Some crazy dreams

For the last few years, I’ve had constant bizarre and vivid dreams. Usually I forget them, but for whatever reason, I remember bits of three of them from last night. Not the whole dreams, but enough to share in bemusement…

The chicken farmer nightmare

In this one, I found myself wanting to be a chicken farmer. I was loaded into the back of a van, what we call a “bakkie” here in South Africa, and taken to a farm. On the farm, I was not even given a room or a place to unpack my things, but immediately put to work, as some kind of slave laborer. Everyone there was Afrikaans, except for me, and I soon got into trouble by announcing “I’m not a fucking slave laborer” and also telling them I don’t believe in their god. It then turned into my generic “I need to pee but can’t find a toilet” dream, and also involved me getting a lecture from some strange woman about how I was being disrespectful to their culture.

The lucid “astral projection” like dream

In this dream, I found that I was able to both hear and feel myself breathing. I have a nasty post nasal drip and in this dream, I was aware that I was sleeping, and could feel the rough breaths going through my throat, and strangely also hear my breathing, but as if it was not me, as if I was disconnected from my body, floating above it but a separate entity.

This was interesting, because I do believe that astral projection is not real, but simply a form of lucid dreaming where the dreamer believes some nonsense about being a spirit. Perhaps the parts of the brain involved, the combination of subconscious and lucid parts somehow gives an impression of being two entities… the sleeping physical body and the mind feeling as if they are not the same.

Interestingly, I snore, but I didn’t hear myself snoring. I heard this loud and somehow “disconnected” (from me) breathing, and only remembered that I snore after waking up. So I must conclude that the breathing part was actual dream (not real), but a recreation of a breathing sound using my subconscious imagination, whereas the awareness that I was asleep and dreaming was the lucid part of my brain. Having the illusion of those two parts being separate was a fascinating experience.

The lucid time traveler

Having two lucid dreams in the same night is highly unusual for me, because I can’t usually maintain lucidity for more than a few seconds… So I was chuffed with this one.

This dream started with me seeing someone from my school days, in school uniform, with his hair blowing in the wind. But he was de-aged back to around 17 – this guy should be about 50 now, same as me. Then I saw several people from my school days, all in perfect detail, and in fact, I didn’t even know that I remember them all so well. I was myself as I am now, lucid but invisible to them, a time traveler observing them and their conversations, able to go right up to them without them seeing or otherwise detecting I was there. I was totally in control, lucid but not forced to awaken, able to look at them from different angles and move among them. Again, a fascinating experience in lucid dreaming.

The weird thing was, I was able to open my eyes, see my dark bedroom, and close them again to immediately resume the dream. So it was like I was simultaneously awake and asleep… hence my usual problem of waking up (and losing the dream reality) was not an issue.

Maybe I should find out more? Try to deliberately lucid dream. It really is quite amazing.

A blog-post about nothing in particular

I’m bored. And tired. Tired and bored; and bored and tired. And sick and tired. But mostly bored, so I’m writing about whatever is on my mind and won’t stick to one subject here.

Fuck Kyle Rittenhouse

I’ve been following the Kyle Rittenhouse case. In case you don’t know, 17 year old white boy Kyle took an assault rifle to a protest in a different state to his own in the US, during the protests for the death of George Floyd, and there, he shot three people. Then, he claimed self defence, and was found not guilty of all charges.

I find it really difficult to take their verdict seriously, and, much like my disbelief in all religions without reading their religious texts… No, I don’t need to have witnessed the court proceedings. I don’t need to know the details to be able to come to a reasonable conclusion. Here’s why… He was there. Right smack bang in the middle of the protests, right when many alt-right white supremacist militias had been known to be causing trouble, 17 year old Kyle was there, in a crowd he obviously regarded not only as the enemy, but as a racist, he would have seen them as inferior… as not even human. The fact that he was there openly with a gun is all I need to know. In my mind, the case should have been about figuring out his intent. Was he there to taunt protesters into attacking him so that he could “defend” himself, or was he really so stupid that he thought his mere presence with a weapon would intimidate people? If it’s the former, he’s guilty of murder; if the latter, manslaughter. Judging by his defence, it looks very much like the former. Either way he is guilty. Everything else is political spin.

