Wednesday, September 20, 2006

System Down – 49 NIS

I arrived in early at work, feeling somewhat worse for wear, wearing the same clothes I wore the night before and craving coffee, to find the lights off, the gates closed, and the stench of burning overwhelming me. I limbered under the gate and saw the other early workers sitting out on the balcony, and began to feel the need for a damp cloth to place over my mouth… where is that smell coming from? The office is dark, apart from faint emergency exit lighting, which is too dim to really deserve the name lighting… more like gloss… The Emergency Exit signs sent a faint gloss around areas of the room. I almost bump into one of the file room boys, as we both go to swipe in… the swipe in machine gives the most pathetically weak response as if to say, “Urgh… welcome to work… let me go back to bed.” Today I can empathise with it… In fact I generally find the swipe in machine a little on the chirpy side in the morning!

I walk to my desk with the vain hope that my computer might still be up and working, and that I might still be able to check The Sun, check my emails, and say my good mornings to the msn icons I call friends. Of course this is just a silly pipe dream, and no matter how many times I push the On/Off switch, nothing is going on. Deep sigh. I place my bag under my desk, turn around and walk out onto the balcony to try and find out how long I am going to be cut off from the world for. And what is that burning smell?

The Office Manager is sat on the phone, in her pyjamas looking dishevelled and harassed, as I walk towards the others sat around people are shouting out “fire!” It turns out that at 4.45am a faulty light switch burnt out causing an explosion in one of the offices on the opposite side of the building to me. In an office usually inhabited by one of my friends, who is currently away on holiday… lucky thing! I walk round to inspect the damage, and find the wiring appearing as though pulled out from the wall, and a pile of burnt files lying on the floor. I look above my head and see the sprinklers and wonder why the floor is so dry. It appears that the sprinklers did not work either! Now I am feeling very secure in this ‘haven’ that my managers have taken care to provide for their precious workers… I stand on the spot waiting for the floor to give way!

More people arrive, and we find ourselves sitting out on the balcony, laughing and hoping that we will just get sent home, and be able to enjoy a day on the beach. I decide that without my usual morning ritual I am going to HAVE to get some coffee, so head out of the building. The rest of the office are working as normal, and I have an urge to run in and ask if I can quickly check the status of Posh’s hair, Tarrant’s marriage, and other vital English news. I see the girl sat in reception is the one who I always catch in the toilets walking out without washing her hands, so decide that her computer is not one that I wish to go anywhere near. I go down the elevator, out of the building, and walk to towards the cash machine, brushing by people rushing to get to work and almost being knocked over by the usual bleary eyed Israeli driver. Alive and well I arrive at the bank to find that, after my earlier smugness when my friends said they only had 700 shekels to last them until next month, I in fact only have 250 shekel to last me until the end of the month. Correction, after taking 200 out I actually only have 50, I mean 49 shekels! Every now and then g-d likes to do this to me… a little trip and fall to take me off my high horse…. “That'll wipe that smug grin off your face Little Miss Graham!”

It is only 3.30pm when the system is finally up and running, but it is too late, my batteries have worn down and there is no way I am going to work proactively today! I look forward to going home, to going to the gym, to getting some decent sleep, to going to my parents’ for the Chaggim… Meanwhile the air-conditioning is still not working, so I am also looking very much forward to a shower… and any other suggestions you have for some FREE entertainment let me know… Shana Tova Peeps!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Between my finger and my thumb

I would not say that I was an overly inquisitive child. I was not out searching for adventures everyday. I was happiest in front of the television. Although there was one incident where at the age of 18 months, I decided to make a great escape from the Graham household. I failed, as before my parents even noticed my absence a neighbour returned Little Channah Boo and my parents placed me back in front of the television and continued to prepare for Shabbat. However, I nevertheless would always seem to be able to get myself into scrapes, normal for any child; my brother managed to cut his head open in the same place 3 times… we called it his centre of gravity.

The centre of gravity in humans varies and depends on the age and sex of the human in questions, but it is fair to say that it is usual around the middle to pelvic area of the person… not the head (in the case of my brother) and certainly not in the index finger (as in the case of Little Miss Graham). My index finger is my centre of gravity. No matter what scrapes I have got into in my time it is the Index finger that has pointed the way as it were, to an extent that my nail refuses to grow straight or past a certain length on my right hand… I am right handed by the way.

