The Great Zone Of Awkwardness.

There is this little tear in the fabric of time and space that I like to call the great zone of awkwardness. In this zone one experiences extreme discomfort, paralysis and disorientation in a social setting. The only saving grace is that this zone lasts for a short burst of time before one quickly crawls back onto the seamless fabric and walks on pretending the zone never happened.

So naturally I thought I’d list down the most prominent forays into the zone:

1. The Missed Smile – When someone smiles at you and you’re thinking about pizza or Chris Hemsworth or Chris Hemsworth on a pizza and it takes a nanosecond longer than necessary for you to register their smile. But in that nanosecond they have taken your intense pizza/Chris Hemsworth mulling gaze to denote pure, cold hatred and indifference to them and stopped smiling and even looking in your direction. And at that exact moment as when they avert their gaze you smile back, only to stop because you’ve already made an enemy for life. Damn it Chris Hemsworth pizza!

2. The Hug Conundrum – Now for the people who fall into the vaguest bucket of social connections: acquaintances, there are no set rules of greeting. Sometimes you just smile at them, other times a little wave is fine, sometimes you hug them (sideways of course! No second base to second base action for acquaintances!). But the pickle happens when someone dithers between these states. For example, you spot an acquaintance and decide to go with an enthusiastic, “Hey!” and stretch out your right hand for a hand shake. But as your hand begins to move you notice that the acquaintance is shifting their body indicating their choice of greeting to be a side hug. Now your hand is going at them, while they are exposing their left side and leaning towards you. Both of you lock eyes in horror, knowing that a terrible awkwardness is about to ensue. And then both of you stop. Hand mid-air, turned sideways. Then you settle for a wave that dies before it rises.

3. The Do-I-Know-You – This happens in passing thankfully. You’ve indirectly engaged with one another, probably at work, or at a party. And then you’re out in the mall shopping when you spot them at a distance. Both of you look at each other, recognise each other and then look away like you’ve looked at Medusa. You hold your breath as you pass them by and exhale in relief and think, “That’s that.” Until you meet them again at another random party or at work.

4. The Silence Of The Unknown Lambs – Everyone talks about that movie’s title with a grim awe and I just wonder if the lambs were silent because they just didn’t know one another. Sometimes you’re out with a bunch of people who know your friends and by some miserable stroke of luck (or inability to sprint first into a restaurant) you are seated next to people you’ve only met that evening. There is small talk happening that peters away to silence as you wait for food to arrive. Now this silence is no ordinary silence. It is heavy and prickly and so painfully awkward you want to breathe louder just to break it. But after fidgeting and pretending to be unduly interested in the cutlery, someone begins to talk of the weather and you join in with such gusto and feign such interest and knowledge about weather patterns in your area and around the globe that one could mistake you for the local news’ weather person.

5.  The Inconsiderate Question – At times you’re cruising along on a different frequency in your head when someone is talking to you. But your expression is a ninja: such concentration, such dedication lines your face that the speaker actually feels helium balloons of joy floating within him or her for the unadulterated attention. And just when everyone is happy: you in your wonderful world far away and the speaker in fervently regaling you with their super-important story, out of nowhere, the speaker asks you a question. The droning is cut off and you realise something is amiss. In panic you try to tune back to the frequency of the speaker. But you can’t. The speaker’s eyes are on you. Expectant. Waiting.

“So what do you think?”

Your heart is hammering. There are two choices in front of you:

a) Admit your folly. And watch as the speaker mentally castrates you.


b) Try and wing it by saying something like, “I think that is great!”

Of course this has a 50% chance of working. I mean if the speaker is talking about how she accidentally killed a woman while driving drunk the previous night, I’m guessing that is not an appropriate response.

6.  The Poor Eyesight Tragedy – This is specific to people who have poor far vision and refuse to or forget to wear glasses. You’re walking along happily in the office, in the park, or on a street and you spot a shape: it’s blurry, has two legs and black hair with dark clothes. You smile in delight and think to yourself, that’s Mike!

“Hey Mike!” you shout out and wave.

Now Mike is close enough and you realise to your utter horror that it is a complete stranger with red hair, bright yellow clothes and that the stranger is a woman. You have no option but to lower your raised hand on your head, look up and around and shout, “Can someone get me a mic? I’d like to begin my speech now. Mic! Mic!”

Then there is the flip side. You’re walking along happily in the office, in the park, or on a street and you spot a shape: it’s blurry, has two legs and black hair with dark clothes. You smile in delight and think to yourself, that’s Mike! But then you remember the last time you had thought it was Mike and how embarrassing that had been. So you stare long and hard at the blurry shape and suddenly look away and pretend not to know him as you pass him by. But then as you walk past him you realise he is staring at you with a hurt expression. Because of course it is Mike!

And now there is nothing you can do. Mike thinks you’re a jerk. End of friendship.



The Spectacular Nature Of Dust.

A friend told me something the other day that got the cogs in my head working overtime.

He said, “We are here for no greater purpose than to eat, fuck and procreate. In this grand, big universe we are nothing. We are dust.”

His words seeped in slow, stirring up thoughts like fingers caressing leaves as they go.

I mulled over the first sip of his words and rolled the meaning around. For some reason, it didn’t feel true to me. A little like when you see a reflection of yourself in a mirror, but the reflection is off in some slight, barely noticeable way. I believe his words to be untrue. But then again the operating word here is ‘believe’. I believe we have a purpose, and that even though our form isn’t constant, we are a constant contributor to the universe in one way or another.

