100

Hear ye, hear ye!

This marks my very own, super duper hundredth post on London Geek. Drum roll please.

I’d like to thank my mother, my hair stylist and all of my fans who stuck by my side throughout this time of trials and tribulations, and I dedicate this accomplish..

Seriously now.

It’s been great. I know it’s no big thing for you people, most of you being so much more versed in this blogging deal than me, but I never thought I could do it, and I must say I do feel quite proud of myself.

Since I first noticed that Post 100 was slowly approaching, I’ve been beating my brains out to come up with a significant, 100 milestone worthy writing idea, and of course I eventually failed.

Keen to somehow mark the event nonetheless, I’ve combed through my blogging archives and managed to extract a couple of absolutely vital nuggets of information about this 100-posts-or-bust journey you’ve hopefully enjoyed alongside me at least a fraction of how much I have.

So here it goes.

Including this post, I’ve written a total of 60,471 words.

I know I know, that’s about 600 words per post which isn’t even in the least impressive, but it adds to, Whoa!!!, roughly the size of a short novel. Who knew I had it in me!

Your favourite posts* around here are kind of surprising.

Believe it or not, you’re more into my sad, lovey-dovey posts rather than the happy-happy-joy-joy-yet-super-informative ones. It’s true that I’ve been predisposed to writing a lot more about my feelings lately rather than joke around as I used to in the beginnings of this blogging journey. It could be that we’re all going through a bit of the spring blues, or I might have just figured out that mushy feelings make you tick and I’m taking full advantage of your weakness. I’ll never tell.

*based on a super duper complex algorithm taking into account a mix of likes, comments and view counts.

I’m stubbornly sticking to the title of this blog, and most often write about geeky-boring stuff, like my past and my books.

That’s pretty much all I could come up with. Super interesting, life changing stuff, I know!

In true character, I’ve got no particular, majestic plans for the future of this place, but I really hope I’ll manage to stick around for a while. I’m off to sip some virtual champagne now (aka do a bit of Sunday morning 9gag-ing, tall glass of orange juice in dangerous proximity of my keyboard).

Thanks for reading.

I mean really. Thanks!

How to Build a Human

Strange days, these days.

*

I’m thinking a lot about my old friends. Perhaps not without reason, seeing that this Friday marks one year since our high school reunion.

I haven’t mentioned this before, but the night before I flew home, I dreamt I was sitting on the deck of the shipwreck in Costinesti – this sea resort we used to go to every summer when we were in school. In real life, I’d never been brave enough to swim to it, of course. But it had always been a smudge on the horizon of my summer holidays. An over sized freckle on the face of the sky, as we were busy rubbing our bodies against a million shades of sand, and rarely touching each other’s skins. It felt eerily real, the dream. Hot metal shedding rusty flakes under my fingers, legs dangling dangerously over the edge, familiar voices competing with the sound of the waves.

I’d picked a white cocktail dress and a pair of grown up shoes my mother actually approved of. They make your legs look longer, she said, plucking imaginary grains of dust off my hem as I was getting ready to leave. Dad offered to drive me to school. There’s no point, I said, I’ll catch a taxi. I knew it hurt him, he measures his love for me in distances he’s driven me to and from parties where they serve alcohol and allow unreliable boys to invite innocent girls to slow dance. I normally couldn’t resist him the pleasure of delivering me safely to yet another objectionable destination, but this time I wanted a few minutes with myself. Just in case I had a panic attack or something.

I’d heard it happened even to normal, well balanced people, and I’d just dreamt myself jumping off a shipwreck. I wouldn’t take any chances.

After I got home from the party, I sat at my childhood desk and came up with this two thousand words Evernote document on what had turned into the happiest and saddest day in my life thus far. It took me until 6 in the morning, and when I was done I made myself a cup of coffee, the first in years and the last since, and sat in the kitchen watching really bad teleshopping until my parents woke up. Knives cutting through beer cans and miraculous anti cellulite body lotions.

Months later, I’d tweaked and translated it into this sort-of-letter that ended up never reaching its intended recipient, but instead seems to have touched some of you, strangers I’m for some reason sharing secrets with.

It’s a wonder we end up doing all these things we’d never imagined we would, and still manage to live with ourselves despite the disappointments we’ve become. Leavers of friends, forgetters of hopes and dreams, we’ve got many names these days.

*

As my secret, past rummaging life unravels inside me, my real, outside life grows into this pile of things there’s little point writing about.

It turns out we’re not getting the flat we’d been looking at for the past few months. It’s got nothing to do with us, the builders have got some problems and all work on the development has been indefinitely put on hold. For some deranged reason, I’m actually relieved, though very much aware that it means that, at least for the foreseeable future, our plans for a home away from home are shattered beyond mending. And you know what, finally freed from under this home hunting burden I’ve been carrying for half a year, I don’t really know what to do with myself.

I’m trying not to waste my newly found freedom by diving into things that, Cosmopolitan and the likes claim will help me grow as a person.

