Do you want to be right or do you want a solution?

I’ll probably consider renaming my blog ‘Something stupid I observed today’ as generally that is what inspires me and I feel as though I’ll have a magic-puddings worth of content.

***

Within the sphere of my working life, I talk to people when they’ve got a problem. I know times are good for my clients when I haven’t got a phone call in a week.

I read once (somewhere probably not scholarly) that people are six times as likely to tell you about something bad than about something good. Maybe it’s off the back end of being taught not to brag as a child. Maybe we are complaining to build rapport. I definitely make faster friendships over a ‘common enemy’ than a ‘common friend’.

We’re all surrounded by terrible drivers, in terrible weather, with neighbours that decided to mow the lawn at the crack of an inconvenient time. It’s a wonder we know how to smile at all!

Whatever the psychological reasoning, in all the roles I’ve practiced, in all industries I’ve endured, people will only call me when they’ve got a problem. You may notice at this point that I didn’t specifically say ‘with a problem they want me to fix’.

That’s because they don’t necessarily want it fixed.

Not really.

They sortof… Just… Want a friend.

I think it would a sound investment to have an automated response on my phone.

“You’ve reached Amy’s phone and I’m delighted to take your complaint today. Listen to the following selections carefully:

Press one if you would like a solution.

Press two if you need to vent.

Press three if its three thirty and you’ve wasted your day and you want to put off acknowledging it.”

I’m totally fine with it – though I wish we could call it what it was. How many times have you heard the phrase: ‘It’s just business’. That’s what people say when they want to be judged for their logic only and not the potentially emotionally deplorable, shady AF thing they’ve just had a part in. It’s just business. The unfortunate thing about business logic is that it comes out of the mouths of humans. The most illogical of creatures. So I take the ‘It’s just business’ with a grain of salt – because no one in business does business with purely business methods. Yep. I’m calling you all liars.

Allow me to give you an example. I had a client call me this year complaining to me about the quality of leads I provided him.

“The leads aren’t good. They’re all tyre kickers

TYRE KICKERS: this phrase stems from potential car buyers who kick the tyres to determine the working functionality of the car, but never end up buying.

When people say this to me, they mean: “they are time wasters”. What I see, much like literal tyre kickers of yore, is that: you have a potential customer in front of you – who definitely wants to buy a car –  but for some reason or another, your car is not up to scratch, OR, your sales skills are not up to scratch.

Awkward.

But is it just business if I say to them, “yeah I know when I’ve got some time to waste I go prank business owners. I definitely wouldn’t rather be watching Netflix and eating chicken wings – no I get my jollies kicking tyres.”

Just business though.

I later found out this particular client getting the tyre-kickers hadn’t called any of the leads, hadn’t even so much as looked at them. However he had just had his business development skills scornfully discredited by a colleague and it HURT HIS FEELIGS. Imagine that. Someone in business – a human wearing a business suit, hurt? Time to dial three and talk about how it’s already three thirty and you’ve wasted your day, your month, or even your year – aaaaand queue to break into song: I’ll be there for youuuuu!

The truth is, behind every venting monologue there is always something going on in the background that I don’t know about. Maybe a big deal just fell through, maybe they’ve found out the only have three years to live, maybe their kid just came home with a grade five algebraic homework question they couldn’t answer and now they are questioning their intelligence. I don’t know. Whatever the real problem is – I’m not going to find out. I’ll just hear about the cherry on top of the mountain of nonsense they’ve put up with that week.

And what the heck? – it’s just a cherry. Let’s chat it out.

Nine times out of ten by the time we get off the phone the weight is off their shoulders and quantifiably, nothing has changed. They just needed to vent

As some clever lady in my office says: “A problem shared is a problem halved”.

 

It’s me. The clever lady in my office is me.

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How to survive a breakup in 2016

If there is one thing I have learned in the first few weeks of singledom, it is that the standard ‘how to survive a breakup’ tips and tricks, just don’t fucking cut it anymore. You just cannot escape like the people in the 60’s who probably wrote the book on breakups. The world is shrinking and as a result, everything and everyone is a little bit closer. Like you, reader. I have likely never met you and look at me sitting on your lap or in your hand. Travel is easy, communication is immediate, and alcohol is expensive.

