Tag Archives: thoughts

Becky says things about … the human brain

O sweet and graceful listeners, let us speak of the human brain.

I’m a big fan of the brain. There are many things that that lump of moist cauliflower is good for; namely, and in no particular order:

  • coming up with sassy comebacks to impertinent comments
  • knowing not to eat things that wouldn’t agree with us, such as exposed wiring, or brick

  • remembering all significant dates in the world wars, or the dates and fates of Henry VIII’s wives, or the crucial cinematic progression of important Disney films between 1938 and 1952
  • recognising mistakes and rectifying them accordingly, such as ensuring that you write ‘kind regards’ and not ‘king retards’ in an email to the CEO of a multi-national company (NB. the human brain occasionally falls short on this one)
  • understanding when it’s appropriate to greet someone with a polite, palm-tickling handshake, and when it’s appropriate to use another form of greeting

  • being able to apply the correct sentences to correct situations, such as ‘I’m so incredibly happy for you’ at a wedding, and ‘I am deeply, deeply mournful’ at a funeral, and not the other way around
  • keeping you entertained with hilarious jokes

But sometimes the human brain doesn’t cooperate. Sometimes it gives up, or sabotages you, seemingly deliberately, out of spite or apathy.

I was recently in a very important meeting where I was a trifle out of my depth. I was being asked questions that really tried to fly over my head, but my brain was somehow managing to net them and fire back reasonably intelligent responses. This was a textbook example of teamwork: my brain and I were happily working together, and we did a small high five every time I responded to a question with actual words that made moderate sense and not complete hogwash.

And then a difficult question was thrown at me. It’s okay, I thought, my brain’s got this. It’s ready with its pen and pencil, scribbling down an answer, and my synapses will take but a milisecond to transmute an answer to my mouth.

But instead of filing a response into my mouth, my brain sat back, crossed its arms, shook its head, and proceeded to tell me this:

I tried desperately to clamber over my uncooperative, starved brain and fumble for an answer, but my brain stood up and plonked its fat behind on the question, and instead of words coming out of my mouth, there came…

…nothing.

Nope, not a thing. For seconds, I stared dumbly at the asker of the question, while my brain stopped telling me I was hungry, and instead helpfully started pointing out that

Finally, after what seemed literally weeks, I slapped my brain quiet, and gave a response that made it very clear to everyone in the room that I had no idea what the question was:

The human brain can also be pretty ruddy irritating when one is trying to get to sleep. Why, why, when a brain can literally spend all day saying ‘I am just not going to do anything today, you’re on your own, you pitiful creature’, does it then suddenly come alive the minute you get into bed?

Here is an excellent example of the acrobatics my brain can do when I’m trying to get to sleep:

God I’m tired what about boats in a nice turquoise sea oh that holiday to Austria in 2002 was lovely I wish I had a dog not been to the Hart’s Boatyard for dinner in ages mmmmmm scampi I wonder what the temperature is in New York right now Christ space is massive what about that guy who jumped out of a rocket that’s mad I must start running again and get a massage what’s that tune in my head I think it’s Mozart I really should take moisturising more seriously ahh those house parties we used to have with alcopops were great where has my youth gone ooo if I could have one sandwich right now it would be salt beef with mustard must get some kitchen towel tomorrow God I love flowers especially blue ones

When you’re brain is doing that to you, you may as well try to get to sleep like this:

See, look, here’s a prime example of the human brain not cooperating: I’m trying to think of a brilliantly inventive and amusing way to end this post so that my lovely listeners will think ‘God, she’s a terribly comical wag, that Becky’, but all my brain is saying is ‘I can’t think of a brilliantly inventive and amusing way to end this post’. See? So unhelpful. And there’s literally nothing I can do about it, so I may as well just jack the whole thing in and go and make myself a cup of tea.

I’m sorry, faithful ones, but don’t blame me for this heinous anti-climax, blame my stupid lazy human brain.

 

Bimble wallop.

 

Oh shut up, brain.

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Filed under Embarrassing Revelations, Life eh?, The Beauty of Life, Thoughts and Musings

Becky says things about … laughing

Since the news broke last Monday about the smackingly sudden exit of our short, furry and funny friend Mr Williams, the Internet has been transformed into a veritable psychology journal, brimming with probing analyses of depression, suicide, alcoholism, hope, lack of hope, life and death. Darling Listener, I don’t want to add to the already lengthy index of opinions on the meaning of life; and besides, who am I to comment on the bleak, crushing force of depression when the saddest moment of my day was realising I left my lunch at home?