I’ve entered a 5k Race for Life event in July, so I’ve already run more these last couple of days that in my entire life so far. Typical of me not to find joy in well known endorphin releasing activities, by the end of a run I’m less exhausted physically and more by the swarm of annoying, depressing, completely race unrelated thoughts I have to deal with during my evening laps. I’m hoping brain numbness will soon follow leg numbness and then all should be all right in the world.

I’m slowly approaching 100 posts published here, and I never cease to be amazed by it, as well as by the degree of utter mess this blog has reached while I wasn’t looking. A tangled mix of happy-happy-joy-joy, cheesy, depressing and imagined, the reality of which would probably get me really down, if only it didn’t define my life, and myself, to such absolute, annoying perfection. Well, at least I’m famous. Not.

In other news, I’m almost 30. And I don’t mean almost as in I’m in fact 28 and moaning about being almost 30 is the only interesting thing about me. No, I am actually turning 30. I’m so “almost” 30 that there’s two weeks left until I’ll have to lose the almost.

I don’t think I feel anything about it, but then again, I have a way of secretly feeling things, and not realising it until it’s too late.

On Writing

“I’m a salami writer. I try to write good salami, but salami is salami. You can’t sell it as caviar.”

Stephen King

*

The first time I ever wrote anything, I was eight.

The teacher had given us this big deal, read-in-front-of-the-class assignment, a page long composition about spring. I was terrified. The other kids had all come up with these pretty-word descriptions of snow melting and fields turning green in the sun, while I’d made up this crazy story about a snowdrop being picked and torn away from his family by a florist’s apprentice, and his adventures across town as he tries to escape and make his way back to the woods.

She’d fail me, I knew it. She’d grab me by the shoulder like you grab a pot off the hob, she’d lead me to the Principal’s office and sit me down in one of those chairs where your feet dangle half a meter above the floor, then they’d both make me listen to everything that was wrong about me. It would take hours. I wouldn’t make it home in time for dinner, of course. Mother and Father would find out, then the neighbours, the bus driver, people in the streets. They’d point their fingers at me, whispering bad whispers behind my back.

They published my snowdrop adventure in the local paper on Mother’s Day. Father gave me his fountain pen, the red one with the gold plated tip. This was something I could do, I figured. Writing. It was something. I mean sure, it wasn’t like doing six cartwheels in a row or climbing to the top of the monkey bars with your eyes closed, but it was something.

*

I was thirteen when I entered the Regional Romanian Literature competition. Mother walked me to the venue, this strange school with smaller windows and narrower, darker corridors than what I was used to. As we were waiting outside the entrance, a bunch of kids and grownups thrown unacceptably close together in what could only have been a very cruel game, Mother leaned to whisper something into my ear.

Don’t let me down.

The title said composition on the topic of your choice, and I blinked. I’d never known so much freedom.

I chose to describe the moment I knew I was no longer a child. Three hours later, I walked out of the stuffy classroom and the windowless little school, more exhausted than I’d ever felt in my life. It was tough, this writing about yourself business.

It had snowed throughout the exam and now the snow reached up to my knees, which almost never happened in our town anymore. I made my way home on my own, breathing in the cold and the snowflakes, feeling like a cheat. Who did I think I was kidding? I was still very much a child, my essay had been nothing but a shameless lie. A no-longer-a-child person would not feel so intimidated by their own mother, nor would they find so much joy in leaping through the snow.

I won first prize but I never forgot nor forgave myself the lie, and I wasn’t too keen on writing competitions from then onwards. Plus, High School was starting. The plan was to be good at High School, to be really, six-cartwheels-in-a-row good at High School, and writing lies upon lies no one cared about wasn’t going to help me achieve it.

*

On the eve of our graduation, my closest friend C was going through a really difficult patch. I’d been thinking about this for a while, how maybe I really wasn’t built to be someone’s friend, because I didn’t always know what or when to say to make the pain go away. When faced with other people’s tragedies, I’d just sit there, staring blankly, waiting for them to somehow fill the silence, to talk or cry themselves out of it. I’d think about C countless times a day, I’d go to sleep with him on my mind, I’d come up with a million different plans to fix all his problems and then, when we were finally together, I was mute and helpless and drowning in guilt.

So one night I wrote him a story. In truly characteristic, crazy fashion, I wrote him an entire notebook of a story, more than a hundred pages of my messy handwriting by now more used to handling differential calculus and organic chemistry reactions than endless made up histories. It wasn’t even about him, or at least something to entertain him and take his mind off things, but more the story of my life since I’d met him. I would always be a self centred writer, it seemed.

I remember finishing, shutting the notebook closed, scribbling “a gift is a gift” on the front cover, blowing it dry, and throwing it into my backpack to give it to C the next day. I wish I knew why the “gift” thing, but it’s been almost 11 years since, and though you’d think we never really forget the most important things in our lives, it’s not always true.

