High vis vests on chip shop duty

This week thousands of kids will return to educational establishments all across the Metropolis. Teachers will try and locate their high vis vests from under a mountain of red and green pens, dried out glue sticks and books hidden from the evil eye of the senior manager. When did this fashion trend begin? And why?

I cannot remember a single teacher in my kindergarten, primary or secondary school sporting a high vis vest. Not on trips and not in the playground, nowhere. But then again I was educated in a different country. Until a few years ago, a high vis vest was something I associated with a building site or a road trip through Europe where certain countries make it mandatory to carry those vests in the car.

In terms of educational establishments I recall first seeing tiny people on trips walking around in them. Maybe to make it easier for the teachers to spot their little ones. These days however, teachers are made to wear them and they have to wear them not only on trips but also in the playground and now, get this, inside the building whilst on duty. Yes, I worked in a school where we had to wear them whilst on duty inside the building. Why? Apparently, so that students knew they could approach us. As if this vest makes you more approachable or gives you some sort of credibility. No idea. The few times I didn’t wear mine, guess what? Nothing! Nothing happened. I still did my duty and students still approached me. They are not stupid. They spot a grown up with or without a high vis inside a building.

Now, don’t you think that all teachers have the same high vis vests! Nope. That would be too easy. There is a clear hierarchy like everywhere else in educational establishments. The higher up in the feudal system, the cooler your vest. To be clear it turns into a proper jacket, not some flimsy little vest. No, no, no. And in some places you even get a Walkie-Talkie. How cool is that? You can feel like you work on some undercover mission speaking to other agents trying to maintain law and order. Only difference, everyone can see you and because you wear the big boss high vis jacket, nobody will mess around near you. 

As I stated earlier this fashion trend is not just reserved for inside the building or the playground. It’s for all of you to enjoy because the owner of the high vis vest tends to stroll out of their establishment, either of free will or because it‘s part of their duty. Pay attention next week, around 3.30 and 4 in the afternoon. High vis vests will parade down a high street near you. Like trendsetters on the catwalk. On occasions they have been spotted near the entrances to underground stations, near bus stops and even inside chip shops telling students to go home, tuck their shirts in, wear their blazer … 

Hm, let me overthink this…

#felicityfauxpas #observationsfromthemetropolis #highvisvest #duty #teaching

A licence to be bored

Recently I got a lot of emails asking to pay my tv licence and this made me angry. For three reasons. Firstly, I know I have paid for it. Secondly, it’s a nasty email. Someone thinks I will enter my details and boom they have access to my account. And thirdly, this tv licence annoys me. I do not watch much live tv or whatever else they list on their website. I checked and they take this tv licence very seriously. I wish upskirting or assault were taken this seriously.

One of the FAQ on their website is how do the detector vans work? This sounds very 1984 stuff. Detector vans? What’s going on here? This detector van clearly malfunctioned when 14 years ago I was harassed by the tv licence police. They repeatedly sent me letters and I kept letting them know I did not own a tv and I did not watch live tv. They ended up at my door and I was happy to show them that there was no tv style equipment in my house. I was a single parent doing bloody teacher training. All teacher training survivors will agree, there is no time for tv, radio, fun, entertainment. Adding a 5 year old, there is no time for anything. They finally accepted that I was a weirdo who did not indulge in soaps and sport and left me alone. Going back to the detector van or gadgets, I feel the BBC needs to start using their bias detector a bit more on themselves looking at recent political coverage.

I now pay for a TV licence but it still annoys me because I don’t see the value of it. £157.50 for what? I don’t watch much live tv but I use online streaming services which I already pay for. How ridiculous is this? The news coverage is not worth much compared to other international stations. I think my family in continental Europe watches more BBC world service than I watch BBC. I am financing their tv! Another thing that winds me up is the money they pay to some of their “top people”. I don’t think those sums are justified. This is TV we are talking about, not brain surgery. From what I have heard, they are sometimes also stuck in some medieval sexist mindset, conveniently forgetting to pay ladies the same as men. It’s 2020 guys, wakey, wakey. 

Just glancing over their programme today makes me cry. I can watch something about a nature reserve, selling antique goodies, cooking, gardening or a soap. Hm, a bit disappointing. If I stay up until after my self-imposed bedtime, I might be able to watch something of interest but it’s too late. Last year I went to a festival and some tv licence funded lady told us that they use a matrix to analyse what people watch and apparently this was very accurate. This matrix helps them to cater for our tv needs. Well, I must not fit on this matrix because the stuff I want to watch is nowhere to be seen. Where are the serial killers, human rights documentaries, real sex scences including period sex and programmes about sharks?

My TV licence fees go to some overpaid tv personality ensuring they can build an extension to their kitchen. At least they should use my fee to invest in a training session on questioning. (I can run this session, I have done it for teachers. Just contact me.) Some of their journalists really let us down. If any teachers questioned the way those journalists questioned politicians during the COVID-19 crisis, OFSTED would have a field day and wipe the floor with our lesson plans. Pathetic. Hm, let me overthink this…

#licencefee #letmeoverthinkthis #felicityfauxpas #observationsfromthemetropolis #moneydownthedrain #tv #licencetobebored

Bystander

This collage was inspired mainly by the book “A new earth” written by Eckhart Tolle and given to me by a very good friend. He hits the nail on the head when referring to our active pain-body that wants to renew itself through experiencing more pain. We keep reminding ourselves of events that caused pain, telling ourselves “if no one will listen, I will listen to myself in my head.” By doing so, we keep creating pain we experienced in the past, keeping the pain going. This has an effect on our emotional and physical health. He suggests, we break this cycle and start living in the here and now.

Tolle proposes that we let go of roles assigned to us by society and this is what I found the most striking. From the day we are born, we are given roles and we mostly play up to them. We follow the script. The more we identify with those roles the more inauthentic we become. We create suffering for ourselves.

