Monday, March 28, 2022

Red Flags

Now that I have been with Highflyer for more than two and a half years and it's been nothing but harmonious and drama-free, I still don't consider myself a sudden expert on relationships. I am, however, convinced that my bullshit radar has been state-of-the-art for quite some time and I can never go back to not acknowledging red flags that I did always see in the past, but chose not to act upon. The equation is probably a very straightforward one: age + experience = no more bullshit. The problem is that I now ind it hard to hold back when I feel I can see someone else suffering by ignoring red flags. My patience is zero and only because I feel I deluded myself and tried to explain away someone's behaviour that made me unhappy and was not what I wanted, I don't want somebody else to make the same mistake. It's not that I cannot relate or have all of a sudden forgotten what it felt like to be disappointed or to want things that the other person obviously does not want (with you anyway). It's the exact opposite, that I can relate only too well and therefore want to shake others who seem to be stuck in similar dead-end scenarios. I am torn because I feel like a bullfighter who wants to jump around waving a huge red flag in front of the stubborn "bull" that is my deluded friend, but then again, I don't want to rub it in and make them feel even more miserable.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Masked Rebels

Now that our little banana republic recommends wearing masks indoors again after about two weeks of having people flock to nightclubs and wear masks practically nowhere, all I can do is roll my eyes and say: "Well, no surprise there". I sometimes wonder if there is any sense of reason and self-awareness left in people. And with people I explicitly don't mean most of my friends and family who seem to take the same approach that I do, i.e. still are cautious and don't pretend coronavirus has evaporated simply because some guidelines have changed. 
Last Thursday I was on a business trip in Linz, where I gave a presentation as part of a training for civil servants. None of them wore a mask and I realised it looked a bit weird if I, the presenter standing in front of them, was the only one who did. I explained that I had plans for the weekend, including meeting some old and at-risk people (including my bedridden uncle whose doctors decided that getting vaccinated against Covid-19 posed too great a health risk for him) but they could of course remain as they were. I admit that it was a bit awkward and I almost was a bit apologetic for what was not actually required. 
Last summer I was looked at like an alien when I went shopping wearing an FFP2 mask in Carinthia, being used to that from Vienna and also believing that the virus did not differentiate between a grocery shop, where it was and "non-essential" shops, where it was not necessary to wear a mask. 
Don't get me wrong, I don't actually enjoy walking around with a tight-fitting mask, but I don't want to actively provoke getting infected. So far, I have been lucky in several cases where I was a potential contact person, but you never know. According to statistics I have the "best" blood type that gets infected less easily, but still, you know, better be safe than sorry.


Monday, March 14, 2022

In My Bubble

It's been two years now that life-as-we-knew-it said goodbye and new vocabulary like "lockdown" and "variants" entered the scene. For me, the global pandemic also brought an unexpected change of scenery with it and I more or less moved in with Highflyer in what I have come to refer to as the "country house" since I am keeping my "city residence" as well. It was just the two of us for months and when we had the first overnight visitors (his sons whom I lovingly refer to as "the savages" as their sense of tidiness and order...or lack worse than their father's) it almost felt like an intrusion and needed some adapting. I call this our "bubble" and it really is a thing. It's a comfortable and very happy existence and I have to admit that it almost takes effort now to get around to fixing dates with people, make travel plans and basically do what I used to do before the pandemic. Boring? Probably. Anti-Social? Likely. To be ashamed of? Nah, not really.

Monday, March 07, 2022

Flashback to ca. 1986

When I saw this headline on Friday, March 4, saying "Russia took over Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Radiation normal" I thought I was beamed back to my teenage years. Those were the heydays of the Cold War and really scary (to an angst-ridden teenager anyway) propaganda both from the US and the USSR. There was a lot of talk of somebody accidentally (or on purpose) pressing the ominous button that would evaporate all of humanity and apocalyptic films like "The Day After" were shown to students who would have nightmares for months afterwards. 
I vividly remember the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and that we stopped eating liver and mushrooms for a long time. It was all very disturbing and when the Berlin Wall came down I naively thought that there was no East/West divide any more and that "the Russians" were not the villains they had been for decades. All the other conflicts that were to follow, with some of them geographically pretty close like the war in Yugoslavia that seemed like a never-ending news headline in the 1990s, didn't feel as scary and threatening to me as the Cold War years had been. 
I was your average teenager who was way more interested in how the cute classmate could be made to finally notice that I was meant for him than in current affairs, but the aggressive rhetoric on both sides and the well-known presence of nuclear weapons was hard to escape and it scared the shit out of me. Probably I should be really scared now, but somehow it all feels like a bizarre play developing in front of our eyes that is just beyond belief. The difference to the 1980s is that there is such an onslaught of information on so many channels and that first-person accounts are just a swipe or click away. 
When I posted my wedding invitations recently, I thought the biggest threat to that event taking place was a horrible Covid variant that would see us in yet another lockdown and possibly also torrential rain. Well...

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