Short of sitting in your room facing the corner and slowly starving to death, you really can’t avoid the world until the end of your days. So time to re-write the book, Pride and Prejudice with Zombies style. How to Survive a breakup with Zombies.

Toss your dignity out the window.

Let’s be honest, you probably lost it in the mish-mash of breakup fights, dropping the washing machine on your toe during moving out, or accidentally losing their set of house keys down an elevator shaft.  So while your fresh out of dignity go do all the things you need to. Cry, eat, cry, eat, cry. Do all the things that irritated them in one night. Comment on the economic damage in super hero films, rearrange the fridge so that the cheese and ham are in the same compartment, light the smelly candle they hate. Eat Krispy Kreme’s for dinner and KFC potato and gravy for dessert. Do it on your own if you can so you don’t have so far to climb when you decide it is time to regain a little.

Cut

Not your wrists, and not their brakes. Where possible, delete them off Facebook and Instagram, delete their mother, delete their friends, and delete their favourite TV show off your hard drive. Unless it was your favourite first. You aren’t going to be able to delete them out of your life but give yourself the best chance at not being unpleasantly surprised by hourly reminders of stupid thing they liked and being tagged on Facebook, out having the time of their lives probably. You can claim everything back when you have your shit together again.

Spend a lot of time with your friends.

Separately. Friends who want to talk about it, friends who want to drink, friends who want to go to Ikea. Then put them on a rotation so you don’t irritate them with your depression. Because let’s face it – it’s going to last longer than you would like and everyone has a sympathy expiry date.

Develop an Obsession.

Because when you go home and there is a long empty night with you and your thoughts, you’re going to have a bad time. So get obsessed with something that you can’t wait to get back to when you’re at work. Something that’s going to keep you up till 3am when you have work at 9. Great if it’s exercise, realistic if it is TV shows, bad if it’s hard drugs.

Locate tossed dignity from outside the window

And depending on how liberally you took the first tip, this one may take a while.  You get on with your life. Maybe you exercise, maybe you just get a fake tan so you look skinnier. Set some goals and actually start them. If it helps, you can start to spite your ex, though you will only reach them if you do it for yourself.

 

I’ll let you know if it works.

The five stages of putting on a sports bra

Sometimes the hardest thing you will do all day is get dressed. If you are putting on a sports bra it is definitely the hardest thing you will do all day. I’m not talking about the soft little boob-hammocks you wear when you are long past impressing the boyfriend/girlfriend/neighbour kids. I’m talking about the ones that you wear when you have the intention of doing a far-out hardcore session of the big E. Ecstasy. Exercise

Stage 1: Denial

Yes it starts off the same way as the stages of grief. The blissful ignorance, or perhaps absolute subconscious refusal to accept the task that lies before you. The workout before the workout, the beginning of the end. 

A sports bra looks the same as any small top. Usually brightly coloured, seemingly flexible, and a noticeable lack of fangs. You, my friend, have reached stage one. Now slip that bad boy over your head.

Stage 2: Feeling trapped

By ‘slip’ did you mean wrestle my suddenly large head into what feels like an armband? Why did this look bigger from the outside? Where is the elastic stretch that was promised? You wriggle your giant head through the point of light at the end of a tunnel looking for an end to this limbo, but alas it is just the other side of the sports bra. 

Full of broken dreams you break through, arms windmilling madly. You wind up with a suffocating necklace. Your arms sticking awkwardly out the top like some humanoid pot plant. One boob at a time you detach your various body parts like snake would unhinge its jaw to swallow a warthog. Resist the urge to call for help or cry. You can do this. You summon up your last vestige of strength and pull it all down and wallah! It is on! You think this is the end but no. There are five stages. You’re not even halfway done.

Stage 3: Acclimatising 

The air feels thin in here, you are feeling slightly lightheaded, maybe you ought to sit down? You are panting and feeling tired. Imagine, if this is getting dressed, what will the real exercise be like? 