And somehow, the takes I’ve seen on Facebook are divided almost exclusively by the political views of the people who write them. Almost, with one disturbing difference. It’s easier to express this as a bulleted list…

  • Progressives: This was a travesty of justice. He went there to hunt people.
  • Conservatives: Justice was served. Those who disagree are politically motivated.
  • Some (white) progressives: Looking at the facts (that came up in court), claim that other progressives “don’t know the details” and they agree with the conservatives.

Both the second and third groups are suddenly experts on self defence. The second group also accept some strange smear campaign against the victims. The other main difference between the two points of view is that those saying he got away with murder express empathy for the victims, and a justifiable concern that this will lead to a precedent where armed men can freely intimidate/murder protesters without consequences, while those who say justice has been served spend much time making personal attacks against the other side.

I have no stake in this argument… although, full disclosure, I lean pretty hard to the left. But the thing is, for me the logical side is to go against the side that engages in personal attacks against their opponents and smear campaigns against the deceased. Emotionally, I’m on the side of the protesters, of BLM, and the victims (of Rittenhouse). And by common sense, I am of course opposed to the emotionally immature guy who took a gun to a protest, to “protect property”. How do I put this? Someone needs to go and defend themselves against Rittenhouse. Permanently. I’m over here in South Africa and I feel threatened.

I have one question? Would all these sudden experts in self defence like to spend some time on other cases? There are many. Women incarcerated for murdering their sexual abusers; graves of black children killed by police for holding guns they didn’t even have, who died without even a chance to defend themselves; and lastly there are other well publicized cases where people were murdered by police in their own homes. If you can seriously see this as self defence and ignore all those other cases, you are just flat out wrong. There is no debate here. I refuse to engage with anyone on Rittenhouse’s side, and although I originally intended to post screenshots of their memes and statuses, I decided against it. Their point of view doesn’t deserve any platform. Fuck them.

Edit: I am amazed though…more like aghast at what I’m seeing online. People posting things like, “Rittenhouse found not guilty. Thank goodness sanity has prevailed”, and claiming that anyone who disagrees is “politically motivated”. Um, no. Sanity has not prevailed. You have it backwards, you racist trash. (The colour of his victims doesn’t matter either. They were BLM allies.) These people are unable to see past their own bias and the irony is palpable. If I go into someone’s house, and threaten them – then they try to fight me off, I can’t kill them and claim self defence. Likewise Rittenhouse did not belong where he was, and we should take anything claimed by his defence with a generous pinch of salt. Also if this protest was such a dangerous place to be, how come Rittenhouse was the only one to shoot anybody?

I don’t know the source of this, but it sums things up nicely.

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Wow. OK, after that, I feel bad to write about anything else, but this post was meant to be a general one… not about anything in particular.

Diablo 2 > Diablo 3

It is though. They released Diablo 2 Resurrected back towards the end of September, and I bought it at the start of October. I’ve been playing it almost every day, and even though the main change is simply the graphics, which are amazing by the way, the game itself, even though it may be a 20 year old game engine, is far superior to Diablo 3. The only thing I miss is Diablo 3’s bottomless potion system. My amazon spends far too much time time trekking back to town to buy potions. But otherwise, the game is way better, way more engaging, and more fun. Of course it lacks end game content like rifts, but I have never finished Hell difficulty so that doesn’t matter yet.

My level 77 sorceress is stuck. I can’t even get past some low level zombies on the very first level of Hell difficulty, as they are completely immune to my main attack, and almost completely immune to my backup skill – such that they instantly kill my mercenary and then have me running around in circles like an idiot, barely able to hurt them. But I can get a tiny bit of XP doing Baal runs in nightmare difficulty, enough to slowly level up and try to make my backup attack better, but it’s painful. Thus I made a new character, an amazon, and gift her some awesome bows and things found by my sorceress. My amazon, who uses an amazing skill (strafe) shooting 10 arrows at a time, wipes out everything. She will probably always be OP since her attack combines physical as well as all elemental attacks, so she’s a lot more fun to play… apart from constantly having to buy new mana potions.

