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The social animal


“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” Aristotle

One of the first lessons I learned as a philosophy student it was about the human condition and the innately characteristic of humans to exist around each other. In other words, people need other people to co-exist, in order to be fulfilled and have a sense of cohesion or purpose.

Back then I had no idea what this means. It was a completely new concept and I was not even close or had the capacity to comprehend, by far, how an individual could live outside of society.

Anyway, I don’t have the arrogance to think that I know now but since I experience “unprecedented times” – as they say in all the serious articles – I have enough time to reflect upon this theory.

The days are passing slowly and the “social isolation” becomes a brutal reality. I realise that humans are very creative at coming together. If you are anything like me (and you cannot stay away from news and social media) you probably saw all those videos where (Italians) start singing in their balconies and create beautiful, empowering social gatherings in unique ways, or simply, people are risking their lives (and some others more) by overruling the obvious (imposed) new ways of interacting by the authorities – only to be around each other. The simple fact of not meeting a friend is incomprehensible at this point for many of us, yet, some cannot even conceive the idea of staying far from the others, even tough as a temporary measure. Not one single type/tool of new technology can replace the human interaction.

I used to think about myself as a rather antisocial, introvert personality (I still do), yet, these rules are weighing heavy on my mental state (and physical for that matter) since only the idea that I am not allowed to go to a movie, a concert or any other type of collective gathering with humans that you feel connected through a common nominator, is simply not conceivable and it gives me some terrible anxiety.

We all understand this is temporary (or is it?), we try to stay positive and get the best out of a situation that hit us so fast and so hard that we choose to ignore. Yet, instead of ignoring, the best is to acknowledge and try to come to terms with the fact that staying far one from the other it is ultimately something that is bringing us together.

Rant over.

Namaste. Stay safe.

Photo by Julia Kuzenkov on Pexels.com
Brussels

Dear recruiters, I’ve had it with you


In the past year or so I have applied for hundred of jobs. And I have had quite a few interviews also. I must tell you that what I have experienced is a complete lack of civility, politeness and empathy. Sure I am whining and sure, I am angry. But I am not trying to picture myself any better that I am. 

Since I am walking down from this interview with a bitter taste in my mouth, slightly jealous of people with real jobs and quite down on myself I cannot help but wonder since when it’s acceptable for recruiters to behave in such a disgraceful manner?

Since it’s perfectly normal asking a high level of professionalism/ skills and so on from a candidate applying for a job, I wonder why is it acceptable that recruiters or HR people to behave in such disrespectful manner with the candidates/jobseekers? I think it’s called “Ghosting” – “the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just get the hint and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling the he/ she is no longer interested” (Urban Dictionary to the point).  It’s perfectly applicable in the job market where adults such as hiring managers, Human Resources professionals, recruiters are ghosting the candidate. After contacting me, spending a few hours discussing ( giving countless tests  about my rocket science perfect knowledge) and agreeing to a future encounter I find myself often the only party left in this conversation without a single word from these professionals I was engaged in (what I thought is) a promising and constructive discussion.

If you read any job description – it looks to me like an exhaustive shopping list of specific and (very) unattainable absurd requirements. I am either overqualified or under qualified – never just enough. There is a substantial gap in between reality and expectations and I no longer wish to take part in this sharade. 

Ok, enough talking – it’s time for me to go back at applying to some new jobs that I will not get and I will be abruptly ignored. 

Namaste 

Brussels

The selfie element

A (not so) long ago selfies were not even in the cards. As (by all!) known in 2013 the word “selfie” got a place in the Oxford English Dictionary by beating out “twerk” and “bitcoin” for the “word of the year” something. Yes, it’s officially official. 

While I didn’t had much against this phenomena or rather I had no particular opinion about this, lately I’ve reach a point where I think it’s really obnoxious to do that. Yes, it’s fun to make one with Niagara Falls in the background or the great pyramides, while doing bungee jumping, hell its ok to make a selfie with your dog once in a while. But to make a selfie every goddamn hour or so, I really cannot understand. In the museum that I work there is this vintage car Zastava (it was produced by a Serbian car maker, yet manufactured in Italy, I hope I have all the facts right, however details as such are not much relevant for this story) – yes, a real old car in the exhibition at level 4 of the building. Why there is a car in the exhibition you ask? Well, you will have to visit the museum in order to understand (there is no guarantee that you will, don’t take my word on it). 

