A Special Level in Dante’s Inferno

Dante Alighieri wrote the famous epic poem, Divine Comedy, detailing a journey through Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. The narrator observes nine circles within Hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery.

Sidebar: I am glad that the word epic is finally dying out from common usage. It was bandied about too readily and usually used incorrectly. Unfortunately, it’s now been surpassed by “literally”. North Americans, your grammar and vocabulary is pathetic. I’m not a grammar Nazi. I just use it correctly. Most of the time.

Anyway.

Parents. More specific to this complaint, dad. Why? Why must you be so goddamn obtuse and frustrating? I mean in a tear-out-my-hair-grit-my-teeth-scream-incoherently kind of way. It’s torment, that you won’t listen to me. It’s so bad you could ring Dante and ask if he’d mind adding a tenth level to his Inferno.

1. Jump-starting the Corolla

I have a 1995 Toyota Corolla that is very inefficient, but did the job in my first degree. When the 29 year old was packing up to go live with her husband in Canada, she transferred the Prius to me. It is about twice as fuel efficient as the Toyota Corolla. When faced with the two options, I’ve chosen the more fuel efficient one. However, the battery went flat in the Corolla. Dad emailed a friend and got booster cables to jump start the car. It was pretty easy to get it going again, but why was it frustrating?

  • On way back from the run this morning, Dad tells me to relax, he’s had old cars before when he was younger and is quite familiar with jump-starting cars. I remind him to read the Prius guidebook. I googled the process myself, took a shower and went downstairs where a suspicious silence prevailed. I walked outside, and dad’s popped out most of the gear from the back of the Prius where the battery is, and has managed to damage the cap over the Prius battery. To be fair, it’s tricky, but don’t force it and nearly break the plastic! Fuck.
  • I get the plastic cap off, and we’re pushing the Corolla so that the cables can reach. I tell him to push it to line it up with the Prius, and he stops to ask me if we should ask our neighbour for help. Their garage door is opening. I say no, use what we have. After all, you can’t impose on someone else. But C is a nice neighbour and offers help when he drives up and sees our predicament.
  • There’s more cursing on my part with Dad’s refusal to listen to me when I tell him we need to shift the car to give C room and so the cars are more parallel. Look, this guy is being nice enough to help, just cooperate with me to make it easier for him to help us!!!!

Bullshit lots of practice. It’s exhausting.

2. Social Ineptitude

A couple our family knows has been immensely helpful and kind throughout the years we’ve spent in Australia. They’ve been welcoming, cooked for us, taken us to dinner, introduced us to other lovely people… very nice, overall. Anyway, Dad takes it upon himself to thank them for lending us some gear to fix up the house and re-grout the bathroom. He’s decided to do it with food. However, I have some suggestions.

  • Learn more than one dish to say thank you. Pizza is very well and good, but you’ve done it before. No one likes a one-trick pony. Besides, pizza doesn’t really say, “Thank you!” I think convention is usually baked goods of some kind. Or alcoholic beverages.
  • Timing. Why would you give a pizza to them after the event tonight? Or before? There’s a group of you tonight, so going to their house with a pizza is weird. Or you can do like you did, Dad, and invite them to dinner on the spur of the moment.
  • Do not spring it on them. Calling someone to say, “I’ve made you some dinner!” forces them to accept and possibly change plans they already have.
  • Language. Ok, I’m getting better with using expletives widely, but I mean language generally. If you must invite them to dinner an hour and a half before you all go to meet up with more friends, then don’t use the words, “Can you tell [your wife] to hold off?” Just overhearing it made me cringe with the awkward wording. It makes it sound like she’s a child and doing something wrong.
  • RELAX GODDAMMIT. Look, it’s very nice that you’d like to give some to everyone at the event, but it’s not feasible after we’ve already eaten and there’s only 6-7 slices left. You don’t know how many people are going to show up tonight and they’ve probably already eaten dinner before showing up. So take a cue from me kicking you under the table (three times!!).

Holy fucking goddamn shit. FUCK. How has he survived so long being so socially unaware? How the fuck did I gain any kind of social awareness? SHIT.