*

I’m doing the Blogging 201 Daily Assignments these days. I must say, blogging events aren’t the kind of stuff I normally get involved in (if one should even generalize like this after only eight months of on and off blogging business), but I’ve entered this particular one hoping it will be the impulse I need to come up with more and better writing. It’s supposed to teach me how to bring relevant content to my readers and grow my online presence, and I must admit these are intimidating sounding things that I’ve not given any thought whatsoever to since I started this writing for strangers adventure.

So anyway. Today’s assignment is meant to have us think about why we write, what we want to achieve through it, and what we can do to make it better.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and I wish I had an absolutely extraordinary answer to why I write and how I plan to develop this space. But as I was cracking my brains to come up with something super duper inspiring, all I could think about was this Antonio Machado quote I recently came across on someone’s Facebook page. I know, until not long ago I used to be at least as outraged as you are now that I’m apparently getting all of my daily inspiration off of people’s Facebook walls, but I have since made my peace with it.

Anyway, I digress. Machado wrote: Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. – and I think it very much applies to how I feel about this blog and writing on it. 

I write for the writing. I have no idea where it will take me, or if there’s even a destination in sight. It’s not particularly funny, informative, insightful, hell, it’s nothing but salami writing, really. But it’s something, it really is something, isn’t it?

March This and That: Other People’s Roofs and I Am Not Alone

I didn’t even want tot do a This and That post this month, it having been this horrible I’m-the-ultimate-house-hunting-robot-so-I-barely-have-time-to-pluck-my-eyebrows-nevermind-doing-super-duper-blog-worthy-things month from hell and all.

I’ve written about this soul draining house hunting business way more than any sane person would care to read about, and I’d promised myself I wouldn’t force it upon you again. But this is what I do these days. Looking for a place of our own and pretty much nothing else. This is what’s on my mind. This is what’s been defining this month, the ones before it, and surely the coming ones, so it’s difficult to avoid not only thinking about it, but also yapping about it all day long, however annoying it may be for everybody else.

Long long story short, we are still looking and it’s still the kind of thing I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemies. It’s become the most difficult trial our relationship has had to face so far and there’s been a lot of endless, property centered bickering throughout the process in our previously bickering free, loving household. I don’t think we’re parting ways just yet though, as house hunting in London may just be one of those things which suck the love and joy out of your relationship, but surprisingly also tie you to one another in a million painful, unbreakable knots. And what else could a gal like me wish for?

My relationship-killing-house-hunting adventure aside, March has had its good moments as well. Because guess what, humanity? This blog thing is turning out to be kind of wonderful, and I am actually making friends through it.

Yes, you read me right. I was as surprised as you are. And yes, they are real people. I’m not imagining them and they’re definitely not some spamming robots attempting to steal a bit of interwebs stardom from my obviously super relevant online corner. They’re living and breathing human beings, I swear. We’ve exchanged Skype IDs. We’ve been stalking each other on Facebook. I’m even going on a blind date with one lovely lady this weekend, which is a bit intimidating, because I’ve never been on any kind of blind date before (Yup, and I’m almost 30. Talk about lame.). Plus, I’ve painted this I’m-the-image-of-perfection portrait of myself on this blog, and she’ll surely be disappointed by the real life always-on-a-bad-hair-day version. But hey, at least I’ll have a blind date to brag about for a month or two!

This meeting people online thing is tricky business.

First of all, I thought I was way too old and bitter to keep making friends into my thirties. I mean, I’ve already got friends. Sure, you can easily fit them all inside a Mini Cooper, and they’re all thousands of miles away in lovely Romania, but who cares. They’re mine. We’ve got a history. Everything’s easy, comfortable when we’re together.

And making new friends, that’s never easy, right? I mean, you don’t just bump into someone in the middle of the street, have one look at each other and decide, hey, we’re BFFs now! Or at least that’s never happened to me. Instead, there’s that embarrassing, incipient exploration phase, when you talk about your star signs and your favourite colours, and you worry they won’t get your jokes, so you don’t make any jokes, and then you’re sure they’ll think you’re boring, and you start blurting out stupid random things or you just sink into uncomfortable endless silences, all the while desperately wondering what you’d been thinking, as it’s oh so clear you’ve lost all your friend making abilities somewhere along the way. Now imagine all that happening on Skype (perhaps while you’re clicking through the other person’s Facebook photos, and they’re obviously so much cooler than you!), maybe in a foreign language, and to a hopeless antisocial phenomenon like me. No piece of cake, I tell you.

As frightening as this making-friends-or-something-like-it is turning out to be, it’s actually absolutely amazing, and I’m determined to be the friendliest I can possibly be and not scare any of you away anytime soon. It may take a lot of self control work (Do not talk about houses. Do not talk about houses. Do not stalk people on Facebook. Do not swear. Stop talking about the darn houses!), but hey, you’re worth it!

That’s it for now, I hope April is turning out great for everybody!