MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “humor”

Chasing Pokémon

http://c.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/inline-large/inline/2016/07/3061764-inline-i-2-pokemon-go-is-the-most-addicting-app-in-years-and-heres-why-it-matters.jpg“Come on, we need to catch ‘em now!”  Mitch grabbed his phone and headed towards the door. His anxiety was evident as his hand transferred his tremor onto the open door. His wife did not share the agony.

She still hadn’t caught the two Pokémon hiding in the house.

But Mitch saw there were many more outside roaming the neighbourhood. It was obvious from the number of cars parked in the street and the hoard of dazed young people walking around like zombies searching for imaginary creatures that appeared randomly on their phones.

With every vibrate, you would hear a scream and then witness a leap forward.

They were all obviously seeing something that any person out of the Pokémon Go loop would not understand.

People had been caught Pokémon & driving, which was far worse than drunk driving because at least in the latter case the driver’s eyes were on the road, even if his/her mind wasn’t.

People had been falling over, bumping into trees, with each other, or even being hit by cars exactly because they were too busy being dragged around the routes depicted on their phone, rather than be aware of their actual surroundings.

But there were also those who found friends, even romance, through the Pokémon gatherings. Those who discovered excitement in this shared habit, no matter how addictive it got.

Mitch was still impatient. His wife had now slid under the bed and was desperately trying to throw a ball at a Pikachu sneering at her from the corner.

“Will you please hurry up?” Mitch called out.

Martha stepped in through the open door. She was about to apologise for being late because of the traffic that had gathered in the area. But when she saw what was going on with the owners of the house she was employed to maintain in order, her jaw dropped. The disorder was reminiscent of the impact of an earthquake. Even the couch – which she so dexterously vacuumed around – had been displaced.

“Will you finally go to work and stop chasing imaginary creatures, please?” she blurted out. That was just the moment the wife appeared triumphantly, waving her phone with a picture of a captured yellow creature on screen.

Martha sighed.

That was when Mitch’s father showed up at the doorstep and said “where can I plug in my phone, there is one little bugger that’s about to get away?”

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Carefree

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The opposite limits

opposite arrowsHer name was Patience, which was ironic because she had none. She was the type of person who wanted things done in a specific way, quite swiftly too. It was the consequence of being a perfectionist with a high dose of OCD. And the very fact that she was so meticulous and thorough with whatever she did, meant that she would be irritated by anything of lesser quality. But what was worse of all, was how she reacted to unjustified pressure.

Because often, people work harder when under pressure, as they feel the knife’s edge closing in. But Patience disliked being forced to do something she was going to see to either way. In her mind, it was a useless paradox that was simply unproductive.

So whenever her grandmother forced her to “eat all her peas”, Patience would not touch a single one. The same happened when her parents asked her to “clean up her room”. Or when her supervisor “demanded” a draft copy on his desk “by no later than midday”. She was the person who would eat her peas, clean up her room and get the report done on time, regardless. For this reason, she saw it as demeaning to be pressured so strongly to perform these actions.

As such, her family and colleagues soon realized that just like her name implied, Patience required that very trait, and in fact, the opposite treatment. So, they would tell her she didn’t have to eat all her peas if she didn’t want to. Or that her room seemed clean enough as it was. Or that the report could be handed in as soon as it was done. Left on her own terms, Patience was happy to prove that she could be better than what anyone expected. She gained a sense of satisfaction in that. In proving how disciplined and productive she could be, even without the added pressure. Because she believed that sometimes, that is all we really need. To be allowed to demonstrate your true capabilities without feeling that you are constantly being judged. Sure, it is good and necessary to have some kind of timeline and order in life, but just like everything, there needs to be a limit to it all.

An act outside the circus

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/images/attachement/jpg/site1/20090120/00221917dec40adf8adc01.jpgYou could feel the tension with every tic of the second hand on the clock. It was almost seven in the morning and the sun was already up for almost an hour now. So were a few hundred customers ready to leap like hungry jaguars into the store.

It was the annual big clearance sale. One like no other. Because prices were literally slashed to half-price or even less. Everything was a bargain. As long as you were lucky enough to find anything before anyone else snatched it.

Almost everyone was prepared. They had done their research well in advance, noting down what they were after and on what aisle or corner the desired products were located. This was no time to stroll, see and decide. You either knew and decisively went for it, or you got trampled over. Sometimes – well, most times – you got trampled over either way.

As soon as the clock struck seven, it sounded as if church bells were singing hallelujah. The store employees neared the locked doors, and you could almost see the fear reflected in their eyes. It was not an easy job having to open gates to an ecstatic mob that was determined to not let anyone or anything stand in their way. It was certain that they had no way of escaping the crowd once the doors were opened. The only thing they could do was stand petrified right there on the spot, hoping that as few injuries as possible would be incurred upon them.