I should take my own advice and not care so much. It’s not worth the effort. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You know, the thing is, if it was anyone else’s dad, I’d probably be much more forgiving and say it was ok. Well, that time T’s dad called one of our mates a fascist was pretty hilarious.

Derailed by Meconium

I finished that assignment 2 days and 3 hours late. I don’t know what it is. I drag my feet on an assignment, dreading how awful and gruesome it will be, but without fail, once I get into it, I’m immersed. Once I complete it, I look back and think, “That wasn’t so bad. Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.”

I do not understand these strong avoidance tendencies I have. I (and nearly every other uni student, I suspect) employ all manner of distraction to avoid study and assignments. The house needs vacuuming and mopping, the dishes should be done, I need more study food, these tweets from @TheMaleNanny are hilarious so I must read them ALL, with his tumblr, oh look his mate theguyliner has such fascinating dates, let’s read them ALL, good AND bad.

Oh. and the absolute classic method: one more episode, then I’ll start. Oh those crazy kids. Namely, me. Do you know what the assignment’s topic was? Dental anxiety. Oh, the goddamn irony.

Anyway. Now that the immediate assessments are cleared, I can catch up on notes and study, do some banking, set up appointments and get onto the car insurance people. Also, I discovered the old Toyota Corolla won’t start. I need to sell you! I should have sold it back in January, but to be fair, we were moving house and Dad demurred, saying he and Mum would need it when they came to visit. Must ask around for some jump cables.

I went for some late night cuddles. P was wearing these PJ bottoms and a sunshiney yellow t-shirt with Chewbacca in Kanye West’s Stronger sunglasses. Definitely cute. P seems to be more keen on to meet up and see me during the week, which is nice. I was so supremely content in that moment, despite the grim and bleak Christmas episode of BBC’s Call the Midwife. (Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around Miranda Hart being serious! and so posh.) In my head, ran the following exchange:

Pro side: Just say it. It’s easy. It’s a good moment. Use your words. I. Love. You.

Con side: Are you insane?! P could start thinking, “What the hell? Run away!!”

Pro side: No P won’t! You can add a little sigh at the end with a smile. It’ll be endearing. You’re already in P’s arms.

Con side: Yeah, right up until P says, “I …don’t feel the same, sorry. We should stop seeing each other.” Oh look, she’s just given birth. Popped it right out.

Pro side: What was that first poop a baby makes called? The really gross one?

Con side: Let’s ask P.

And with that, despite some minor skirmishes later, the main argument for whether or not to say the weighty ILY was derailed by meconium. (Might I suggest the more weak of heart and those eating not click the link.) Yes yes, it’s nice that our backgrounds allow for us to remain unfazed by such things, but it certainly isn’t the environment in which you want to bring forth the first I Love You.

So I settled for this. Yeah, I’m chickenshit.

The mission:

1. Say I Love You.

2. Get P to say it back.

3. Slowly change P’s attitude on having children. Or just one. We could do just one. Yes! Good strategy.

4. Oh and get my life sorted all this week as I have it off.

A Long Stream of Consciousness

The parents are here. And somehow, quite civilized. There has been some concerned questioning from my dad as to whether I’m studying enough, but nowhere near the usual level.

I feel stressed out from myself. I honestly love a lot of what we’re doing in dentistry. I like the practical aspect, and most of the cohort seem ok. One or two I doubt I will ever click well with, but that’s ok, it’s bound to happen.

I don’t like how there’s constant assessment. I am much more used to a bunch of lectures, tutorials and practicals, with some midsemesters around a midsemester break, and then final exams that are worth a shitload. Where the lectures are full of information and heaps of note-taking.  This is first year, so there’s recap, where I want to pay attention, but struggle to stay awake so badly. And they seem determined to give us as little information as possible. How that’s supposed to make us quality graduates, I don’t know. Just make me a good dentist, that’s all I want.

Time to unload the guilt.

