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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Bad time to procrastinate (not that there's ever a good time)

I have two final exams tomorrow, biology and chemistry lab, and I can't for the life of me study for them. I finished reading the last chapter we were supposed to cover in biology last night. I thought maybe today I'd go over the reviews again, or I could work on getting more flashcards done. I finished half a flashcard and saw nothing of the reviews. I finished the lab report due in today but took no note of the other assignment we could turn in for extra credit and so I didn't do it either. I started looking at some of the old work from the labs, but I didn't look very thoroughly and I didn't do any of the work again. I just sort of looked at the first two or three and thought "I'll get this right, it's too easy" and then stopped.

I have only watched one YouTube video. A make-up one. I spent some time looking for swatches of Chanel's Rouge Allure in Évanescente. Still not available anywhere I could buy it. Swatches look very different and it's pretty much impossible to correctly guess the right colour because most pictures were taken in artificial light. I locked myself up in the bathroom to play with the make-up I have to try and mix the lipstick shades available to me to match what I thought the Chanel one should look like. I achieved a lovely shade of peachy, nude pink which made me happy whether it matches the Évanescente or not. I couldn't stop myself there because I had already seen the catwalk pictures with the silver smoky eyes and I conveniently had just the right shade of silver. It didn't quite look right so I added some kohl eyeliner in black. I was wearing no foundation (and needed it, I'm quite pimply at the moment) but I was happy. As soon as I was done I wiped the whole thing off, brushed my teeth trying not to wipe the lipstick mix off and came back to my room.

At the next procrastinating opportunity I decided to go in to trim my brows. The time after that I plucked my eyebrows, because I might as well. It's still relatively early (9ish) and I completely gave up on working or studying. Instead I just left the biology textbook by my bag, in case I decide to look through it tomorrow (I won't). I might even forget to pack my carefully designed flashcards but I don't want to pack them right now because that would be useful and I don't want to do anything productive.

We went to the gym for a bit,  had lunch with uncle C and aunt B, went shopping for cleaning products with them and then aunt A left me here while they went to pick up LC4 from school. Before we left I showered and did nothing productive. After we got here I sat on the computer and did nothing productive. I considered doing the laundry and decided to put it off until at least tomorrow afternoon/night. I looked up ways to clean rayon fabric to decide whether or not I'll ruin a certain dress if I wash it by hand instead of sending it to the dry cleaner's. On Friday I'm planning to clean the fridge and the room AOB will be staying in. On Monday I'll give the dog a bath. Sometime in between I'll do my nails. I'm considering not studying for the next final exams. I don't feel like I need to, and I don't really want to.

I might convince aunt A to get her hoard of clothes out, that she may select whatever she wants to give away so I can make some room to organise things a bit. I suppose my plans to tidy up are at least a little bit in contradiction with the current state of clutter my room is in. At first, I made sure to keep it neat and tidy. I gave everything a place and kept it there. I had a system. I had discipline. I stopped keeping up and right now I quite prefer the mess. I prefer the undone bed I can jump back into at any moment. I prefer my shoes lying ready for me as I leave the room. I prefer the last clothes I used on the floor, ready to be used again if they're not yet too dirty. Room like brain.

Except for the Christmas gifts I haven't packed yet, there's nothing Christmas-y in my room and it's in the back of my head lately. Yesterday (or was it the day before...?) aunt A was looking at a shoe catalogue. She decided she needed new shoes exactly like a pair she already owns except in a different colour and this company is the only one that makes shoes that fit her, or so she says. When she showed me the catalogue she'd marked about a dozen pages. It struck me as a little scandalous. She said I had better get started on my Christmas list. I asked her to explain (though I know what she meant and what she was going to say). Uncle A looks at the lists of everyone and then decides what to buy for each. I might have nodded with an "Oh..." and left it at that. 

I don't need anything. If I were to ask for anything I could make good use of, it would be a bottle of foundation. If I were to ask for things I don't quite need just yet I would ask for some night cream (I have two small containers to run through first). If I were to ask for things I'd like but don't have any immediate use for, I'd ask for another nude pinkish lipstick, a gel eyeliner and black eyeshadow. I suppose one might cover these with a gift card to my preferred make-up store. Asking for clothes seems a bit silly (unless it's an xkcd T-shirt... which, given I'm on the path to losing my nerd side could backfire spectacularly). I noticed that a Mary Poppins musical is coming to town, but tickets are very expensive and I'd never ask for something like that. In the end, it occurs to me that I'd only ask for money to buy things for other people, money to go out with AOB, or things I could send home.

