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The Journal of a slightly depraved Mef
In which there are action figures, grandmothers, and terrifying bluebell woods of doom... 
13th-May-2008 10:55 am
by ase
Over the past couple of weeks I've been forced to confront the major flaw in my gap year plans. It's that I didn't actually plan anything for the month after Paris. I believe I might have actually forgotten that the month of May exists. This is worrying enough in itself, but there is worse to come.

I gave up after a few days of making the effort to go out and traipse and decided (in a very uncharacertistic way, I'm sure you'll agree), to spend some quality time with the internet.

It can be a dark and terrifying world, online. It sucks you in slowly. First you find the site which will stream episodes of 'How I met your mother' online for you for free. It seems harmless enough, so you watch one, maybe two episodes. You realise that you don't even like the programme, but you find yourself watching more and more anyway, unable to stop.

The next thing you know, it's two in the morning and you're watching gag reels on youtube.



My dinner conversation began to take a strange turn...

Ro: Did you know that you can buy the action figures of famous murderers online?
Mother: *dryly* How exactly is it that you know this?
Ro: *brightly* I can explain. I'm not a psycopath!
Mother: I blame your friends. I've no idea where else you could be getting it from.
Father: *thoughtfully* I wonder if the murderers get the royalties in prison. You could branch out from action figures.
Ro: An animated TV series? A trading card game? An animated TV series featuring the trading card game? A different murderer for every card! They could have catchy attack names like 'Silent Garrotte Attack!', and 'Maniacal Laugh Attack!'
Father: That's pokemon.

I began to take it into my head to do strange things, like wander down to the bluebell woods near my house in the early evening. Wandering down to the bluebell woods sounds harmless enough, But around these parts they're known as 'The terrifying bluebell woods of doom!' (well actually, they're just known as 'The bluebell woods', but everyone assumes everyone else knows the terrifying doom part. It's there, just unspoken. People say it with meaningful eye twitching.)

The bluebell woods carry an aura of doom because they happen to be the bluebell woods where the bodies from at least two murders have been discovered in the past year. I, having been out of the country and away from my eye-twitching neighbours, forgot all about this and was happily stomping my way along, until I heard twigs begin to snap noisily behind me.

As it turned out, it was a squirrel. But it could easily have been much worse! When more twigs began to snap, and I realised it was getting dark and something (that was, in retrospect, probably a fox) began to scream, I did the thing any sensible girl would do in that situation. I panicked a little and ran off home.

My family were not very sympathetic.

Ro: *running into the kitchen* I thought there was something chasing me in the woods and it got all dark and there was screaming!
Mother: *fixing a grim stare on Ro's muddy feet*
Ro: *suddenly getting a very bad feeling about this*
Mother: *in an eerie monotone* Now I don't want anybody to get upset. No one is going to get hurt, as long as you do exctly what I say. Just back out slowly, and come back with a sponge, and there will be no trouble. I'm going to count to ten, but if you're not back by the time I finish, I will be forced to do something that I Do Not Want To Do.
Ro: O.O
Mother: That's right - I'll make you clean every carpet in the house with me. Just us, a bottle of Vanish and some mother-daughter bonding for Five Long Hours.
Ro: *scrambles off to get a sponge*

I've decided to do the sensible thing and leave the country. Not to flee to the continent, (though at times this seems like a sensible option), but to visit my grandmothers, because (being the sweet granddaughter that I am), I promised I would at some point this year. Toronto, here I come.

Since I'm not even close to being done with gap year wandering yet, I'm hoping to squeeze a trip to India into some of the five weeks I have between returning from Canada and heading off to Eastern Europe with one of my friends. Fingers are being crossed, money is changing hands, and painful injections and visa queues are soon to be faced. I can only hope it all works out, because if it doesn't, the whole month of June will probably consist of carpet-scrubbing.

I'm also dreading Friday a little. What friends I have who aren't currently swamped by exams are being lovely and tiptoeing around the b-word. (What friends I have who are swamped by exams tend to answer the phone tetchily and sometimes break down crying after they tell me how the supermarket didn't have the kind of ice cream they wanted and how it was just the last straw. Though I feel this is understandable. Ice cream is important, after all.)

The 16th of May almost always turns out to be a bad day for me, so I've decided to ignore it this year and hope that somehow it manages to go well instead. I'd appreciate it if everyone else would ignore it too.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, or what the 16th of May is, that's excellent! You're doing well. :)

Comments 
13th-May-2008 11:39 am (UTC)
Your family sounds a bit like mine. :D

Oooh, have fun in Toronto and India and Eastern Europe! Maybe you'll see the squid sisters somewhere in there.
13th-May-2008 12:19 pm (UTC)
:D It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Thank you! If I do, I'll be sure to snap a picture. :)
13th-May-2008 12:03 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I'm not seeing a thing in here about going back to Paris this summer...*sniffs*
13th-May-2008 12:13 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry. :(

The friend I was hoping to go with got a scholarship to study in Poland during the summer, so if we go at all it'll be in September now instead.

Why don't you pop over to London instead? We're only a couple of hours away from Paris by train. Just for one night - that way you could meet up with me AND Em and catch a plane home from Heathrow instead!

*turns big pleading brown eyes on Philia*
13th-May-2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
I wish. We already have plane tickets, and I don't know that I can talk the family into an outing that involves tunnels under lots and lots of water...but I'll see what I can do.
13th-May-2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
*coughs loudly*
14th-May-2008 04:14 am (UTC)
oooooooooooooooh, I will be in France by September...heh heh heh...
13th-May-2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Toronto! That's not terribly far (in US terms) from 'Guin, and me, and Cleveland. You'll have a passport ...

