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My Kryptonite

18 Jun

Allow me to introduce my arch-nemesis.

Yes, that is correct. I am plagued by spiky, scary-looking balls of mysterious composition.

Irritant, bastarding, invisible specks.

aka

POLLEN

Its that time of year again. If you are one of those blessed individuals who does not and has never suffered from hayfever,

(or seasonal allergic rhinitis – my dramatic soul enjoys the more serious-sounding title)

be thankful.

Also, if you tell me that rubbing my eyes isn’t going to make them stop itching, I may very well punch you in the face.

If, like me, you are reading this through puffy, itchy eyes while sneezing approximately twelve times per minute – well, let’s just take a moment to feel sorry for ourselves, shall we?

Six Things I Hate About Hayfever

(in no particular order)

1. Itchy Eyes

Agh. Agh. AAAAGGGH. There is nothing like it. Constant and relentless. Try as you might, you WILL rub them. Just a little, you think. Just one teensy rub will definitely relieve this torture.

Wrong.

Just over halfway through June and already I have constantly swollen and bloodshot old-lady eyes.

2. Timing is Everything

We all know that the sun only ever shines in Ireland during exam season. This coincides nicely with Mr Hayfever, who shows up and unpacks his bags on June 1st and makes himself at home for the ensuing four to five weeks. For this time I am obliged to hide my puffy miserable face away indoors while everyone else goes to the beach and eats lots of ice cream. This feels similar to being allergic to presents at Christmas. By the time I emerge in early to mid July, the sun has taken his business elsewhere and everyone is settling into another eleven-month Rainy Season.

3. Sneezing

Teach me your ways, Demetri

To quote the fabulous Demetri Martin in his masterful song, “Sames and Opposites”:

“Earrings are the same as sneezes: two is okay, but ten in a row is annoying.”

I don’t have particularly strong feelings on multiple piercings.

Constant sneezing is very annoying though.

4. Cosmetic Crises

Okay, this is a bit of a girly one. But I’ll admit it: I love my eyeliner. And my eyeshadow. And my mascara.  And I hate hate HATE that for the month of June I’m forced to either just stop wearing it, or accept that at some point during the day/night it will end up smeared all over the top half of my puffy, inflamed face. This may be very amusing to my friends and family, but it is very upsetting for me and very frightening for small children.

5. I’m Not Contagious, I Swear!

I don’t blame them. I’ve probably done it myself. But I can feel people silently taking note of my sneeze-attacks and constant nose-blowing and trying to shuffle quietly away from me in order to avoid being infected with whatever pathogens I’m harbouring. It’s like (an extremely mild) form of leprosy.

6. Unpleasant Remedies

The only thing that comes close to easing my symptoms (for a little while at least) is a nasal spray that tastes like liquid grass when it hits the back of my throat. Eeeeww. Also, spraying mysterious liquids into one’s nose is generally not regarded as socially acceptable behaviour; so if a private place is not immediately available, emergency administration inevitably increases my leper-like status (see above).

So, to sum up…

MOOOOOOOAN…WHIIIIIINGE…COMPLAAAAAAIN…

a-TISH-oo!

Less Sex and a Different City

29 May

I went. I saw. I ogled, envied, gasped and giggled. I enjoyed it in a superficial, sparkly way. Of course, as we left the cinema, I joined in analysing the clothes (the good, the bad…and the God-awful) and discussing how well (or otherwise) our favourite foursome are aging. I didn’t have the heart to bring up any of the irritations that had been niggling at the back of my brain over the two hours and twenty-six minutes and rain on my companions’ parade.

No such worries here!

Carrie’s Endless Whinging

Right, am I the only girl who feels sorry for Big? Okay, fair enough, he’s done his own fair share of messing. But dear God, that woman is just never happy. Now that she finally has him in a committed relationship,  Carrie seems to spend all her energy looking for new things to nag him about. The poor guy can’t even watch a bit of telly without her having a go. He brings home dinner because she’s too damn lazy to sort something out, and she moans that they “ate in twice last week.” Wow, she’s definitely feeling the pinch, isn’t she? She then proceeds to bully him into going out when he clearly doesn’t want to, and then drags him home for a good nag when he has the cheek to chat with Penelope Cruz.