Anyway, I am digressing. So this poor car I think it’s fair to say that it is daily violated by hundreds of people that pass by.  Without any exception – children or grown ups are mesmerised by this car and jump into it, on top of it, they brutalise and behave like they’ve never seen a car in their entire life. It’s a car! people! It’s a car. While on the same floor there is a Cold War section, which you would think it’s far better or interesting, no one is even throwing a glance at that part, everyone is queuing, yes you’ve read that right – queuing, to take a selfie in the almost destroyed and barely standing old car. I assist to the grotesque succession of selfies and admiration towards a car every day and I cannot cease to question why is this oh so fascinating. 

And when I read news with animals dying while humans are trying to make a selfie with them or people literally dying while trying to snap the best selfie I am more and more convinced that our brains become infested with some sort of virus that will slowly ( or faster than ever) kill us all. I’ve read somewhere (it was a scientific research about the phenomena) that the act  of making a selfie “can be a window into deeper adolescent issues”. Self esteem much?

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t say “don’t take that selfie” but maybe can we be more considerate in doing so?

Don’t let that selfie kill you.

Namaste

Brussels

Creme de la creme or an (almost) complete guide on how to be a moron

Top questions/remarks that  I get these days in the fabulous museum that I work, from visitors:

  • Where are we?
  • What is here?
  • What is the museum about? (It is called house of EUROPEAN HISTORY)
  • Where am I? (Really?)
  • What is the temporary exhibition about? Could you please explain to me? No.
  • You look like you are about to cry? Will you be crying? (older man after he insulted me. Yes, I was)
  • Touching/ getting dangerously close of one of the very few items not allowed to be touched that has a very obvious sign: do not touch
  • What is up? (down?)
  • Coffee?
  • Tell me about this building. No
  • Are we in the Solvay library?
  • I am here for the brunch/conference /event (no brunch/conference/event foreseen). Insisting: I have an invitation, there! No madam/sir, this is an invitation for an event at another museum
  • What can I do here?
  • Don’t you know who I am? No.
  • Oh you are closing, it’s fine, we don’t mind, we live nearby.
  • Can I help you sir? No (obviously struggling). Two minutes later: how do I use this stupid thing?

To be continued. 


Namaste

Brussels

No hashtag reminder, y’all know what i am talking about

I refuse to add the (in)famous hashtag #metoo because we all know what it is all about. We don’t need a hashtag reminder, really. It is exhausting. We all know that once in a lifetime all women deal with this crap. I  am reading these days testimonies of the women that have been or felt harassed/assaulted by men. As I said, I am sure the percentage is much higher and equally uninteresting or disregarded by all of us.  Even by some of the ones who show their solidarity with a status.

Equally, some time ago was trending on social media a video of a woman roaming a city with a hidden camera that was cat called/approached by men on the streets (in about twenty minutes or so) countless times. This is how it is. Every day, all the time, pretty much everywhere in the world.

I am a grown-up woman – I know it doesn’t seem like that sometimes but last I checked I am a grown up. It happened that until after I finished my high school I was literally afraid walking alone in the city. Seeing (especially) a group of men/boys was a nightmare. I was crossing the street to avoid them, if I spotted early enough, or did all kind of tricks and surrounding an entire neighborhood just to avoid passing within their proximity. Or if I knew a place where they gather at specific times (especially when I was out of school) I was definitely changing my route to avoid them. I could walk extra even 30 minutes (my school was 10 minutes walk from home). If it happened that I couldn’t avoid them, I was cornered. It was the scariest thing it could happen. They would call me names, push me, even hit me sometimes and I was unable to react out of fear and obviously because I was a girl.

When people often ask me: oh, high school, sweet memories, wouldn’t you love to go back to that? Hell no! I was in a class with about 30 boys. And we were 4 girls. Four. Imagine that. A terrible nightmare. They were merciless. And I got stronger with time. By the end of my high school, I got into physical fights with some majority of them and I was the aggressive one with penalties concerning my grades for my bad behavior. Yes, my anger grew so strong that I was fighting really dirty. And by now my  Metallica boots game was strong if you get my drift. ok if you don’t.

