Monday, 30 August 2010

The benefits of being a CHMO.

Well, it has been a bank holiday here, in the sunny (inverted commas) Britain this weekend.

Which means we get a three-day weekend instead of the usual two-day one. You might think that is a good thing. But no, not really. It just means we have an extra day to fill in with fun activities. And this is where it is difficult not to be a CHMO. Because, most of my friends right now are either away in some sunny (no inverted commas here) country, or spending bank holiday with their extended families and/or (better) friends.

We, however, had no plans. Well, originally, we were doing something every day. But then, things changed.

A friend who invited us over for drinks to her place on Sunday, cancelled. I knew she was going to cancel, to be honest, because nobody else was available, and she wanted to have a little party: just a few local friends with kids.

Unfortunately, we were the only (CHMO) family who had no plans for the bank holiday Sunday.

Of course, she had a choice; she could say ‘Oh, come anyway!’ or she could cancel and try to re-arrange when the others would be available. Of course, she chose the latter. That is what people do to you if you are a bit of a CHMO. (Of course, mother made me feel better by pointing out that the girl herself might feel somewhat CHMOminated by the fact that nobody else accepted her kind invitation. Hmm...I guess so)

I have to admit I hate it when people cancel on me. Absolutely hate it. I feel like a teenage girl stood up on the first date. But then, I thought... Actually...this is good. Because, there were thousands of tasks I had piling up in my house. In the end, being a CHMO on Sunday meant that:

  • I now have very clean French doors. In order to understand why that is worth pointing out, you have to understand that I have a very large dog. Every time I lock my Rottweiler out in the garden, he sits very close to the doors, barks and spits and snorts all over the glass. 
  • While I was in the window cleaning mood, I went on and on, polishing every mirror and window I could find. In the hallway, we have some pretty coloured leaded windows over the front door. I never knew they let light in, because I never thought about cleaning them so thoroughly. 
  • I have freshly coloured and nourished looking hair
  • Husband shredded all his unnecessary paperwork that he normally stacks up in a tall pile for months. He volunteered to do this without me threatening him with divorce, which is simply unheard of.
  • I bought ingredients and actually cooked a nice family dinner. A very rare occurrence.
  • During the aggressive cleaning activities I must have lost at least 500 calories which is almost as good as going to the gym.
So really...Being a CHMO is useful. And can lead to you getting slimmer, living in a tidy and clean house, AND with beautifully coloured hair.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Weapon of choice.

I have been thinking about Facebook recently, as you do. Not because they were messing about closing and opening scary azeri fan page like a bunch of retards. Oh, I know I am not supposed to use this word. But I love it. It is such a juicy, tasty word! Please, allow me to use it! I promise, I won’t do it often. Husband wanted to use it the other day (on me, of course!) and said: ‘That word, you know, which starts with re and ends with tard.’ He can be quite funny, that husband. That’s how he gets away with not mowing the lawn.


I was thinking that Facebook has become this weird place for people to share most intimate events in their lives. And I don’t mean I went to the toilet 4 times today and all 4 times were very successful.
I mean some serious, life-changing events. Someone lost his dog. I lost a dog once too, and I know how awful that can be. But I knew, you see, I just knew.... I knew that, to some people, especially amongst Azeris who in their majority don’t treat animals as family members, my sadness would be the cause of great amusement. People thought it was absolutely hysterical that my dog committed a suicide.” I knew and I tried to cope on my own, and not mention it too often.

But this friend of mine...He put status updates on his wall. 'Oh, baby. I am sorry I was not there when you passed away...' kind of messages. Even to me, a dog-loving person, this was too much.

People do all sorts of things on Facebook. I would not be too shocked if tomorrow someone discovers an alternative to phone sex- a Facebook sex. Why not? We already replaced phones with social networking sites almost entirely.

Facebook brings lovers together after a split up and unites friends who were on non-speaking terms. What’s next?

So what? I hear you ask. Those are all lovely, nice things. Like bringing people together, mending broken hearts, using it as a form of therapy.....blah blah. I hear you. But! That is not the only stuff one can use Facebook for.