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So, most splendid listeners, let us focus on the bright side of life; let us look at what Mr Williams made us do when he put on a rubber mask and shouted ‘HELP IS ON THE WAY, DEAR!’ or when he told Rufio he was a paramecium brain:

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O Listener, I just love laughing. I love every kind of laugh: the painful, uncontrolled giggle that invariably results in an undignified piggish snort; the silent, head-shaking nose-laugh when someone tells you a joke that is wrong on every inconceivable level and you know you are going straight to hell for finding mirth in it; the unexpected, explosive laugh that may well result in an unexpected, explosive emission from your lower regions that you definitely didn’t intend and which you hurriedly try to cover up by making your laughter acutely disproportionate to the thing that made you laugh in the first place.

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Just today I have experienced that joyful, convulsed state that is brought on by perhaps one of the most delicious laughs of all: the ‘finding-something-vaguely-amusing-at-work-and-trying-not-to-laugh-because-the-office-is-quiet-and-people-are-working-which-makes-it-a-thousand-times-funnier-and-eventually-you-are-choking-on-your-own-fist-and-tears-and-sliding-wetly-around-in-your-chair-like-a-floppy-otter’ laugh. Can I remember what made me laugh? Can I bobbins. The laugh made me laugh. The same naughty and forbidden laugh we all experienced a dozen times a day at school when we passed a note that said ‘Mrs Lamos has a hairy back’ during silent reading time.

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Laughter is in everything: that well-timed belch in the middle of a meeting; the little trip up a kerb that you have to turn into a run; the accidental sign-off ‘Love Becky xxx’ in an email to an extremely important and solemn chief-executive; the tail-end of a conversation overheard in the street.

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But we all know that there is no greater joy, no laugh more acute, than the laugh expelled at the misfortune of others. O, Listener, how many ribs have I bruised guffawing at the suffering of my friends! When my chum slipped over on the wet deck of the Statan Island Ferry, going from a perfectly stationary position next to me –

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– to this position –

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– in less than a second and for apparently no reason, I laughed so much that a concerned German had to walk the entire length of the ferry to help her up.

The story of another buddy, a normally dignified yet cumbersome sort of fellow who, whilst stomping home with a bag of fish and chips, fell over his front gate and was deposited in a flower bed, will cause me to erupt in a splatter of glee every time I think about it. My father running into the patio doors, my best friend tripping down her stairs and landing in a heap at the bottom; my sister – crouching and mid-wee – falling backwards down a grass verge into nettles after panicking when I told her there was someone coming (there wasn’t); my boss pretending to use his office chair as a wheelchair and promptly wheeling himself out of it; my pal drunkenly stumbling through a park at night and failing to notice the large pond in the middle of it – all these things make me ecstatically happy.

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Sadistic, you say? Nay, Listener – tis not sadism. Tis merely a keen appreciation of slapstick comedy. We all laugh when Oliver Hardy is bashed in the face with a solid wooden plank, or when Stan Laurel is run over by a trolley bus – why shouldn’t we laugh at our friends and family members doing stupid things?

Life throws up many surprises. Some, like a leaky roof or syphilis, aren’t particularly pleasing – but others, like discovering the wit of our fellow humans, are magical. The world is full of funny people. You, my most dear Listeners, are hysterical. There is barely a liquid I haven’t dribbled painfully through my nose whilst reading some of your blogs or your comments to my posts. And, whilst some of those liquids were especially painful, I loved every second.

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We are all used to comedians showing off their best jokes and their most sparkling wit – but it is the ordinary Colin on the street that makes me laugh the most. Overhearing a grumpy exchange between two old blokes in a pub can brighten my day tenfold.

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What’s better than trudging through your daily commute with a thousand other sorry souls, every single one of you despising the human race and everything it stands for, and then having your train driver come over the speaker and say ‘Good morning everyone – as you can see, we’re going nowhere fast. I wish I could tell you why we’re stuck here, but I can’t, so instead I’m going to tell you that today happens to the be the 30th anniversay of the release of Wham’s astounding hit single ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’… and if someone could please wake me up before we go go, that’d be very much appreciated.’