It was like a stampede.

And soon, all the orderly placed items had been flung around, displaced, ravaged out of their packaging, some even damaged already, now laying ripped or broken on the floor. Labels and tags were torn from their original products and if you didn’t know exactly what you were looking for, there was no way you would find it.

Security guards marched like wardens up and down the aisles, trying in vain to restore order in what had clearly become a jungle. “Lady, please don’t take the products out of their packaging or try them on”. The phrase was repeated like a pre-recorded message. But just like such ads, it was completely ignored. “Lady, what did I just say? Who am I saying these things too anyway?” The security guards felt like teachers in a kindergarten of rowdy children, their despair echoed in the sound of their exasperated sighs. “I’m almost done,” the lady in question barked back. Done with what exactly, no one knew. But she continued to do precisely that which the security guard had grown tired of voicing.

The store employees who had gone to open the doors, were now finally freed, and most were still standing. They turned around and saw a circus. The store had in the blink of an eye transformed into a huge ring, where in the absence of a ringmaster, all animals had broken loose and were frantically trying to defuse the tension that had accumulated for hours inside of them. Items were being thrown around, with some shoppers acrobatically leaping and sliding across other persons to grab hold of them. People were pushing, shoving, pinching, beating, hair-pulling, even bruising each other, simply to get closer to their listed items. Insanity had taken over and blinded these buyers, who like in a trance could see nothing beyond their golden target. The frenzy was intensified by shrieks, cries and insults being tossed around just as easily and loudly as the items that accompanied them.

It took five hours for the performance to wear out. Some shoppers remained there for the entire time. Others had retrieved their treasure and left. But those few who had persisted right until closing time guarded their loot and searched for more, like lions wanting to relieve an insatiable hunger.

The employee who went to lock the door after the final customer left had a ripped sleeve dangling on his left side. His shirt was torn under his right pocket and he had lost two buttons.

“We’re not paid enough for this,” he sighed as he turned the key, glad that this circus act was over.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Circus

Sleep disturbances

http://www.healthycurve.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/istock_alarmclock-980x523.jpgIf an anticipated alarm clock sounds like a siren in your ears when you’re fast asleep, a telephone ringing to interrupt your peaceful moment can only be likened to a grenade exploding. Because apart from the unexpected disturbance, you wake up in panic, disoriented as to the time, date and sometimes, even the place you are in, and then with the added anguish that something is wrong.

That is how Larry felt on that Sunday morning.

He was used to sleeping in on weekends, because he had to somehow catch up on the “shut eye” he was so lacking during the week. So, no matter what time he went to bed on Friday and/or Saturday night, he would allow himself the luxury to wake up whatever time his organism felt right, having assured an adequate amount of sleep and rest. But, when he called it a night at 2am, he didn’t expect his phone to be ringing him out of his dream eight hours later.

It’s ruthless to be woken up so abruptly. Especially, on a day of rest.

But sometimes, it is worth it. Because the morning call Larry received was for a day out in the sunshine with friends he hadn’t seen for a while. He managed to jump out of bed and be ready in half an hour, although he needed an hour more to be fully functioning, but ended up having one of the greatest days he had had in a while.

Relaxing doesn’t necessarily mean lying in bed all day – especially if that is not a trait you’re used to. Often all you really need is enjoyable people, the right location and a pleasant mood to make your day a carefree experience.

And by the end of the day, you’ll be grateful you got up early.

 

“Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them”.

 

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Price

An innate curiosity

http://previews.123rf.com/images/brux/brux1301/brux130100030/17503613-illustration-curious-owl-with-a-magnifying-glass-Stock-Vector-cartoon.jpgRobert took out his notebook and began to scribble frantically. It would have seemed absolutely normal for the journalist he was, had he not been in the middle of a queue in a supermarket. Across him a middle-aged man who had just finished paying for his groceries was looking for his wife who had re-entered the aisles in search of an item they had obviously forgotten. But that was not what was worth noting. The man stood boldly at the till and yelled out her name. His wife was called Nora. Once he had no response, he asked the security guard roaming the general area, where his wife was. The guard looked up in awe, as if someone had awoken him from a deep sleep by pinching his arm. “Who is your wife?” he asked. The episode continued for a few more minutes, until the wife finally appeared without holding anything and asked her husband in the most natural of tones, “did you find it?” He hadn’t moved all this time.

Robert was smiling as he was noting it all down. It was the perfect story for his next novel.

He usually found these sporadic gems in the most common places. In markets, in buses, in coffee shops, even just during a stroll around his block.

It is amazing how much you can find by simply observing and listening to people.

Robert had an innate curiosity. It was characteristic of his profession, but it was something that to him came natural. He always wanted to learn more and constantly urged himself to discover something further than what was handed to him. That, he believed, was the only way he would mature as a person and expand his knowledge.

