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The Laundry Criminal

I was about to see Sydney. I’ve been on a plane for hours. We finally landed and I could feel the presence of kangaroos- their glares from far far away. I knew this would be the best trip ever.

Then I got stopped by Australia’s border security. I was called into their awfully small and eye-burning white interview room. A nice lad by the name of Shane asked me some random questions as to why I was visiting Australia and how I planned on supporting myself. Then he started asking suspicious questions about how I do my laundry. Apparently they track that too.

“Sir, I am here to see the kangaroos and dingos. Why do you have to know how I do my laundry?” I asked, nervously. My laundry record follows me everywhere. It’s like a crime people cannot get past it. Can never forgive me for it.

“‘Mam, there is a record of your previous offenses regarding ghastly laundry methods- you have admitted in the past that you do not separate your laundry into colors and whites/light pastels. Is that correct?”

“Yes, that is correct. But I only did that in the past, I don’t do it anymore,” I tried to reassure him.

“Ok. What about your usage of hot water when washing? Do you still use hot water every-time you do laundry?” Shane asked with a serious face.

“No, sir, I don’t do that anymore, either. I learned my lessons. May I ask, how is this relevant to my stay here?” I asked, getting nauseous. I scratched my unwashed head like a monkey.

“The reason I am asking this Miss …errr.”- he glanced at my passport, “Leah, is that we want to make sure you won’t commit any of these crimes here in Australia.”

“I can assure you bad laundry habits are in my past,” I reassured him and bit off a piece of nail from my pinky.

“If that’s the case, then you don’t mind if we swap your laundry for any discoloring?”- Shane would not stop.

“Not at all,” I told him.

He left the room and was gone for probably an hour. I sat there with my head leaning against the table. I knew the outcome of the test. I have also seen the show “Border Security: Australia’s Front Line.” Once they have you in  the interview room you are banned from the country no matter what you say.

Shane comes back with a disappointing look on his face. He puts a big bureaucratic pile of papers on the table and clears his throat.

“Today I have decided to cancel your visa. So what will happen from here is that we will contact an airline to–” His words became a blur. I didn’t fight it. It’s pointless. Every conversation I have with people I get the same treatment. I am the laundry criminal.

“I, Leah Rennes, am the criminal who does not separate her laundry into colors and whites/light pastels and I don’t care if I use hot or cold water. I just use hot for everything- and I will do so until the day I die because I DON’T care!!”

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The loser leaving work at 5pm

I normally start my work count down to 5pm roughly around noon.

I take my lunch  at 12:30pm so in my head, I am closer to that 5 o’clock in my head. Since I take an hour lunch, I get back by 1:30pm and, hey, that is just 3 hours and 30 minutes away from that wonderful 5 pm!!

Then I try to do some work, maybe be productive for about two more hours which gets me to 3:30 pm. Then the second count down to 5 o’clock starts. Any work that would require more than two hours gets pushed onto the next day. I probably get up and go to the bathroom and/or get some coffee. Then I do some more work, hoping for no last minute complications that would impede me from leaving at 5pm.

I don’t know how your workplace is, but where I work people are serious. 5pm means nothing to them. They don’t care if they don’t see their kids, spend more time with their spouses, no, work has to get done because there is not always another day.

So that means that I am usually the first one to get up at 5:00pm. I look around as business chatter continues as if in fact, it is not 5 o’clock in our very own office. I shut down my computer and I sneak out.

I sneak out like a plain traitor that has the audacity to leave work at 5pm! I try not to attract too much attention. I know most of these people will stay at least half hour/an hour late to finish up whatever they were doing. I feel like I am being watched, being judged- “Look at Leah leaving work exactly at 5pm! Who does she think she is?!” So I try to duck down in a way that will get me fastest to my car. I  feel their stares, they are piercing me with fierce judgement but I continue. As the proud leader of the 5pm rebellion, I see some other people follow behind me.

I get inside my car and drive away before my boss comes behind me, chasing me to finish something that can be done tomorrow- and once I am off the company parking lot, I feel like I am winning! I get to go home and see my family even if for the measly 2 hours. I may be a loser that doesn’t work hard and leaves at 5pm, but I am a winner in my family’s eyes!

How about you, readers? Do you also feel weird leaving work at 5pm on the dot or is your company more understanding when it comes to it? Do you feel the peer pressure as well? Leave comments below……and don’t forget to leave at 5pm, sharp!!

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“How was your weekend?”

It is an early Sunday morning, but I already dread everyone’s favorite question at work after the weekend is over.

The mandatory Monday morning question.

The whenever you’re awkwardly standing by the Keurig machine waiting for the water to  heat up so you can make coffee question.

The whenever you spot someone pass your desk and you accidentally looked them in the eyes and you can’t ignore them question.

The question everyone likes to shout as they pass you by and obviously have no intention of knowing the answer to.

“How was your weekend?”

