I’m a collector.
I used to think I was super sentimental but now I’ve come to realise that my habit for collecting and hording is because of trauma. As a child it was necessary to keep my own sense of a timeline jumbled so I could reattach to an abusive father and the worse things got, the more furiously I collected stamps, train tickets, fruit labels and buttons to give me a past that was safe to look back on.
This week has been like that, so stressful that my mind won’t place events in a timeline, and instead has done what it often does – insert random amusing/disturbing facts between select memories. Here is the collection:
- Behold Thomas Crapper!
Thomas Crapper was credited for inventing the toilet but actually invented a valve that stopped methane flowing back up from the sewers into Victorian bathrooms which often exploded when the methane was accidently lit by a night-time candle. So THAT’S why toilets are called “crappers” and why people say things like “Thomas does NOT give a crap about this blog.”
I learnt this while watching “How Victorian Baths Were So Dangerous | Hidden Killers | Absolute History” which the Youtube algorithm recommended to me because it knows I am a bleak and disturbed individual. Also in the video was that many people of the Victorian Era were killed using a contraption called a Mangle which is used to squeeze water out of laundry. Ah! I thought. So that must be where the verb mangle/ adjective mangled comes from. Interesting!
2. It’s evening. I’m so furious I jump into my car and drive out of suburban Sydney heading towards Windsor. Once the roads are single lane and pitch black, I pull off into a dirt track and park the car in the middle of what seems like a wood and cry. Then I realise I’m feeling kind of sick and promptly cease crying and start feeling annoyed that I have to quit my meltdown prematurely before I’ve really worked myself up into some decent sobs because I actually really want to be lying in bed. I’m further annoyed when I realise I’ve kind of parked myself into an awkward corner meaning I have to totally abandon self pity and ACTUALLY CONCENTRATE REALLY HARD on reversing out of the Bemuda Triangle of trees. All in all, an unsatisfying meltdown. Rated 1 out of 5.
3. Husband and I attend a Zoom meeting with son’s psychologist about impending meeting with Childcare. Psychologist S agrees they have convinced themselves he is Damien from the Omen and we discuss strategies and say things like “Psychologist S, can you tell us what we should say to Childcare director such that she might allow him to finish out the year there and we might also refrain from screaming obscenities at her?” The whole situation at Childcare reminds me of the Stanford Prison Experiment in which a bunch of people were paid to partake in a social experiment where some got to be guards and others got to be prisoners. Over a series of days, the guards, having been given an artificial sense of power, started to inflict cruel punishments on the prisoners and the prisoners, having been stripped of names and respect started to behave like antisocial deviants. The whole experiment was abandoned after a matter of days because everything got so out of hand. The point of the experiment was to show how quickly people behave to match the roles they’re given and if you treat a 4 year old like he’s a terror, pretty soon he will act like one.
4. I attend an appointment with Psychologist J despite not feeling 100% well and try to balance my sense of guilt should I infect him with a 99.99% certainty I don’t have Covid due to my recent and FIFTH negative Covid test. Much of that appointment felt like a waste of time but at some point towards the end the inner critic makes a show and is crying about how my body feels like it isn’t solid and how I constantly feel like I’m expanding or floating away and he offers to put his hand on my back to see if I can get a sense of feeling real and solid and in the same dimension as another human being. We try it for a moment but it doesn’t have the same useful effect it had when he did this one time about 10 years ago.
5. This comic that sums up my week so far and 2020 for pretty much everyone:
6. Son age 4 continues to find new and bizarre ways of constructing building sites in our living room with everyday objects. At one point sticky tape is running across the room from one end to the other connecting tables and chairs and furniture as he explains he is rigging up a cable car system. He tries to send a heavy bucket down a “cable”, cable fails, tantrum ensues. At another point in the week, all the chairs in the living room are piled up on top of each other with cardboard strips here and there which he announces is a shopping centre with 5 levels and carboard escalators for his stuffed toys to travel on. Each evening there’s a negotiation about how much of the living room construction site I can dismantled to use for actual LIVING purposes. I refuse to eat on the floor.
7. Husband tinkers with the car in the evening because something needs to be repaired. A regular occurrence. Not worth a mention really.
8. I take a look at a page that’s following me on Instagram. It’s got a post that says Leonid Rogozov was a doctor with a team of Russians in a 1961 expedition to the Antarctic. Being the only doctor on the team, when his appendix threatened to burst, he operated on himself. Surely this must be fake, I think. I google. Turns out it’s true and there’s a diary entry he wrote detailing how the 2 hour operation felt along with photographs. First time in my life I ever regretted fact checking.
So ends this week’s collection of my piecemeal life. Do you have a favourite mental trinket from your week? I’d love to hear it.
Demonstrating the Power of Social Situations via a Simulated Prison Experiment. (2020). American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/research/action/prison.
How Victorian Baths Were So Dangerous. Hidden Killers. Absolute History. (2019) YouTube video retrieved from https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=uB7hIpDCfr0
Lentati, S, (2015). The man who cut out his own appendix. BBC World Service. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32481442
Zimbardo, P. (1971). The Stanford Prison Experiment: A Simulation Study of the Psychology of Imprisonment. Stanford University. Retrieved from https://web.stanford.edu/dept/spec_coll/uarch/exhibits/Narration.pdf