Even one of our professors was well known for assaulting female students that were not passing his class unless they took private lessons with him. Guess what? One of my females colleagues at the time dared to talk with the police about the matter – since finally he was somewhat under investigation and she was not allowed to finish high school. She was sabotaged by the school management for that mistake. And he continued his career as a professor and god knows how many other girls have been traumatized by him.

What else? Things haven’t changed that much. I just got bolder maybe. Well, I never completely got rid of my fear to walk everywhere on my own, however now I keep my head high and I don’t look down. Yes, I developed a sort of (some would call it stupid) defiance that could get me into a lot of trouble. But guess what? It didn’t, I just feel more empowered to defend myself. And it’s working.

And I am not sure a media campaign would work but there! I share a part of my experience. Maybe, just maybe could make a difference or just raise some extra awareness. Yet, I believe there is a lot of it.

And you know what’s the saddest part of all this? Nothing changes. Because not only that men are aware and do nothing about, but a big percentage of women blame women for being assaulted. Yes, ladies. Next time you feel saying a joke about rape think twice. Or blaming a woman for their choice of clothes. or whatever you think you know about a circumstance. There is nothing fun in that.

Be good, namaste

 (oh, and don’t forget to smile because after all, we women, smile all the time, is not like you’ve got assaulted or anything, right?)

Brussels

Yes, I am complaining about you complaining

Since some long time I’ve got this aversion to people that are always complaining. It’s a long story and sometimes I retain my complaining until It burst in (crazy) anger, but that’s another issue. That I’ll discuss in private with specialised help.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that we all complain often about various things – mundane mostly, about our dog, our neighbour, our partner, our lack of time, lack of this or that, how unfair life is and the list can continue.

But! some people have a gift. There is a special category – a pest I would call it  – the complainers that are so annoying that as soon as they start talking you know what will follow. A myriad of complains about, let’s just say, the traffic. Yes, this is by far the worst subcategory of complainers. And while this person seems like an individual that can have an intelligent conversation, you simply cannot shift the discussion from the neverbloodyendingstoryaboutthetraffic.

It’s bad. It’s long. It’s disrupted. It took two hours this morning to reach the office.Fucking government. Fucking system. Fucking universe conspired that the traffic on E40 this morning (every morning!) to get jammed and prevented them to arrive on time. This person even promotes a lot of noble causes on their social media. Enhancing their capital image. Like biking or running, human rights, feminism. Good stuff, right? But with the first traffic jam that messed their comfort zone, in their little bubble they’re done: ef life!

See where I am getting here?

I am sorry. While I empathize with all those that get caught in the jammed monster of cars that happens every rush hour (and not only) I cannot help but think they are part of the problem. Choosing every day to hop into your car and get to your destination in a record time it will not happen while citizens (all nationalities included) will not make an effort to choose an alternative way of transportation. Cut your double standards and get on that bike, in the metro, bus, on a horse, whatever would help relief this craziness. Staying in your car and swearing at the government, trade unions or whomever you think it’s at fault for your problem will not do it.

Cut the f crap. End of complaining.

Namaste

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Mooning around

” Informal Mooning definition: expose one’s buttocks to someone in order to insult or amuse them.”

From the category “Stories at the museum” today I share with you one of the funniest  (!literally depending on how you look at it) true story. giphy

So, there is this museum: there is history, projections, and predictions about Europe, wars, and very interactive integrated sophisticated multimedia devices for the European citizens to have a thrilling and enjoyable experience (ultimately they pay for it, so make it worth their money).

One of these fabulous interactive devices are two voting booths – to educate and encourage individuals to vote(!) with a glitch to make it more contemporary – you can make a selfie at the end of your vote which is displayed on a lengthy screen and remains there forever with the rest of amateurs that had the willingness to do so – so you have your picture displayed together with hundreds or thousands other visitors.

Fun,  informative and most of all entertaining.

So there is this group of teenagers. Danish, beautiful (!) and tech-savvy, smart, happy, educated and all that love the kind of interaction the museum is offering. Obviously, the selfie part is by far one of the best. Because they literally selfied(!) their asses on it. Oh, and somehow they’ve added Hitler on the big display too.

Oh, you gotta love The Danes. They are funny too besides that humongous happiness they show off.

end of story (not really but! it gets confidential).