Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Use a tissue, you bastard

Stepping onto the tram today, on my way to the health centre to pick up yet another sick note – my Lutheran work ethic won’t allow me to take three days off straight up, I have to take one at a time, which means three separate trundles for a three-day sick leave – I am pissed off to find the tram full to the brim (I mean, why? In the middle of a working day?) when I had planned to sit down and immerse myself in my book (it’s a good one). Then, as I stand leaning against a post, swaying with the stops and starts of the tram, there is the voice of a wino, “Someone here has pissed themselves, and it isn’t me. You smell it? It smells like piss here. Someone’s pissed themselves here, etc”, and after a few moments, I have to close my book, I have resolutely attempted reading standing up, but I can’t continue, can’t listen to this drunkard any more or I will DO something, so I push through the throng towards the back of the tram and lo; a miracle, someone is getting off and a quick glance around tells me I am the oldest woman around standing, so I take the seat and open my book. But fate, or its cousin, the one in charge of menial, trivial affairs, brings me another unlikable travel companion: a young man – well, on closer thought, maybe not all that young, a few years younger than me, that’s all, sits down across the aisle from me, reading one of those freebie “newspapers” they hand out on public transport for people to litter the city with. How anyone can spend more than ninety seconds on one I really can’t fathom, but he reads and reads, all absorbed, and every twenty seconds or so he makes that horrid noise in the back of his throat and nasal cavity that people make when they should blow their nose, and I really wish I had a fresh packet of tissues to hand (I can just see myself, I'd pass it, wordlessly, across the aisle, and look at him), and I find myself actually almost hating him, hating him and his snort and his reading and the two-day-old lovebite he sports on his neck, hating him with venom and vehemence, and I am taken aback by the strength of my reaction to him.

On the other hand…

On the other hand, I have recently spent a fair amount of time studying myself and have noted – with loathing – both the creases on my forehead to challenge Keith Richards with, as well as the fact I seem profoundly poor at, if not outright incapable of, both the giving and the receiving of love, and so, on closer thought, maybe it is actually myself I hate as I step off the tram and into the changeable September day with the watercolour skies and the leaves just turning, myself, and not the youngish man with his snort and his smooth forehead and his lovebite.


NMJ said...

Honey, please get a five-day sick note for God's sake, you know what havoc viruses can wreak if you don't rest properly - I'm serious! Before I got ill, I was punishingly hard on myself work/study wise and look where it got me...

Rest-assured, I too would have hated the phlegm-clearing man on the tram. But I like that I can fully visualise the scene, having enjoyed the Helsinki trams myself recently.

You need pampered, stay at home, inhale eucalyptus, get your lovely older boy to make you more bad coffee and finish that book I gave you.

Anna MR said...

Hei honey NMJ, I have already been at home (well, you know, inasmuch as I have one at the moment) for five days and a bit (since I realised on Friday going to work had been a bad idea), and I will go to work tomorrow, unless I take a serious turn for the worse, which I doubt.

However - I will finish the book you gave me, within the next day or two. Oh, it is a good one, there's a book post coming up soon.


trousers said...

I can identify with that self-reflection. But please don't be too harsh on yourself. Those things you hate, don't let them represent the whole. We're all entitled to a little bit of intolerance of the behaviour of others, surely!

Anna MR said...

Hei young housut - I consider myself usually fairly tolerant and forgiving (of others, you know, the innocent and ignorant masses who make the world go to hell, to be sure, but not as much as I, or something), so my sustained hatey crankiness today was unusual. Fear and loathing in Helsinki, to be sure. Ah, one plods through life, and these things come and go. Wishing you well this evening, anyway, you're a good sort.


trousers said...

Now I don't want to divert this thread, but I think I need all the good wishes I can get tonight, since I'm putting myself through the tortuous mangle that is watching the England football team. So thank you for that.

Anna MR said...

Well, thread diversions are perfectly allowed on this site, so no worries there, housut. Unfortunately, I have no words of comfort to offer on the football front, if on any, although as a supporter of the Finnish ice-hockey team (please note I can only be bothered with the World Cup or the Olympics), I have a feeling about the suffering one goes through for one's team of choice. It can be quite good to immerse oneself in pain of that sort, though, can't it? Not to get into any Freudian psychobabble or anything, but it can be a place to project one's frustrated hopes and so on into, blah, blah, blah.

NMJ said...

And can i just say to Trousers, Scotland are playing tonight in Paris! I bet they will be gubbed and that England will win their game.

trousers said...

Good results all round in fact - thanks in no small part to anna x

Reading the Signs said...

What a gorgeous post, missy Mr, even with and in spite of the dreadful Luteran thing with the sick notes (take a whole week off - go on!) and I think good old AL Kennedy is, somehow, a suitably talented companion. In fact, I might that one for myself to read.

People - doncha hate 'em? And love 'em?

Anna MR said...


Nah, actually, Legs and trousers, no we don't no we don't no we don't - you guys did commendably well (and yes, thanks in no small part to me, housut, I'm pleased you noted my significant influence in the matter), but I have allowed myself be told that a tie with Poland is unlikely to be enough for Finland to qualify. Which makes me v.glad indeedly that I only start to follow these matters once they are actually at the cup level. Finland has never qualified yet, ever, and this time, there has been much hype and hope - this, naturally, leads to a directly proportional amount of heartbreak and dashed hopes. I am, I reiterate, v.glad indeedly I have not subjected myself to either set of emotions, this time (the Olympic ice hockey disaster still smarts and hurts).

But congrats to you both and I shall be watching your progress in the Cup, once it starts. Depending on who asks, I will naturally be supporting your team, with my considerable psychic powers of scoring (goals).