I guess this question  bothers me because I can’t ever answer it truthfully. Can I say that it was:

“Too short.”  “I did absolutely nothing.”  “I slept all day.” “I was exhausted from last week so I sat around all day and watched the Office.” “My weekend was ruined because of the mere thought of having to come to work.” “My weekend was bad because I got a bunch of emails from my boss.” “I had two glasses of wine which got me a little too drunk and I had to rest all Sunday to recover.”

So, meh, don’t ask me about my weekend on a Monday. Mostly it is two days of trying to recover from a crazy work week.

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Rio 2016- the most authentic Olympic games

For the last couple of months there has been an absolute uproar over Rio being the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Even I was against it at first- like many, I raised my fist with the rest and roared: “Say no to bribing! Say no to corruption! Say no to human rights violations! There are people starving while the corrupt politicians and officials make money! It’s disgusting!”

But after seeing the picture of favelas illuminated by the fireworks coming from an Olympic stadium in the background, I changed my mind.

The Rio Olympics represent the cruel reality of our society, of our world really. The games represent the best but also the worst. We cannot protest only when our athletes are not treated right. What about all those people living in poverty, crime and hunger on a daily basis? Why are we not making a bigger deal out of that?

No matter what you hated or loved about the Rio Olympics, at least it was not pretending to be something it was not. It was real, dysfunctional, dangerous, exciting, sad and challenging at the same time. It was not the pink-eyed version of our world, but rather an authentic one. Even athletes, many of which come from destitute backgrounds, gave us their best and their ugliest, their rawest, just like our world really is, in case you forgot.

 

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Luckily, my Mom is on Facebook.

I know kids these days don’t know what Facebook is or they roll their eyes and say it is SO passé. But I still use it as it’s been a part of my life since 2007 – woah, 9 years!- and I’ve stuck with every layout change that they made, specially in the first five years before they kind of decided to stick with the timeline format.

Of course, the usage of my Facebook greatly changed throughout the years. I was much younger and more naive 9 years ago and therefore the posts were age appropriate. I have since, as might be expected, deleted quite a few but all in all my posts were/are alright.

Around 2010 (2011?), my Mom joined Facebook and as many others, I dreaded adding her to MY Facebook. Gosh, these are my private thoughts I share on the internet with my friends, not my MOM! What should I do? Add her or block her? After a week of listening to her whining that we are truly not friends if we are not Facebook friends I decided to add her.

My Facebook posts have changed since. I think twice about what I write or think twice about who am I arguing with about a certain hot issue (btw, never get into arguments on Facebook, they are a complete waste of time and pointless!).

I guess it is safe to say that since my Mom joined Facebook, I think twice about what I say or do because I do not want her to see her daughter act like an idiot or say something stupid. Not that I do that often, but it happens. It happens to all of us and we should all be happy we have our Moms as Facebook friends- internet is not a public diary and we don’t want them to find out every detail of our lives. Or do we?

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The absurdities of “men caves” and other “men-only” nonsense

A friend of mine, let’s call him Dave, has been really pissing me off lately (can I say piss off on WordPress?)

Anyway, everytime we hang out with him and a bunch of friends he wants the guys and the women to hang out separately. In the same house, just different rooms. And if we play games, god forbid women should play. Because not that women are not capable of playing along, but women don’t take the games seriously enough….. which yeah, it’s just a game, Dave and just because you win at it it doesn’t make you somehow a winner in real life. Akhem.

In addition to his segregated time spending between sexes he also has a man cave. Two men caves, technically. One glorious man room filled with his workout equipment, comicbooks and pheromone-based scents (I’m guessing) and his garage crammed with motorcycles which reeks of testosterone, or whatever that scent is. The rest of the house he is in is mostly decorated by his fiancee, Lindsey.

Now, every couple has their vibe but here’s what I’ll tell you about men caves and men only time.

  1. Men caves shouldn’t exist- women should compromise and not take over the whole damn house and decorate it upon her liking, it’s that simple. You’re a couple, you live together, you share things. Both parties should compromise.
  2. Girls time/guys nights- they are ok every once in awhile but the reality is- if you need some time away from your spouse/bf/gf, then something isn’t right. Because I can tell you that after I come home from work at cca. 6pm and I only get to see David for a couple of hours before we both hit the hay exhausted, I don’t have any desire to spend even LESS time with him. If anything, because I only see him for those few hours I actually want to see him MORE.

So this whole men only, girls only stupidity needs to stop. If we want men and women to have 50/50 relationships, have them work as partners, then compromises have to be made.

Because guess what, your partner is your team.

You both live in the house. You can both ride the motorcycle. You can both read comic books. You can both BBQ in the back. You can both fix the sink together. You can both wear boots and know how to use a jack. You can both play sports… etc. It’s common sense, Dave.

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10 experts in 1 C-grade student

I’ve never been so good in the field of science (hence, I got C’s or B’s if I was lucky). But I thought hey, it’s ok, some are better at it than others and my forte has always been the creative side of the brain.