Having read Tolle’s book I stumbled across a TED talk entitled “Stop being a bystander in your own life”. I found it very enjoyable to watch. It is short and snappy. No nonsense. Tracy Edwards reminds us that life is messy and that a so-called teenage misfit can very well be successful if they persevere. Her story was very encouraging.

I brought the book, talk and my own experiences together in this collage which I entitled “Bystander” combining the expected life and often lived reality with the wishful and hopefully achieved version of life.

#bystander #eckharttolle #anewearth #tedtalk #tracyedwards #collage #felicityfauxpas #observationsfromthemetropolis

OSA – Outdoor sleepover aversion

Last week many of us died of Fremschämen when Esther McVey released her wreckage of a video. That was some weapon’s grade cringe material. Many had already done what she suggested. Opt for a staycation. Some people left the Metropolis behind, in excited search of nature and campsites. There is nothing wrong with staycations but camping. Nein, nein, nein. I suffer from outdoor sleepover aversion. It’s self-diagnosed. It’s not treatable. It’s genetic.

I remember two experiences with outdoor sleeping. My first one when I was about 8. I had a sleepover at my friend’s datscha. Her parents declared that we would be allowed to sleep in the tent in her garden. Even then, I thought this was a terrible idea. Nevermind, I tried. By midnight, I had snug back into the datscha for an acceptable sleeping arrangement.

Fast forward and I am a mum living in England where camping and festival culture are embraced. I bought a tent, attempted to motivate myself to take my daughter camping and that’s it. The tent remained a virgin and was sold again. I had failed to treat my OSA. Plus, My daughter wasn’t fussed either. In fact, she called camping something I cannot even repeat here as to not cause offence. Clear proof that OSA is genetic. As is a big mouth.

I tried to frame my reality to make it fit the camping mainstream but I was unsuccessful. My urge for a clean, dry and warm bed, easy access to electricity, a huge breakfast buffet was and remains too strong. Bugs, cold, rain, lack of water and toilets are no trade-off for comfort. People and discomfort make a hideous hybrid. I dislike both.

One of my clients summed it all up the other day. She stated she would only go camping if there was someone who paid for her glamping and carried her across the mud. She is right. A decision against something is always a decision for something else. My something else is a three day stay in a lovely hotel. Happy staycation everyone.

#camping #staycation #discomfort #felicityfauxpas #observationsfromthemetropolis

Human Capital Stock

What a weird phrase? That’s what I thought a few weeks ago when I first heard it in an American interview. Just say it out aloud: HUMAN CAPITAL STOCK. That’s all of you guys who are employed. You are human capital stock. You are digits on a balance sheet.

Imagine being 21 and working in a place that pays £8.20 for an hour of work. Now imagine being 18 and getting £6.45 or being 16 and getting £4.55 for the same work. Let’s add another layer to this. Your employer lets you know each Sunday around 10pm when and how many hours you are working in the following week. It’s a chaotic nightmare. An awful reality. But it is the reality for many people in the Metropolis.

Several points wind me up about this reality. Firstly, how are people meant to live on £8.20 per hour? The inconvenient fact is, that this would make £328 per week in the Metropolis? Secondly, why do 18 year olds earn even less than that? Last time I checked, landlords, electricity companies and supermarkets did not have different rents, charges or prices for different age groups. Thirdly, what’s with those crappy 0 hour contracts? This is some devilish invention which works in favour of the boss.

How can you ever plan on a 0 hour contract? Such practises should be banned. If a business cannot plan ahead then its not worth running. If a business does not make enough money to pay proper wages and also apply decent working conditions, then it is a self-indulgent hobby and not a business. Give people a proper contract or do the bloody work yourself. 

How do we as a society allow this to happen? What bothers me is how people defend this short changing of employees. And no, I don’t accept the excuse of “well it’s great for students” or the other one “young people live at home”.

No! If one group gets exploited, then they come for you next. Those people are contaminated by greed. People who justify those terms are often the very people who build their lives on the back of the low paid human stock capital on very insecure working arrangements. Supermarket workers or delivery drivers keep stuff running for those people justifying the pittance of money given in exchange. Nannies and cleaners who have the backs of those apologists who climb up the career ladder and drink a cocktail after work which equals two hours work for their human stock capital.

Have you ever heard of the LOW PAY COMMISSION? The name tells you all there is to know. They advise the government each year on the national minimum wage and the national living wage. They don’t make this up airy fairy. No, they use the median wage to make recommendations. From this we know many of us do not earn enough.

Where is the outrage over the age restrictions? Where are the marches outside Parliament contesting those wages and working conditions? Where is the noise from underpaid teenagers, parents, trade unions, political parties? The silence is deafening.

The system is messed up when big businesses charge you half an hourly wage for a coffee and then don’t pay taxes. The system is messed up when we need a commission with the name Low Pay Commission. The system is messed up when some of us think it is acceptable to pay the very people who give us the freedom and time to pursue our careers such crappy wages in return.

#observationsfromthemetropolis #felicityfauxpas #0hourcontract #minimumwage #humanstockcapital

Double generosity

How come in a country ranking amongst the top 10 economies, we have to run in circles to fund what in less well off countries is considered standard? And how come we celebrate this as a success when surely it is a sign of government failure?

We all pay tax. I hope. Well, I know we don’t. Big business get a discount or conveniently negotiate their own tax rate. I propose we should all join into this tax avoiding conference. Let’s start by negotiating our own tax rate every year. Imagine being able to do that. That would be something but no. Instead we pay tax and then donate more money because big businesses got away with not paying tax in the Metropolis. We are doubly generous. What’s not to celebrate?

Years ago, I worked in a school where the students organised a fundraiser for incubators for the local hospital. Let me repeat this: They were doing a fundraiser for incubators. In a rich country. Kids made sure babies wouldn’t die. We clapped for those kids. Yes, it is admirable. But, why don’t we teach the kids to hold our government to account? Why not demand that our tax money is spent on incubators rather than weapons, war, non-existent bridges or plane decorations? Donations and fundraisers are almost second nature to many people. Money is handed out without questioning why society has to donate when we already paid tax.