It’s good to wonder about the world. It opens your eyes and ears and takes you to places you would never have otherwise encountered.

The scooter and the car

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Red_scooter_rider_Avenida_Do_Mar,_Funchal,_Madeira_Island.jpgJonathan’s eyes lit up the moment he saw it. He knew this was exactly the change he needed in his life and it would certainly get him to places much faster and easier than what he already owned.

Exchanging a car for a motorcycle, and particularly a scooter, was a huge step for him. Especially since everyone saw him as too conservative to do anything of the sort.

He was tall and slim, always well dressed and often bearing round, black-rimmed glasses that matched his wide dark-coloured eyes. He was the person you could count on for everything: to do exactly what he said he would, at precisely the time he had committed to.

But Jonathan grew tired of being so predictable. He wanted to do something different for a change. He wanted to surprise even himself.

Fed up of everyday traffic and the constant stress of worrying that he would be late for his meetings, he decided to get a scooter. And he never regretted it. Well, apart from some winter nights when the cold air penetrated his skin and smacked his face like an ice bucket.

Being able to swish through the traffic and overtake literally everyone else was what he enjoyed most. Plus it was more convenient economically too, as it cost less for petrol and he didn’t need to waste a lot of time searching for parking spaces either.

Sometimes, it takes the smallest things to bring about a pleasant change in your life. One that you so long for.

But then, Jonathan met a stunning, elegant woman whom he took on a scooter ride one afternoon for coffee. He could tell she was freezing by the time he returned her home that night, as he felt her body trembling against his back.

He decided that some other times, being prudent had nothing to do with being daring or unpredictable. And he decided to rent a car for those few times when it was really necessary.

(Not) Another regular Friday

http://worksmartlivesmart.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/have-a-bad-day.jpgHer name was Henrietta. It was a straightforward name, albeit a bit irregular for a female. You would think it was easy to remember, and not to be confused. But today when she went two hours in advance of the opening time to pick up the concert tickets for the next day, which she had booked four months earlier, the lady in charge told her she could not find her name on the list. There was a Henry, though, with the same surname, for (weirdly enough) the same tickets. It took 45 minutes to prove she was the Henry, although, the Henry was in fact a Henrietta, who was her.

By the time she returned home, people were already flooding the cafés for their afternoon coffees. She decided to chop some vegetables in order to make a quick salad with some baked beans she was about to boil. Quick, easy, and healthy, she thought. But, alas, her new knives would prove their worth. She nearly chopped off her left index finger together with a slice of tomato. A crimson stream began to flow from that little finger, soon turning five napkins from white to red and refusing to stop. Henrietta rushed to the pharmacy for some first aid. She would have to pay attention to the entire hand now, as the wound was deep and required time to heal.

By the time she was back, the beans were not baked, but burnt. And now she had a black pot to scrub with one hand.

This is when she realized how many things come to us so automatically every day, that we hardly pay any attention to them. For example, how much work that single finger does. How vital it is for the entire hand to function. She noticed how hard it was to do the slightest of things – from getting dressed to washing your hair, to putting on contact lenses – all with one hand.

As the sun set, and calm returned to Henrietta’s apartment, which now smelled of burnt food – she sought solace with Duchess, her fluffy, white Persian cat. But, as her name implied, the feline could not care less for her mistress. So as Henrietta compromised with online videos of cats asking to be cuddled, the power suddenly went out.

For one and a half hours, she sat in the dark in a burnt-smelling home with a bleeding finger and an inconsiderate pet. She was all too happy to go to bed and end this adventurous Friday. It was not so TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), after all.

 

N.B. Based on a true story.

The Festive Happening

http://rlv.zcache.com/reindeer_christmas_party_invitation_soft_grey-rc8e45aaac1b64d25b81e718f3b8f457f_zk9gs_324.jpg?rlvnet=1The sun set early this time of year, wrapping the snow-capped slopes into a flurry of darkness. The elves scrambled to turn the lights on, earlier each day, until the chief elf finally remembered they had an automatic mechanism they could activate to do it for them. Today was special though. There was a happening being planned for a month now and everyone was very excited.

Mrs Clause had baked her famous huge vanilla cookies with colourful chocolate buttons that melted in your mouth with the first bite. The elves were busy with decorations, confetti, presents and the like. Santa was overseeing everything as usual. And the reindeer were trying to keep everything hush so that Rudolph would not find out. But once again, Rudolph felt left out; as though all the other South Pole residents knew something he didn’t. He was so sad, his nose would not even glow.