I can already guess what I'll get from my first two requests. Aunt A will try to dissuade me from buying foundation because the powers that be tell her it's only safe to apply the tinted sunblock she uses to one's face. I will be told to ask for something I don't need. I won't be able to think of anything that won't make me miserably guilty. I have nowhere to wear make-up out to! I bought a cheap (but absolutely perfect shade of) red lipstick I have nowhere to wear to. I can't reasonably buy pretty clothes I won't wear. I don't want to ask for books I won't read. I don't need to change the archaic phone I was given. It still works just fine. 

When I think about it a little too hard, the idea of luxury and Christmas makes me want to cry. Mum only ever asks for things she needs. A new pair of pants because the old ones are no good. A new cream to help lighten the pigmentation on her skin. An oven to bake turkeys and pastries she can sell this Christmas. The only luxurious and rather unnecessary item the old man got her once was a German cuticle cutter. Very expensive. She's had some old German nail clippers, cuticle cutters and nail files she was given when she was 15 and having such things was luxurious. The cuticle cutter was lost. Whether or not aunt A has it (here, I'm afraid, one must read "stole it") remains to be known. I have to admit I did on an impulse once went searching for it. I know I couldn't find the nail clipper aunt A has had for years, and I've heard her speak of "an old cuticle cutter" so I can only assume she keeps those someplace I didn't look. I wish I had the money to buy mum a whole set of fancy German nail utensils (?). I wish I could send her the perfume she asked for in full size. I wish I could send her a face primer, foundation that matches her skin and lipsticks meant to suit her (as opposed to aunt A's leftovers). That's what I want for Christmas. 

Mum grew up eating buttered bread when her school classmates had sandwiches with meat inside them! She's a bloody saint! It was all I could do to send her a marked down, fairly elegant-branded blouse. It is all I can do to send her dried cranberries with AOB so she can cook with them without paying the outrageous prices.

I want nothing for Christmas if it means I have to choose a luxury item. If I'm not to have a luxury item, it's all I can do to pick something I won't use so I can put it away until later, when I can give it away. I don't think I'll be allowed to ask for money and I don't dare ask for it. 

An idea haunts me: back home the old man would tell my sister and me that we had a limited amount of money and we could pick presents within the limit. Goes for Christmas and birthdays alike. Both he and mum worried that it wasn't enough and considered paying more than they had planned when my sister or I ran into an item that just made us smile so but exceeded the limit. 

Choosing a present was a special occasion. One of the few times in the year when we got to buy things for pleasure (though we usually went for things we needed). For a long time, until they decided my sister and I were too old for it, they made sure we always had surprise gifts for the morning after Christmas. Things we'd looked at or mentioned liking but didn't get the chance to buy. It feels a bit like writing this Christmas list thing restricts me an awful lot more than the budget ever did back home. 

After thinking hard and browsing the web for a bit, all I've settled on is a lipstick mum ran out of and I know is a great colour for everyday looks. Could I ask for a gift certificate? I would get my foundation and the lipstick to send home. Could I ask for more than one gift certificate? I could get clothes to keep, clothes to send my sister, a foundation and a lipstick to send mum. I'd need an allowance to save up for other presents. I'm afraid a gift for the old man would be harder to get. I'd need a gift certificate uncle A and aunt A knew nothing about. Or the chance to get great discounts they knew nothing about. What I want, I suppose, is the chance to buy presents that aren't for me. Period.

The message doesn't elude me: if I want that, I need a job and if I want one that pays handsomely I'd better do as everyone's saying. Can't help but have a nasty feeling towards the branch of engineering as a whole if that's the cycle. As it was pointed out to me today by uncle C and aunt B, you get a degree and try to look for a job, but won't find one unless you have experience. The only substitute for experience they'll take is someone's word that they know you. It's no less unethical said in so many words. It's just "the way of the world" and they were a bit nicer about saying it, in a not-so-imperative kind of way. They pushed the angle of "take it as a chance to meet people your age, with similar interests" and were very sweet about it. The idea still makes me want to cry. 

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