All over the Metropolis, people suffer from Stockholm Syndrome and bake cakes to fund school equipment, run in circles to buy hospital gadgets, grow beards, give up drinking, wear silly costumes … the list goes on. All the while they smile and clap for each other, completely caught up in this mental prison of fundraising. And you know who is smiling too? Big business and government because they know they can rely on the big society to care. Hm, let me overthink this…

#felicityfauxpas

#observationsfromthemetropolis

#donations

#fundraising

#charity

#tax

En route to the parental asylum

Imagine having kids these days. You are either broke or insane. Or very likely both.

If your little one is pre-secondary age, you will have to endure kids’ parties. Back in the olden days, there was a sort of rule. Number of years equals party people. You turn 5, there will be a party for five. Forget that. Nowadays, the whole class is invited. Even if you think this is crazy, you will be guilt-tripped into it. Here is an inconvenient fact, that’s 30 parties per year. 30 Saturdays straight in the bin.

Not only do you have to get your kiddo to the party. No. More often than not you are expected to show face and smile along this charade, too. How awful. The epicentre of suicidal thoughts. What’s even worse, sometimes, there is no alcohol at those parties in the Metropolis. Some people on Fantasy Island are convinced that drinking in front of small people will turn the cutie pies into deviant alcoholics. This reminds me of a holiday in Malaga where the playground had a bar for the parents. Thank you. Similar arrangements exist in some German towns. That’s what I call family friendly.

Gone are the days of subcontracted weekend childcare, when you would drop your small person at a party and zoom home for some uninterrupted extra-curricular activities and then zoom back just in time for the party parents to not call social services for forgetting to pick up your child.

Imagine having two or more kids. Game over. You are a kids’ party captive. The asylum is calling.

The pain continues in later years. In some places Year 6 kids have prom. Why? When did primary schools jump onto the prom bandwagon? What exactly is being celebrated? I have no idea. The worst is yet to come. Once your teenager hits year 11, discussions about prom and your financial contributions will start. I was delighted when my little Prima Donna refused to attend her prom after one friend kept asking about her pre-party, prom and after-party outfits. Add hair and make-up and in some areas a chauffeur driven car and you have to consider remortgaging your home in order to sponsor this self-indulgent event. What if you have failed your GCSEs? What would you be celebrating?

In my eyes this is utterly ridiculous. Where are the days when you had a secret house party with your mates whilst your parents were away for the weekend. You ended up drinking most of their alcohol for which they did not give you a three hour lecture on the evils of drinking. Or, if you were more paranoid, you would top up the bottles with water in the illusion that your parents would not notice. In the morning you would have a last minute Blitz clean. When your parents walked in, you would sit at your desk looking studious with your books upside down. Neither you nor your parents would comment on this deception because let’s face it, everyone had a great time. Them and you. Nobody died and nobody got pregnant. Those were the days. Hm, let me overthink this.

#felicityfauxpas

#observationsfromthemetropolis

#kidsparties

#prom

#parenting

#parentalasylum

News flash – news crash

Breaking news: … unless you are in the Metropolis… Because here we do not have breaking news. 

The other day I turned on a Qatar based news channel and hear, hear or better see, see news were delivered. By real journalists. Asking difficult questions. No celebrity gossip, no mid-level politician rambling their way through a scripted interview, no nonsense. Here was a mixing desk of information.

I learnt about someone being put on trial for human rights violations in Timbuktu. I was told that some African museums lack artefacts because those artefacts have been taken to Europe. There was talk about the military presence of several countries in the South China Sea. I was educated about the conflict over oil in Libya.

I witnessed real interviews with scary questions and without this contaminated unicorn fluff applied to appease people. No. Guests had a meaningful debate, like mature grown ups. They showed respect for other people’s ideas. Those guys were not tone deaf. It was fascinating and refreshing. I sat watching 30 minutes with my mouth wide open. Then I remembered that those sorts of new programmes used to be shown here in the Metropolis but they have been banished by someone years ago. Hm, let me overthink this.

#observationsfromthemetropolis

#felicityfauxpas

#breakingnews

#newsflash

#journalism

Hostage of small talk

Small talk must be the biggest misapplication of language. Inauthentic chitter chatter to fill the silence truly annoys me. I have zero tolerance for mind numbing talk about the weather or food. Small talk scores equally as high as having to look at someone’s holiday photos. I lack empathy and interest. I refuse to be hostage of small talk.

The worst offenders of pseudo talk can be found in supermarket queues and on public transport. What is meant to be polite conversation about irrelevant topics makes my blood boil. No, I don’t want to share how my day was. No, I am not interested in what you will be cooking tonight. No, I do not care where you are going. I just want to be. Here. Undisturbed.

I have no urge to indulge in a Petri dish of linguistic and emotional nothingness. When conversation is meaningful and about politics, human rights, sex, puppies or a revolution, please count me in. Small talk?! Forget it! It’s not that I lack small talk skills. I simply hate it. My selfish gene does not care about someone’s momentary thought. Hm, let me overthink this …

#observationsfromthemetropolis

#felicityfauxpas

#letmeoverthinkthis

#smalltalk

The combat zone of socialising

After last week’s announcement that pubs and restaurants have permission to reopen and social distancing is reduced to one metre, I ended up in a cold sweat. Reduce social distancing? Nein danke. I need an increase or at least unchanged terms and conditions. My new found idea of social distancing in the Metropolis is a hedge, a door or a wall. Yes, a wall is good for someone like me who has grown up behind one.

The thought of getting in contact with people might illuminate some people’s mood but not mine. Am I the only one who thinks hell is other people? Are there others out there with an innate desire for solitude? Where are you guys? Ha, what a stupid question?! You are hiding like me. This is why we have never met. Let’s keep it like that.

How people enjoy socialising remains an enigma to me. I don’t mind a glimpse through the window, followed by a nod but people in my face without some sort of buffer zone? No, no, no. I did not need to shift gear to social distancing, I was already holding a master’s degree.