Everything I just described is actually a symptom of acute mountain sickness. Much like the mountain climbers in the Himalayas you are now attempting to live off a 30% (not an actual figure) oxygen intake. In fact if you google “how to train to climb a mountain” the first answer is just a link to Lorna Janes online shopping website.

Panting and clutching at the sink you wait to recover.

Stage 4: Examination

Once you have recovered your sight you will then start to study this new you. A you who likes to exercise and wear the equivalent of Chinese foot bindings on your boobs. Look how fit you are and how tanned that bright yellow top makes you look and – the fuck is that? Am I growing a second arm? Is my back pregnant? No. That is every ounce of fat you have squeezed out because this sports bra is at capacity. Sit back down caterpillar. You are not the beautiful butterfly you imagined. Wrap up and wait another six months. 

Stage 5: Acceptance

Because you know no matter how bad you feel now, what is coming is ten times worse. Priorities, am I right? Sigh and thank god there is another layer to this outfit.

The Bitchy Resting Face Phenomenon

Just before I start – this well researched and passive article has a sexism angle so if it upsets you to read about women being prejudiced against, I suggest you go read something else. Like the label on a protein bar.

***

Everyone has heard of the phenomenon known as ‘bitchy resting face’. I bet most of you know someone who has it, or perhaps you are peacefully reading my article with unintentional disgust because that’s just how your face is. I bet once a day someone will say one of the following:

What’s wrong?

Did you have a bad day at work?

Or the absolute worst….

Cheer up! Smile!

FIRST OF ALL. If you weren’t having a bad time, you are now. Some idiot has carelessly, indirectly told you that you look unhappy. Unhappy enough to warrant a comment from a stranger. Who’s the real bitch here? I don’t know how it is socially unacceptable to walk up to someone and tell them they’re ugly, but totally acceptable to walk up to them and inform that the expression on the ‘at peace’ face was making them uncomfortable enough to come up to you and ask you to change it.  I may look like a bitch however you are an actual bitch, to be perfectly candid.

Side note: I actually don’t suffer from bitchy resting face. I suffer from friendly resting face, which is a million times worse. Because while I look approachable. I really don’t want people approaching me. I would actually prefer fear to love. (I would make such a great villain).

I am writing this to every idiot who has gone up to a complete stranger and asked them to smile. You are especially worse if you said it to a girl behind the bar. I have literally heard someone say, “I’m only going to tip you if I see you smiling.” You sir. Are a dick.  Do I come to your office and shove my face in front of what is probably a stupid-drunk excel spreadsheet and say “why aren’t you smiling?” Yeah now it seems foolish. The day I walk around with a plastic-fantastic grin on my face, is that day you should actually make for the hills, because I’m about to go on a mass murder spree.  I’ll smile when I’m happy and not a moment before.

SECONDLY. Why is it that only females get this? Why do brooding males not get idiots asking them to smile? In fact, why do males get ‘brooding’ while females get ‘bitchy’? I’m sure this is present in nearly every workplace. The man gets the not-to-be-fucked-with, and the woman gets I’m-a-giant-bitch-and-therefore-unreasonable. Maybe next time you see a guy getting all frowny you should inform him he looks like a bit of a bitch, and maybe a smile wouldn’t hurt anyone. Let’s see how he reacts. Let’s see if he doesn’t reach a hand out and crush the nearest butterfly with absolute rage. God I could really use a butterfly right now.

Lucky I’ve read enough

So far in 2015 I have read a total number of 28 books. Thank god this week’s Top Ten Tuesday By the Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten books I’ve read so far in 2015, was this year and not any other year before when I would have only read 10 books so far. Seriously how do serious readers get anything done?

So here is the top ten books I’ve read this year that you should all get on board with if you haven’t already.

  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bonedaughter of smoke and bone

If ever there was a book as well deserving on the number one spot it is this. Northern Lights meets

This book catapulted up my list of favourite books of all time within the first few chapters. Excellently written, intrigue for day, and characters of absolute greatness. Please oh please never be made into a movie. However I lved the whole series – which is three books. Therefore 1-3 of this list is taken up by Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, and Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Hey it’s not like I have a big list to play with here.