You see, things that would not happen in real life happen on Facebook.

Say, your ex lovers.

You go out with someone, you split up for whatever reason and most probably, you never see them again.

But not in the Facebook world!

Thanks to Facebook, you can keep an eye over your ex lovers’ lives. What they are up to, who they are dating or marrying, and all sorts of other things you would never otherwise have to know. And most of us are OK with that. Most of us are decent people who, despite having been dumped or cheated on, wish our exes well.

But imagine, just hypothetically that you don’t like your ex. Say he or she did something really unpleasant to you, like drown your cat or something, I don’t know. How great is Facebook for taking a sudden, unexpected and sweet revenge?

Hypothetically speaking, you could do one of the following: (applies to males and females. I am just using the male form for simplicity. Also, women are bitchier so the chances of us doing it to men are stronger.)

1. You could post a message on your ex’s wall announcing he was really pretty crap in bed.
2. You could look up his current partner amongst his friends and post something on her wall. See above for an idea.
3. If he is married (and might have even been already married when he dated you) you could tell his wife he is a cheating whore. She probably knows by now, but it will still piss her off. His wife most probably is in his FB friends. You might need to friend her first, but people are not that fussy. She will probably accept you without realizing the potential impact this decision will have on her marriage.
4. You can blackmail him, should (3) be the case.
5. You can send him a (virtual) picture of a boiled bunny.


Now, I don’t actually hate any of my exes. I don’t know why, I just go through these ‘it does not matter anymore, water under the bridge’ thoughts in my head, and tend to happily accept them as Facebook friends. The ones who are still alive. Because, sadly, one of them is not. And when I think of his wasted life, I think that it is great that the others are fine and doing well. I like the fact they are OK, and that we can be Facebook buddies,even if things did not work out some very, very long time ago. And no, I won’t put any nasty messages on their walls. I will keep their secrets. And don’t I know a few!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

I am f****ing Matt Damon


This is not a proper posting. This is one of those in-between postings posting, you know.

As it happens with me, some nights I just have (a bit!) too much wine and feel happy for no real reason, whatsoever. I had a hard day today, you know? Full of silly tasks, like working from home and going to I needed this glass of red vino tonight. Or two.

Anyway. Whenever that happens, I feel full of love. Yes, I know I have a husband for that. But tonight, I suddenly thought- what if those guys have not seen I am f****ng Matt Damon video? That would be just wrong, you know? That would be sooo unfair! Because yes, I might have seen a lot of very funny things on the net. But this video is still one of the best I have seen.

OK, it is not new. In fact, I think it is very old. But it is still very good. I have my issues with Sarah Silverman. I don't do toilet humor. And she seems to like it a lot. But other than that, the girl is very funny. I wonder if this all was a big joke, or did she really do Matt Damon? In any case, if you accidentally have not come across this seriously funny song, please do check it out.

And if you think this was funny, then make sure you watch Jimmy's response- I am f****g Ben Affleck.


PS It is so much better without the silly beep noise. But I tried to find the original, uncensored version and failed. Sorry.

Monday, 23 August 2010

'What happens to ships in winter?'

Mother’s English is entirely self-taught. Considering that, it is pretty amazing. However, whenever she leaves me a comment on the blog, I always catch her out.

‘How do you know it is me?’ She laughs, and I tell her that I can always tell it is her, from the way she structures her sentences. That, and the favouritism.

‘Stop it now!’ my friend said to her daughter, ‘Or you get in a whole lot of trouble!’

‘Wow,’ my mother commented ‘I like this expression! You don’t come across phrases like that in language studying books!’

‘I hope not’, my friend laughed.

Mother likes to know why.

‘Why do you say ‘’I will pop over?’’

‘Don’t know. You just do.’ I say.

Yes, but when do you say pop in? How do I know when to say pop over, or pop in? Or is it pop up? Or is it pop down? When do you say pop up and when pop down?

