Rescuing Worms: Hero vs. Villain

Does anyone else feel the need to rescue worms in peril whilst outside?  Or is that just me?

Ever since I was very small I have had this habit of rescuing worms when they get stuck in dangerous situations.  I think it stems from my grandma (an avid gardener and one of my biggest inspirations) telling me that “worms are your friends” and you should look after them in your garden.

I’ll be walking to work and I’ll pass a grassy spot, and I’ll find myself scanning the area for distressed worms and sometimes snails in need of rescue.  I’ll pick them up, touching them as little as possible, as I read somewhere that us touching them burns their skin, and carefully place them on the nearest bit of grass.  Sometimes when I spot a worm that I didn’t get to in time, I find myself cursing for not getting there soon enough and telling it to rest in peace.  I’ll also loiter for a few seconds just to give it a chance to wriggle – you never know it might be too weak to move and miss its chance of rescue.  I draw the line at prodding every worm corpse I see in case it’s alive.  That would be creepy.

When it rains I usually leave the house a few minutes early so I can make time for the multiple rescues I’ll have to perform and still get to work on time.  I just worry about those worms that I can’t save during the rest of the day and on weekends…

I’ve always suspected that others may not understand and that people might think me odd, so I’ve largely, until now, kept this dark secret to myself.  However, I confided in a good friend the other day and he found it hilarious.  I asked him what was so funny, as saving worm lives was very important to me.  He said that he had visions of an underground worm society building cathedrals and worshipping me as a Deity, like in Futurama when Bender is floating through space and a civilisation grows on his back, or in the Simpsons when Lisa accidentally grows a civilisation as part of her science project.  We’d had a little bit to drink before this conversation began I should add!

He said that worms regularly line the edges of the grass on my walking route, throwing themselves into the pavement in order to see whether they were worthy of being saved.  Those that I rescue, go on to do great things.  He mused that by rescuing them I was creating a vicious cycle of demand for rescues, and that there would always be more worms to save.

He also said that if someone did a scientific study in the area between my home and work, sparrow populations would be dwindling and increasingly underweight.  In their society I am a cruel being that arbitrarily removes the food supply between the hours of 8:30 and 9:00.  He concluded that it’s a matter of perspective whether I’m a hero or a villain.  I told him to shut up and go home.

I’ll leave you to make up your own minds…


Anxiety: Obsessive Crisis Management Planning

I’ve mentioned before that I suffer with anxiety.  Part of my problem displays itself as an incessant need to plan for disasters in everyday life.  Some would say that planning is quite sensible.  By planning you feel prepared for stressful situations and this keeps you feeling in control.  However, obsessive planning is where sensible meets irrational.

I have a number of plans in place for various disasters if they strike.  You know the usual:

  • What to do in a fire
  • What to do if a burglar breaks in
  • Zombie apocalypse – This one is proving problematic. From watching The Walking Dead, it’s clear the only way to survive a Zombie apocalypse is to have a hell of a lot of guns and bows and arrows etc.  Living in the UK weapons aren’t as freely available in an emergency as they seem to be in the USA.  This has presented a few kinks which I’m still ironing out

Probably my most irrational planning occurs when I have to go somewhere I do not know via public transport.  At the end of this month, I am going to my best friend’s birthday party in Brighton via train.  I’ve not been to Brighton before, but for those of you that have used English trains, you may know that they aren’t the most reliable and they do tend to have a lot of disruptions.  Especially in mid-January.  Some of my favourite reasons for disruptions in the past have been “a small track-side fire” and “a swan on the line”.  Anyway, I digress.  This is my struggle when planning to use public transport:

Ordering tickets

  • Check the route ten times to make sure it’s actually going where I need it to go
  • Ask my sister to check to make sure I haven’t misunderstood the route
  • Panic about whether there will be a disruption making my tickets null and void
  • Panic about internet shopping and security
  • Panic that the tickets will get lost/ not get to me on time

When tickets arrive

  • Panic about how many tickets there are – why are there so many? Oh no it’s OK it’s just the seat reservation numbers and receipts as well. Phew!
  • Paperclip tickets together so they show the correct route
  • Panic I’ve paper-clipped them together wrong

Week prior to travelling

  • Constantly checking the weather forecast in case of snow/ rain (twice a day) – not just for my area, but also for destinations along the route
  • Following train providers on Twitter to keep track of train disruptions
  • Constantly checking National Rail website for details of engineering works
  • OH MY GOD WHERE ARE THE TICKETS? Oh it’s OK. They’re where I left them.

