, right, when I turned to my friend and I said "that horse fancies that other horse", and she said "how do you know?" and I said "because it looked at it funny".

Me: (pinching my nose) Your grasp of animal courting expressions is quite astounding.

In addition to this, today my friends and I had an email conversation about - what else - Harry Potter. Wetsoks and I have been writing a fanfiction (I won't even tell you what it is about, suffice to say that the word 'Whorecrux' features in it quite heavily) and she announced to the groups how awesome our stats were. In fact, discouragingly, the Harry Potter story is now outgrossing this blog in terms of visitors. The world is a dark and otterless place sometimes. Still, we soldier on. 

Wetsoks: We've had almost 4000 hits now!

Tanyakit: (email contains party graphics and many implied Huzzahs)

Me: Your Clemence Poesy obsession is dwindling, we see. I actually opened this email expecting to see only the words "needs more Fleur".

Tanyakit: That should be implied in all my emails. This stomach ache is absolutely killing me...I feel like a zombie. I now have sympathy for their rampages.

Me: Zombies don’t feel feelings or pain, dude. That’s why nothing affects them except decapitation and the like.

Tanyakit: Well they might have feelings but just feel no physical pain?

Me: You cannot bribe a zombie to do something because of innate or leftover emotions. They are walking corpses with no mental activity and certainly no heart. Or say, we could test this theory when the apocalypse happens. You first. No, I insist.

Tanyakit: ANYWAY. I was rather enjoying a very liberal Hogwarts fic last night where Fleur as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher had to share quarters with Hermione as Head Girl. Oh, and a bed. As you do. It made me wonder whether a)     This was the impact of a recession, and b)    Why I wasn’t lucky enough to share a bed with a Fleur look-a-like when I was in school – I think it would have helped me come out much much earlier. 

Me: Ah yes, the recession hit the magical community the hardest. I think Professor McGonagall has suggested upping the quantities of root vegetables in the students’ diets (Tanyakit, if you’d read the amazing story called Matching Muff Matrimony - during which a drunken Ginny Weasley hits and kills Voldemort while driving the Ford, and accidentally becomes the Saviouress of the Wizarding World - you’d understand this joke) to cut down on the house elves’ food budget. 

Tanyakit: She should be upping root vegetable quantity regardless — am surprised they aren’t all 20 stone what with the diet of sugar and cholesterol which Dumbledore constantly feeds them.

Me: I actually laughed out loud at the root vegetable thing – you do have a point. And pumpkin juice for every meal? What if you don’t like it? And why pumpkins – because they are so magical? What a horrible choice of drink. I'm surprised the students aren’t all keeling over from dehydration as well.

Tanyakit: Conspiracy theorists would ask who really started the war, and brought it all the Hogwarts—Voldermort? Or was it just a cunning plan by Dumbledore to have half of Hogwarts killed off before they died of premature heart attacks which would have undoubtedly prompted an inquest into how these children were being taken care of...

Me: Not to mention the daily verbal and physical abuse of some pupils by certain teachers, which I’m sure is not to the standards of education/human rights that the Scottish Qualifications Authority, or indeed the parents, would like.  Severus Snape in particular should have been suspended on more than one occasion for wielding his authority in a harmful and mentally torturous way particularly over children whose parents were either killed by or maimed beyond belief by his previous employer, which is frankly rubbing salt in the wound a bit more than is necessary.

Tanyakit: I think the entire plot of the Goblet of Fire would have fallen foul of the SQA. “What do you mean people die in this tournament?! I am pulling Jimmy this instant.”  “Yes, sorry it’s a binding contract..."   “My son is underage...shouldn’t I have signed a permission slip or something?!”   "Please see my previous response.”

Me: “But you require parents to sign permission slips to allow children to go to the local village at the weekend! Why not for this pointless Tournament Of Death?”          “…Have a biscuit, sir.”