Saturday, September 08, 2007

An attempt at flow of consciousness

Anybody remember Vick's Vaporub? My mum used to smear it onto my chest, maybe even my back, when I was little and ill. It was of an unnatural blueish hue, with a very sticky greasy consistency. I disliked it intensely and would object to, even struggle against it being spread onto my person. It sort of stung as well, I seem to recall, and the odour was sharp. I suppose the vapours were meant to ease breathing.

I bought a Blistex lip balm a few days ago. It has camphor in it, and my, does it sting your lips. I am addicted to the stuff. My lips have never been softer. It says you are allowed to smear it onto your nose as well, to stop it from getting chapped during a cold. I am really glad we haven't progressed to video blogging as yet, because I am a sight to behold.

My older son told me (not more than an hour ago) I shouldn't take revenge on him and his relationship just because my relationships all "piss up a tree" ("kusee puuhun", for those of you who understand Finnish). It has been a while since a male person has managed to upset me as much. Quite a while, in fact. I should probably just forgive and forget, though - he did go out (on my request) and buy me a thermometer earlier, and he made me the world's worst cup of coffee, too. So for the record, there was a time today when he was being a nice son as well.

Time for more lip balm.

I have smoked seven cigarettes today. I am counting them. As soon as I wrote this, I started very intensely fancying an eighth one.

Whenever I am not at the computer (and, believe it or not, it is for quite a segment of the day) I come up with my best stuff. Once I sit down, it all goes. I have a little notebook and my best posts are often ones I have managed to write there first, while the thoughts were in my head.

I am going to go and smoke another one now. Yes I am. I may write more once I'm back.

I should maybe explain myself. I "go to smoke a cigarette", because nobody in Finland smokes indoors at home anymore - I can't think of a single person who does. Everybody goes onto the balcony, if they have one, and onto the communal mattoparveke ("rug balcony" - we don't generally have fitted carpets in this country either, and taking your rugs out once a week for a lurid beating on the rug balcony is the moral duty of each Finn. Needless to say, I fail most miserably at this), if they don't. The upstairs neighbour at my parents' place is a non-smoking nazi (sorry for offence caused for other anti-smoking people and victims of nazis). She will bang her windows and balcony door shut the instant my footsteps are heard on the balcony, and she doesn't stop at that, either. She will send anonymous hate mail (with delicious lines such as "you make me lose all hope for mankind") and shout abuse, too. I detest confrontation and stay silent (but continue smoking, it's not forbidden).

I should maybe explain myself some more. My own neighbours don't seem to care so much that I smoke on my balcony. But. I am staying at my parental home, oh woe, a victim of putkiremontti (plumbing renovations, another quaint Finnish custom), have been for four months and a day today.
A putkiremontti renders your home completely unlivable in for months. The picture above shows what used to be my bathroom. This is the third summer running, for circumstancial reasons (yes, the relationships that piss up trees) I have spent crammed into my parents' place with my unruly teenagers.

This has probably been my longest post to date. I have a policy of non-deletion, so I'm stuck with it now.

Time for more lip balm. And maybe another cigarette.


Mellifluous Dark said...

Ah, I liked your post, Anna,and am glad you didn't delete it. I almost started smoking today, such were my stress levels (I had to delete a post last night as it was a bit too gloomy, so broke my non-deletion rule). I haven't smoked for years but I almost reached for my purse and nipped down to the newsagent.

I do remember Vick's Vaporub. Pungent stuff, and enough to make you recover overnight, eh? It was stingy to a little nose. Blistex sounds fab – must get some.

Sorry to hear that your son said that thing about pissing... Coming from someone who has managed to stick all four limbs in her mouth recently, I'm sure he didn't realise how much upset would be caused. What were you using the thermometer for, Anna? I hope you are not poorly.

Heavens, your neighbour sounds like a loon. What a charmer. Leave your butts outside her door, the silly old moo.


Anna MR said...

