Letting go

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I got a call from a new number at 4 PM. I was at work, so I didn’t pick up. Then had another call, followed by another missed call. I had a very good idea who it was. I figured I’d call back after work and give those fuckers hell; no need to cause a scene at work.

As I crossed the main street to go towards Leather Lane, one of those charity fundraisers stopped me in my tracks. She was from The Red Cross and wanted money. They always want money.  Money, money, money. More, more, more. She did the usual sales pitch about people in crisis and refugees and hunger etc. I didn’t want to come across as a monster, so I signed up for a monthly direct debit donation. While she was talking I was thinking “Dude, I just want to go home, how much is this going to cost me….” I’m sure you can relate to that feeling. I’m going to cancel the direct debit. The whole exercise was a complete waste of time for all parties involved. Why do I care so much about whether a complete stranger on the streets of London thinks I’m a monster or not? I’ve been taught to lie and smile and pretend. Thank you society! Thank you for making me feel like a piece of shit.

After that obstacle I moved on to call the agency. Camilla picked up and asked me how I was. I told her “not good, not good at all” and continued to tell them what I thought about their “service” or to be more accurate lack of it. It actually felt really good.

A week before I met with a real estate agent to rent a room and gave him £200 as a holding deposit. He gave me a proper receipt and we parted our ways. Things got very quiet afterwards, I called/texted to check if all was OK to move in and asked about what times can we meet to sign the contract etc. All I got was a text saying something along the lines of “they will call you, all OK”. (BTW I’m moving out because my current landlord sold the flat I live in.) On the very day I was supposed to move in, that’s when Camilla tried calling me at work. I was quite unhappy with the poor communication and already decided that I don’t want anything to do with them. However, the moment she said the room was unavailable because of a “double-booking”, I got very angry with them. Such incompetence. I demanded a refund and she actually said that the holding deposit is non-refundable. I told her the very purpose of the holding deposit was to reserve the room for me which is exactly the opposite of what they did. This was ridiculous and I threatened them with legal action (this was an obvious bluff, solicitors are super expensive). After some arguing she said, they’ll refund it and I need to email them a copy of the receipt and  my bank details. I did that but haven’t received anything back yet. Not exactly holding my breath here either. I don’t think there’s anything else I can do here.

I know the police won’t do anything because almost two years ago I was in a very similar position and the pigs didn’t do anything back then except send me an email saying they’ll be monitoring the situation or something. Makes you think… crime does pay after all.

My complaint to the travel agency never got anywhere either (they cancelled one of my flights back in August and didn’t refund me). The agency never responded and since they weren’t part of a proper union/group or whatever you call it, there was no ombudsman to refer my complaint to. Legal action will cost me more than the claim/damage is worth.

So I gotta let it slide, again. Let it go and let the bastards win.

on-letting-go

I’ve got about ten days to find a new home, I’m confident I’ll find something but all this is much more stressful than it needs to be.

Happy thanksgiving,

Ivar

Poodles, goats and tigers in a hot air balloon

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The attacks of last week were horrible. I changed my Facebook profile to the French flag immediately after I heard of the events. I didn’t analyze, or do any research to find out whether this was a good idea nor did I consult anybody. I did it because it felt right in that very moment.
A little later I found out that the media didn’t cover similar attacks in Beirut a day before the ones in Paris. A bunch of articles also surfaced which shined some light on the fact that the media is highly biased and the world didn’t pay much attention to the horrible things happening outside the western world.
One idea I found from a comment was that the key reason for this was the word “news”. People get desensitized about news (no matter how tragic) if they hear about it every day. Civilian lives are lost in horrible acts of terror on a daily basis in the Middle East. It’s not news. However, when something like that happens in Paris, it is by definition news and the media should cover it.
Moving on to the other aspect – caring. The people who were sad for Paris aren’t rejoicing about Beirut or any other tragedy. The thing is that it is far easier to liken ourselves with a girl in a Paris coffee shop than an engineer in Beirut. Paris is part of my tribe and therefore my identity, home and family. We all want to go to the City of Love, check out the Eiffel tower, eat a croissant, learn/butcher a bit of the French language, make fun of a mime and smoke some disgusting cigarettes to fit in. The Middle East on the other hand isn’t high on the list of places I’d like to visit.

Eiffel

Paris is also in my back garden. I can practically see it from my window. That’s why it felt personal. This explains the reaction form the Western world to the events in Paris.
This situation is similar to some of the conversations I have with meat eaters. They find out I’m vegan and start arguing. It is wrong to kill animals but they disagree. However they agree that it is wrong to kill our pets – cats and dogs. They think some animals matter more, others less. I see no difference between a French rabbit and a Lebanese goat – neither should be killed, tortured and eaten.
I must admit I don’t quite think the same way about people. I weigh in on culture, religion, touristy things and the cuisine. Funny, how the world works. All human lives matter, we just perceive some to be more relatable. Until that changes, we will never have world peace.
Let me give you a good example of what I mean. There’s a hot air balloon flying across the Atlantic Ocean. It’s got three people in it – a politician, an engineer and an accountant (feel free to change them to a French poodle, Lebanese goat and a Bengali tiger). The balloon is halfway across and starts leaking. It’s losing altitude and soon they will all perish into the water. The question is “who would you throw down the balloon to save the other people’s lives?” I think this was asked in a newspaper and a lot of people wrote in.
I know what you are thinking: ”Throw the politician into the water. They’re all scumbags and do nothing but steal from the people.” If you have some other thoughts, please let me know.
By the way, the right answer to the problem came from a six year old girl. She said that you should throw down the fattest person. That makes perfect sense. However as adults our thinking is clouded by stereotypes and perceived human value to society.
My profile picture still has the French flag in the background. It’s because my tribe was hurt and it feels personal. A tragedy in my own tribe will always hurt more than a tragedy in a distant tribe.
Ivar