  1. Night CircusNight Circus

It’s like someone captured Tim Burton and put him in literature. The imagery and mystery in the book was so beautifully uncanny that I had to revaluate my life. I didn’t know who I was until I read this book. Now I still don’t but I have a weird obsession with monochrome.

  1. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets came highly recommended on WordPress. So I was meaning to get around to it for a while. It’s really rare to come across a period piece set in the 50’s (weird year), but holy shit am I glad they did. Drama and class come to a head.

  1. Wintergirlswintergirls

You only have to read this book to understand the meaning of an unreliable narrator. Laurie Halse Anderson wrote from the perspective of a girl with anorexia, and did an impressive job of insight. Give the lady an award. And a burger.

  1. Fangirl

Fangirl was a delicious insight into the mind of a girl who most readers can relate to. A girl who wouldfangirl (2) rather live inside a good book. It was spectacularly told, and I was excited for her imaginary success the whole time. I almost wish the story was real just so I could follow her blog purely out of readerly support.

  1. Masquerade

Masquerade caught me a bit by surprise. I read most of it with a ‘feel-good’ mood that cute little stories often provide. Then Bam. Shock ending that confuses everyone and leaves all the strings loose. Just rude. But still a great story.

  1. The Bone seasonthe bone season

The Bone Season was a particularly epic science fiction that I didn’t think I was going to get into. I don’t know why but I always feel that way about books that are given to me for free. I really ought to know better.  I read the Bone season, and the sequel ‘The Mime Order’ in quick succession and I probably won’t get to read the next one until I’m old enough to have forgotten what the first two were about. First world problems.

  1. The Ruby Circle

It was a sign from the heavens when Ruby circle came out on my birthday. To misquote Phil Dunphy, It’s like God and [Richelle Mead] got together to say, “we love you [Amy]”.  I mean  it all ended a little too rosily, but at least no one died. You hear that Rowling?! She would have kept Fred!

Now I’m going to have a stalk through all of your TTT’s to get the list of books I’ll read for the next half of the year. Any suggestions?

6 Rebuttals of Insanity, OR, Why I am Not Going Crazy

When you work in an office, there are some things that people will say on a daily basis that sounds a little crazy.

How was your weekend?  I went to the – oh you’re not listening are you? Alright just tell me about yours.

Is that a new jacket? I wore this yesterday.

Ooooh pasta again? A moment on the lips forever on the hips.  Shut up Karen, go ‘enjoy’ your salad.

Then there’s what I call: The 3:30 snide remark. For me that remark is “Are you talking to yourself again?” <Insert some cliché about going crazy>. And maybe I am. Every time I walk into the office I feel like its groundhog day. That’s the one where he gets caught in a time loop right? Repeating the exact same day over and over. And no one else but you seems to be aware of it. My response is usually: “Ha ha ha, I am!”  (muttering quietly) “I’ll kill you one day.” I don’t know why most people insist on getting their medical knowledge of psychopathic’s from 1950’s stereotypes.  So maybe I do odd things at 3:30pm. Maybe there’s a reason. Maybe…there are 6 reasons.

1.Talking to yourself is the first sign you’re going crazy

Rebuttal: Talking to yourself is the first sign that you need an expert opinion but are surrounded by idiots people whom are not experts.

  1. Hearing Things

Rebuttal: Different from hearing voices because sometimes you hear people calling your name, or the phone ringing, or someone saying: “is that a new jacket”. Guess what it’s called an echo. A mental echo.

Side note: a mental echo is something I definitely made up, I have no actual knowledge of psychology.

  1. Staring into middle space

You know how in movies people pick up photographs of their family and descend into flashbacks? That doesn’t happen in real life. In real life if we want to think deeply about something, we don’t have to stare at anything and we can think. And do you know how hard it is to stare at nothing? It’s literally the space in between you and the thing that is away from you. It actually a talent so maybe you should be encouraging it.

  1. Deja Vu

You know what. I’m not telling you I’m experiencing Déjà vu because I am experiencing Déjà vu. I’m experiencing the same story or bullshit assignment that I received yesterday or last week, or sometime between the time we met and now. I am being passive aggressive. I’m holding back from aggressive aggressive.