Hei Ms Dark, how nice to see you and glad you liked the bit of waffle (or at least claimed to, hmm?). Just a touch of the cold, you know, just enough to make someone normally pretty healthy feel an oversize amount of self-pity.

I am currently cheering myself up, though, with the mental (in both senses of the word) image of you with all four limbs in your mouth. It is good. I am also glad to find you are fond of the term silly moo, as it is one I employ, too. Not about the woman upstairs though. No. She deserves something stronger, less affectionate. Yes.

Nice to have you visiting tonight, Ms Dark.


trousers said...

I too am glad you didn't delete this - I like the stream of consciousness thing. It's something I've wondered about doing but haven't had the confidence to do so as yet.

There's no reason why all posts should have a clear beginning, middle and end, is there - it's not like that in real life most of the time.

It may appear random but in a way it's also like an intimate portrait, so thanks for sharing those thoughts. x

NMJ said...

I am right now this very minute going to put on some lip balm in empathy, and vicariously have a cigarette so that you can enjoy it. All my relationships, in the end, have pissed up trees too so don't take your boy's words too much to heart, honey, though I can see why you were hurt. Vicks Vaporub is still going strong here in UK. I can smell it! I loved the blue glass jars.

Anna MR said...

housut, thank you, that was a very lovely comment indeed, but oh woe - the term is "stream" rather than "flow" of consciousness, isn't it? Oh damn - I knew something was wrong with it when I wrote it. Oh, the horror, the horror, I hate it when I expose myself as the forrin geerl. (And hei, fire away on the *stream* of consciousness post yourself - allow yourself to cheat here and there and come up with the odd thought you have thought somewhere before, and the rest will come easy. Shhh...some of mine was pre-thought, too. Not telling which bits, though.)

NMJ, petkins, thank you too. It is just the combined effect of a below-the-belt hit from my son and, well, the fact that he has a point, you know? But you just keep off the (vicarious) fags, girl, or you'll have me worried. (I loved the blue jars too, isn't that funny? And although I really detested the stuff as a child, I'd probably coat myself happily in the stuff now for a whiff (literally) of nostalgia.)

xx xx two each, because I feel like it. And a hug thrown in, for good measure.

Doctor.In.Trouble. said...

If you need someone to give you a Vick's rub and I am free can we make a date?
Fronts and backs are my speciality.
However, i am open to other body parts as well.

Anna MR said...

Thanks, doctor, but you're ok, I can reach all my body parts by myself.

fluttertongue said...

I think we still have a venerable jar of Vick's in the cupboard. There was always the joke about my great Uncle Vic being the creator of said unction. I remember though, as a child, being terribly concerned by the fact that the fumes that were supposed to get to your nose would be trapped between you, your nightwear, and the duvet, rendering the exercise of putting Vick's on before going to bed (was never done during the day) pointless.

Relationships of the romantic type are but one of a miriad of important connections. Not least the relationship between yourself and your sons. That you have a blogfriend dear enough to fly out to visit you shows that you're clearly adept at making strong, lasting friendships.

trousers said...

anna, thanks for that lovely response. I'll have to point out that there are no foreigners round these blogging parts as far as I can see, and besides, your command of English is far superior to many English people. So worry not!
Have a hug and another x back from me.

Reading the Signs said...

Anna, there is always, always time for another cigarette and recently (I will admit it here but not in my own house) I have given in - again - and bought a packet of 10. It is like having a long-standing clandestine affair that one keeps promising to end. But enough, enough of this - let's talk about you. Or, actualy, let's talk about Vick's. I absolutely love the smell which is, in essence, eucalyptus (isn't it?) and is also the smell of something I used when my babies were small, called Snufflebabe, and I am reminded of that time whenever I use it. Teenagers: not all of them turn into alien creatures, but many do. The good thing is that they come back again as humans, and occasionally show signs (making world's worst coffee etc.) of not having entirely given up a few human characteristics. I have absolutely no good advice to give - but don't take the horrible things to heart. There is no-one as adept as a teenager at pressing buttons. Fact.