I hope they do a good job on Diablo 4, making it similar to Diablo 2, while taking some of the good bits out of Diablo 3…  either a pet (that can go to town like the Torchlight games), or a bottomless potion system with cooldown delay. But those are practically the only good parts of Diablo 3, other than rifts for end game content, which will in any case be unnecessary if the game world is big enough.

According to Facebook, I harassed and bullied the USA

Several of my friends are banned, seemingly all the time. And I am once again banned for 30 days because of this:

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Where is the lie? The only nation that always seems to have troops elsewhere in the world is the USA. Outside of fiction, they’re the de facto bad guys. Them and their buddies in Israel.

And as usual, the algorithms like to kick me when I’m down… So a few minutes after the ban, I got busted for something “evil” I posted in June 2020. It’ unclear whether this is a 30 or 60 day ban now.

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I support consequences for using the wrong words, but come on… no one was harassed or harmed here and no one was sexually exploited by reading the word “cum”. Why would anyone even read a status I posted around a year ago?

Seriously… I can find alt-right outright fascist comments every day, as well as misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and rape jokes that don’t violate community standards. But a harmless (and true) quip and a little bit of sexual innuendo is baaaaad? Give me a fucking break.

Endless car trouble

I feel like maybe if I write this it will give me good luck… nah, no such thing, but at least I can vent a little. I’ve been loathe to write about this until now, but maybe this story is finished.

I’ve had so many problems with my car…

It all started around September last year, I think. I’ve lost track. One day I realized the radiator water was empty even though I’d just filled it. It emptied almost right away. Thinking that such a problem would not be difficult to fix, I took it to the mechanic in my road, Johannesburg Road, Lyndhurst. (Big mistake.)

Initially he “fixed” the water leak but it didn’t stay fixed. I can’t really say what he did at all because that first job is so long ago now. Being an older car, a 2006 Ford Ka, this vehicle doesn’t have a heat sensor. It has a overheating warning light. When that light comes on, you are generally already in deep shit. Of course I didn’t know that. So on the way home from a shopping centre, that light came on about the same time as steam came out the hood. It was steam from the radiator because all the water was gone again. This time I tried to make it home, but the engine died along the way. Almost made it too. But not quite.

So the next repair job, involving stupid me taking it to the same mechanic, was replacing the head gasket. He actually did a good job with the gasket, and the engine was OK, but… it still overheated. This is when dear old Dr Spark went very wrong. He replaced the radiator cap, telling me that this was the problem. (It wasn’t.)

So I drove for a day or two before realizing that this new radiator cap had no seal whatsoever. You know… when you take a radiator cap off, there is this rubber sealing thingie in the cap? Well, not this one. This one allowed all the water to boil out of the fucking radiator cap in about ten minutes. Not only did they not fix the overheating problem – they also found a way of more efficiently releasing all the fucking coolant. Ain’t that fucking great?

Somewhere along the way the car stopped being able to start, so they replaced the starter too. Oh… I forget, ever since Dr Spark worked on the car, the main belt would squeak. They assured me it wasn’t a problem. And the engine light stayed permanently on.

I left the car standing for about 3 months, relying on lifts and Uber because for a while I didn’t have to work in the office. But things change and now I must be there three days a week.

Eventually, I found a good mechanic, and he found the real cause of the overheating straight away… the thermostat wasn’t opening, meaning that the coolant water just sat in one place; it never flowed around and cooled anything, but rather simply boiled away. So he replaced the thermostat, but could not figure out why the engine light stayed on. No fault detected by diagnostics.

I drove the car for about two weeks, and all was well, or so I thought. Then one day on the way home from work, I decided to do some shopping. And promptly was unable to leave the shopping centre, because the car died at the exit. I managed to get a coworker, the same one who has been helping me with lifts for the last few months, to give me a tow home. This is not ideal… this guy is my manager, he has a small baby daughter, and he’s going out of his way to help me. I feel awful about all this.

