Lisa: Look on the bright side, Dad — did you know that the Chinese use the same word for “crisis” as they do for “opportunity”?
Homer: Yes — crisitunity!
—The Simpsons (S6E011, “Fear of Flying”)
Almost immediately after I wrote my last blog post, something happened at work: I won’t go into details (partly for legal reasons), but suffice to say, we’re one of the organisations that was recently hit by ransomware. It’s almost as though me buying such expensive computer equipment had harmed my karma (or ka), and I was being punished with a terrifying situation.
But don’t panic! Somehow I’ve done (more or less) everything right at work to help out, and not only senpai and “Asian Eddie Hitler”, but “boss lady” herself have been thankful for my efforts! I even went into the office to help the former two one weekend, and have gone in alone on several other days, to make sure PCs with special software are (a) virus-free and (b) remote-onto-able by critical staff, while other people can remote onto virtual machines just to have access to internal files and databases.
I should certainly get paid for my overtime, but it’s been said that the guys are working on arranging a pay rise for me — and the only disadvantage I have in financial terms is that I can’t defer my Stupid Loans repayments another year, which should be resolved by the pay rise itself (so that I’m earning more over the monthly gross limit than the amount I’ve got to pay back monthly).
Leave has been hard to come by lately, due to both the homeworking nature of my job and the lockdown itself; however, having plenty of leave left might prove to be fortuitous, as I’m likely to need some time off work within the next month or so, according to a phone call I received at the height of getting things working again, but oddly, a whole month after my last MRI scan, ending my belief that no news was good news…
Yes, it’s another issue involving the “space invader”, which has begun rallying its forces for a renewed offensive — and while, for now, it’s only conquering the equivalent of No-Man’s-Land (i.e. growing into the cavity left by the previous surgery), it’s necessary to take action now, before it’s too late.
But don’t panic! It’s not going to kill me any time soon, and produces no additional symptoms — and most importantly, this situation offers a prospective improvement on the treatment I received in May 2018.
I’ll be having a phone conversation tomorrow to get the full story, but it seems that, far from putting me under general anaesthetic to cut my noggin open again, leaving me to convalesce for weeks or even months afterwards, they can do something much quicker, using only local anaesthetic, which might mean only a day in hospital and a week of recovery.
It won’t be the cranial screw-top technique discovered by Dr. Hfuhruhurr in The Man with Two Brains, but it will involve another hole-in-the head; the main difference this time is that they’ll keep me awake while they test bits of the tumour-ridden segment of my left temporal lobe, freezing them one by one and checking that I can still speak and understand English before deciding on removing that bit. It’s said to have been improving over the past two years, and so, rather than a guinea pig, I’ll be a straightforward recipient of a tried and tested process.
(But now I wonder: is there a risk of me losing my Japanese knowledge? Should I ask them to say the word oniisan and hold up a card saying a big brother character’s name, to check whether I still hate dumbed-down subtitles?)
And finally, there’s the really bad news: “best mate”, who I’ve known since late 2012, and who has been a housemate since Easter 2015, is planning to move back to his homeland, the Emerald Isle itself, with the prospect of getting his own house (and, technically, returning to the EU). I’ll miss him, and since I’m not fond of the other three housemates, I feel like I should move out of this house once and for all.
I’ve lived here (in terms of actually being physically within these four walls instead of just visiting occasionally) for longer than any other house in my life, and indeed longer than all my previous London residences combined. It’s coming up to 17 years that I’ve lived in the Smoke, which is… er… more than half my life, any claims to the contrary are fake news!
(No, 42 is the number from the book that made DON’T PANIC! a famous quote, and nothing to do with my age — Stephen King’s 19 is closer to that, at least mentally!)
In late 2011 I felt like giving up on London entirely out of depression, and in late 2014 to early 2015 I felt anxious that I wouldn’t be able to stay and continue doing the things I enjoy. Nothing much happened in late 2017 to early 2018 other than the trivial matter of discovering I had a brain tumour, which led to me spending a mere five weeks back in Worthing before coming back here, but now, another three-year cycle later, I find myself wondering once again…
Apart from the Castle (which now needs pre-arranging for climbing), my personal trainer (who I see online these days anyway), and my job (for which I’m almost entirely homeworking), I feel little to keep me here — and much to drive me away. Apart from the house being hot in the summer and cold in the winter, “ambivalent housemate” is right back to his bad ways: as well as being condescending to me (e.g. when I sold my old graphics card for “too little”), he makes a lot of annoying noises, especially when his own homeworking day comes to an end about an hour before mine, making me want to avoid him.
(Loudly pretending to play the trumpet, singing badly (deliberately?), firing a pop-gun in the kitchen every day with one of our female housemates, listening to audiobooks at maximum volume in the hallway, knocking on doors with that infernal shave-and-a-haircut rhythm, his sneeze, his laugh… how ironic that he left his previous residence due to two unrepentantly noisy housemates!)
But don’t panic! I think I’ll just find somewhere else in London to live, still convenient for work (perhaps even a slightly longer Tube journey, so I have time to watch a whole 25-minute episode of Japanese anime or American animation before getting off), but — despite the horrors I saw in January 2012 — I feel like searching for a single place, albeit not a studio flat under any circumstances.
Much as I’d love to live with my family again… no, I can’t say that — having it as a fallback is wonderful, and obviously I’d be happy to see the dog every day (since she’s the one family member I can’t talk to over the phone or Skype), but once again it’d be like giving up on the prospect of escaping Worthing, and resigning to us all living out our days in that cancerous polyp on the anus of Great Britain.
(An old Red Dwarf quote… ah, and just like in 2013, I still don’t want to be a boring grown-up who drives in London and only drinks wiiine — and I still listen to Gwar, and impersonate Beavis and/or Butt-head, as well as using funny sound effects on mobile phones! But working overtime, alas…)
One thing is strangely more significant than it at first seems: I’ve bought kitchenware recently that I’m certainly not willing to bequeath to this household so soon — a wok and a frying pan — which means I still want to cook for myself, instead of burdening my folks (or the local pizza place). That plus a big TV stand (no, really!) shows that I’m still investing in my own life, and want to continue living away from home as a responsible adult, in my own space.
Besides, do I really want my PC of Theseus in the same room as the Frankencomputer…?