She’s married to the man of her dreams. She lives in a bloody gorgeous apartment (which is apparently a “step down”, cos, y’know, we’ve all had to make sacrifices in the face of the R word). She has a deadly job (or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it). She has great mates and an enviable social life. Yet every five seconds she has a big miserable mush on her and is having a grand oul moan at her hubby or pals. At one point, Carrie refers to the single girl she used to be, “running around New York like a crazy person.” At least she was a bitta craic back then.

Blatant Ethnocentrism

(and some double standards)

So, the girls are taking a trip to Abu Dhabi. Excellent. What a great opportunity for our heroines to experience a foreign culture first-hand, perhaps even prompting them to reflect critically on their own values and lifestyles? Um, no. In wearisomely typical New York style, foreign customs are dismissed as quaint (“look at that woman eating french fries under her niqab”) and oppressive (I mean, come on, what kind of fascist society objects to sex in a public place?). Rather than attempting to gain an understanding of local lifestyles and traditions, the supposedly enlightened foursome hold steadfastly to their own ideals and inevitably see it as their duty to set a good empowering example for local women through a karaoke rendition of “I Am Woman.”

Interestingly, while our gals pity their Abu Dhabi counterparts and ridicule the laws which they see as restricting their liberty, they don’t seem to mind butlers waiting on them hand and foot, 24 hours a day. Apparently New Yorkers are too enlightened for gender inequality, but class and income inequality to the point of glorified slavery is okay.

A Very Oirish Accent

I probably should have opened with this as it was the one thing that actually made me want to get up and run away. Charlotte’s nanny has little function in this film other than to shake her tits about in front of Harry (giving Charlotte something to worry about) and usher the little darlings off the screen when they just Won’t. Stop. Fucking. Crying. A fairly one-dimensional role; could have been played by anyone with large bosoms, but some idiot decided that the nanny should be Irish (I could launch into a tirade here about how Irish people are constantly represented in American films in relatively lower class occupational roles…but I won’t. Much.).

Of course, it was far too much like hard work to actually source and hire a decent-looking Irish actress, or even one who could fake a decent accent. We’re all well used to our fabulous range of accents being butchered by Hollywood, but British actress Alice Eve should really know better; this one would make even Darby O’Gill turn in his grave. Thankfully, she has very little to say.

Money Money Money

Yes, I am aware that sensible budgeting has never really played a big part in SATC. We all know that their spending and

lifestyles are utterly unrealistic and have turned a blind eye in return for the opportunity to gawp at pretty things. However, I found the indulgence and consumerism particularly grating this time around, as I think I may already have implied above. I was particularly struck by how hard it was to really feel any sympathy for Charlotte and Miranda’s motherhood difficulties when they both have full-time hired help. In fact, its difficult to feel any empathy for any of the characters at all when you’re so constantly reminded how much richer they are than you.

Deliver Me from Poetry Readings

25 May

I used to think that I liked poetry. Now I’m not so sure that I understand what poetry is. I thought that a poem was a piece of writing that told a story or conveyed a feeling in a creative way. I liked poems that sounded beautiful, that made me feel something, that I could relate to my own life, or that made me feel I understood something the writer had felt, seen, thought, or done. Poetry was one of the less painful things I had to read and write about in school, where I was introduced to some of my favourite poets. To me, poetry was something to read and think about, maybe to share or recommend to a close friend.

Image courtesy of Sanja Gjenero, http://www.rgbstock.com/gallery/lusi

However, I recently had the unenviable experience of attending a poetry reading that threw all my previous beliefs into question (how I found myself in such a situation is another story for another day). It started out innocently enough; an inoffensive-looking guy read a couple of short Irish historical poems – oppression, the famine, etc. Hardly an original (or particularly relevant?) theme but hey, each to their own. The next poet up to the mic at least made me laugh (although I’m pretty sure that wasn’t his intention). I thought his poem was actually quite good – a dry and cynical take on Irish binge drinking culture – but it seemed borderline farcical to be reading it aloud in a Dublin pub on a Friday evening! Suddenly everyone seemed to be shifting uncomfortably in their seats and nearly-full glasses were quietly put down. Needless to say the barmen were looking daggers at the foolish chap.