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I made myself laugh yesterday when I went to get in my mother’s car, which I begged her to let me use while she’s on holiday, and to which she eventually agreed against all her better judgement – and I discovered its battery was flat. Dead as a squashed badger. I left the lights on. Is this a royal pain in the arse, and one that will potentially cause me stress and grief and a ‘Rebecca, you can’t be trusted with anything’ comment? Undoubtedly. But I have to laugh. Particularly because I have no intention of telling my mother, and she will only find out by reading this blog post from her hotel in Greece.

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Listener, there is sadness and sorrow and despair in the world. We know this. Anyone more than five years older than us delights in telling us this every single day. But there is also laughter. And Mr Williams may or may not have contributed to some of the laughs in your lives, but he has been the cause of a billion smiles over the world, and I’ve certainly enjoyed mine. Wherever he is, I hope he’s trying on his old Mrs Doubtfire costume, parading in front of a mirror, and chuckling.

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Charlie Chaplin said ‘A day without laughter is a day wasted’. And, whilst it is undoubtedly easier to laugh on some days than others, this isn’t a bad mantra to live by.

 

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Filed under Embarrassing Revelations, Film and TV, Life eh?, Mishaps, People, The Beauty of Life, Thoughts and Musings

Becky says things about … things YOU want me to say

RIGHT.

Darling listeners, it’s happened.

After over two years of saying things about things and other things, the unthinkable has occurred.

I HAVE RUN OUT OF THINGS TO SAY.

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Yes, I admit it. Right now, there is more action in a home for elderly tortoises than there is in my brain.

SO.

I have decided, rather than say half-hearted things to you about my elbows or how I feel about Tuesdays, to ask YOU what I should say.

I’ve toyed with this idea for a few months, but feared it was rather self-indulgent – after all, it rather assumes that you CARE what I say – but to hell with it, I think it sounds like fun, and I like a challenge.*

(*I actually don’t, I hate a challenge. Failure is so, so real.)

So, my most cherished, adored, heavenly listeners, I would like you to tell me

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– yes, all right, tell me and Stickman, what you would like me to say things about. Or, if you are a grammar fiend, about what you would like me to say. The choice is yours. The result should hopefully be the same.

COME ON, TELL ME! ANYTHING!! Knock me out with your suggestions! Let me put Stickman in awkward and embarrassing positions!

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Shut up Stickman, you’d be nothing without me. Literally nothing. You exist because I own a mouse and a steady hand.

Every week for an indeterminate number of weeks I shall endeavour to use one of your suggestions and say things about what you want me to say, with, obviously, a lovely link to your excellent blog.

HOW BRILLIANT DOES THAT SOUND??? I don’t know why I didn’t do this before!*

(*I know exactly why I didn’t do this before: because there is a very real chance that a) I won’t be able to say ANYTHING about ANY of your suggestions, and b) no one will make a single ruddy suggestion in the first place, but I shall neatly side-step these problems by just remaining very, very silent for 6 months and then bounce back as if nothing has happened and we shall never speak of it again.)

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Let’s DO this thing.

TELL ME.

WHAT SHALL I SAY THINGS ABOUT???

 

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Becky says things about … getting old

If you look very carefully in most dictionaries, darling Listener, you shall see that the definition of ‘annoying’ is thus:

annoying
adj
someone younger than you complaining that they are getting old

I would like to test this definition with the following announcement:
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It will be interesting to see whether that has annoyed my listeners who are older than 29 or if

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Oh ruddy heck, that was harsh. You could have just asked me to be quiet, Listeners-older-than-29. That would have sufficed.

It remains a fact that being 29 brings with it a plethora of factors that work together to result in us 29 year-olds feeling OLD. These factors are, in no particular order:

  • Telling someone how old you are and receiving the following response accompanied by a playful shoulder nudge:

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There is only one suitable reaction to this, and on behalf of all 29 year-olds the world over, I would like to apologise for it. But my God you asked for it.