And why do you say ‘Are you around today?’ A round what? Around where?

I thought it was children who ask why all the time, but nope. It is Azeri mothers trying to perfect their English.

Once in a movie, I heard what I thought was one of the best phrases related to speaking a foreign language. An old man said to Keanu Reeves: ‘ Just because I talk with an accent doesn't mean I think with an accent. ”

Because, when your language is not perfect, it is hard to express yourself. It is hard to sound intelligent when your vocabulary is limited and you occasionally come up with wrong expressions or words.

A long time ago, while on holiday in North Wales, we were in the car heading somewhere along the seaside, when my mother suddenly asked my father in law about ships.

'Where do ships go in winter?' She asked.

Father in law was confused. ‘Hmm...’he said. ‘Eh?’

‘What do you mean where do they go?’

‘Well, don’t they get cold in winter?’

You can only imagine what my in-laws must have thought of this strange Azeri woman who thinks ships made of steel could get cold in winter and need looking after. Of course, she was not asking about the ships but the sheep in the fields.

My in-laws laughed very hard once I explained what she actually meant. It was not that funny, really. They were just very excited to realize that she was not mad. It was laughter of relief. ‘Oh, she is not crazy!’ They thought ‘she is just foreign’.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

There's a starman sitting in the sky...

There's a starman waiting in the sky
Hed like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me: Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

David Bowie, Starman

The other night, at a family dinner table in North Wales, we got into a heated discussion about dangers of religious education in the UK state schools. It all started when I said I was not sure what to tell my daughter when she starts asking what happens when we die. I felt uneasy telling her there was no heaven filled with grandparents and pets. Neither did I really want to scare or worry her by explaining that one day we will all just disappear into rotting nothing. ‘She is only 4!’ I said.

So, I was wondering if it would be that damaging if she was told a lie. So what, I thought, if maybe, for a short period of time, until her intellect (hopefully) takes over, she believes in fairies, Father Christmas and heaven? Is it really that bad?

Husband, however, felt strongly about the dangers of any religious influence.

‘Look’, he said, ‘They are already brainwashing them at school! We get no choice as parents. She is being taught that God created life as if it were a fact anyway.’

‘Surely it is not that bad? Father in law suggested. ‘She is in a state school after all, not a religious one?’

That night, we ended up having a very long debate; and that is in a family where none of us were religious! It made me wonder about people who enter into marriages with completely different attitudes to faith.

I could have married someone very Christian, Catholic, Jewish or very Muslim. Well, not really. I could not have. But I have come across situations when an atheist married a religious person. ‘Oh’, my friend said, ‘She is a nice Christian girl. I am not a believer myself, but it is good that she is.’ Good? Why is it good? It might have been good if you were one yourself, but if you are not, you might face interesting problems further in life. Like whether to have a nuchal scan for Down syndrome chance in pregnancy.

‘Why’ my friend’s husband questioned, ‘would we need any tests? You know we will keep this baby anyway, don’t you?’

No, she actually did not know that. Hmm. Slight problema here, I say.

With us, things are easier, as we both believe, or, rather, don’t believe, the same things. And yet, we will have questions that need agreeing upon in advance. Especially now,when I realize just how religious the UK state education is.

The next morning, we were getting in the car to go to the beach when my child exclaimed ‘Oh my God!’ about something.

‘Don’t say that’ Husband corrected.

‘Why can’t you say ‘God’?’ She asked happily from the back. ‘He is the man who sits in the sky, daddy. You can’t see him because he is there, and we are down here, but he is always in the sky, you know?’

‘Oh, is he?’ Husband gave me a sideways glance. ‘And who told you that?’

‘They told us at school!’ She replied proudly, and we both just stared ahead in silence for a moment.

Not only it is assumed that all the children in this country have to be brought up to have an imaginary friend; it gets even more entertaining when they attempt to cater for all tastes and cultures! Doing some reading on the subject, I have come across this entry in a discussion forum on the Richard Dawkins Foundation Facebook page:

“My five year old goes to a UK state school. This last month he has "celebrated" Dwali with a disco and Eid with a feast and he's just about to do Christmas with a nativity play.