But it was the next one that really started to get me riled up. I had noticed her already, a large girl with tits like flotation devices on prominent display (I never promised a politically correct blog), thick glasses, and long blond hair proudly frizzed up into a storm (she must have forgotten her “I don’t conform to society’s expectations and standards of conventional beauty” badge). Up on the stool she went and in an accent that smacked of a comfortable upbringing and extremely high self-esteem (you know the one I mean…), warned the crowd that her poems were quite “rude” and launched into a rhyming two page ditty about a boyfriend obsessing over her previous partner’s sexual aptitude, with the “shock” finale that the previous partner was in fact a woman. A raucous cheer from her friends in the corner encouraged her to carry on with gleeful abandon into a poem that detailed sexual encounters with a wide variety of gentlemen in what I felt was unnecessary detail (not to mention unforgivably contrived rhyme). At this point, I should probably mention that I was in attendance with my parents and a small group of my mother’s work colleagues (again, the how and why are a story for another day, but its safe to say I will never allow such a situation to construct itself again). Things went from bad to worse with the next “poem” – I knew it was going to be rough when she introduced it as “a poem about when your boyfriend wants a blow job and you don’t really want to give him one”, but still wasn’t prepared for the detail in which she proceeded to described the process of vomiting during said act following seventeen vodkas and a Singapore chow mein. Did anyone ever really need to hear that information?

Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off at this stage. My mood wasn’t helped by all the charming individuals in the crowd who vehemently shushed anyone who tried to quietly engage in conversation rather than attending to the aural porno performance. But the icing on the cake for me was the young man who gave a ten minute introduction to his shitty and clichéd poem in an accent (yes, I make judgements about people based on their accents – take that, political correctness!) that was clearly deliberately roughened, presumably in order to lend him some street cred. He explained how the poem was about a friend he had known throughout his schooldays but lost contact with after the Leaving Cert because (direct quote) “I lived in Baldoyle and he lived in Portmarnock.” For anyone reading who isn’t familiar with Dublin (unlikely, but who knows…), those two areas are about five kilometres apart and well connected by good roads and several public transport routes. Possibly his implication was that they were separated by, [SARCASM ALERT] y’know, social barriers and stuff, cos his mate was from Portmarnock where, like, the poshies live, and he was from Baldoyle – well hard, y’know. Even if he and his friend were geographically or socially separated, as a friend of my own pointed out when I was telling this story, “could he not have just given him a text?” Either way, it was a completely inane and stupid statement – and this was the basis of the four-page poem to follow.

I could go on. And on and on and on. But words fail me to truly describe how enraged I was leaving that pub. I’m not sure exactly what made me so mad. Sure, being forced to listen to other people’s self-indulgent ramblings wasn’t exactly the best Friday night I’d had in ages. But I think it was the fact that they called it poetry, made out that they were artists and intellectuals, that really got to me. As if forcing complete strangers to listen to their literary endeavours confirmed their elite status as creative and non-conformist beings. Who the hell did they think they were?

Image courtesy of Roy Caruana-Clark, http://www.rgbstock.com/user/rccc

On the other hand, I have it on pretty good authority that I’m a generally intolerant person. Maybe I’m just a poetry fascist attempting to oppress artists whose work I don’t appreciate or understand. Maybe the other people who attended the reading genuinely enjoyed it, and my politically incorrect and highly opinionated ranting is completely unjustified. But hey, at least I have the common decency to confine it to my own personal blog rather than using a stage and a microphone to inflict my views on innocent pub-goers.

“Lost” Series Finale: an Analysis

25 May

What a load of shite.

Neurotic Panic Attack #1 (update)

19 May

I didn’t get the telesales job. Needless to say, alcohol has been consumed.

Image courtesy of Sanja Gjenero, http://www.rgbstock.com/gallery/lusi

Neurotic Panic Attack #1: Career

19 May

What am I going to do with my life?

I spent the last four years training to do a job I don’t want to do. I’m not particularly good at it either. I can’t think of anything else I do want to do except things I’m clearly not very good at. I’ve applied for approximately 37 jobs in the last 24 hours and am currently crossing my fingers for consideration for a 12 hour telesales post. If something doesn’t happen soon I’m going to end up living with my parents for the rest of my life…

Feminists, look away now…

9 Mar

Happily, Monday was not as bad as I had feared (they rarely are). Sadly, it was followed by Tuesday and…is it still only Tuesday? Counting down the days (seven) left in my current bout of enslavement (ie practice education placement). Spent the evening reflecting on how if I ever have children, I will instruct them to put all their energy into marrying someone rich and therefore avoid having to ever get a job. I reckon its too late for me, having already wasted the best years of my life on education (what was I thinking?!) and developed too many opinions and arguments to ever convince any sensible man to marry me, never mind a wealthy one.

(That moan took an odd turn, didn’t it…)