Anna MR said...

My dear Signs - thank you, big style. It is a wonderful and humbling thing when one's hero says "gorgeous post" (and I am most emphatically not teasing you here). And, well, because you (and Ms Legs, my other hero, above) have told me to, I have given up the Lutheranism I suckled in the formula of my infancy, and have taken off the rest of the week as well. There. I shall go to the place where lazy people go, no doubt. Dearly hoping to see the pair of you there (not claiming you're lazy, okay, either one of you - just that it'd be more fun with likable people around, just like other things, incl. blogging) (oh God - are you listening? It's Anna MR. I believe I have just diagnosed myself and my ailment. I believe I have a dorky case of foot-in-mouth disease. Do something about it, please - you are omnipotent, after all, aren't you, so even a hopeless case should be okay in your hands. Ta.).

Right then - with that disaster divinely behind me, I can move forward to absolutely agreeing with you, beloved Kolmio of Reading, on the dual nature of the feelings the fellow members of our species bring forth in me.

Mwahs aplenty. I think I need to have a ciggie, or a lie-down. I have smoked too much as it is. This sick leave could seriously damage my health.


Mellifluous Dark said...

Your words are so evocative; I can picture the scene with perfect ease.

Totally agree about the idiot sans tissue – now don't take his idiocy out on yourself, Anna. Do as NMJ says and have some rest, and get well soon.

Best to you from Londinium,

That's so pants said...

Hi Anna

Hope you're feeling better.

Yesterday I missed a train because of a book. I was reading 'The Calligrapher' by Edward Docx. The train came into the platform where I was sitting reading, and departed. I didn't notice until a few minutes later. I thought - hang on, there were people here a few minutes ago. Thankfully, there was another train due in 15 minutes.

The only other time I've missed a train because I was reading was a book of Hardy short stories.



Anna MR said...

Hei Ms Dark and thank you for your well-wishings as well as apologies for the lateness of this reply. I have received a wee translation job that I had to put first yesterday night - and should be putting first now, but you know how it can be with these things, procrastination rules okay, and all that.

I am glad you felt like my writing gave you an insight into my tram ride. I don't like hating other people, though, Ms D, do you know what I mean? Ever since I was a girl. I remember I had my mum laughing heartily once when, at seventeen or so, I was describing my very real annoyance towards a particularly aggravating (grown up) woman at the office I worked at (the (hi)story of my educational progress is patchy to say the least, and the same (to an extent) goes for my working life too, but shhh, I am trying to keep up an intellectual although somewhat mysterious front here). I told my mum, "...and I can't even hate her because I start to feel so sorry for her." This really felt like a problem to me, as I actually wanted to be able to hate her. I could identify the reason for my inability to do so to be caused by my seeing a picture of this woman as a girl of about my age. This photograph forced me to see through, somehow, her into "inner being", if you like, where she was vulnerable and had had hopes which had been crushed and and and and. All sorts. This super-aggravating thing mostly happens to me all the time, Ms Dark, I can't help but see the feeble and failed seekers of love and happiness in the most god-forsakenly hateful specimens of humanity. It can really get on your pip when you just want to gleefully despise everyone, I can tell you.

So really, what I am trying to so long-windedly bring across to you here is that this broad-spectrum borderline-violent hate reaction of mine was really unlike me, and, in fact, something I wouldn't like to see in myself very often. Someone's got to love those who are unlovable, don't you agree? And this is where my Jesus complex is currently at, Ms Dark. I don't heal, but I love unconditionally.

Christ Almighty, I think I need to take something for bringing down the fever delirium now. Wishing you a Good Friday and a Lovely Weekend, Londinium Chick.


Anna MR said...

Dear talented Ms Pants the Pöksyt, thank you. I am feeling better but still not right, which is just not right.

Anyway...this sounds awfully like a book recommendation, which is a grand thing indeed because as of late, I have managed to read not only one but two books I have enjoyed. This is a brilliant and increasingly unusual state of affairs, because, I don't know, somehow I think I exhausted my appetite for fiction in my teens and twenties and just find it so difficult to find a good book I'd actually want to read. I find myself starting to see through the text as something the author has made up (and I know fiction is by definition supposed to be made up, but I don't want to notice it, you know what I mean?), making it impossible for me to give a toss about what happens to the characters or to believe in the emotions or, bloody hell, bother at all. The amount of books I discard at, like, page three is phenomenal. However. These two books read recently have both come to me as recommendations and/or gifts, and I am taking the fact you failed to notice your train as your recommendation of the book in question.

I am frightfully wordy at the moment, you may note this, Ms Se On Niin Syvältä. I will go now. Not before I tell you what I remember best about London trains (not the tube, the actual trains) was an occasion when some distinctly weird bloke asked if he could buy my hair (this was before the dreadlocks). I was twenty, Finnish, innocent, wide-eyed, and well weirded-out.

Right, as promised, I'm off. Lovely to see you, Pantyhose. Hope you have a fab weekend.


Amanda said...

I also feel the urge to hand out tissues when people make That Noise. There's someone at work who does it quite incessantly and it makes me feel ill. Don't turn the bad feeling on yourself; non-nose-blowers are... uuurggghh.

More get well soon wishes!

dhssi: a tissue when you've got a cold.

Anna MR said...

Amanda - I know, I know, but someone ought to love and forgive them, too (although, judging by the lovebite, this dude had had his fair share of love and forgiveness already, so maybe you are right).

Ah, if only, instead of Metro and Uutislehti 100, they handed out packets of handkerchiefs... (love your word ver, how very apt)