This keeps all the parents of different religions very happy. All catered for. Has anyone stopped to think what this is doing to our kids?

He has no idea what is going on. He quotes a mish-mash of religious mumbo-jumbo to me and is confused about what he is being taught, what to think or even (and this is what has PISSED ME OFF) whether it is RIGHT or SINFUL to question things. He has started to think God made the world because he is TAUGHT it in school in a song that they sing. He needs regular de-programming as I explain that no, we do not need to put a sign to Ginesh on our front door, and no we are no fasting for Ramadan. And no you can't say that Abdul is wrong. But yes, he is. And No, Daddy is not going to hell.

Oh fuck. What are they doing?

Someone - please calm me down before I go up to the school and lamp someone.”

So, yes. If you are religious, the UK schools will respect, cater for and honour your views. Because, religion deserves unquestionable respect. Like at my work, where we just got told we have to provide foot-washing sinks for Muslims in all buildings.

But what if you, as a family, are not religious? What if you don’t really want them to teach your 4 year old at school that there is an old man sitting in the sky? Should you not be given a choice, somehow, in this free society?

Some people believe there is a man sitting in the sky,’ I told my child that morning. But we don’t.’ I felt that was an honest and fair answer. Not much else I could say or do.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A typical British beach day out.

You might be looking at this picture and thinking it is the late Michael Jackson. Or, perhaps, a modest Muslim woman covering herself up from strangers’ glances...But no. This is me. On holiday, up in North Wales, on the beach.

I did not come here prepared for an English beach holiday. As you can see, behind me, my father in law installed a (popular around here) canvas on wooden sticks called a windbreak. Self-explanatory and very much necessary. First time we went to the beach we used one, second time we decided we should double-glaze and used two.

I don’t really know what I thought we would be doing here for a week. I guess I assumed it would not be hot enough to be on the beach. So I did not pack any sun hats or sun block. But what I did not realize is that for these guys, a bit of sunshine and no rain means beach weather. So I ended up wearing my child’s sun hat, my mother in law’s orange Crocs and beach towels wrapped around me for the first time.

However, my friends, yesterday I felt so much more comfortable, that I even went for a swim. I have to honestly say that the second I plunged into the ice cold water, I thought my heart was about to stop. But after a few minutes of vigorous kicking, jumping up and down and some profanity it felt pleasant. In a masochistic kind of way. So you see, you can get used to it, really. And I felt pretty proud of myself. I am properly British now. I go to the beach and even swim in temperatures in which any decent Azeri family would probably put on some woollen jumpers and switch on the heaters.

PS You might have noticed there is something unusual going on with the light and colour of this picture. That is because my in-laws don't have a scanner. But, being a dedicated blogger that I am, I figured a way around it and took a picture of the sketch with my phone; which I could then successfully upload on my laptop. Voila! How clever is that, eh?

Friday, 13 August 2010

The ugliest car in the world

Ladies and gentlemen,

Please! Let me introduce you to THE ugliest car in the world.

We spent quite a few hours on the motorway(s) today, on the way to North Wales. Usually, we entertain ourselves by playing the Eddie Storbart game.Every Eddie Stobbart truck we notice along the way gets one point. Nobert Dentressangle, however, gets two points. Because they are not as common, and the name is just so peculiar. Sad, I know. But you try getting up at 4:30 am (the roads are empty then) and sitting in the car for five hours.

But this time, I got distracted. I was counting Fiat Multipla cars along the way, trying to get a glimpse of their drivers. Because, I was just curious, what sort of people could ever think it was OK to own something so offensive?

I have this strong dislike of ugliness, you see. This car is a crime against so many wonderful things in life. Things like design, beauty and coolness. Things like good taste. Moreover, it is a crime against the poor car itself. Because, internally, it is supposed to be fantastic. The concept was great. And then someone came up with this bizarre carcass.