That was until I was struggling to figure out what they put in my joghurt, my make up and my shampoo. The food/make up industry is making me re-learn everything- how a body works, what is good for your body, types of skin, types of vitamins, how organs work and are affected by what I eat etc. I mean, it is annoying. I have to be a nutritionist, dermatologist, biologist, psychologist, chemist, dietitian, pharmacist, materials scientist, environmental analyst and a researcher all in one! I am not capable of doing that people!… And I shouldn’t have to be all that!

I am appalled by how meticulously I have to look at every product I buy. In the food section I have to make sure it doesn’t have hidden sugars (like, oh, just 18g of sugar in a small yogurt), don’t even get me started on bread products and foods that have random trans fats etc. I mean, yeah, I know you will say just stay away from processed foods. I do that, for the most part, but darn it if I crave a yogurt or bread every few days do I really have to spend ten minutes looking at labels wondering which one is the worst for me?

Do I really have to learn chemistry to figure out the sulfites or whatever they are putting in my shampoo is actually bad for the hair but it is cheap to make? Do I really?

Things need to get better regulated in the States, I’m sorry. It shouldn’t be ok to dump sugar in every product out there just because they can, it shouldn’t be ok to stuff people with trans fats just because they can and it shouldn’t be ok to add the crazy chemical components to the products we use on our skin/hair etc just because they can. It just shouldn’t be!!

I know, as consumers we have the choice of not buying these products, but you know, sometimes I just want to buy a nice piece of meat without having to wonder what kind of treatment the poor animals went through and that steak shouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I know for a fact that for example Aldi, the German discount retailer, had much better meat in Europe than it does here. And it has everything to do with what they can get away with. So I want that quality here in America too, people. That’s all I want.

It’s sad that the USP (unique selling proposition) of some companies is that their products don’t contain “the fake stuff.” How on Earth did we get to this sad point?

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You don’t want to win the Powerball

$900M! $900M! My sister won’t stop talking about the Powerball lottery. It’s annoying. No matter how hard I try to tell her, winning a lottery is probably the worst thing that can happen to you. I drew a little chart for her, see below, to visualize the reasons as to why she/you don’t want to win the Powerball.

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Let’s say that you win! You are the lucky winner. You have two choices- either to tell or NOT to tell that you won the Powerball.

  1. TELL OTHERS- If you tell others about your winnings obviously you get harassed by people you know and strangers to give them money. I probably should add an arrow that leads directly to that point because regardless of if you keep or quit your job “to enjoy life”, you will still be harassed so much it would drive you crazy.
  2. DON’T TELL OTHERS- Ok, you want to keep it a secret. Yeah, you’re the big Powerball winner! The first problem now is whether or not you will quit your job. If you quit, you have to live a normal life, no crazy spending otherwise you will become suspicious. If you don’t quit, you still have to live your life like the rest of the mortals around you… otherwise, people get suspicious, notice you have money and the hassle begins!

So you see, folks, you don’t really want to win $900M. You just don’t. You can’t live like a normal civilian without being harassed all the time. And I’m sure even the excuse that Uncle Ben left you a bunch of money doesn’t work after a few years- and that just means that people know you have money and… again, they will harass you for it. Case closed.

The purpose of having dreams

Blah, 2016 did not start well for me. I mean, all the problems I’ve had so far have been first world problems, but since I live in a”first world” I tend to consider them to be actual problems.

I’ve been stuck deliberating at what point will I give up on my dreams. When will I just say, you know what, I’m done. I am done trying. My dreams of becoming a published author (Idk, self-published on Amazon just doesn’t have that ring to it), dreams of becoming a good illustrator (not great, just good- even solid is ok with me), dreams of having all the stories I keep having in my head read by hundreds of people.

They are ambitious dreams to have, I realize that. Not many are fortunate enough to ever get loyal readers and most of their books, their stories end up in a folder called “my book” on their computer where it sits as a sore reminder of unfulfilled dreams.

However, I realized this the other day as I was jotting down the first few lines in my new diary (it’s really pretty, a little old school but I don’t mind it)- I realized that succumbing to reality is why you should never let go of your dreams. Perhaps you should modify them, change them, alter them, make a few alterations here and there but no one should ever give up on their dreams. Because if you give up on your dreams, you let reality win- and reality can be so dull, so cruel and so factual. And I refuse to ever be dull or cruel or factual. Ever.

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What is home?

Many say home is tangible; it is an actual space one can walk through. It consists of four walls and unmatching furniture your parents put together throughout the years. It is the coo coo clock in the hallway that has long stopped working. It is the bedsheets from your childhood shoved away somewhere in the back of the closet. It is the familiar layout and the same annoying, never fixed patio screen door.

For some. For me, I feel like home is a moment in time. Home is many moments in time. Sometimes, if I am lucky, I get to vividly enjoy the “now” of a home because the moment goes away ever-so-quickly.

Home disappears when people in it disappear. When I walk through my parent’s house and I realize my Mother will never walk through those hallways again I feel absolutely no attachment to the objects scattered around the house. Home was not home because it had the familiar pots and pans my Dad loved to cook in. Home was home because it echoed the laughter of my Dad. When there was no one there that was left, home became an empty, tangible space.

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