You know the feeling of dread
when your foot missed the stair?
You know the feeling of gratitude
to see something that’s rare?
You know the feeling of joy
when you’re singing that song?
You know the feeling of sadness
when everyone’s gone?
You know the feeling of longing
when you remember what you had?
You know the feeling of loathing
when those around you seem glad?
You know the feeling your head
is filled with commotion?
You know the feeling of being
overwhelmed with emotion?
How am I?
I’m fine, how are you?
Recently I’ve found the same problem everywhere I go. I can’t eat. I want to. I’m hungry. I’m in the places that sell food. So what’s wrong?
In the modern age most places are trying to cater to the biggest crowd. I understand, that’s where the money is, and without money business dies. People going to eat like flavour, so why not add spice to the food? People want to be healthy, so why not swap out something less healthy for some kind of vegetables? People are discovering intolrences and making lifestyle choices, so why not offer vegan and gluten free varients?
It’s has now become a struggle to find a menu that is not getting taken over by these ‘options’ leaving nothing untouched in their wake. I’ll admit a lot of my difficulties are through fault of my own: I am a fussy eater. I always have been. But I’m running out of options. I seriously don’t see why I’ve been to a restaurant who decided to add chilli flakes to every dish. Do they realise that not everyone likes spicy food? That some people react badly to it? It’s not even as if they’ve always done it. I’m in a cafe now where the granola come with a soy yoghurt. That fine, but there’s no dairy alternative. I have an allergy to soy. I can’t be the only one in the world?
I also know that I can ask for my food to be modified. I still have to pay £7.50 for a grilled cheese, but I can ask them to remove the onion, the chuney, the herb dressing. So I end up with bread and cheese. Nothing else. I only assume they can modify this, because it’s also possible that the food was prepped in advance and the sandwiches are prebuilt and ready for grilling. Again, I can’t blame a business for this. It makes sense to do the busy work in advance so they can serve customers faster. More people in the door, more money in the till.
Ultimately what it is coming down to is that I’m looking at a menu where the only thing I can eat without modification is Caramel French Toast. Please for heavens sake don’t misunderstand me, it sound delicious. But is that a meal? Or just dessert?
I’m convinced at this point I’m the only with this problem. I guess I’ll buy the Bacon Roll with no sauce again.
The work day proceeded as per normal routine for X5. If he had the full range of emotions that are available to humans he might even have been able to express his delight at the efficiency of the teams work. 3 shipments came in during the morning and were sorted and stored in almost record time.
At 1pm exactly X5 made the break announcement. “Crew members: it is time to refuel. Please stop your work in a safe manner and take lunch.”
“Why does it always say it like that?” asked Sab as the crew gathered around the small table near the back of the room. X5 had moved to join them, although he had no need to recharge.
“Because corporate won’t let Kay change it to ‘Keep working slaves!’ like she wants,” Jack laughed.
Kay threw a screwed up napkin at Jack. “It’s default,” She said, “he’s always said it, even before I started here.”
“And who decided it’s a He? It’s a robot, it’s not even humanoid.” Sab was looking at X5 with a strange curiosity.
“All the help-bots of that era we’re either a ‘he’ or a ‘she’,” answered Kay. “It was supposed to make the crew more comfortable working with them.” She picked up a piece of bread and dunked it into her soup.
Jack was shoveling crisps into his mouth but paused for a few seconds. “That why the base is a ‘she’.”
“The base is considered to care for and protect her crew, as a mother. That is why it is spoken f as a ‘she’,” X5 explained.
“What do you think of mommy X5?” asked Jack, around another mouthful of crisps.
“I have no mother, as I am sure you know crew member Jack. However, if you are referring to the base I am grateful for my position and safety on it.”
“How did it learn to make jokes?” Sab was ignoring his pasta and just staring at X5 now.
“Enough,” growled Crow. “Can we just eat in peace?”
CB31-12D.X5 was a standard class cargo-bot assigned to Bay 3 of the Glaxeal base. He’d never left the bay since first activation. That had been 1825 calendar days previously. When he had first been activated there were 4 other cargo-bots assigned to the bay. Time had passed. Breakdowns were common in older models. Replacement parts were getting hard to come by. Now X5 was the only cargobots in bay 3. X5 had heard the live crew talking about the other bay’s on the base. He knew that Bay 1 had at least 10 cargo-bots assigned, and that these were mostly model CB38-12’s.
X5 came out of power saving at 8.30, as normal. He started with his own maintenance checks, then continued with the rest of the equipment. As time passed the noise outside the bay increased as the station entered daytime running and crew members ‘clocked on’ as they often called it.
Crew member Kay was the first to arrive in the bay.
“Morning X5, how are you?” she asked.
“No new faults to report,” X5 responded. “How were your hallucinations during your low power period?” It had taken a while, but X5 had gotten used to the morning small talk. It was a strange process for a cargo-bot, but X5 had found it made the live crew members mush more comfortable, and this improved efficiency.
“For the last time,” Kay sighed, “it’s not ‘low power mode’, it’s sleep, and they’re not ‘hallucinations’, they’re dreams.”