I can definitely claim that this is the most repulsive looking vehicle I have come across in my life. It is as if somebody found two ugly cars, took them apart and threw them back together, accidentally mixing the top from one with the bottom of another. And then thought ‘Ha! Actually, this is so ugly, it is kinda cool!’ Well, no. It really isn’t.

Let me explain why it offends me so much. You see, somewhere, there was a person who got paid, perhaps even got promoted, for coming up with this 'design'. There must have been more people, like the board of Fiat directors or top designers or whatever those guys are officially called...who liked it enough to approve it for production. Just think many people were involved in creating this thing! And even more disturbingly, how many people think it is nice enough to spend their hard-earned money to buy and proudly drive one.

I thought this morning, sipping my Starbucks latte and counting the ugliest cars in the world; that people probably don’t really like them. They settle for them. You know, like some girls with very boring husbands. Perhaps they had some really cool, exciting lovers in their past. And then they woke up one day and thought ‘Holy shit, I am getting old! Quick, marry someone! Have babies! ‘

And they settled for someone really average. Because he is comfortable and convenient, and has a lot of room. Maybe does a lot of miles per gallon. Who cares he is boring and unattractive to look at?

This car represents everything I find sad about the middle age life of the average UK person. Settling down. Wearing boring combat pants. Letting their arses grow the size of Azerbaijan and not shaving legs. Not caring what ugly car they drive, as long as it is value for money and is comfortable under that huge arse. See what I mean? Criminal.

‘Oh!’ my mother in law said tonight, ‘ I love those. If someone gave it to me tomorrow, I would be very happy.’

Of course she would be. She is 70.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Well, I guess you are sleeping with him now!

I was chatting to a friend recently. We were talking about (the correct word, of course, would be gossiping) one woman we both knew. My friend had a concern. 'You know', She said 'I don’t know how to explain... (she of course, knew exactly how to explain. She just did not know how to explain so she did not sound like a bitch) But I just don’t really want to be associated with her.'

I knew exactly what she was talking about. Because, it is important who you hang out with. It affects the way people see you. It affects your re-pu-tation. And the concept of reputation is oh, so familiar to me. What I wanted to tell my friend is that I am completely and utterly free from any worries- whatsoever! -when it comes to mine. You see, I spent years as a young girl in a country where the whole culture is designed around gossiping about each other and analysing each other’s private life.

My reputation was always hanging by a thread. Firstly, I was not a very traditional Azeri girl. Which already creates a poor basis for a good reputation somewhere like Azerbaijan. Straight from university, I got a job in a foreign company. That, of course, was another major step down the reputation hill.

And then things started happening around me. One day, a nice lady from HR stopped by my office, and closed the door behind her. Is that true, she wanted to know, what she was told. I honestly did not have a clue. Maybe it was, maybe it was not. What was it she wanted to know, I wondered. If you are being sexually harassed, she added, all you need to do is come to us. You needn’t worry.

I did not know who was supposed to have harassed me. It turned out I was too keen in my job, you see. I came in on a weekend to help my senior colleague with paperwork before he had to leave; and I never claimed overtime. But I had my reasons. Our American boss was pretty suspicious of anyone who tried to get overtime; so I thought I was just going to be professional and not ask for it. A security guy, walking past the office, saw that the door was closed. That made him suspicious. He reported it to HR. I almost lost my job.
Years later, my colleagues were still dying to know. Was it true or was it not?

On a separate occasion, a girl at work shared a cigarette with me outside. ‘Look’, she said. ‘Ehm...I have to confess in something. There is a rumour going around the office that you are having an affair with X. The truth is....I was the one who started that rumour. I am sorry.‘

That was one of the most unusual confessions I'd heard. I had two questions to ask her.

1.Why did she think I was having an affair with X? and
2. Why did she apologize now and told me she started it?

She said I seemed too friendly with X. ( Of course I was. He and I worked together for years before she even knew either of us!) He would always stop by my desk, and we would go out for a cigarette break together. That, in her eyes, was enough to assume we were doing it.