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  • The undeniable presence of wrinkles. Not just those threadlike sweeps of character under our eyes, or the cute flicks of smile lines at the corners of our mouths, but deep, cavernous gorges. Frownlines like daggers that scream ‘I HAVE BEEN WORRYING ABOUT TURNING 29 FOR 29 YEARS’; that terrible moment we walk past a shop window, glance at our reflection and see the dark shadow of AGE sweeping from the inner corner of our eye and into our cheek like an unstoppable reminder of our impending and horrible death.
  • The realisation that 29 years is a long time for our bones to be holding our body together, and, as a consequence, they don’t work quite so well.

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  • Being asked ‘What did you do last week?’ and, after a lengthy silence, during which we plough further depth into those frownlines, responding with ‘I have literally no idea.’
  • Where once we could spend happy hours perusing photos of our Facebook chums lying unconscious in club toilets or cartwheeling naked in the mud at Glastonbury, we are now faced with a daily barrage of engagement announcements, wedding albums, baby photos, blurry black and white photographs that make us think ‘Why would someone post a picture of the inside of a plughole?’ and then realise that it is a foetus and that, at the age of 29, it is perfectly acceptable, nay, expected, to own a foetus. Or, worst still, seeing photos of your old school chums with their four children. Because, at the age of 29, we have had more than enough time to have had four children.

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  • Never ever ever ever being asked for ID when buying alcohol. And, on the rare, wonderful occasion we are asked for ID, it is quickly followed by ‘Actually, don’t worry about it.’ Why? Because they have spied our wrinkles, smelt the Deep Heat on our lower backs, and told our four children to get their hands out of the confectionery.
  • Congratulating yourself and your fellow 29-year-old chums on arranging a night out at a club where you can dance and get stupidly drunk on cheerfully-coloured shots with an indeterminate alcohol content, and then sheepishly calling each other the day of the event and making excuses like ‘I’ve just had such a knackering week at work’ or ‘I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to help my friend move house’ or ‘I just don’t have the money at the moment, the new washing machine wiped me out’ or ‘London is such a long way on the train and it’s just so busy and crowded and the club will just be so loud and we won’t be able to talk properly’, and you all end up going to the local pub for a nice comfortable chat and a sit down.

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  • Sitting in said pub and observing the antics of a group of people in their early 20s whom you cannot help but label in your aged mind as youths, and becoming irritated by their noise levels, their irresponsible drinking (three shots of Sambuca each?? Who needs that?), their loud declarations of recent sexual and alcoholic conquests, and their carefree, worry-free, and wrinkle-free faces, which inspires a grumbling outburst of bitterness from your table of over-the-hill curmudgeons.

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  • Realising you not only understand, but agree with, the phrase, ‘With age comes wisdom.’

It is perhaps the wisdom that makes us feel the most old; realising that we are ancient enough to not only give advice to those younger than us, but to have that advice listened to and accepted, because the youths realise that we’ve had loads of time in our 29 years to make mistakes and have experiences and must thus know exactly what we are talking about.

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And at the age of 29, we are faced with the most startling piece of wisdom of all:

NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING.

We have spent our lives looking up to grown-ups and thinking how wise they are and how all-knowing, and we’ve been keenly awaiting the day that the grown-up switch flicks on, when we’ll suddenly understand mortgages, or what a dividend is, or how to programme a boiler or do a cryptic crossword, and become a proper, qualified ADULT. But, our 29 years of experience of the complex and often ridiculous world of human beings have finally taught us that 99.999% of grown-up humans are simply fumbling their way through life, trying to make enormous decisions, behave responsibly and look like they know what they’re doing – when in fact they still stub their toes on bedposts, fall over whilst putting on their underwear, get nervous talking to their boss, fret over everything, and struggle with supermarket trolleys.

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So, there is really only one thing for us 29 year-olds to do.

Just carry on.

Embrace our wisdom, learn how to cover up our wrinkles, accept that we can no longer sit cross-legged for an extended period of time, keep making mistakes, ignore the Facebook foetuses, persevere with the cryptic crosswords, and realise that we may just be better people than we were.

And if we’re not, then there’s still plenty of time.

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Filed under Life eh?, People, The Beauty of Life, Thoughts and Musings

Becky says things about … a new year

So, dearest Listeners, it’s very nearly 2014, and Stickman, like a lot of us, is feeling a bit pensive.