Love the description of your upstairs neighbour. A balcony, it must be said, does seem like the best place to smoke a cig. I used to know someone who claimed to "smoke to the glory of God" - perhaps you should do likewise, that'll cheer her up.

That's so pants said...

Hi Anna

I have about two cigarettes a year - most of these on New Years Eve when it's actually quite acceptable to smoke.

Since smoking has been banned in pubs in Britain, they've had to introduce artificial smells into ventilation systems because tobacco covered other even more unpleasant smells like wet dog carpet, sick, piss and shit coming from the bogs and kitchens that pong of hundred year old chip fat. One of the options is a fake tobacco smell.



Kahless said...

I remember Vicks vapour rub but never liked it.

I too smoke outside as I dont like the smell of stale cigarette smoke in the house.

I like that you have a policy of no deletions. I myself used to delete a lot and still have some unpublished posts on my account, but I am tending towards a no deletion policy myself.

Hope you are well Anna.

Anna MR said...

Hei Ms Flutters, how lovely to see you. Do you know, I think I used to worry about the obvious pointlessness of the Vick's exercise, too - after all this sticky smelly stingy fuss, isn't it all going to get rubbed onto my nightie and/or the sheets instead? - and, to some extent, this would still be something of concern for me, which is probably why my sons have entirely escaped the Vick's treatment. (Also, I'm not entirely sure it is still on sale here. I have a feeling I will need to go and investigate, though, and, if possible, even purchase a jar, for a whiff of nostalgia, as I said to young Ms Legs above...)

(You really are very sweet with your comment about (my) relationships there, Ms F, very sweet, and I appreciate it. I am one who bawls relatively easily, a fact little known but true, so I won't go into the details of how much exactly I appreciated what you said. Suffice it to say I think you're highly sweet, okay?)

Hope things are looking on the up for you, Fluttergirl. I nipped over to yours the other day and was upset and angered by the way some instances have been treating you. Just let me know if you need any assistance, and I'll think ill thoughts in the direction of the culprits. (Believe it or not, this works. My gran was from Lapland.)


Anna MR said...

housut - cheers me dears. I like to think I fool people (with my command of English) (into not noticing my intreeeging Eest Europeean aaccent), although I don't like fooling people on the whole. If you see what I mean.

Nah, actually, I am just a grammar-and-spelling-and-punctuation nazi, me (sorry again for possibly offending bad spellers and victims of nazies. What is it with me now, I'm bringing that lot into everything I write? A tad worrying).

I am in a rambly mode, housut, I'd better stop before it goes out of control. Have you started your stream of consciousness thing yet? I shall try to nip over sometime soon for a look-see.


trousers said...

Hi anna, not yet I haven't. I'm still getting my breath back from writing a very extended piece on divorce parties and needing the toilet. x

Anna MR said...

Signs - sorry but that just has to be in the top ten cutest recently-heard words, "snufflebabe". Never mind that it was specifically (and deviously) thought-out to be cute by the verbally-talented slavelike minions of money-making business people - I want a jar of it to hug at night when I go to sleep. A big jar.