My inner hermit wants to stay in my enchanted exile. I go dizzy thinking about invitations to various social events. I am also anxious about all the things that come along with people. Self-correcting behaviours, sanitised speech, wearisome small talk, deciphering facial expressions, avoiding offence. All in the midst of noise. I can no longer adapt to the onslaught of so called fun.

In the combat zone of socialising I want to be the geek in my parents’ basement. Hm, let me overthink this…

#felicityfauxpas

#observationsfromthemetropolis

#letmeoverthinkthis

#socialising

#people

In defence of the maverick

Walk on the left, report this, be that. Rules, restraints, restrictions. They can be found all over the metropolis. And so can the conformists. It’s a sad sight. Tired looks and worried eyes like skeletons haunted by the ghosts of expectations. Why? Why bother following the crowd? What is there to gain from a conformist lifestyle? Oh, I know. Safety, safety and more safety.

When youngsters ask me what advice i would give them, my answer is to ignore advice and what this means to me is: make mistakes, take the gap year, date the weirdo, hand in your notice, do what feels right. Rip up the tick sheet of expectations, together with the timescale for when you should have achieved which milestone. And do this quickly.

It pays to be an individual free of the chains of a prescribed life. I fully advocate living as a maverick. In the metropolis too much time is wasted on other people’s ideas. Embrace your own. It takes bravery to dissent, to be original and rebellious but its worth it. You are worth it. They even say so on tv.

Whilst we are busy living the expected life, another life zooms past us like a fighter jet. Be the pilot of that fighter jet and swap it for a kite. Then go up and down and enjoy the wind. Fly off script. The rebels are happier. Released from the prison of monotony, they live in the here and now.

Just imagine being freed from the shackles of financial, emotional and social expectations. What is left when you strip away the possessions via which so many in the metropolis define themselves? When you take away that which you cannot buy? That’s when the mavericks come in. Bosses despise them for it is the mavericks that can demand attention from a crowd and organise a union. Partners try to change them them for they destroy the dream of owning possessions.

When I see a maverick my heart jumps. Look around the metropolis and spot them. They are mad, adventurous, VERY, eccentric, radical, courageous and they are kind to themselves. What’s not to love? They wear unconventional clothes, give a damn about silly rules which are meant to keep us underlings in place. They do not care about class and social convention. They speak their minds and swear doing so. How wonderful, how inspiring!

The maverick holds up the mirror to society and there the conformists see what they don’t dare to be and therefore hate and admire at the same time. Hm, let me overthink this…

#Maverick

#Conformist

#Observations from the metropolis

#Felicityfauxpas

#Overthinking

Making love to your car

On my recent walks through the Metropolis I witnessed several people engaged in a sunshine obsession. Making love to your car. The culprits seem to be men. Great care is taken to ensure every centimetre of the car‘s surface is caressed as if it was a beautiful woman. Porn film directors could use this as a professional development study. There is a lot to learn here.

Most men use a variety of products which could rival a teenage girl‘s beauty product collection. Bottles of green and pink magic potions are applied. The vehicle’s skin is lavishly shampooed and conditioned and rigorously polished. The bonnet, like a curvy bum is eyed up from different angles, then polished a tad more for good measure. It’s a wonderful display of affection, attention and love. Sadly it’s directed at a thing. A car is a thing. It’s purpose is to take you from A to C via B and back.

Car wash laypeople like me think the rain will do the job on the outside. On the inside a six monthly look around combined with a nice air freshener on the rear view mirror will suffice. No need to for a 45 minute love-making session. But the hardcore car wash guys take this to degree level. Washing a car becomes a concerted event. A car must be freed from the dust of the Metropolis. It needs to shine in sterile splendour, like a virgin car fresh from the showroom. Looking at some of the guys involved in this prolonged intimacy session one would hope that they spend equal amounts of time, money and attention on the cleanliness of their body, beard and hair and their partner.

The more expensive the car, the more endurance the owner shows in cleaning it. We should find out whether the same level of scrutiny is given to the cleaning of the toilet or oven? Mostly the car appears to be clean anyway so what’s the point? This reminds me of women who clean the house before the cleaner arrives. Why would you do that? Such idiocy is incredible.

Back in the olden days, when I was little, you used to see kids and dads clean cars together. Today, that’s a no no. In the Metropolis this has become an exclusively male activity. Personally, I feel washing a car is like cleaning shoes. Pointless. A waste of energy. If the owner of the car or the wearer of the shoes is a firecracker all attention will be on them anyway. Nobody will notice the car or shoes. Hm, let me overthink this …

#makinglovetoyourcar

#carwash

#felicityfauxpas

#observationsfromthemetropolis

#car

From stardom to boredom

Recently the online metropolis was blessed with contributions by rich nonentities. Those people are often referred to as celebrities. According to the dictionary the means they are famous people. Now, according to me they are people with huge attention deficits. We had Wonder Woman looking rather average woman singing songs to cheer us up during a global pandemic. Thank you, but no thanks. A rich 20 something feeling the need to share his lockdown difficulties online and one singer letting us have a bath with her acting odd. Not today please. This is what happens when the majority of people have bigger fish to fry than paying attention to the previously mentioned.

Now who gets to join the celebrity club? Which route leads to fame? For those of you who have not found a career yet or would like a career change, there are lots of ways to stardom.

If you are talented try singing, acting, some high profile sport or go on a tv show. Lack of talent can be compensated with a high score in the looks department. You could also try moving into a house with strangers for full exposure on every level and behaving as outrageously as possible wearing as little as possible. Others use the gaming, vlogging or insta pathway to success. Zero talent people do not despair, if you are up for sexual intercourse with an established celebrity even you could be a winner. And remember if that celebrity is already married, success is guaranteed.

I suppose each generation has had its celebrities. Today‘s problem though is that they appear everywhere and offer very little talent. Or maybe there are just too many of them. To be fair, some famous people are awesome and from time to time supply entertainment but most are pointless. And they know it, especially now, when they have less exposure.