Few days before travelling

  • Check the weather forecast a few more hundred times
  • Panic whenever I hear any mention of the weather/ my upcoming trip
  • Write a lengthy list detailing my route, including: departure time, platform it will be leaving from, final destination of train, make of train and destination arrival time, for each leg of the journey. I will then keep this in a safe place.
  • OH MY GOD WHERE ARE THE TICKETS? – Oh it’s OK they’re where I left them.
  • Packing: OH MY GOD, I’ve forgotten X, Y, Z. Oh no, it’s OK I’ve found them. I just packed them like two minutes ago.

Day of travelling

  • I’ll wake up stupidly early after dreaming either about a disruption free journey or a horrendous journey where I was naked/ the train crashed etc.
  • I won’t be able to eat because I’m too busy freaking out
  • I’ll put my tickets in a different purse from my money, in case I get mugged or something and can’t get home
  • I’ll keep my list (see above) on my person so I can check it about 1000 times over the course of the journey
  • Before leaving I’ll check the train sites and weather forecasts again just to make sure nothing catastrophic has happened since I went to bed the night before.
  • I’ll panic I’ve forgotten to pack about 10 things, so will basically unpack and then repack
  • OH MY GOD WHERE ARE THE TICKETS? – Oh no it’s OK they’re where I left them.
  • I’ll get on the train after checking the sign on the front of the train, the time and the board at the station all match what’s written on my list.
  • Once on the train, I’ll then check that the destination list displayed includes my destination.
  • Then I’ll panic I’ve lost my list and have to check about 10 times that it is safe.

Funnily enough, usually the journey is fine and I do make it to my desired destination.  Furthermore if there is a hiccup along the way I am usually equipped to deal with it and not have a full blown break down.  And even more shockingly, when I get to my destination I have a lovely time!

I feel I need to say, I have exaggerated a bit in this post.  I’m not as bad as I make out.  All these thoughts do cross my mind, but I have lived with my anxiety long enough to know that they are irrational.  I just thought an insight into my irrational thoughts might be quite funny/ enlightening for others to see.  Let me know what you think.

Me and My Shoes: An Impossible Love Story

I once watched an episode of SpongeBob that showed a deranged chocolate salesman pretending to have a rare medical condition where his skin was made of tissue paper and his bones made of glass, in a sympathy bid to make SpongeBob and Patrick buy his chocolate bars.  Every time he moved all you heard were his screams and glass shattering, as well as tragic violin music playing in the background.  This is the closest analogy I have found to the ordeal I go through wearing shoes.  That or a Greek tragedy, where you think two people (or in this case a girl and a pair of perfect shoes) are destined to be together, for them later to get smighted by Zeus/ killed by a Minotaur etc.

I love shoes.  I buy shoes.  I just can’t seem to wear shoes.  My feet hate me.  My feet want to be free.  My feet are so controlling that they impose conditions on when and how I can wear them – they basically hold my feet to (crippling) ransom!  When I buy a beautiful pair of new shoes I find myself crying at the till much to the horror of the assistant (“SECURITY!”) thinking, how will they punish me this time?!  Here are some of their demands:

  • Suede boots – You can be worn on a dry day between the temperatures of 10 and 15 degrees. If you violate these conditions you will receive a shock in the form of agonising cramps (too cold) or blisters (too hot) depending on how we feel.  Hell, sometimes we’ll throw a curveball and give you both.
  • Leather boots – You may be worn with socks not tights otherwise you will suffer the consequences. If you fail to adhere to our strict instructions we will peel off and send you the skin off the sole of your foot.  Please bear in mind, we may choose not to act on specific occasions to lull you into a false sense of security, but if you try it again you will be punished twice as severely.
  • High heels – You may buy high heels between 2 and 3.5 inches in height and you may NEVER wear stilettos. If you do not comply we will break your ankle(s)!
  • Doc Martins – We’re aware these are meant to be comfy, but we don’t really like purple.  So we’ll arbitrarily punish you for your fashion choices as we see fit.
  • Comfiest shoes I have ever worn – If worn more than 3 times in a row we will make you bleed until you are unable to wear them for at least a week.
  • Flip-flops and slippers – Basically made of foam and fabric, but we will find a way to injure you. Probably via a fibre infection in an existing wound.
  • Bare feet – Sheer unadulterated joy!

One day I will go to the Ball – probably in bare feet! FML!

TECHNOPHOBE: A 3 hour emotional rollercoaster!

Is it weird that I’m terrified of new technology?  I must be a massive technophobe the way I react to new gadgets.  Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty; smartphone, laptop, tablet etc, but each undergoes an extensive initiation process undertaken by my fiancé Scott before they enter my (initially!) sweaty palms for the first time.

Buying a new gadget goes smoothly.  I’m hypnotised and drawn into the whole shiny, new, fancy gadget.  I find myself thinking, my life would be infinitely better if I owned this new device!  So I part with my (or more likely, Scott’s) hard earned cash.

Then, boom, the mood changes from sunshine, unicorns and rainbows to storm clouds, dead unicorns and DESPAIR.

The thought of setting up a new gadget for the first time; downloads, installations, registrations (etc) fills me with dread; my stomach churns and I become a gibbering wreck, afraid to press anything in case trolls, gremlins and viruses emerge from within and destroy my new toy.  God forbid something pops up, a user licence needs accepting, or Norton flags suspicious activity!  Action stations!  The world is ending, life as I know it is over!  I need to excuse myself from the room as the thought of looking at this device makes me sick and filled with rage.  WHY?!!! Why did I cave in to peer pressure/ pretty colours/ fancy looking apps and buy this evil machine.  What was I thinking?  I have betrayed my trusty phone/ computer that has served me well for the past x amount of years.  I should have overlooked the fact that it crashed every five minutes.  I could live with not being able to browse a website without requiring 10 minutes for it to load.  Who needs to actually be able to access e-mails from a phone?  Why is that even necessary?!

I’m not very trusting of new devices.  Almost as mistrustful as I am towards salesmen trying to make me buy said technology (does he really mean that, or is he just saying it to make me buy it?).  Some non-descript user licence agreement pops up asking me to accept its terms and conditions without reading them.  You’d like that wouldn’t you? Well I’m going to sit here and read every last one before accepting, just in case I accidentally agree to mind control or am legally obliged to give away all my possessions due to a tiny piece of small print.

I also have this weird habit of researching things online from another “trusted” device, whilst setting up a new one.  E.g. a programme I don’t recognise/ understand pops up during set-up telling me I need to take specific action, so I will pain-stakingly google the programme with the search term “is this a devastating virus” and see what the search returns.  Most of the time, my search leaves me safe in the knowledge, that no, Adobe is not a virus (I’m kidding – I am aware that Adobe is not a virus), but I also question whether or not the site the response has come from is reliable, until I end up in this horrendous spiral of regret, anger and broken dreams.

Scott is very kind and has a lot of patience.  He initially treats me gently like a baby animal.  He’s full of sweetness and light; providing insight and guidance into the new machine’s brain/ the ways of the jungle when I have a panic attack; “No pressing OK is not going to delete all your files”.  Then he gradually becomes less helpful, until he becomes fed up with my melodramatic ways (holding my fist up into the air and screaming NOOO when something goes wrong), until like a mother (or father) elephant/ lion etc, he decides enough is enough; you need to make it on your own in the wild/ online.

But then something magical happens.  I start to do things on my own… and I don’t die!  I don’t corrupt the system completely.  I feel hope and joy when using the new device and all is well with the world.  Well apart from that time I accidentally downloaded a Trojan (still don’t know how) …