“That is the 43rd time you have explained that ‘for the last time’ crew member Kay.”
Kay Smiled. “I’m starting to think you’re making fun of me.”
“I’m certain he’s is,” said crew member Jack as he entered the bay. “Morning X5.”
“Yes it is pre-noon, crew member Jack,” said X5.
Jack gave X5 a withering look. “Ha-ha. I thought I was the joker around here?”
“Maybe if you made anyone laugh,” answered Kay.
Jack glanced around the bay. “Where is everyone? Don’t tell me I’m early.”
“Just waiting for Sab and Crow, and I didn’t think you knew the meaning of early.” She was climbing onto a crate moving buggy as she spoke.
“I have checked the equipment already, crew member Kay.” X5 pulled the data from his memory banks and loaded it to one of the display screens. “Buggies 1, 3, and 6 are functional at standard expected capacity. Buggies 2, 7, 8, and 10 are absent due to needs in other bays.”
“Aren’t they always,” muttered Jack quietly.
X5 continued. “Buggy 5 is in need of a break cog, as the one installed currently is missing multiple teeth. Buggy 9 is functional, but may be unsafe to operate before the cracked screen has been replaced.”
“Where’s Buggy 4?” asked Sab. Somehow he had slipped into the room unnoticed while X5 was giving his report.
Jack jumped to attention and saluted theatrically. “One of the bravest buggies I ever knew, Lord rest his soul.” He pretended to wipe a tear from his face.
Sab gave him a curious look and X5, recognising the confusion at the humour he himself had experienced, and decide Sab required a full answer.
“It was crushed under a fallen shelving unit. Repair attempts were made but ultimately futile.”
“Like resistance,” added Jack, and a grin flashed across his face.
There was a bang from the doorway. Crow had entered and closed it forcefully. He scowled at the group and took a swig of coffee from the paper cup in his hand.
Kay closed the access panel of Buggie 5 and wipe her hands on a rag. “Well that’s everyone,” she sighed. “OK, listen up guys and bots. We’ve got 7 shipments coming in today, mostly food and clothing-”
“We do get all the exciting jobs,” Jack interrupted. X5 recognised his vocal pattern to include sarcasm.
“Maybe it’s not as exciting as the experimental parts Bay 1 are receiving,” conceded Kay, “but we handle the most important equipment on the base. Without us the Glaxeal goes cold and hungry. Make sure you’re showing this cargo the respect it deserves.” She gave Jack a warning glare.
Winter has very much arrived in my part of the world. Ice, frost, and even the dreaded S-word have shown themselves in the past week or so. I’ve never being good at dealing with winter. I was born and raised in Yorkshire where winter is just cold and wet. Even if we get snow it doesn’t last.
Whenever the weather turns violently cold as it has done recently, I become very irritable. I don’t much like myself like this. I will try to change the way I’m acting to make my behaviour more pleasant toward others. I use the phrase “Violently cold” for a very specific reason. I don’t like being cold. I don’t see any reason that I should be cold. I get angry when I’m cold. I get VERY angry when I’m cold. I also don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way.
The whole word seems to divide into the snow gamers and the fire siders. “Want to go sledging?” No. I want to climb inside this fire because there are bits of me still feeling an icy draft from an invisible source. I’d rather cut of my arm than spend the day voluntarily rolling around it was is pretty much a giant puddle that’s iced over. The only thing I do like about winter is the aesthetic of sitting by the fire with hot chocolate and a good book.
I’ve not yet reached an instance of being “Homicidally cold”, but fear that day will come.
Wishing you all warmth,
My heart stopped beating.
The words you said did hurt me.
I’m over you now.
On Saturday my fish Kiko passed away.
She was confident and curious. She always wanted to be first at everything. (Except leaving the tank for cleaning time.) She was greedy and needed to be watched or she’d eat everything. I know some people won’t understand the connection I have, or my description of her personality. She was a fish, she lived in a tank, it’s not like I could hold her or pet her.
So, explanation time.
In March 2016 my mental health had seriously deteriorated. I struggled with the most basic of self-care, I struggled to keep myself clean or fed. I’d been wanting a fish for a few years. I had one as a child, he was called Fishy and had lived for 10 years. So in a desperate bid to make me better it was decided this was the right time to get fish. It worked.
I got 2. Kiko and Nona. I love them both more than I can explain. They gave me reason to get up every day. If I didn’t get up they had no one to feed them. I started to make my own breakfast again so I could eat when they did. I’d talk to them when I felt alone, and even without answering it made me feel like someone was listening. Sometimes I didn’t feel that I could do anything, so I’d watch them. I think they knew, they’d swim around so I had something to watch. When I moved they came with me, When I was away overnight I worried about them. These small dependant creatures needed me, but not as much as I had needed them.
Kiko was only sick for a short time from what we could tell. We think it was fish tuberculosis, there’s no cure.
Nona still seems healthy. She still needs me, we’re keeping each other strong. If I don’t keep her company now she’ll be alone. Maybe I’ll get her a friend, maybe I won’t. I know it’s not a decision I can make yet.
Enjoy swimming between the stars Kiko,