I feel a huge surge of celebrity inspired products coming our way. More autobiographies written by people who left school five minutes ago, more workout shows from already skinny females, additional cook and baking advice filmed in kitchens that resemble banquet halls, some more overpriced make-up or perfume. The really desperate ones will invite us to their dating and mating activities, show off their pregnancies three minutes after conception followed by a post-pregnancy glamour shoot all ending in a high profile divorce for which they pay their lawyers three times what average couples earn in a year. Some might feel the urge to remind us that they have donated huge sums of money to whatever cause and we shall clap because it’s really difficult to give away £20,000 when you are a multimillionaire and your accountant is cleverly and legally storing your money in tax havens.

Hm, let me overthink this…

#observationsfromthemetropolis

#felicityfauxpas

#celebrity

#fame

Curvilicious

The sun tickles our noses and thousands of people in the metropolis go into diet frenzy. Google is consulted in search for the quickest way to make half your body disappear. Calories are counted faster than you can say fat.

Co-workers start skipping into the office with green slush in fancy containers showing off the latest weight monitoring app. This dieting thing is for people who can sit all day. Imagine working in a job that requires muscle power. You couldn’t just look at yogurt and call it breakfast, then work without collapsing. A diet kills people, slowly from the inside. Whilst you commit this prolonged suicide you turn on the people around you.

During diet season all fun disappears, boring zombies are created. When you meet your friends for dinner, they will tell you they didn’t eat all day so that they can be allowed to eat now. Allowed? How old are you? 4? Or they say they only want light dinner meaning a carrot waved over parmesan. Sprinkled with air, for the aroma. Same goes for when you invite people for brunch. One person will tell you, they are intermittent fasting and can’t eat till 2pm, the next person can’t eat dairy, another one won’t eat anything white. Just stay home and chew water.

The masochists of the metropolis rush to boot camp, weight loss programmes or fat burning classes to be shouted at, embarrassed and shamed. Why? If this happened to a child, we would all be calling social services, yet we let it happen to ourselves. Crazy. And worse still, we pay for it.

I suppose it’s not really a surprise in a culture driven by influencers and celebrities. They filter out their natural curves, hire nutritionists, personal trainers and chefs to look as if they have no access to food. Some folk might think they need to reduce their body fat. I say no. Keep the curves. They are an investment into your safety and happiness.

Think about it. You are less likely to get kidnapped. A kidnapper wants to make money. They don’t want to spend it on your food to keep you alive whilst waiting for the ransom. Ladies attract potential partners via their curves. It’s evolution. A skinny chef doesn’t look legit. You can’t trust them. Right? The higher your BMI, the more likely your friends will enjoy coming to your house, knowing there will be proper food, not those light or calorie reduced, taste bud killing bites, but real munchies.

I suggest, keep your money. Do not hand it over to the industry that turns us grumpy. Those mind twisters will buy themselves a mansion from the cash you throw away for diet products, monitoring apps and weight loss programmes. They don’t do this because they care, they want to build a kitchen extension. Ha, how ironic. They stop you from eating, so that they can eat more and better.

Let the smoothie police hang out with the white egg omelette squad and continue to indulge in high calorie food. Chuck the scales out of the window and wobble your curves. Hm, let me overthink this…

#curvilicious #observationsfromthemetropolis #felicityfauxpas #diet

This number is not recognised …

Do you remember the days when mobile phones were a novelty? No? Me neither. In the metropolis everyone seems to have a mobile phone. Some special people spearhead two devices. Last time I checked, I had only one mouth to talk with. Maybe their logic is: two ears, two phones. Who knows?

Just getting to the tube station is a wearisome obstacle race. Trying to avoid ruffians, who suddenly stop short to type a message or to take a selfie with their dog, must be one of the biggest grievances of modern times. Once you made it on the train, you have no rest either. People exhibit the latest mobile phone in pathetic fashion. Probably understandable considering that some folks spend fifty quit per month to be under 24 hour surveillance by boss people, family and friends. If you have it, you flaunt it.

Looking at the curled, unnatural position people sit in when operating their gadgets on the train, it is worth investigating the correlation between increased mobile phone usage and fortunes made by orthopaedist. No wonder there is a higher uptake of yoga classes in the metropolis. People’s spines need fixing.

One develops a monkey-mind trying to follow the screeching, whispering, shouting, chatting, giggling and serious talk around. Gone are the days when the only disruption was some cute granny trying to talk about her grandkids. Today, we learn about relationship break-ups, business deals, dinner plans and parents‘ evenings. Thanks for sharing.

Let’s be fair though, some people don’t use their phone for talking. Some watch Netflix but get offended when the rest of us try to get a good view too. Weird. Others are on Instagram, Facebook or snapchat snooping on people they don’t like and then upload a picture of a station to help their stalker. Some even try to find a lover for life or for a night. Maybe the last one had stuck around if they had not have to compete with a mobile phone. Let that sink in.

The other place where I lose my temper: restaurants. You meet up with people, yet you cannot wait for the flicker, beep or vibration which disrupts your face to face interaction. Crazy. I detest the rude conduct of people who indulge in their phone compulsion in restaurants. This really is a sign of self-sabotage, an own goal, if you will. Those people jeopardise real connections by allowing infinite intrusion. Sometimes I feel like tossing their phone into the dinner, if it wasn’t so expensive. The dinner that is. Just buy a take away, go home and talk to your screen. Let the rest of us eat in peace.

The mobile phone in the metropolis is a paradox. What aims to connect, results in disconnection. We are made to feel like oddities when we turn up at a social event without the electronic noose around our neck. Hm, let me overthink this …

#mobilephone #felicityfauxpas #observationsfromthemetropolis #connection #disconnection

Firewall flower

In the metropolis you find many social butterflies. Mixing and mingling without inhibitions in pubs and at parties. Their extrovert nature makes others feel drawn to them. The social butterfly enjoys the centre stage. Right now, they are suffering. And that is why they are terrorising people via Zoom or Skype. They are the ones who keep sending invitations to informal after work meet ups. Virtual meet ups! I call it cyber attacks.