Anyway. I am - again - very desiring of cigarette number eight, just like last night, except last night, I had given in by the end of the post and was on my way for number nine. I mean now to fight it, fight it like the man I am not and the Princeling I am, and write this response to you before succumbing to the call of this, my eternal love. Yes. You are, as always, so right - smoking is like a love affair. When I gave up, what, six-seven years ago (and may I point out, I actually gave up, all you unbelievers out there - I suffered the hell on earth which is giving up a nicotine habit of 22 years cold-turkey style, and didn't smoke at all for five or so years) (yes, I was 11 when I originally started) - as I was saying, when I gave up, within the first fourty-eight hours I experienced a loss so deep it was akin to a bereavement of sorts - "how is it possible I have done this to myself? given up the ONE THING in my life I can control, guaranteed to make me feel good?" - and I have to say, idiotic as I admit starting again has been, it has felt like coming home. Oooooh, it is lovely. I have no guilt, actually. None. (You shouldn't either, Signs me dear. You can always nip in here for a sneaky fag, if you feel like it.) And yes, balcony-smoking is a good thing, really, but oh MAN, there are times when I am drinking coffee and writing and the possibility of decadently smoking a fag with it beckons so temptingly-sweetly it is only the fact(s) that a) I am not in my own home and b) my younger son detests cigarette smoke, and will detect even a molecule of it in a houseful of air, that keep me on the straight and narrow. I have a plan, though, Signs, a cunning plan - once my children leave home, there's nothing stopping me from sinning and smoking indoors, nothing whatsoever, and I can always air the flat out properly the next day. It is good to have something to look forward to.

The alien invasion (thank you for your supportive words - I mean it) has abated a bit and the changeling is behaving himself in a less-heartbreaking manner. Things could be worse, and we are another day closer to adulthood...and now, sweet Signs, I am going to go for number eight. For the glory of God, naturally.

Mwah and mwah


But Why? said...

Vicks? Love the smell of the stuff, but not sure whether to smear it on my chest or use it to cook with. What do you recommend?

Mutta xx

Anna MR said...

Hei Ms Pants - love the fact that you smoke most of your two-fags-a-year at New Year. I am hoping to cut myself down to tenish or so a day (keep to something I can keep to, you know). I am also very fond of this bit of information regarding fake-fag-smoke-smell to cover up other, nastier odours in pubs. How the hell do they manufacture fake fag smoke smell, then? And how is it, um, distributed? In gas cylinders? Does the fag-smoke-smell man come round, in a big vehicle akin to the one driven by the septic tank man, only in reverse (if you see what I mean), to fill up a large container somewhere in the, I don't know, boiler room of the pub? And of course, from these musings, there is only a small step towards wondering why the draconian (spelling?) measure of banning smoking entirely (we've had it here too, since June the 1st - it's not so bad in the summer but wait till the winter, my God)...

Anyway. I am, as I told housut half a mile up there somewhere (and as you maybe can tell without me pointing it out specifically), in a mighty rambly mode and shall shut up now. Hope all is well in the World of Pants. Have you checked out your Finnish names yet? I am going to start using them, Ms Pöksyt, like it or not...


Anna MR said...

Kahless - stop deleting. Now. It's not good for you. I have a wee label there in my blog margin, not one of my most written-about, but one very central to my entire blogging experience, namely shame tolerance. For me, that's what this thing is all about, and the non-deletion policy is an absolute must, otherwise there'd be some two posts (if that) up here, instead of the two-hundred-odd. Self-censorship is as evil a thing as external censorship. Or something.

(Christ Almighty, here I need to profusely apologise to the victims of real censorship. I am out of control with my words tonight.)

(You should allow yourself the odd cigarette indoors, too, methinks.)

Thanks for the well-wishing, too, fy ffrind. Things are ticking over. I hope the same is true for you.


Anna MR said...

Mutta, dear Doctor, I will answer that if you, as our scientist-in-residence, will put Pants the Pöksyt and myself out of our miseries (well, Pants doesn't actually give a damn, I'm just trying to give my query more weight of popular demand here) regarding the pressing question of how fake fag smoke smell is a) manufactured b) distributed.

Thanking you in advance, and appreciating your years spent in study just to satisfy my idle curiosity.


Anna MR said...

housut - you snuck in there. May I just say how pleased I am with the careful use of commas in your comment...

Nighty night x

Kahless said...

Ah Anna, fy ffrind,
I will hereby take a vow of non-deletion!

And yes, things are ticking over for me.

R.H. said...

Remember Vicks? Of course! It stank like mad, made my eyes water too.
But handy for funerals, as you contemplate the inheritance (and maybe the nice widow).

That's so pants said...

