Working off of hand written notes for this post as my computer was out for repairs on the 26th of July and I only just got it back now.
In all honesty, my computer has not been functioning properly for some time now. Long story short, I only just got fed up with it. I use a Macbook at home, though I have used Windows for most of my young life, so once I was sure I couldn’t fix it somehow on my own, we scheduled an appointment at one of Apple’s Genius Bars on the 26th.
While my husband had to go to work early that day, the best time that I schedule the appointment was in the afternoon so that he could meet up with me after he was done without having to worry about rushing back.
This meant that I had to take my computer there on my own. While I have proven on several occasions that I can walk into the city from where we live, I really didn’t want to make the trek with “please mug me” tattooed on my butt (see: carrying expensive electronics).
In the UK mass public transport is privately owned (you can, I think, “thank” the Thatcher era for that fit of “brilliance”). Because of this, despite being subsidised, companies can charge whatever they like. It’s a shame, as well, because the cost to travel by bus ends up generating zero cost savings for the users. In short, there is less than no additional incentive to reduce greenhouse emissions brought on by everyone owning their own car.
While you are at it, you can mark this point as the day that I came to recognise “British efficiency” as something of an oxymoron. Why do I say that? Well, let me explain…
I have been on public transport in two other places in my life aside from the UK, those being Minnesota and Washington (the state). Neither of their systems are perfect by any means, but the UK bus system is shameful in comparison to either. No one has really cornered the market (perhaps, excepting Boston, Massachusetts, but as I haven’t been there personally, I can’t speak for it) on the perfectly optimised mass-transit system, however, it strikes me that some have still managed to do it better than others.
All three have card systems that you can pre-load with a credit to more quickly purchase tickets on busses and whatnot. In Minnesota it was the To-Go Card, in Washington I believe it was called Orca, in England it is Oyster. All three do speed up the process a bit -just touch and go, basically – except the UK fails at this. Why? Because you have to TELL THE DRIVER what kind of ticket you’re going to purchase first; they all have different prices. You can’t actually just Touch-and-go here. You have to stop, explain what you want, then touch, then TAKE YOUR TICKET, and then go.
You can just hear the face-palming, can’t you? Well, if you have the card method, it’s still faster than paying by cash. With cash, in both Minnesota and Washington, you just have to put it into a machine. In Minnesota, the machine then spits out your ticket for you; in Washington, the driver tears off a slip of news-paper grade paper and passes it to you. In England? Nope. You have to give your money to the driver, then he has to use a machine to print your ticket for you. Insult to injury is that the driver is in a “fishbowl” (see: enclosed room of plexiglass) and you have to pass it to him through a window.
So here you have a distracted driver, who not only has to worry about keeping to a schedule, but now has to count your change for you, and then print off your ticket while he’s at it. Poor sod. I’m really not surprised that he’s in protective glass, with as impatient as Generation Y is, the fact that they have to do so much manually would bring many into a crazed mania. It’s not even the guy’s fault, but there he is, the victim of many of a shortened British temper.
These things aside, and the fact that most of the busses are double-decker, they are pretty much the same. Get on, pay your money, get a ticket, sit your butt down, signal by pressing a button for your stop, get off. Whatever.
While my computer has been out for repair, as I noted earlier, I have been using a ruled notebook to keep track of events so far.
If there was ever any doubt at all that I somehow wasn’t part of Generation Y (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y), we can lay those to rest as I have it on good authority (see: my husband) that I’ve been climbing the drapes since friday afternoon. When this was pointed out to me, I had no end of fun at laughing at myself for suffering from withdrawal due to not being connected to the “hive mind”/”Collective” recently.
I kept myself as busy as I could manage. I went (gasp!) outside, I did some stretching, I read from my Complete Works of William Shakespeare (as of now I have finished two stories and am halfway through a Midsummer Night’s Dream), I played Deadpool on the xBox for an hour or so…
And really just anything except be productive because to be productive would be to admit that the computer was what stopped me from doing so, and we cannot do that – doing that would threaten reality as we know it where everything is a conscious choice and we aren’t brainwashed or controlled by our electronics… sure… 😛
It is butterfly season here and I have been charmed by the Peacock butterflies (http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?vernacular_name=Peacock). Growing up, I was most used to seeing the Monarch butterfly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_butterfly), so in observing these other (arguably prettier) verity, I was also struck by a sense of longing for ones more familiar.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but there it is; very near to the at fabled 6-month mark, I am homesick. 4 months in, even 5 months in, I did not expect to find myself confirming that to be true… yet, here I am, in not so many words, eating humble pie.
Perhaps it is due to recent events that I find myself wishing for something familiar in a place where, off and on, I feel very alien. What I considered logical or reasoned – or even just simple common sense – sometimes isn’t and I feel frustrated when what I call “musing aloud” or simple “problem solving/riddle making” is taken as me being an egoist who “must always be right.”
An ordinary puzzle on whether the guitar player in a video is left-handed and playing on a right-handed electric guitar (all started because I noticed he kept his watch and its possible significance) caused – IMHO – way more upset at the dinner table than necessary.
But let’s be clear, my experiences with a small selection of the population in one event does not account for all of them nor every exchange I have in a week. It isn’t the end-all, be-all, verdict. In fairness situations where I run afoul are few and far between. It is only when they happen, however, in cases such as these that I feel the most shocked by the differences between my sub-culture and those which I am around at that moment.
The differences can be keen, to the point where I am sitting actually befuddled when what I thought was perfectly innocent is taken so wrongly that I’m actually being insulted to my face. My family is insulted, my upbringing is called into question, mocked, insulted…. and I find myself wondering how the crime justified the response (apparently I lack manners and this is due to my “home-schooled” upbringing, or this is what I was told by one individual) when I bumped a cup-stand and a handle broke off of a cup while I was trying to make a pie and didn’t apologise, I assume, fast enough or emphatic enough to assuage the other person.
My intent was to purchase a new cup and write a card, as one ought to make amends when they have done something wrong – this was how I was taught to apologise. It blew up before I had the chance to do so, obviously. Only once I had done so that same night than things calmed down once more.
I don’t trust easily, nor do I give it freely, needless to say I’ve applied a certain amount of emotional distance from this individual as I have respect enough not be abused by others. To assuage, however, my bruised feelings (ego?), I found myself relating to a quote I saw once on Pinterest: “Do not confuse my attitude with my personality. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.”
So this is the crux of it – I miss things I knew in the states in times of difficulty. Not because they are somehow better, but simply because I felt I understood it. To use another saying: “it is the devil you know that you keep.”
At times, I feel like a screaming, fussy, baby (despite my husband’s assurances that I keep remarkably out of the way and do not impose myself on people). I ca’t say what I want/need in a way that can be understood so, even while the ones around me want to help, they likely feel at a loss on how to go about it.
Thankfully, those feelings come and go – largely depending on the day and the number of challenges that come with it.