Just come and join us with a drink? Join you? In my living room? With my beer? Informal? Nonsense! They will mention that it might appear awkward. Awkward indeed. They will also promise it is fun. Now, there is the problem. Fun. I don’t want fun. I am funny enough, thank you. Anymore fun and I will be all funned up and explode. Working online all day, having interrupted conversations which sound as if one of you gets electrocuted every few seconds because the WiFi keeps cutting out. And then, those Zoom champions want me to continue unpaid, in my free time, in my living room. Overtime fun. Nope, not happening. 

Those social butterflies have real difficulty getting accustomed to the sanctuary of home, to solitude and quiet. Their zoom invites cause many of us to have minor anxiety attacks. What’s the need for this fake socialising? Socialising apparently has benefits such as enhanced mental health, better self-esteem, a sense of purpose and meaning. Well, this maybe the case if you enjoy conversations about topics that don’t interest you, have too much time on your hands or like to be surrounded by people. 

An introvert is bored or even scared just thinking about such a scenario. Forget improved mental health. Hello hyperventilation. Meaningless conversations, having to pretend you care, laughing when others are laughing. This is a con job. I prefer to be an anti-social butterfly, separate from the Zoom and Skype crowd. I am fine behind my firewall imagining others über-funning. No validation needed here. I am a firewall flower. Hm, let me overthink this….

#firewall #wallflower #zoom #skype #socialbutterfly #antisocial #introvert #extrovert #observationsfromthemetropolis #felicityfauxpas

The tyranny of self-improvement

I noticed many people running and cycling through the metropolis and even more people perfecting new skills all in addition to maintaining mature relationships, healthy sex lives and home schooling the offspring. This is admirable and telling. I wonder why this surge in self-improvement and perfection seeking not just during lockdown but even 2020 P.L.D (pre-lockdown).

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Personally, I have more time because I am one of the lucky ones who can work from home. So at the moment I save a lot of time which I would normally travel through the metropolis. And I have to admit, when all this started I made a huge list of things to do. As time went on Netflix and Disney became more important and with it biscuits and tea. My neighbours used my list to roll a big joint and get the entire road high. Thanks for sharing. 

This got me thinking, do I need to complete a degree in psychology whilst on lockdown or do I need to attend evening classes to master a new skill A.L.D (after lockdown)? No. Neither do I need to get fit or become vegan or Buddhist or whatever. I need to become nothing.  Together with fitbits, calorie and step counting apps, many of us have bought into this self-improvement mentality which I dare say is new to our time. I can’t remember my grandparents ever scheduling running sessions, counting steps or learning something after work. What utter bs is this? Why do we do it? Why do we want to improve ourselves to death? Who told us we were not good enough? 

At work we have targets, we rush around all day, just about earning enough to pay our bills and in addition to this we invite apps into our life that hold us accountable even more. Like our bosses are not breathing and shouting down our necks already. Like we are not done yet. And now we need to validate ourselves by becoming OFSTED approved homeschool teachers, making fancy cakes and cooking three course meals whilst at the same time losing weight and learning three new languages. No thanks!

I start a rebellion right here. I am no longer a hamster in a wheel. Join my programme. I propose a self indulgence programme. Back to the past. When people came home from work, had a nice meal, a drink and just chilled out. Half a sit up in the morning to get out of bed and half a sit up at night to lie down again. In between, get through work without getting fired for shouting at the boss. Clock out after 8 hours. Join a union and support it. Leave the work phone at work, don’t check emails. No 50+ guys in lycra huffing and puffing to meet a self-set app controlled running target. No, let’s relax. Let’s chat to the neighbours, if you like that sort of thing. Go for a walk or sit on your arse, who cares? Let’s do nothing. Be off work and on life. Hm let me overthink this…

#felicityfauxpas #observationsfromthemetropolis #tyranny #self-improvement #self-indulgence

Puppy prince versus frog prince

Brothers Grimm please show me a woman who would kiss a frog? I am sorry, no! What I want to kiss is a puppy. Yes, a puppy not a frog. Ladies imagine this: having a man who turns into a puppy when you kiss him. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Win win, for all involved. The story we want to hear is the puppy prince not the frog prince.

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Once upon a time there was a glamorous and witty woman who had everything she needed. As every morning Kitty kissed her spectacular lover. He had been a great lover last night pleasuring her as he should and now it was time for him to be cute and fluffy. It was time for him to turn into a puppy. So she kissed him. Abracadabra he turned into the cutest, fluffiest, tail wagging puppy. 

With her invisible crown on her smiling head, Kitty set off to work in the metropolis. She loved her job and Mondays were not for frowning. On this marvellous Monday, Kitty stepped out in her summery dress and puppy followed her like an inexperienced dancer on a tightrope, flopping from one side to the other. What a wonderful puppy prince he was. She could take him to work. You can’t take your lover to work! That would be creepy but a cute puppy, everyone loves a cute puppy.

Puppy prince was perfect, he was a bomb. Not a dangerous one but one that makes your heart explode from happiness. The sort of bomb that does not need defusing. Oh yes by night, life was different. As soon as Kitty felt excited, she kissed puppy and abracadabra he turned back into human form. And now the fun started. Hm let me overthink this …

#felicityfauxpas #observationsfromthemetropolis #frogprince #puppyprince

Decent proposal

Guys, did you read the article about Instagram influencers being offered £10,000 to go on holiday with someone and possibly engage in extracurricular activities? I was shocked. Not because this is in some people’s mind an apparently indecent proposal, no, I was shocked because the influencers in question declined such an offer. Why would you do that? £10,000 that’s what I call a decent proposal. Decline £10,000 for a holiday in the sun and some ding dong. I don’t know about you but my suitcase, newly acquired British passport and lady bits are ready. When are we taking off?