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Those old niggling feelings of regret and guilt are creeping up on as we teeter towards the cusp of a new year: was I productive enough this year? Was I a good person? Did I do enough exercise? Did I eat and drink too much? Did I finally sort out my iTunes folders?

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We’re vaguely excited about a new year because it means we can start again, and get it right this time. Not like we did all the other years – all the other years, when we promised ourselves we’d be brilliant and then we turned out to be not as  brilliant as we’d hoped – because this year it’ll be different. 

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We’re probably going to a party tonight, and are getting into the party spirit by playing a few excellent tunes, having a cheeky drink, dancing a merry jig, and waving off 2013 as something that happened to us once, and there’ll be plenty of other years ahead to play with. new year4

Or we’re staying at home and reflecting on how quickly it all flies past and how death is imminent.

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Whatever we’re doing, and however we’re feeling, the new year is upon us – whether we like to stick with a lower case new year, or attribute seasonally erroneous capitals to our New Year to give it the magnitude it deserves – and there’s a whole heap of bugger all we can do about it.

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So, I suggest we all have a good time, we all hug our friends, we all get a little bit merry and say something mildly inappropriate to at least one person, and we all look forward to being brilliant in 2014 and finally getting round to sorting out our iTunes folders.

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A very happy new year, or Happy New Year – however you like to play it – for 2014 from myself and Stickman, and may the New Year bring You very many Good Things, a lot of Laughs, few Cries, Much Love, excellent Fortune, and a WhiMsicaL attItuDe To cApiTAl LeTTeRs.

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Becky says things about … time

Yeah, it’s a pretty big subject.

I’m not going to say everything there is to say about time because there isn’t enough of it in which to say things about …. it. Plus, when I suggested to Stickman that I wanted him to illustrate everything there is to illustrate about time, he wasn’t overly keen.

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So I’ll just cover the essentials.

I have a bit of a gripe with time at the moment, in that where the bloody buckets is it going??? 

Apparently the year is 2013. I’m sorry – what? When did that happen? Was there an email? What happened to 2012? Wasn’t 2012, that momentous year full of diamond jubilees, Olympics and potential apocalyptic events, supposed to last a lot longer? (Unless of course there was an apocalyptic event, in which case we’d be none the ruddy wiser.)

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Wasn’t it 2006 about three days ago? Or even 2003? And don’t even talk to me about 2010 and 2011, I have literally no idea what happened there. It seems that I take my eye off the ball for one minute to eat a sandwich or go to the toilet, and when I finish my sandwich or come back from the toilet, there’s a new Cliff Richard calendar on my wall and suddenly everyone’s telling me it’s three years later. I just do not understand it.

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And I am 28. Allegedly. I haven’t checked my birth certificate for a while, so I can’t be absolutely sure of this, but I’m pretty certain it’s wrong. I was 23 at some point very recently, and people were saying things like ‘You’re still so young’, and now all I get is shop assistants saying ‘Do you have any ID to buy this bottle of… oh no, wait… don’t worry about it.’ I do not appreciate that.

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I’ve been told that the older you get the quicker time passes. ‘You’ll wake up one day and you’ll be middle-aged,’ ‘Blink and you’ll miss it,’ ‘Make the most of your youth, it won’t last forever’, cheerful stuff like that. That’s all very well, but I didn’t for one minute think it was actually true. I mean, how dare I be 28! I vividly remember my 21st birthday as if it were yesterday. I remember everything, from the topless dancing men to the rather frightening butch lesbian in the toilets who told me I was ‘A bit of alright’. How could something that happened yesterday have happened 7 years ago?

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And it’s not just big time I have an issue with – as in years and stuff – it’s little time. Weeks.  Days. I wake up on Saturday morning, I peruse my choice of breakfast cereals, and before I’ve so much as found a suitable spoon, it’s Sunday evening and the consuming of cereals is no longer appropriate.

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Then it’s Monday morning and I think to myself ‘Oh, how I wish it was Friday,’ and then just as I’ve begun to stare wistfully out of the window it suddenly becomes Wednesday afternoon, and before I’ve registered that it’s Wednesday afternoon it’s Friday evening and I haven’t planned anything fun to do because I’ve been too busy thinking it was Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon but wishing it was Friday, and I consequently spend Friday evening sad and alone and wishing I had more ruddy time. 

