Urinals are one of my favourite places..

I seem to have a growing fondness of awkward situations. It does, I admit, seem like an odd thing to be fond of and I am as intrigued as you to know why I strangely enjoy these moments. There are, of course, moments that get the better of me and I succumb to them and become the sweaty, red faced, nervous, twitchy mess that I hate. However their are certain low-level awkward times that lift my spirits and put a smirk on my face.

One such situation is urinals. There are so many things that go through my head at urinals that I can’t help laugh at my own thoughts. I would love to know if every guy thinks these same thoughts as they enter. Let me lay down some basic, men rules for the urinals. Leave a space between urinals if possible. Talk at your own risk. Don’t make eye contact. Watch where your spray back goes. keep your eyes on the wall ahead or within your own boundaries (All these go out the window once you have been drinking mind you). So as I enter, my brain is rapidly making calculations and decisions. What urinal should I occupy? Shall I tackle my button flies or just go up and over? Do I sneak a peak at the guy next to me? (You know when you see something you shouldn’t look at but you can’t stop looking? Same thing happens here.) What if I finish at the same time as someone else? Do we leave in unison? If so shall I make I contact and share a common smile? Do I make a comment about us leaving together? Oh god so much to decipher in such a small amount of time.

Now I could abide by these rules and still very much enjoy my urinary experience. The fact that no one talks and there remains an air of awkwardness is enough for me to be entertained. Yet, on the odd occasion, when I am feeling extra mischievous I do endeavour to bend a few rules and see what events unfold. Talking is my most bent rule. I enjoy a casual comment about the weather or some other random topic, and if I am honest the responses are often friendly and polite. I think these recipients are secretly glad I have spoken, they too were thinking about bending this rule perhaps? Or perhaps it helps them relax and subsequently…

Lifts is another social situation where there seems to be a rule of silence and total disregard that anyone else occupies the lift. It is as if we are all so scared of each other. Or is it just that no one can be bothered to engage in small talk – literal small talk as conversations are dictated by the time it takes to reach the next floor.

Even outside of my small world it seems that awkward situations are the hot comedic topic at the moment. There are a lot of shows that are based around cringe-worthy moments. The Inbetweeners for example is a show based purely on what weird and embarrassing situations can these boys get themselves into. The wit and cleverness of the humour is limited, yet the immense levels of awkwardness are enough to grab our attention.

A guilty pleasure of mine is First Dates on Channel 4. Now I admit that I, perhaps, use these as a show to hone my own first date skills. To learn what not to do. But I do also enjoy the show to a certain degree. The show is nothing more than clip after clip of total awkwardness. It is rarely laugh out loud funny and quite often bleak. But there is something about viewing other peoples awkward squirms that I sadistically enjoy. Maybe not sadistically. That’s a bit extreme.

I do find people and social interaction very interesting. Sociology and the likes do intrigue me. So perhaps it is viewing how people react in these situations that grabs me. Observing a slight edge away as I take up the urinal directly to the left. The flicker of panic in ones eyes as I start conversation in a lift. So maybe it is not a weird love of awkwardness but an intrigue for social interaction and discovery. But this does not explain the love of awkward TV shows!?

Oh I give up, I am sick of writing awkward and feel this post has slowly deteriorated. The title held so much promise. I hope you weren’t suckered into it with that.

Anyway till next time… keep it awkward..

“Dude looks like a lady..”

I find it so hard to comprehend how unbelievably tragic it must be to be in a state where death is better than life. Even in severe moments of physical or mental torture I still find it hard to imagine death better than life. No more thoughts. No vision. Nothing.

A suicide by anyone is tragic and the death of Robin Williams is no more so, but it is more powerful. We all hope that this gets us talking about depression, it is a shame that such a momentous figure has to succumb to it before it dominates the public eye.

Celebrity deaths don’t normally rock me yet this has occupied my thoughts for a day now. Some of Williams’ films were such a huge part of my childhood that I would not be quite the person I am today without them. Mrs Doubtfire was always playing in our home and she/he was, in a way, my nanny also.

There is so much that I could discuss – the tabloids shocking portrayal of his death, societies view on depression, how, what and why this has happened – but I won’t. I find it unfair and distasteful to analysis one’s death too much. I will always remember Robin Williams for the joy he brought me and others, and will endeavour to attempt to see the pain behind laughing eyes in the people that I know..

Who do you want to be..?

Like most recent graduates I have been plagued, almost non-stop since graduation, by questions about what career I want and what I want to do with my life. Now despite my laissez-faire demeanour these questions do, eventually, plant doubt in my head about the choices I have, and will make. I do, like many others I assume, often ponder my future and the career that I want. What do I really enjoy? Is there a job out there that I won’t tire of? Do I have a dream job? These questions circle around my head like hungry vultures and occasionally land to take a bite out of my confidence and sanity.