*sends out the siren call to Ro*

I love your posts. They always make me laugh : ) Good luck with any carpet cleaning you have to do.

*sympathizes and empathizes with Ro's mom*

13th-May-2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
I was actually thinking of heading over to the US because I have a friend in Boston I could stay with. Then I pulled up a map of the US and realised how big it is. I would love to see you guys, but I'd have to find somewhere to stay overnight, and drag myself free of my grandmothers, and dredge up the money. So I don't think I'm going to be able to for all those reasons. :(

At some point, possibly next year, I'm going to do a huge tour of the US and see everything. When that happens I promise to turn up on your doorstep. You may regret that siren call you sent when I do, but it's too late now. >:)

"Good luck with any carpet cleaning you have to do."

I'm going to need it. :)
13th-May-2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
..you actually have TWO friends in Boston you could stay with!
13th-May-2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
*cranks the volume up another notch*

maybe you could team up with Alex on your tour - he has been boasting he now has friends to stay with spread out from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and can travel one end of the country to the other without needing a hotel.

:)
13th-May-2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
I understand completely about the squirrels. They're a terrifying species of rodent, especially the black ones.

*is thankful she lives in a town and only sees dogs, cats and sheep*
13th-May-2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad that someone understands.

Sheep, really?

By the way - you had your Bio Unit 6 paper today, right? (It's either unit 6 or unit 4, I can't remember. The open one where you have the questions in advance.) I just wanted to say that I feel your pain. I still remember having to memorise graphs and marking schemes for that paper. Be strong!

14th-May-2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
Well, Unit 3, since I'm only doing As. Did you read my description? It's a very silly exam.

Thank you for the pain-feeling. :)

I've got Stats tomorrow, feel more pain.
14th-May-2008 07:30 am (UTC)
When do you even see black squirrels? Other than in Mirkwood or somewhere, that is. All I get are boring grey ones (not to mention rabbits, foxes, mice and of course sheep).
13th-May-2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Ro Ro Ro, shame on you for making me laugh so hard at work that my coworkers are eying me like I'm a dangerous lunatic, which I am at this point (author visit tomorrow) but still. And you must tell us what May 16th is--oh wait I seem to remember a Sounis post. Ah yes. Ahem. Whatever.
13th-May-2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Ooh, which author? It never occurred to me how stressful author visits must be on the poor authority figures who have to control the kids.

May 16th? I'm sure I didn't say anything about May 16th, just another day.

*whistles*
14th-May-2008 04:16 am (UTC)
Can I just sit here and be overwhelmingly jealous of your travel plans? Kthxbai. (srsly though good luck with all those. :-D)

Also I completely understand the internet-TV thing. Me myself and I are thinking about watching North and South, maybe tomorrow, and this is AFTER spending a large chunk of finals time watching season 6 of Buffy. (Season six isn't even that good? WHY did I do that to myself? WHY?)

*glomps, just 'cause*
14th-May-2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
Thank yooouuu. I'm going to have to be incredibly jealous in return that you get to spend a few months in France. You're going to have such an amazing time.

Let me know what you think of North and South! A friend of mine went through all of sixth form with a crush on Mr Thornton.

I keep hearing these good things about Buffy, but I couldn't keep going after season 3. Can't remember why now - should I give it a go again?

*is glomped*

14th-May-2008 06:10 am (UTC)
I wish I had grandparents in Toronto. *is jealous* I hope you have fun with your travel plans, they sound great. Oh, and if you're looking for something else to distract you on the internet (very unlikely) and you haven't already read it, read the Shoebox Project (http://community.livejournal.com/shoebox_project/). It is fantastic. A new entry got posted today (first time in almost two years) and it made me so happy that I no longer care about my French oral in two and a half hours.
14th-May-2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link! I'll go and take a look. :) I really am always looking for new ways to distract myself on the internet. It's an ongoing thing, stopped by nothing short of a need to sleep and eat, (and sometimes not even those).
14th-May-2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
where is this place you can watch how I met your mother online?! I must find it. my essays aren't happening. major stress = denial = lots of time surfing the net :-)

are you definitely going to croatia (if that's where you were going..) then?
14th-May-2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
I will go and see if I can find it again, and email it to you if/when I do. :)

Yay denial! Not so much yay with the major stress. Perhaps if you ignore them for long enough your essays will just wander off. :)

I'm actually a little pissed off at the moment over Croatia. Em. gave me a ring today and told me she can't do it anymore. :( I went over last week and we chose plane tickets - I thought she had already booked them. It's not really her fault, but it looks like Croatia isn't happening anymore. July is going to have to be Get A Job Already Month unless I find something else to do.

How's everything going with you summer-plan-wise?

Oh, and after months of wondering where that icon of yours was from, I now know! Finally watched Sense & Sensibility (online) yesterday.
14th-May-2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
well my german one was blitzed in a weekend after some reading that must have done itself, so I assume the french one will do the same. until then..I have music, and food. and my good friend the internet...

oh no, I'm sorry that didn't work out :s I booked my flights to Sweden yesterday, and the youth hostel in Stockholm, which is pretty awesome :-) we still need to book the 24 hour sleeper train up to where he's staying, and the youth hostel there, but meh. And I got an e-mail saying I'm enrolled on the Polish course! You should come visit me in Krakow in July...somehow...

*realises how much she is doing this summer*
*dies*

ahem. sense and sensibility is awesome, I think the actress who played elinor was amazing. you need to watch miss austen regrets though, caught it on bbc2 the other week. I think it showed a much better portrait of jane austen than becoming jane did...

jane austen geekery aside, loving your icon. and www.myspace.com/judybeat :-)
15th-May-2008 12:31 am (UTC)
Ooh, if you ever do go, talk to me. It's been years but I've been there a few times.
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