But, let’s say for the sake of a rich, fluid discussion that what he said is true. That there is no larger meaning for our existence in the universe. This theory assumes that meaning holds a gigantic footprint, that it can be found only in cosmic proportions. This theory rises upon a foundation that believes meaning can’t exist in a world of dust because of its inherent nature. But the thing is, dust has meaning too. Dust makes up stars and asteroids and planets and all things in between.

We are dust. And in between our ‘job’ of eating, fucking and procreating, we find ways to create art, we find ways to touch each other, we find ways to face immovable defeat with a fluid strength, we find ways to mould our children into more than just our evolutionary legacies, we create meaning from dust, and perhaps meaning is just that: the distance between you and me and how we touch each other’s lives.

This meaning comes in small but sure instalments, not a supernova moment of galactic realisation where the entire universe bends in a space-time continuum towards us. No, we are a part of a small part of a whole and within that part we create meaning out of our existence, even if it is layers and layers of minuscule, fine particles. If we are dust, what spectacular dust we are! Perhaps that is all the purpose we need. For the time that we play, and live, we reach out in a way that means something to someone.

Cosm(et)ic Confusion

When make up products seem even more made up than, well, usual. My brain goes into overdrive and the result is: sarcastic confusion.

One would think that since this is my first post, I would elaborate on the blog title. One would be wrong. That discourse shall come in due course. For now, there is the following:

I’ve always been a bit of an oddball when it comes to the girly stuff. Not that I look down upon it. Nope. Nada. But I do find cosmetic products churned out of corporate greed exploiting our insecurities and fears as women hilarious. It’s hard to believe that my dull face will cause me to lose good friends, or that the dark colour of my skin will cause me to be forever alone and make me less likely to get a good job, and of course, without that amazing anti-ageing cream that I ought to start using at the age of two, I will look like a wrinkly monkey by eighteen. Call me a special case of rhino hide, but I cannot bring myself to use these products. Not that I don’t have my fear points. Hell, I wear kohl just to avoid interrogations: ‘are you sleepy?’ ‘are you sick?’ ‘are you sad?’ ‘are you sleepy, sick and sad?’ ‘No…that’s just my face.’ And then, there is awkwardness.

Recently a bunch of girlfriends at work were exchanging some heavy duty information on the products they use, the brands, what product works, what sucks ass, yada, yada, yada.

Now, paint me regular and slap on the sticker of conventional, but I’m still stuck in the age where at max. you have different creams for your face and body. I had no idea that there were several other sub and sub sub and sub sub sub divisions that had cropped up. And that is why the above mentioned information exchange was an exercise in eye-popping, mouth-opening wonderment for me.

Below is the list of products that have floated out of the shiny, glossy, photoshopped catacombs of cosmetico land, that I cannot understand for my dear life:

1. Hand cream – Because your hands are different from your feet and arms and face. You use hands for so many different things, and your face for a whole, separate world of different things. For instance, would you shake your face with someone else’s face? No. You would use hands. Would you slap another hand with your face? You could, but no. You would rather use your hand on another face, that’s just good sense. So obviously, like duh-ly, you need a separate cream for your hands. I wonder what happens if you use hand creams on your face? Does a little hyper R and D guy at L’Orbellinacome drop dead due to anxiety?

2.   Face mist – Because well who doesn’t want a fog just for their face? I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted a mist to exclusively hover on my face just as I see someone I’m allergic to! Imagine your ex sauntering over to you looking all beefed up from that vacation in Cancun with his new honey bun (you’ve stalked him on Facebook and that bitch put all his pictures on public display because he knows you will stalk him). All you have to do is pull out your little bottle of mist and spray it over your face and all of a sudden, there is zero visibility. You are safe. Thank you, make up innovation.

3.  Cuticle cleaner – Because your cuticles deserve the best. Who came up with the word cuticles anyway? It sounds like cute testicles…what were they doing at the time really? Anyway etymology aside, clean cuticles I thought would be a function of bathing. And unless you work through the day dipping your hands in sewers, chances are your cuticles are not going to get that filthy from one bath to the next. But hey, this product might actually work better for cute testicles.

4.  Sheet Masks – Who doesn’t want to channel their inner phantom of the opera spirit from time to time? What ever happened to good old fashioned face masks? Ever feel anti-social on a day where people want you going woot-woot? Call them to your house, turn off the lights and then scare them wearing this mask. Not only will they leave you alone, you will have great skin after. Win-win.

4.  Body mist – now this one doesn’t really shock me, it’s been around for a while to seem normal enough. But I do remember thinking to myself, what the heck is the difference between a body mist, a deodorant, a roll on and a perfume. And also if you use a face mist and body mist together is it called a person mist? Because then you ought to be a fuzzy cloud moving through life. Anything less is a naming exercise in over-promising.

5. Lip oil – They should be careful about using oil in the name of anything. USA might decide to give them freedom. But seriously what is lip oil? What happened to lip balms and chapsticks? More importantly if you make out with oil on your lips, are you spreading the love, or the oil? Maybe we need a new song titled, “That oily feeling called love.” And get Bush to sing it!

6. Nail Concealer – Because nowadays people don’t look at your face. They come upto you, grab your hand and look long and hard at your nails. Much like a morning assembly at a Convent school. A nail concealer is for those who want to hide the imperfections on their nails. Because when you use a microscope to look at your nails, you see mountains and valleys and ridges and tiny aliens living there. So you have to conceal all that shit. Hence, nail concealer.

Now these are the things that I know of, I’m sure there is a host of other stuff that defies imagination and logic. But I’m pretty sure the next things to come into the market, if they already don’t exist, are: upper neck cream, middle neck cream, lower neck cream, navel mist, arm sheet masks, hoo-haa perfumes, big toe oil, waist lipstick and eyelash dew. Coming soon to a store near you!