Hei Anna MR

What's a poksyt? (can't do the dots over the 'o'). I saw a TV programme on it. The smells get fed through the air conditioning. They've done it in public buildings for years. The whole point is that the smell of tobacco being smoked is actually being missed. What people don't miss is the smoke and the after smell.



trousers said...

Aha! I see what you mean about my last comment!


Anna MR said...

Hello and fevered greetings, all. And...

Way to go, Kahless, fair play to you, as we say in West Wales.

RH - that use is totally alien to me, having no interest in either inheritances or nice widows.

Pants - I'll need to quote myself here to you, from a previous reply (which explained all) that you obviously missed: "I am sorely tempted to present you with a Finnish name (yours is very giving to translation) but cannot for the life of me make up my mind whether you should be called by your full title, in which case the meaning is important (something akin to "It really sucks", yes?) - it would then be Se On Niin Syvältä - or whether you should be just known as Pöksyt, Pants. Hmmmmmmm. If you like them, you can have them both, because I hold you in very high regard, Ms Pöksyt." And thank you for satisfying my thirst for knowledge w/r/t the fag smoke smell issue.

housut - yeeeeees.

x x x x Night all

But Why? said...

Thankyou for digging me out of a hole - that was far too practical a problem for me to have any clue as to what the answer was.

I really do have no idea how they manufacture the stuff, but if my memory serves me correctly, everything I've ever made starts off with white powders and colourless liquids, which get mixed and heated a few times, when they will at some point turn orange, and evolve lovely gases. As a bonus extra, you'll probably be left with a 73% yield of white crystalline solid which you can incinerate at your leisure.

Mutta xx

Merkin said...

I am sure if you go to your local Ikea you can buy a bottle of liquid barbecue smokey flavouring.
It is used to give that 'authentic' smokey flavour to roast chicken in some shops.

Merkin said...

That is the correct link for 'Lazy Kettle Brand Liquid Smoke'.

A coupla drops on the air conditioning and Bingo!

Anna MR said...

Mutta - thank you for this comprehensive yet concise look into the workings of (organic?) chemistry. Now kids - don't try this at home...

Merkin - just to point out that Ikea is a Swedish company. Yes, there is a difference.

I am bedridden, so cannot talk anymore. Wishing you both well, though.

x x

Merkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perfumed Launch said...

I only mentioned Ikea coz I saw the particular product type in Ikea in Wroclaw.

xx get well soon.

PS a last thought, hence the deleted bit.

When I was in Brazil there was a fashion for putting Amyl Nitrate in the air conditioning - to make the parties go with a swing!!
So popular was this substance that a pop song with the title 'Lanca Perfuma' went to number one.
Now to my mind that would be better than putting stale tobacco smoke into the air.

Anna MR said...

Perfume, thank you for the well-wishing. The one time (in London, in the late eighties) when someone popped (pun intentional) a jar of amyl nitrate under my nose, I felt absolutely no effect whatsoever. I don't know what that means, really.

Merkin said...

'I don't know what that means, really.'
Do you really want me to tell you?
Means you are at 'full steam ahead' all the time, as both Zola and I surmised.

But Why? said...


Organic, yes. You'll no doubt understand why I steer well clear of that new-fangled organic food they try to sell me at the supermarket. I don't want to buy carrots that have been synthesized in round-bottomed flasks, thankyou very much...

I should of course have provided a material safety data sheet and risk assessment prior to that comment. Really Do Not try that at home, kids....

Anna MR said...

Merkin - ahem. I'll do my research and get back to you and Zola. Don't hold your breath. Or do, if it's your thing.

Tohtori Mutta - why ever not (this w/r/t the carrots grown in round-bottomed flasks)? I, for one, prefer my carrots that way. You can, if you like, sauté them in butter and a drop of stock, then add some runny honey and a good dash of cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon. Mmmmmm. Works great with roast dinner, especially at Christmas.

x x one each, mad bloggers