  • Here because I haven’t prayed in ages.
  • The house was a mess before my parents came and helped clean.
  • I hid P’s valentine’s day card, and one tag from the 5 or 6 Christmas presents. I returned the dildo. (I never used it, and it smells funny.) I hope they haven’t gone snooping in my drawers and found the Vitamin S citrate.
  • I’ve been lazy. I’ve been slack. I haven’t stayed on top of my lectures. I rode by the seat of my pants on that morphology OSCE and hope to God I passed. I hated the feeling of uncertainty the entire time. I vowed never to feel that way again. And here I am, with my drawings due tomorrow, possibly. And another barrier assessment on Tuesday. And assignment that was postponed to Friday. And I know there are other things, but I’m not organised enough to know them. I must get organised. I have a week off next week, just need to make it through to then and use every bit of spare time I have.
  • I saw P for a bit on Saturday after the radiating chest-pain scare, and it was really great. P said, “I missed you,” and meant it. Right now, I miss P horribly. I want that closeness and physical affection. I’ve wanted to say, “I love you,” for a while now and keep holding back for fear of how P will react. I should start taking Pristiq again.
  • I lied about being on Pristiq regularly to the Faculty of Dentistry in that I insinuated I’m on it all the time and am seeing a counsellor regularly. I’m still going to keep it on record, though RK is a psychiatrist by training so Dan tells me.
  • Dan offered to set me up with a guy named Vinnie and I didn’t tell him I was attached.
  • I have all these little errands to run, like replacing the Prius windshield, requesting leave,  selling the Toyota, organising all my little papers all over the place, and sorting out the study drawers and boxes.
  • I was an asshole after a lovely time at the Fringe Festival and night at the Terrace Hotel, and told L I couldn’t do whatever it was we were doing because I was hung up on my ex. L suggested amiable terms, and I was completely blindsided, but I gave enough hints through refusal to text or talk on the phone about it.
  • Oh God, I’m so sinful. And I still want to get what I want, but now I’m not sure what I want.
  • I daydream about a future with P, sometimes with adopting a child in the UK, sometimes with a child through surrogacy, sometimes in Singapore. I’ve googled adoption agencies in the UK. I’ve googled migration to the UK. I’ve thought about moving to Singapore. to Toronto.
  • I can apply for citizenship in 7 days, the 22nd or the 24th. I have no idea how to.

My macbook keeps starting the fan up like it’s boiling hot. and it is. I don’t know why. I should take care of it. There. Better.

Gia knows about dentistry. People can’t keep their mouths shut. I don’t care anymore. My neck hurts.

I feel so fucking unoriginal.

I know I have fun with P. I don’t know why I’m such an excessive person and lack self-control. Even L said it. Arrow hitting home. I will admit, I’m not enough.

I do believe in God. My problem is I have no idea how he fits in. I suspect God is supposed to be the source of direction in my life, but I fight to surrender all the control. It’s not always clear. And I don’t like forgiveness all the time. I feel like the guilt is … whatever. It doesn’t count. It almost absolves me not to care and to fuck up again. I know Romans 6 says grace doesn’t give me free reign, but it feels like it doesn’t hit home. No consequences. And that’s not ok.

P doesn’t believe in God. P’s best mate A used to, doesn’t anymore.

It’s funny. There are people with the same initials as my sisters in the post, who I speak to more than my sisters. It’s not funny. It’s sad. I miss them. It’s sometimes awkward interacting with them. Sometimes I care, and then others I think, “Well, they’re adults, they’re soon going to all be married, and have their own lives. Different countries and all that.” Family is definitely a reason to go home after all this. I just can’t stand how quintessentially (North) American anyone back home sound when they speak. It grates on my nerves.

Anyway. I need to:

  1. Draw and shade all those five aspects of the 36. Fuck not tracing, I don’t give it a shit. I’d copy the shading if I could. …maybe I will.
  2. Study for the test on Tuesday
  3. Do the assignment for Friday

Wow that feels good to write all down.

Oh and I just remembered, I am setting little goals to achieve. For this semester, going home to Toronto. For this year/second semester, going to Malaysia for Kesh’s wedding. This week, … dinner with Mum before she leaves? a few hours with P? possibly a movie? all three? I don’t know. I’m going to listen to something inspiring. and breathe. then go.