When evening set and the elves deemed the time was right, Dasher, Comet, Donner and Blitzen feigned they had work to do at Santa’s stables and quietly left. Vixen and Cupid were trying to convince Rudolph to join them for a nightcap, while Dancer and Prancer rushed awkwardly into their room throwing garlands and sparkles overhead the saddened reindeer. They wanted to get Rudolph into a festive mood. It was his day to celebrate, and he should not be distressed about silly things. To Dancer and Prancer everything not worth laughing about was silly. They did manage to get Rudolph to crack a smile, though. But he then moaned “leave me alone”, and rolled up on his bed.

Vixen knew something more radical should be done. She signaled to Blitzen from the bedroom window and he ran to Santa for the emergency signal.

The whistle was heard almost instantly making Rudolph jump up like a spring. It was his secret communication with Santa. He was the only one needed whenever he heard it. He ran out the door without saying a word, and the other reindeer rushed to the stables.

Santa, what is it? I came as fast as I could!” Santa smiled and placed his large arms around Rudolph’s neck. The red velvet coat felt like a warm fuzzy blanket around his frozen fur. “Have you forgotten what today is?” asked Santa with a mischievous smile forming on his plump face. Rudolph had not noticed that they were standing in a dark stable all this time. When a dong was heard, he leaped back and out of fright, his nose began to beam red. Was there danger there? Did Santa need protecting? Rudolph was scared and still did not understand what was going on.

Suddenly, fireworks began to sound in the cold, frosty air and a loud festive “surprise” filled his eardrums, as lights, candles and decorations fired up inside the stables. Rudolph looked around in amazement – they had all remembered. It was his birthday, and this was the loveliest surprise he had ever had. And when Mrs Clause came forth with a batch of freshly made soft-core cookies, he knew there was nowhere else he would rather be.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Safety First

More festive reindeer stories here.

Aggressively inarticulate

http://associationnow.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/0309_language-800x480.jpgIt’s hard to find the right words. Especially when you’re in a hurry or rushing to get it all off your chest, you end up mumbling something stupidly incoherent that sounds like gibberish making no sense whatsoever. Then you sit and think of all the comebacks you could have said and beat yourself down for not demonstrating more verbal authority when you had the chance.

But is this a millennial problem? That we don’t really know what we’re saying? That we have lost any access to an extensive vocabulary, preferring instead to repeat nonsense words such as “like” and “you know”, filling up our phrases with…well, nothing really. We make it all sound “cool” and “hip”, but in essence, it means absolutely nothing. Rather, it all reflects the uncertainty that has dwindled upon us. And the dilemma of having nothing to say, or simply not knowing how to express it.

A fantastic kind of stand-up comedy presentation makes fun of exactly this, and eloquently argues that “we are the most aggressively inarticulate generation to come along since, you know, a long time ago”.

We no longer speak with authority, because we have none. We are instead overwhelmed with too many choices and selections; so many that we have ourselves become indecisive and unsure of even the slightest of things.

We have lost touch with the joy of learning independently. Of being able to handle things without computerized assistance. To the extent that some jobs won’t even hire you if you declare that you don’t need the aid of technology to do something, but can handle it very well on your own. Is it so absurd that you yourself possess the knowledge someone else fed into a machine to do it for you? Sure, it helps, but what about the satisfaction of accomplishing things on your own?

Being articulate isn’t just about finding the right words, and knowing how to spell them correctly. It’s about the clout that comes from demonstrating a higher level of intellect and the ability to expand your own horizons.

The Transformation Hat

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Amsterdam_-_Hats_-_0931.jpgThe first one that ever came into his possession was a tall black suede one. It looked so elegant and it made him feel so sleek and classy, like a real gentleman. The next one, he found in a vintage store. It was a dark green beret, like the ones marines wear, and with it, he felt athletic, strong and robust. After that, it became an obsession for him. And it seemed that with every new hat he acquired, he was granted the key to emphasizing an aspect of his character, sometimes even one he was unaware of.

Jonah would wake up every day and decide on the hat that he would wear, before choosing the clothes he would match it with. It all depended on his mood that day, and mainly on what he wanted to feel. So if he wanted to feel sporty and pass by almost unnoticed, he would wear his favorite baseball cap. If on the other hand he wanted to cause gazes to turn his way, he had the brown plaited deerstalker hat á la Sherlock Holmes. On the days he wanted to seem adventurous and exotic, he had the black cowboy hat with its silver band glistening in the sunlight.

Jonah was generally a very hat person. But that was not always a good thing. Because one time he actually misplaced his hat and could not decide what type of personality he was until he eventually found it again. He relied too much on some material good to dictate who he was to the extent that he forgot what type of person he truly strived to be. It was wonderful that he could be all those different persons with a simply change of a hat, but what about when he was without one? He no longer new who he was, and that was a quest he was reluctant to take on. That is the danger of getting too used to something – you fear too much of letting it go.

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