Having gotten the car towed home, by his far more expensive car and a soft tow rope, which was super stressful for me because I had imaginings of me damaging his car… I called up Dr Spark again because there was no way I could get the car to the better mechanic. (Yeah, I can sure be an idiot.)  I stayed home that Friday and he came to my house, and showed me the Ignition coil which was pretty badly cracked and fucked up. So I paid for him to replace it.

And thus I found myself driving my son to his aunt’s place. About half way there, the engine light started flashing (a new trick), and the car lost power. Every stop at a traffic light or stop street, it became progressively unresponsive to starting again. At first it would flash for only a few seconds, but those seconds got longer and longer until it didn’t stop flashing at all. By some great miracle we eventually got there, with the car hardly moving at all. I couldn’t have driven even another few meters. Thus I left the car there for a few days.

Again, my colleague helped me, and towards the end of the week, he drove behind me while I drove the car to the good mechanic. (In an area called Sebenza.) Although the car was losing power with every pull-off, it didn’t fade as badly as before so I got there. We have now almost reached the present day… but not quite. He found that Dr Spark has wired up the coil incorrectly, and the car was only firing on 3 cylinders, plus he had to replace the sparkplugs.

So, I got the car back, and once again drove it for about two days before deciding to get McDonalds on the way home, for myself and my son. And in the drive through, the Friday before last, just before I got to the front, something inside the bonnet made a lot of noise and then abruptly stopped. The overheating light came on, and the engine light flashed. But I managed to drive the few meters home… without power steering.

It turns out the squeaking belt finally snapped. This belt…
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That belt connects the alternator, the power steering, and the water pump… so that’s why the power steering was gone. (Plus the water pump bust. Unclear if it was already a problem or it was damaged by the snapped belt before it got stuck.) I finally, this past Saturday, paid and got in an Uber to collect the car, at which time the mechanic called me to tell me not to collect it as he had found something else wrong.

(Last problem my own fault. I accidentally poured water into the power steering fluid thing a while back, but I did get it drained and replaced right away. By Doctor Spark. So it’s been like that since about last September. Evidently he didn’t drain it properly.)

Anyway, I once again have the car. He brought it to me today. Later on I must go to the doctor to renew my meds prescriptions. It would be awfully nice to be able to drive this car without getting stuck in some random place… for more than a few days. (I’m under debt review. Can’t get a new car right now. This fucking thing needs to stay fixed for a while.)

Wish me luck.

Also, if you need a car repair in the Johannesburg area, I do not recommend this guy. I do recommend this guy.

Don’t be a creep

For years now, I’ve noticed this bit of “eye candy” in the form of pictures of women in suggestive positions, smack bang in the middle of my Facebook stories. I didn’t think too much of it because I do have some friends who advertise their “premium snapchat” or their OnlyFans, but this one was different. So today I clicked the story.

Urgh.

Let’s just say this… no matter how pretty you think someone is, you don’t take their photos and publish them in some kind of creepy slide show on your Facebook story. Just don’t fucking do that, OK? Even if it’s just her face. It’s her face. You don’t have permission to do that.

Jesus Fucking Christ! Do I really have to say this?

In this particular case, it ends well. I mean, I don’t know how it ends for him, because he isn’t in my friends list any more. But I contacted her, since the guy happened to share a picture of a woman who is also in my friends list. In fact we have many mutual friends. So he’s going to be dropped by quite a few, and most importantly, she knows now. She has the evidence; she asked him nicely to remove the photo, and if he doesn’t, well, there are proper channels to use.

Don’t be a creep.

Edit: The audacity… He totally ignored my statuses calling him out and her request to remove the photos… Also it turned out to be worse than I originally knew – I didn’t check his wall. Scroll down far enough, and you find the same picture of her – it’s a screen shot of her profile picture including her name – shared in the same minute as a crass meme joking about masturbation… something like “I had a problem with masturbation this morning but managed to beat it”. That was just below her picture. This is the guy.