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Here’s a prime example of how time is screwing us over. It’s now mid-February. Actually, not even mid-February, because February can’t be arsed with itself and short-changes us on the 28th or 29th, so it’s practically two-thirds February. Then it’ll be March. There’ll be flowers everywhere, we won’t need to wear our coats and we’ll start thinking about cutting the grass, and then it’ll be Easter and we’ll all think ‘Oh, how lovely to eat roast lamb on a warm sunny day and watch the daffodils nodding in the breeze,’ and then it’ll be summer and we’ll think ‘It might as well be winter because it’s so ****ing cold and miserable,’ and then it’ll be winter and we’ll think ‘I wish it was summer because it’s so ****ing cold and miserable’, and then it’ll be December and we’ll all suddenly stop and go ‘HOLD ON A MINUTE. WE HAVE LITERALLY JUST HAD CHRISTMAS. I HAVE ONLY JUST THROWN AWAY THE LAST OF THE TURKEY. HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY BE CHRISTMAS AGAIN? WHAT IN THE NAME OF HIGH HECKLINGS IS GOING ON???’

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See? We cannot win. Someone, somewhere, has decided to play a little joke on humanity, and is cranking the Wheel of Time a lot faster than he should be. Some little oik who really cannot be trusted with such an important job, who’s probably very demoralised because being a Wheel of Time Operator isn’t all it was cracked up to be, and whose hourly rate has been slashed because more money has had to be ploughed into the Ozone Layer Engineers, has thought ‘Bugger it, I’m going to have some fun’.

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Well that little oik can just stop it, and slow things the hell down. Because I am not ready to be old and grey and wrinkled and smelling of lavender just yet, and at this rate that’ll be next week.

So please, Wheel of Time Operator: have pity on humanity and slow down. And if I hear so much as a whisper in the next 10 months that it’s going to be 2014 next year, I will go ruddy mental.

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Becky says things about … nighttime worries

When you wake up in the middle of the night and start thinking about things, those things, no matter how menial and trivial, suddenly become

THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN THE WORLD.

Fact.

Lying there in the dark, knowing that everyone else in the universe is fast asleep, is a prime time to start worrying. It’s awful. I am always waking up at around 4am, and I can guarantee that some stupid musing will enter my head and suddenly become the most terribly significant and worrying thing ever to occur to me.

The other night I woke up and started worrying that the way I take off my eye makeup – using a cotton wool pad – will make the skin around my eyes so baggy that by the time I’m 30 I’ll need reconstructive surgery to stop my lower lids from drooping down to my chin.

I genuinely worried about it. In my semi-conscious state, I worried for hours.

Oh my God, I should pat the cotton wool instead of rubbing it – you should NEVER rub your eyes, the skin is just so DELICATE, oh my God I’m going to look HIDEOUS….

Etcetera ectetera.

Recently I woke up at about 3.30am one Sunday and remembered we only had two eggs in the fridge.

OH MY GOD, WE BOTH LIKE TO HAVE TWO EGGS FOR BREAKFAST! ONE OF US WILL HAVE TO GO WITHOUT! OR JUST HAVE ONE EACH! OUR WHOLE DAY WILL BE RUINED!

Quick, think – what else do we have? Beans? Yes. Oh no wait – I’m not even sure we’ve got beans…. shit, did I use the last tin on Wednesday? Oh, hell. Potato waffles? But what’s the point of waffles if we’ve got nothing to put on them? Oh, God, have we even got MILK???? One of us will have to go to the garage, but what if it’s raining? What if it is raining. I hate rain. I wish it would stop raining. My life is being ruined by the rain, my vitamin D levels are dangerously low, I seriously think I’m developing seasonal affective disorder….

And so on and so on and so on.

I don’t just worry about trivial things. Oh no. One night I became seriously concerned about global warming, and lay half awake fretting that the world was going to combust or melt, and we’d all die terrible deaths, and what’s the point of anything, why are we even bothering, why are we here, why aren’t people doing more to save the planet, why are people such inconsiderate ARSEHOLES etc etc etc.

Maybe it’s something to do with it being dark – maybe it’s because we’re half asleep and our brain’s not working properly, maybe it’s a lack of anyone awake to tell us to SHUT THE HELL UP AND GO SLEEP, but waking up to worry in the middle of the night is bloody knackering.

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