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I was offended too. Yes. I went straight to my lover and said “Sexcuse me Sir, here is your backdated bill. You forgot to pay me.” I have been doing this all wrong. All the holidays we had, I paid 50% of the bills. Forget feminism and equal rights. I have been ripped off! Think about it, when was the last time you got paid to travel, relax and to visit the genital theme park? Seriously, I am disappointed in myself but no longer! From now on I can go on holiday with you but I need to charge. Hm, let me overthink this…

#observationsfromthemetropolis #payme #influencer #insta #felicityfauxpas

Hobby jobs, hubby jobs

A few month ago, I got an email from one of those co-working office spaces looking for new renters. In order to appear human, they included a selection of people who already rented an office. Each one offered a short bio next to their cute picture. A bio is one of those newborn personal introductions which have become fancy. It’s like an advertisement for yourself. Others have the chance to assess your coolness factor whilst you appear super-approachable and fun yet professional and grounded in your own zen.

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Anyway, I was astonished by the selection of jobs people have chosen to undertake. Every career adviser in schools would staple their ears to the wall if a 15 year old came up with those jobs. Thank god there aren’t many career advisers around anymore (lack of government funding but that’s another issue) or else the suicide rate amongst them would be as high as the bloody office building where you can rent a space.

Back to those jobs. Here we go: candle maker, clothes consultant, mindset facilitator, card maker or motivational speaker. Can you spot the pattern? Yes, they are all unnecessary. Imagine those jobs didn’t exist. The world would still be turning. I call those jobs, hobby jobs or rich hubby jobs. Why? Because they don’t pay bills. They require a financially stable background in disguise of a rich husband, lover or sugar daddy. They are also the sort of jobs that rely on rich clientele having too much money to waste on something unnecessary.

Let’s be honest, how many candles do you need to sell to afford an office in the west of the Metropolis and then pay your usual bills, such as mortgage, council tax, etc, etc, etc… An impossible undertaking. Unless of course, bills are already taken care off by someone else. Equally, how did people get dressed before the clothes consultant came around telling them that green and blue look like shite when worn together. Did they get fined regularly by the fashion police? Did they walk around naked? No, I doubt it. How did people get on with life without a motivational speaker?  How was anything invented or discovered without them? I know. People just got their act together, got up in the morning and got going. Life happened without those people with fake jobs on a self-finding mission. 

In the past those sort of things were hobbies for kids who had housewife mums. Now they have become respectable ways of stealing cash from people who have more money than sense. Maybe I am just ignorant. In fact, I am, because in my backyard you learn a real job with paperwork and proper qualifications. A job that in principle should make a difference in society and can pay the bills, unless you get one of those billionaire I put you on a zero hours contract bosses. 

Remember a few month ago when Jürgen Klinsmann had to provide details of the continued professional development sessions he had undertaken to keep his Hertha BSC job? This is the sort of next level stuff I am talking about. The guy who led Germany to a third place finish in the 2006 World Cup had to provide paperwork to prove he knew what this football coaching thing was all about. A candle did not cut it. No! Real certificates were needed to evidence the obvious. But, he did try his hand on clothes consulting, making the players walze around in real life  clothes rather than PE kit when not on the pitch. Good on you Klinsi. Hm, let me overthink this …

#letmeoverthinkthis #observationsfromthemetropolis #hobbyjobs #hubbyjobs

SUV or the socially unfit vehicle

The SUV sounds like a special unit in the FBI but it isn’t. The SUV must be one of the truly annoying spectacles in the metropolis. I admit I am not a car pro. Mostly I judge cars as I judge dresses by colour, cuteness and affordability. I had to google this SUV thing. Afterwards someone told me it’s not called SUV in Britain, but what the hell… Anyway, I found out that SUV stands for sport utility vehicle, a motor vehicle that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles. Okay?!

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My big question. Where in the metropolis are we in need of off-road features? I am not talking about countryside folk but townspeople. I get the first part about road-going passenger cars but off-road is what gets me. Off-road as in when those terminator style tanks use the whole road and half the pavement? Off-road as in when they park so close to your sensible sized car that you cannot open the door any longer? Off-road as in getting the kids to a school five minutes away from home?

Where is the need for those cars? What can they do that a normal car can’t? Can they fly? Can they cook? Can they entertain children? If not, there is no use for them in the metropolis. The drivers bug me too. When you ask them why they spend a fortune on such a monster, they will most certainly refer to safety. Theirs of course. Sadly, statistics tell us that an SUV more often than not causes terrible injuries when involved in accidents with children on the road.

Unsure how to handle such a space ship, some drivers can’t get into parking spaces and take over the whole road. Some of the shorter folks appear to steal their kiddo‘s booster seat once they have climbed into the tractor using a bloody ladder. Funny, how they pollute the air with those machines but then go home to cook hippie style food to make sure the little darlings are getting their organic dose of mash. And in ten years time they have to pick up the sulky teenager from the fast food chain restaurant, very likely in the next version of SUV obsession because the kid will find any other car a trigger for a social anxiety attack.  Hm, let me overthink this …

#suv #observationsfromthemetropolis #felicityfauxpas

Posh pets of the metropolis

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Those pets are no Heinz57 pets. They come with a traceable family tree comparable to those of medieval knights. The posh pets wear an invisible crown. In fact in some cases they sport a visible crown worth a small family car. They are used to underfloor heating and grooming. Tin food? Pardon me? No. Theirs is a diet of calorie and fat controlled meals cooked by self proclaimed celebrity chefs. Unlike the average pet who unwillingly checks in with the vet every now and then to top up on worm treatments and vaccinations, the posh pets also have a sitter, walker, masseuse, yoga teacher and psychologist. Some entertain their own instagram account and clothing line. I wonder whether their owners compete with them for likes? Hm let met me overthink this …

#poshpets #observationsfromthemetropolis #letmeoverthink #felicityfauxpas

Dangerous females of the metropolis

Years ago I went to the London Eye. Security waved me straight through. They thought a young mother with a child in a buggy cannot possibly be a dangerous person. Ha, how wrong they were. Mothers are seen as innocent and good people. They will care, look after us and soothe us to sleep. Beware of this mindset.