  1. You can’t remember where you left things

I’m sorry, is it tied to my wrist!? Then chances are I can’t be 100% sure where it is. But I have a mental list of the top three places it will be. How about you go find your own stapler. Or the one you probably stole from my top drawer, or the shelf near the kettle, or the filing cabinet where I just was.

  1. Temporarily forgetting your name

*ring ring*

*pick up*

“Welcome to Worky-work-work, this is… Um. This is. Just give me a sec.” It happens to the best of us. And by the best of us – I mean me. God help me when 3:30pm comes around, I space. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know who I am. You should consider yourself lucky that I remembered what the ringing sound meant. I’m as good as a trained monkey at this point. Why don’t you just call back tomorrow at 10am when I’m coffee-refreshed, or maybe at 5:30pm when I’ll watch the phone ring for a bit, before leaving the office skipping gaily.

Also, while doing some research, my room mate, Angostura (code name obvs) pointed out this article to me. Good for a read.

Simply the Best Top Ten Tuesdays

While I most definitely have not been an active member of TTT or even WordPress for 5 years I have had a go, or rather, more than 10 goes at the phenomenon that is Top Ten Tuesday by the Broke and the Bookish.  While I’m not really a weekly contributor, if something catches my eye, and also coincides with me feeling like writing that day I will do up a post for it.

So I’ve written this week’s Top Ten Tuesday in excerpts from my favourite TTT’s. And only the excerpts with a high level of sass. Also these dates are in an Australian format. Only psychopaths go month-date-year…Jeez.

  1. Top Ten Literary Confessions (07.07.14)

Titled: My Literary Secrets. Or. Amy and the truth bomb that went off and hurt all the feelings

Excerpt: “Man do I dislike the beach. Sand gets in between the pages of my book, it’s like getting sand in my soul. Fuck off sand.”

  1. Top Ten Underrated Authors (09.09.14)

Titled: Keep it in your pants readers

Excerpt: “Patterson just slots new names into an old template and publishes these bad boys annually. Also… Alex Cross? Why don’t you just name him Jesus Christ and be done with it.”

  1. Top Ten Dislikes for Romance in Literature (10.02.15)

Titled: Romance is for saps. And other things I dislike about lit love.

Excerpt: “‘Creamy brown hair’? Now I feel like his hair is made of cream. I’m not attracted to this sensual-cream man. Is this a Cadbury ad?”

  1. Top Ten Characters I would want at my lunch table (02.09.14)

Titled: You can’t sit with us!

Excerpt: “Because I honestly feel like she would get along with everyone at the table. And you know what we don’t want at lunch time? ANARCHY!”

  1. Top Ten Books you recommend to first time readers (05.08.14)

Titled: I’ll make a reader of you yet

Excerpt: “But the only opinion I managed to get out of him was: “Ellie’s a bit of a slut.” Thanks Dad.”

  1. Top Ten Characters you would bring with you on a dessert island (22.07.14)

Titled: God forbid I get stuck on an island with book characters

Excerpt: “Does this man not ooze necessity? Still not convinced? How about you stare at this gif for the next hour until you are.

  1. Top Ten staple books from <insert genre here> that I haven’t read (02.07.15)

Titled: I’ll get to it when I get to it

Excerpt: “Besides the books look quite cute sitting next to each other on the bookshelf and if that isn’t a good enough reason, nothing is.”

  1. Top Ten Places books have made you want to visit (15.10.14)

Titled: Top Ten T-Oh fuck it’s Wednesday

Excerpt: “Nothing ruins a Tuesday feature post quite like realising it was yesterday.”

  1. Top Ten Character Driven Novels (07.10.14)

Titled: Characters behind the wheel

Excerpt: “Which sounds exactly like my sigh of annoyance when Bran’s chapter comes along. Seriously (SPOILER) is he learning to become a tree? You can imagine how great this isn’t.”

  1. Top Ten Books you aren’t sure you want to read (12.08.14)

Titled: I dunno you guys…

Excerpt: “Honestly no other author has sounded so much like a super-villain in the history of the world.”