As a girl my favourite scrape was to trap my finger in doors, draws, and cupboards… only my right index finger. I became so used to trapping this finger that there were times when I was at school, away from the sympathetic shoulder of my mother that I would simply stick the finger in my mouth and comfort myself. Today I did the same thing… I was taking a rice cracker out from my draw under my desk, and as I closed the draw behind me, I forgot that I had left behind my finger. After the initial silent pain, I automatically pushed the finger in my mouth.

This got me thinking; thinking about all the times I had done the same thing as a girl, thinking about all the events that had led to me trapping it in the first place, thinking about all the reasons that it was just this finger that I seemed to subconsciously have it in for, and thinking about what was the hidden meaning behind it all… well when you study English Lit for the best part of your life, you tend to analyse the meaning behind the most irrelevant things.

The Index finger is an interesting thing to study. If you were placing your hands into the phrase, “putting you best foot forward”, your index finger would be you “best foot”. It is the finger that leads you, be it as you use it to point in the direction you are going, to indicate to others what is holding your interest… basically it leads you. As a child it is key to your development. Children will generally use their index finger to point at items that gain their interest… this is before they can speak and say “Look at that massive spot on your face!” It is a sign of inquisition and discovery.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.

When shooting, it is the thumb which holds the gun steady and the index finger which pulls the trigger… I don’t write by hand anymore, I type, and I notice that when I type, my index finger still does most of the work. Seamus Heaney wrote the above quote as his own
way of expressing the power that is in his hands when he writes, he has the power to hurt the people who read him and the people who he writes about. As I write I discover more about myself, more about the things that I put to one side that come pouring out onto my desktop as type… So is that the relation between my finger and this blog? I don’t know, the thought came into my head and I had to write it down. I think I am starting to sound like Yoda, “All the power in the world is right here.” No matter where you point, there it is… and just look where HRH is putting it!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mother's Medicine

When I was young there was no room for being sick, no time in my busy life for a cold, for a day in front of the TV watching movies and eating ice-cream under my duvet. Whenever I approached the breakfast table looking like a used crash test dummy, and complaining of an ailment, my mother would suggest that I take a tablet, “Take a Solpadeine, it will make you feel a lot better.” So I would sit drinking my hot Ribena and swallow two Solpadeine before going to school, and for all my resentment that my mother would never let me just have a day off school, she was right… I did feel better.

The past week or so has not been easy. Work has been a total upheaval of reorganising duties and responsibilities, getting used to new bosses, and making sure that nothing got missed in the process. Then there is my own personal upheaval, the one where I am resurrecting the Little Miss Boo to full working order, dusting off the skinny jeans and making myself the image of the woman I feel. It is not easy when everything in life is not running smoothly to battle it out on all fronts. I feel that just as I am getting my workout routine in check, I am invited to a hundred work events, that I have to go to, but which totally disrupt my routine.

Then there is being a woman. In general I try not to be one. Not that I don’t love being a woman, and not that I am not feminine… I am. I try not to be too much of a woman in terms of being overemotional, over analytical and reading way too much into every situation. Clearly no-one is perfect, so it is somewhat unrealistic of me to expect that I can be the perfect juxtaposition of male and female in one body, but nevertheless I like to think that I am not the average girl…

…And then once every two months (because as I said I am not the average girl) all the emotions I put away in the ‘women only’ closet in my brain come gushing out in a wave of hormones, tirades of self pity, awash with salty tears and the inability to stop myself from drowning in my own self-despair. It is exhausting, especially as I know that non of it is me, the rational me. None of the words that are coming out of my mouth are coming from my heart, my heart which is part male and part female, but are coming direct from this strictly pheromonal place that I cannot control! I try to control myself, I should really just put the phone down, switch it off, close myself away in my apartment with a giant X on the door stating “Stay Away for at least 4 days!”, but I don’t because the stupid man in me thinks he can control the beast, and all men should know that they can never control the woman… not since we threw away the chastity belts and burnt our bras anyway…

My mother calls me and the tears will not stop flowing. I think sometimes my mother reacts to me crying the same way that I react to her being sick… with utter shock. In the case of my mother, it is because while the entire household would be suffering a stomach bug or a flu virus, my mother would always be fit as a fiddle and running around taking care of the sick. In the case of my tears, there is only one thing that makes me cry to my mother, and that has always been my father (well we have always had a nasty way of winding each other up!). So here I am on the phone crying for no reason other than, “I have no idea why I cannot stop crying,” when my mother in despair reverts back in time to when she would send me snivelling to school with a dose of ‘mother’s medicine’ inside of me:

Mum: Darling I think you need to take some Magnesium tablets… that will make you feel better

At this I laugh for the first time in 2 days

Me: Oh no Mum, no pill can make me feel better… Only I can do that!
Mum: I am worried about you darling, you are not yourself.
Me: No you are right… I am just getting so much better!

