Archive for June, 2020

The Return to Clothes

So, I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention but there’s been a global deadly pandemic and it seems to have ushered in utter social chaos. In the first place, this is exactly what millions of people had in mind the moment they learned that Donald Trump had become president. So we haven’t been disappointed. Secondly, it has proven to us that, without a fraction of a doubt, we are surrounded by major cunts who can’t be bothered to wear masks. And most of those cunts worship an incompetent fuckwit who can’t drink water correctly.

In the good ole Czech Republic, we were told in mid-March that we had to wear masks anytime we stepped outside. We did that. I learned to flirt with the checkout person just using a series of blinks and eyebrow formations. I stopped after she asked me if I needed her to call 112 (911). Now, after three months, we are basically back to normal(ish).

There was a period of social readjustment wherein people had to relearn to speak to people they don’t live with. Waiters had to relearn the arts of passive aggressive customer service. We had to learn how to discern normal people from ninjas. Now, most people have mostly stopped staring at others in confusion. Men prance around in socks and sandals, women sit nearby wondering how they ended up with men who prance around in socks under sandals. All is well. For the most part.

However, there is a downside. Yesterday, I went to a beer garden in the center to meet a friend. As I was about to walk out the door, I realized that for essentially the first time in three months I had to put on actual pants and shoes. As we’re most certainly the only group of humans to ever gain weight during an apocalypse, this is a multilayered issue.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Had I to choose between a civilization-changing, globally-disruptive pandemic and not having one, I’d definitely go for not having one. Obvs. But, I won’t lie that it’s had some benefits for my extreme distaste for wardrobe entities that I don’t like wearing: belted pants, socks, and shoes.

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Viewer Beware

Santa Stand & Museum of obsolete technology

Sunday. A day for domestic chores. It’s rainy outside, so there’s little temptation to go out. I begin the laundry and Burke decides to venture into and organizing the No Man’s Land underneath the bed.

She has a worse job. Laundry is relatively simple. The most aggravating part of laundry is finding errant socks on the floor or trying to understand how women’s clothing works (Seriously. No idea). But ‘under’ things doesn’t get cleaned for the same reason ‘behind’ things or ‘closets’ don’t. Out of sight, out of mind.

These places are used as storage when we’re cleaning up the visible areas of the flat or house. And it works, too. As long as our living room is clear, our dishes are done, the bed is made and clothing is in its preordained drawers, I am usually content. I don’t sit around thinking – man, it’s dirty under this bed. What’s more, when was the last time you visited a friend’s house and said, “So, your bedroom is nice and tidy, but what’s it look like under the bed?” I hope not recently, or ever; in fact, if you have ever said that and you’re not a marine drill sergeant, you are a monster.  

A domestic duty day is always good for a number of reasons. First, things get done. Second, it means a free viewing day.

The daily question: “What are we watching tonight?”

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Dumped by Travel

It’s Friday and I am willing myself a day off. We’ve had about two weeks of rain and thunderstorms. We’re sometimes offered a half an hour of blue and it’s then that we run outside to walk around the park or to bask in the sun.

But today it’s just blue. A few fluffy clouds, warm in the sun, cool in the shade. I close my laptop, a thing which draws gasps from those in my flat, and we venture out.

I prepare. Daypack. Hand sanitizer. Tissues. Hat. Mask. Sunglasses. Sweater and windbreaker. I clip my nails and adjust my sandals. I do some stretches at the door. I tell the cat not to wait up.

While I seem to exist in my normal life as a kind of human turtle who enjoys beer, the summer usually means travel. We’ll venture to another country, spend out days walking around a city or towns, learning about a culture and comparing them to the Czechs. Sometimes it’ll be a little more adventurous: Asia, Africa, a few thrilling encounters which – if I stretch them and add some quasi-fictitious details – almost become a brush with death. It’s enough to sustain me until the next summer and I typically get back in my shell and sip a pilsner.

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The Side Hustle Tussle


I went through 45 years without knowing that the black mamba snake was fast. I was comfortable with that lack of knowledge, probably because I didn’t know it. For that matter, I was also quite comfortable not knowing that a thumbnail sized jellyfish called the Irukandji could with a sting deliver me to days of extreme pain, kidney pain, vomiting, and psychological issues such as a “sense of impending doom.”

I don’t know if I’m more frightened of a snake that can make me dead in less than 20 minutes or a jellyfish that can make me relive the 2016 presidential election. Either way, I am not comfortable with any of this.

In general I have found that my side hustle as an ESL coursebook writer is an ideal job. I pitch ideas for articles that I think kids or teens would be interested in and the editors seem to give me the go ahead most of the time. In reality I simply pitch ideas I am interested in reading and it works for the kids too. This is, no doubt, due to the fact that I think like a 13 year old, but have slightly more advanced writing skills and no enforced bedtime.

This month’s articles were inspired by stumbling across a picture of an Irukandji jellyfish, a tiny sea creature which can cause so much misery. I thought “My gosh! The world is filled with monsters!” and then, for some reason, the next thought was “the kids need to hear about these.” So now I am knee deep in scary animal facts and, unsurprisingly, mentally scratching off countries that I will ever visit.  

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The Tainted Veil

After more than two and a half months of being trapped in the house, we’re allowed outside without masks on. I think I was ready to make the leap anyway, as I’ve been having a series of distressing dreams in which the cat is holding a can of lighter fluid and a lit match above my pajama collection. I took it as a sign.

We celebrated with a long walk. “Long” is by relative standards and here actually means “past the local shop.” Later that day I noticed that despite a 5X a week HIIT workout schedule, my legs hurt. Surely they were getting used to the movement of traveling on foot, moving forward and stopping me before I could plummet to the ground. Or perhaps it was the speed walking I did to avoid contact with other humans. (NB: “contact” in this case means coming within seven feet of someone else and then washing myself down with sanitizer).

We’d been out before, but it was on little field trips. Two or three times we went for a short walk and then Burke grabbed up one of the benches across the street from our building while I went off to the local shop for bottled beers. I came back, we wiped them down with sanitizer wipes, we set them in the sun, and then we gobbled them up while staring in a paranoid way at others. But, in our defense, they were staring at us. Subsequent walks have ended at a pub with an outdoor drinking quotient. Sometimes that bar is within eye shot of my flat. And the bench.

Being out with no masks is wonderful, but no doubt the experience is tainted with a bit of worry. On this Friday we take a nice long walk which ends at our local pub. The pub has six long tables outside to accommodate drinkers and eaters. We sit at the last table and decide that since we are outside we are probably fine. It’s unlikely that more than two people could join our table, but we certainly exude a bit of concern. We prep. If joined by someone other than our friends or my cat, our game plan is to allow them of course and then move to the far end of the bench while muttering politely. Should those people cough once, we’ll squirt hand sanitizer at them while screeching “the power of Fauci compels you!” If they cough twice, we’ll run home and go through our self-developed four part disinfecting process involving a toilet brush, a bottle of white tequila, and Band-Aids. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

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