Right, I thought. Fascinating. But why did she decide it was not true all of a sudden?

Well, as she got to know him better, she started sharing jokes and cigarettes with him, too.

‘ Well,’ I said ‘I guess that means you are sleeping with him now. ‘

Ah, the drama of Baku life!

I miss it. Compared to the dramas and gossip going around my old Baku job, nothing can get me in this country. These British guys are dilettantes when it comes to gossiping and ruining somebody’s reputation.
Azeries looooove to gossip. If there isn’t anything about you worth talking about, they will make something up.

For instance.

Husband (then boyfriend) proposed to me and went back to the UK to buy a ring and make other appropriate arrangements, like getting paperwork sorted for my visa. I shared the exciting news with everyone. ‘Oh ..’ said one woman I knew. ‘Aren’t you afraid to be telling people? What if he does not return?!’

Husband returned. We got married. I assumed that was the end of it all. But no, of course it was not! Now that I was married, I had to be pregnant. Not too soon, but soon enough. Husband and I did not want any kids yet. But to our Azeri neighbours and my mother’s friends that meant we were infertile. ’Oh, is it him?’ They asked in hope. ‘Or is it her? Can she not get pregnant? Poor girl!’

Finally, I have a child. What next? I wondered. Surely, there is nothing left?

There will always be.

‘Why don’t they take you to live with them?’ Neighbours started asking my mother. ‘Don’t they want you there?’

But what some people don’t get and probably won’t believe, is that I simply don’t care anymore. I barely did when I lived in Baku, but at least it affected me a little. These days, I am so remote from it all, that their pathetic attempts to upset me, or to create some gossip about me seem as insignificant as a pile of horse sh*t on the main road.

And so I told my girlfriend who worried about her reputation, that I personally don’t give a flying you-know-what. I am old and ugly enough to choose who I want to be friends with, without worrying if they behave appropriately, dress according to the suburban norms or drive certain cars. I choose them because I want them in my life. Simple, right?

Sunday, 8 August 2010

We'll all end up dead.

Tell me where's your hiding place?
I am worried I'll forget your face
And I've asked everyone
I am beginning to think I imagined you all along
Arctic Monkeys : Cornerstone

I was planning to write another posting today. Something fun and light-hearted. Maybe about the night out with girls a few nights ago, with pink champagne and endless discussions about good-looking firemen. I guess I could still do it another time. But this morning my plan disappeared when my mother came downstairs and said she had a sad dream.

‘It was as if I was in Baku...’ She said...’And the weather was not very good. Too windy, too miserable...So I thought: What could I do? Ah, I could get a nice chocolate eclair for myself! So I went to the bakery shop and it was busy in there, and I kept looking and then, suddenly, I thought what am I doing? Why don’t I buy a big cake and take it to my mum’s and sister’s place? They would be so excited! Why didn’t I think of it before?‘

But of course,  she then woke up and remembered that there was nobody to take the cake to. Because, unfortunately, both my grandmother and my aunt died a few years ago.

Does it get any easier with years? I guess it does in a way. You don’t walk around crying all day long in public, making everyone around you feel awkward. But sometimes at night, when you relax and fall asleep, your memories take over.

I was listening to her telling me about this dream and I had nothing to say. I could only nod in understanding.
Because I, myself, often get similar dreams. But even if  I stay blissfully unaware whilst asleep, I always have to wake up in the end.

I am reading “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins right now. And he spoke of people who find comfort in telling themselves they would meet their loved ones on the other side. The question is how many of those people truly believe that we survive our death, and how many just try to convince themselves it is possible? If people believed there was a life, perhaps a better one, after this one, would they not just be thrilled to be dying or watch their relatives pass away? Would they not be saying ‘See ya later, grandpa!’ instead of crying and getting upset?