Yet, whilst on a visit to London, a situation arose that left these questions seeming irrelevant and lacking sting. A simple act of kindness and generosity from a man to a stranger left me reeling. On this London bus I witnessed a man help an age stricken woman off the bus. He directed the driver to stop, took her by the arm and led her off the bus. Then quickly returned for her bags of shopping. He then, quietly and humbly, returned to his seat. His eyes staying fixed on the floor. No pat on his own back. Pure humility. Now I would like to think that most of us would do the same. This is not an incredible act of heroism but it made me think. I suddenly thought that in the grand scheme of things it is not ‘what do I want to do?’ it is ‘who do I want to be?’. Not what celebrity would I like to emulate or what DJ would I swap lives with but, who do I want to be. Who do I want to be to others? The answer was that guy on the bus. Unassuming perhaps. Not eye catching I admit. But possessing personal characteristics that far outweigh his wage packet or job title.

Now combine these humble, selfless traits with a bit of creativity, charisma and imagination and you have the person I want to be. No matter what I do, I want to be him.

Be a who not a what…

Peace x

Leaving Facebook…?

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/nick-briz-how-to–why-leave-facebook-405

In recent months I have become less and less engaged with Facebook. I think as I have grown up I have given up on searching for social recognition. As that is surely what a lot of users use Facebook for. To have a post ‘liked’ by your friends creates a little buzz that none can deny. Yet recently the need for my thoughts and opinions to be accepted by my peers is less of a concern to me. This may be because none of them agree (or find funny) what I post, but this is a different issue.

The link attached is an interesting video which shows the moral reasons why we should leave Facebook. I don’t necessarily think the information in the video is anything new to me, I have come to accept that everything I do, especially online, is monitored and recorded by big brother. However it is nicely summarised and does make you wonder if you are in fact slightly brainwashed by the powers that are Facebook.

I have wondered why we are so addicted to Facebook and social media in general. Is it the need to know what everyone else is up to? Is it the need to keep tabs ourselves on others? What is my ex doing? Has anyone else got a job yet? I believe, however, that our addiction stems from the need to feel popular and on people’s minds. If a post of yours receives praise and attention, you are, for a fleeting second, on their minds. You have occupied their thoughts. For a split moment (and perhaps longer) they are thinking about you.

It is this need for attention and appreciation that I think this generation seeks. I am far from above it. I feel guilty to admit that I have removed comments I have made because they have not received an ego increasing ‘like’. Obviously, as is with most things, social acceptance and praise is what makes things popular. It is what sets and dictates trends, fashion and music. Yet surely our own thoughts and opinions do not need critical acclaim.

I have veered off topic a bit. Facebook has power over us and has shown that it can dictate how we feel. Surely nothing like that should have a part in our day to day lives. I feel that morally I should join the increasing number of people shunning Facebook but still something keeps me coming back. I could very easily whittle my Facebook friends down to 50, and it is these 50 that keep my there. The select few that I want to stay up to date with and connected too. This is Facebook’s saving grace. The desire to maintain bonds and reminisce is its unique selling point.

For now I will stay…

A peaceful run..

Recently half the motivation I have for going for a run is so that I can pop my Ipod in and have a listen to some new music. I sometimes struggle to just sit and listen to an album from start to finish, whereas if I listen whilst I run I feel as if I have also ticked a productive box (who says men can’t multi-task).

Bonobo’s mix for Late Night Tales was my choice today, and it did not disappoint. I stripped myself of my Casio and took a step off my pace so that I could concentrate on the album in my ears. It was strangely absorbing. I found myself in a cornfield with the sun in my eyes and some smooth honey-like music in my ears. These two senses were having a ball. I was feeling quite smug about myself if I’m honest – this is how you make running easy and fun.

My, and I assume others, normal choice of running music is some high tempo, motivational music. Limp Bizcit – take a look around, has often filled my ears in an attempt to provide me with enough rage to power on home. Yet today was a nice change to enjoy a slower vibe and just enjoy the weather.

However as the time ticked by, my aching limbs and raising body temperature quickly overrode my eyes and ears. Music quickly became white noise and my vision was distorted by salty sweat invading my pupils. My running utopia was shattered and I was left dragging my feet and wishing for an upbeat track to push me on home.

A peaceful run was accomplished… but quickly evaporated.

Move them feet…

The power of music is something that has always intrigued me. I can’t think of another aspect of life that in one way or another everyone enjoys. You may not scour Soundcloud searching for tracks and artists but you will, I can almost guarantee it, tap your fingers to a song on the radio or drunkenly dance to a tune! It has taken me a while to realise that a love of music and subsequently dancing (whether a full blown dad dance or a gentle sway) is a primitive thing. Throughout time music and dance has been an aspect of human life, from songs around a camp fire to a rain dance.

It always brings a smile to my face when I see people from opposite ends of the age spectrum dancing. Its contagious and timeless. You have to love the gran that will not act her age and continues to boogie all night long. Equally you have to adore the infants that can barely walk but will valiantly attempt to dance.

Music and dance is so diverse in its genres but is universal in the joy it brings to the masses. Perhaps this is common knowledge and not worth this blog but I will always find it amazing and fascinating how music effects us as humans. I know close to nothing about the structure of music, how to play any instruments or the difference between a key and a note, yet I know that it has a giant part in all our lives. I for one will endeavour to always make time for it.

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