It is a teething period that makes my emotions rock solid stable one moment and the next teetering on the edge of the tight rope, but one thing I know is that I will never fall off, because I have the male and the female to balance me out…. Until I get to the other side.

Meanwhile apologies to all those of you who were on the sore end of my sour mood… I swear you are all safe for at least the next two months… And thanks to those who saw through it all enough to still want to hang out with me… I love you all!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Kinky Bitches

I am having a bad day. One of those days when you feel like everything is collapsing around your ears. It is spreading into every area of my life, my lucky beans are all gone and the Dark Age is fast approaching. Dramatic I know, but when I am feeling particularly hormonal, and a few crappy things start happening in my life, I just want to retreat to the comfort of the nook and hide away from everything for a while. But the nook is cold, and I cannot retreat there, so I feel like I am running around, lost, trying to find my other comfort zone. I am an independent woman! Comfort zone? What the hell is happening to me? So instead what do I do? I put up a wall, I close the door, shut the window, and flip around the “Out to Lunch” sign. I am done.

My bad day is not of course not just due to the shit going down in my work and personal life, nor is it to be totally blamed on my forthcoming ‘women’s issue’. But when you stay up late, drinking wine with the girls, and then writing your memoirs into the early hours, you have really no-one else to blame but yourself for being a grouchy old bitch the next day. Channah I blame you!

Last night was a really fun night. The girls all invaded my apartment, armed with bottles and ready to talk dirt and dirty. The wine was poured, consumed, and the volume in the apartment rose to such levels that the neighbours are now wondering if I am opening a brothel. I guess when they turn up with a wad of cash, then I will know if I am in business or not. As, we sat around discussing life, work, men and all that jazz, I looked at the friends I have; the ones with boyfriends, the single and dating ones, the single and playing the field, the ones dealing with the depraved world of Israeli men, and I really did not know where to place myself. I know that we (the guy and I) are label-less at the moment and in some ways I like that, but when everyone is talking about their relationships or lack of relationships, for the first time I was speechless… I sat back and tuned out, tuned out of the urge to drunk dial him, and tried to tune out of the nagging thought of “Why has he not called me today.”

The evening continues, and in the same way my guy friends would come back from their stag weekends chanting, “What happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam”, I have to say what is discussed in the four walls of my apartment stays there. I guess the only thing to be said is that it is funny how you meet these people a number of weeks or months earlier, see them as sweet and lovely girls you want to hang out with, and then you get to know them better and realise that they are Kinky Bitches! It is always the quiet ones you have to watch out for! And the loud ones, and the ones feigning shock with a cross of her chest! Hence the orders soon to be coming in from my neighbours… I could do with the extra cash.

By the end of the evening I was left alone with my two favourite drunkards, otherwise known as my original drinking buddies, and notably the last two standing (or trying to stand) at the end of a long night of wine.

EG: You’re soooooooooooooo pretty, do you know how pretty you are?
SD: I’m not sure I want you to get any thinner… I mean you’re so cool, so pretty, if you were thin then you would be too perfect… I don’t think we could be friends anymore.
EG: Seriously don’t you think Channah is stunning… you are stunning you know that! I don’t think she knows that!

So by the time I dragged my sorry large ass to bed I was well aware of how pretty I am, and aware that there are plenty of guys who would come a flocking as soon as I get to the perfect size 10. But who really wants that? I want someone to like me for me (doesn’t everyone?). I like who I am. Ok, so yes I am doing some renovation on my life, but I am changing myself not because I am uncomfortable with myself… I think I hold myself in a way that shows how comfortable I am with my body and who I am as a person. So why have you changed yourself so much over the last couple of years? So why are you continuing to battle on though the war is getting so much harder?

You want to know? Well I am comfortable in my own skin, in the same way I am comfortable in my favourite jeans and T-shirt, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like to slip into a little black Prada dress every now and then. My outer appearance is not me, it doesn’t define me; it is my costume. In my drunken state I wrote all this down, I wrote so honestly and openly about the topic I never really talk about on my blog, because I reserve it for my book, and then when I came in to work this morning to post it, I found that the disc I had saved it on had not been formatted and so it sits in my bag… so close and yet wasted! So instead I am sitting with my bowl of chicken soup, writing my thoughts, because I am purging myself, detoxing my life, getting on, dealing with my issues, facing the challenges ahead of me, and with everything else… I am done.