And this morning, I wished I could tell my mother something like that. I wished I were that kind of person- infantile enough?- to honestly believe that there is something beyond this life that I could assure her about. And I mean, really believe it. Not wish that it was true. Not pretend and convince myself. But truly think that it was the case. As for me, I just think there isn’t anything. One day we are alive, and another we just disappear. It is hard for me to accept, just like for anyone else. But we all find our consolation somehow. That is just the way we cope. And for me, one bizarre consolation came, unexpected, from my cousin. Once, a while ago, when I saw an old babushka walking down the road, and she reminded me of my grandmother who I still miss terribly, I got really upset and texted my cousin.

‘Oh, stop being so stupid!’ She replied in her usual abrupt, short manner. ‘We'll all end up dead sooner or later.’

‘True.’I thought. And that concept, somehow, comforted me.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A perfect reality show idea!

There are nine million bicycles in Beijing
That's a fact,
It's a thing we can't deny
Like the fact that I will love you till I die.

Katie Melua, "Nine Million Bycicles"

OK, I know a lot of you will not be too impressed. You will say it is a mean thing to say, blah-blah... But here is the thing. I have decided that I hate cyclists.

Until yesterday, it was sort of 50/50 between cyclists and motorcyclists. Some days, especially while driving my little Skoda, I think I hate motorcyclists more. To a car driver, they are definitely more annoying. Cyclists are just vulnerable when you are looking at them from the car. Plus, Western society gives you (a driver) this automatic guilt complex whenever cyclists are involved in any road accident. But, as of yesterday, I hate cyclists a lot more.

Yesterday, having arrived from a nice brunch at a friend’s house, I pulled up right outside my house. You would assume, wouldn’t you, that the pavement outside your own home is a pretty safe place for you to stand. But I guess not. Pavements are actually pretty dangerous because of morons who are not supposed to be cycling along them at all, let alone at a great speed. I was locking the car door and did not see or hear him approaching. He whooshed past me just as I turned around, and almost hit me. He also came too close to my child who was standing nearby.

The most annoying part, of course, was that I could not catch him, could not tell him off, or do anything at all. And trust me; there are sooooo many things I wished I could do to him. You have no idea what a woman is capable of if she as much as suspected her child could have been hurt. I saw him pedalling away even faster, and all I could do is shout to his back. But I doubt he even heard me, as he was already at the next junction by then.  He was only young too, so I knew I could have him, if only I could catch the little prat.

I remember my first ever trip to Amsterdam, years ago. These days, I am somewhat used to crazy people on motorbikes and cyclists appearing out of nowhere.

Back then, I had no clue. Druggie, my good old friend, came to pick me up from Paris, where I was on holiday. ‘Watch out for f***ing cyclists and trams!’ She warned as we drove into Amsterdam, and I was confused. Cyclists? Why would I worry about them? I thought hundreds of bicycles all around Amsterdam looked very cute.

And then, during the very first stroll down a narrow Amsterdam path, I heard a quiet noise behind me and, before I could glance back, someone fly by like a vampire in the Twilight saga. It was a narrow, dark alleyway, with nowhere to hide and nowhere to run. A horrifying experience. I knew exactly what Druggie meant then. Also, imagine being stoned (As it happens in Amsterdam. To some people. Not me, of course, I am saying for the manager of mine, in case he is secretly reading it... ) and being chased by endless bikes or trams. Not good.

Now, this is when I wish I were back in Baku. I just wish I could teleport those homicidal cyclists to my home town, just for an hour. One short hour is enough to get them to learn their lesson a hard way. In a city where nobody cares about their special environmentally friendly status, where there are no driving rules and where the only people who would get any respect on the road are those in expensive flashy cars: how long would it take for a cyclist to survive? Now, that would make a perfect reality show!

Baku Cyclist Survival

Are you a daredevil cyclist? Don’t like to obey rules? Don’t believe in traffic signals? Like to cycle wherever you like, including pavements? Want some real thrill? Come and try your survival skills in Baku! Oh, and make sure you wear Lycra shorts. Good luck, my friends.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Oh no, he is alive!!!

Watch your children.He is alive and lives in a card shop in Westfield.