Mothers are extremely dangerous, and I am not talking about your mother in law. She is usually harmless. I am talking about mothers with kids between baby age and i hate you age. Those women you need to be afraid of. They suffer from serious sleep and sex deprivation. Not a good combination. If you want to stay alive, don’t cross them.

There is only one person more dangerous than the mother and that’s the teenage daughter. She will have a bitch switch. Cute and helpful one minute and evil and psychopathic the next. She is the female assassin. Make sure she does not know about your life insurance. There are new jeans in TopShop. She will want your money, mascara and bag. In that order. Don’t walk in front of her. You will accidentally fall down the stairs and mysteriously disappear. Her female friends will help her get rid of your body.

#letmeoverthinkthat #bitchswitch #teenagedaughter #mother #observationsofthemetropolis #felicityfauxpas

The walking dead app

Action words. The metropolis is full of them. Like in an awesome resume that will make you stand out. People are running, rushing, heading, launching and whatnot.  They lead, envision, increase, improve, manage but they don’t live. Everything is assessed in terms of efficiency. A pot of oats with super-berries gobbled down whilst walking to the train station. Women in trainers on their feet and heels in the office rush past you on the escalator. Work emails typed on the train. The tourist pushed out of the way, under the train. Special cycle outfits worn on bicycles. Apps tell you how much faster to walk, how much more water to drink, how many more steps to take. Everything is optimised and made efficient. No breath wasted on life. No app for living, no app for shagging, no app for fun. Hm, let me overthink this…

#walking dead #action words #appforlife #observationsfromthemetropolis #felicityfauxpas

Philosopher and thug

Ever been to a football match in the metropolis? It’s a great social experiment. An awesome psychological study into conformity and aggression.

I recently went undercover, which means I sat with the side I didn’t support. It gives you a bit of kick, like you are a spy or something. You need to be on high alert, no drifting off, because your fake team might score any second and you have to act like a real fan, like you care. Or, like in my case you need to get angry at the opponent who is really your team. If you fail to do so, suspicion arises and eyes will be on you rather than the ball. This is hard work. But it’s fun too. You get a real inside into a variety of future head coaches.

From the philosopher to the thug. I prefer the former, at least he is not going to bash your head in. He just thinks he knows a lot and will explain his grasp of the subject using a pleasant voice. The latter, oh dear, a scary creature. He knows a lot and wants to beat it into someone. He will attack anyone and anything appearing to do his team injustice. His is a full physical effort, each and every muscle in his face and body will be on alert and ready to tell everyone who does not want to know that grave mistakes have been made by the referee, the flag person running along the field, the coach, the players, the owner of the club, the sponsors, the masseuse and god knows who else. Next time you buy a ticket, be an undercover fan. Hm, let me overthink this …

#undercover #footballfan #headcoach #letmeoverthinkthis #felicityfauxpas #observationsfromthemetropolis

Parent WhatsApp groups

These days Metropolis parents often find themselves in WhatsApp groups. Why do they exist? Why are they encouraged? Who starts them and for what purpose? Why would you want to be in a group with 25 to 50 parents, some of them Über-parents. How do people even have time for this or better why do they make time for this? Forgotten PE kits, misplaced items of clothing, yet another birthday party, cake sales to fund whatever the government should be paying for. And the worst thing about them, you can’t just sneak out. There will be a public shaming as if you are neglecting your child. Let’s face it, most of the parents would not speak to each other if they didn’t have kids in the same class. Hm, let me overthink this …

#parenting #whatsappgroups
#observationsfromthemetropolis #felicityfauxpas

Soft opening, hard bill

Remember the old days when we used to enjoy feeding time in places that where not associated with our own kitchen? One thing I don’t miss is the invention of fake queues outside restaurants across the metropolis. You had to queue, not because there was some freebie to be had, no, no, no! It’s because restaurants won’t let you book a table. This would be too easy, too common sense and no we don’t do that. Common sense is so last century! We would rather make sure people stand outside our restaurants, so we can pretend everyone fancies our food and we are so hot.

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In those days you had to turn up and a 20something underpaid art student with green hair would jump at you with an iPad. They would excitedly ask you how they could help. Then, with a huge and insincere grin they would announce that there was a 50 minute wait. What is this rubbish? 50 minutes before you are seated, then add another 30 before you start eating. I call bullshit. Anyone who wants to take me to those places, no thanks, unless you turn up 80 minutes before you want to eat. Call me once you have a table. What a terrible waste of people’s time. But that wasn’t the only craze that drove me back to my own pots and recipe books.

The other madness to be found: soft openings. There used to be many soft openings in the metropolis. I was intrigued by the words soft opening. It sounded naughty. It sounded enjoyable. So, when I was told we were going to a soft opening, I thought hell yeah, I am going. Then I found out, it’s when a restaurant opens, or in this case re-opens after the chef, manager, cleaner, whoever changed. And during soft opening stuff is a bit cheaper. Until you arrive and you notice why everything is cheaper, it’s because it’s smaller, too. You have to order more. Ha, clever move this soft opening. To be honest, it’s a big pile of leftover garbage. Just open the bloody restaurant without some fancy pretend launch. It’s only food after all. Hm, let me overthink this …

#softopening #overpriced #fancyfood#letmeoverthinkthis#felicityfauxpas

The magic carpet kids

Have you noticed the magic carpet kids? They are all over the metropolis. You see them near schools around 9 and 3. Small creatures who appear to hover just above the ground. As if by magic they move from their residence to an educational institution and back. It’s astonishing. They don’t even have to operate their magic carpets. No, they have a mother mule for that. A mule that pulls their magic carpet, carries their bags and sometimes even pushes another little human in a buggy. What happened to walking or using a scooter unaided? Hm, let me overthink that.

#magiccarpet #mothermule #scooter #letmeoverthinkthat #felicityfauxpas #observationsofthemetropolis