So here’s the thing… You can share photos of “pinup girls” or whatever the term is, if that’s your thing. Photos of women who posed for them, from public groups, or magazines, or sites, are OK. But when you take photos of anyone without their permission, it’s not OK. Hell, I’m not even getting to “upskirt pics” or” candid photos” or “secret camera” pics or whatever the term is for pictures taken without permission. Just profile pics. Imagine sharing them on your public wall with jokes about jacking off to them… Zero shame and not even caring that they can see those pics. I  don’t understand.

Would you risk your life to save a stranger, having no time to choose?

A GIF I just saw reminded me of something so I’ll ask a question…

You’re in your early twenties on the way to work, which is a train ride and then a walk because the building is between two stations. Right before the building you cross the line. You’re preoccupied, your mind wondering and just before you cross, there’s this old woman, a homeless person perhaps… what people used to call a “bag lady” – she’s wandering around walking slowly in front of you and you start to get annoyed; then she stops. And she lays herself stomach down on the track, as you walk past her. She looks up and makes eye contact with you for a moment.

Then you see it. The train is coming. You only have a half a second, maybe more, it’s hard to tell. She looks weary, sad, lost, but it’s all too much to take in. She also looks heavy, and she’s laying down with all her weight, determined to die.

What do you do?

I turned and carried on walking. I couldn’t save her, in that split second I chose not to. But I regretted it, even though there wasn’t enough time to think. I heard the awful sound of the train going over her. I was only meters away but I walked on, never looking back, despite the others, people I hadn’t noticed who were ahead of me… all turning back to go look.

I think in the same situation now, more than twenty years later, I’d try to save her. But still… I don’t know. What would you do?


I just copied that word for word after sharing it on Facebook. No reactions yet because it was right now. Here’s the status.

The bizarre user interface changes made by Facebook when you are banned

At first, when I “violated Facebook Community Standards”, I was concerned, not least of all because I’d done nothing wrong. I was concerned because the bans seem to be progressive… First violation 24 hours, then 3 days, then a week, then after that 30 days every time. Once, after 30 days being banned, I posted a screenshot to show why, and was immediately banned for another 30 days. So my concern was that the bans would progress until a total and permanent account ban. But that doesn’t seem to happen. Instead, I’m seeing more of my friends getting banned too, more often.

Not so amusing is that the most punished users are feminists and other activists. You get banned if you respond to online bullies. You get banned for calling out the people who are truly malicious and hateful. Those who should be banned seem to have found ways around it and to actively use the system in their favour. Especially odd is that the system is harsh on anyone who criticizes men. But you can target women and minorities without reserve, as long as you stick to standard right wing arguments and passive aggressively hide your rhetoric behind religious sentiments or “just ask questions”. But today’s post is not about that. It’s about the amusing experience of us Facebook ghosts, users whose accounts are temporarily restricted but who still lurk in the Facebook shadows, silently laughing at memes and saving them to collections to flood our friends’ walls with after the 30 days are up. (And then forgetting to do so.)

It seems that the Facebook team has made a somewhat odd decision… They’re aware that the bans are punitive and frustrating, but they are also aware that chasing their users away is probably not a good idea. So what they do is subtly change the user experience for users who are banned from posting or commenting.

The change is quite a simple one: Present the restricted user with more suggested posts. Maybe “more” is the wrong word here… I don’t recall seeing any such posts when I’m not restricted. Regardless, the idea seems to be to keep the restricted users entertained.

Sadly the algorithms that determine what content is interesting to us seem to be a work very much in progress. The 2nd last time I was banned, I saw tons of “Crazy Russian Hacker” videos, which feature a wealthy Russian man, who lives in the US, buying and testing all kinds of cool gadgets. He’s actually highly entertaining, funny, and a great host. So that suggestion was a hit with me.

On my last ban, the suggested content was something else. In fact, it was such a poor match with my interests, I don’t even remember what it was. So that was a miss.

And this time, I get this:

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Yup. Tons of links to articles and videos featuring UFOs and “aliens”. All nonsense of course. Badly made home CGI and blurred videos and outright bullshit. This one seems to be along the lines of… Someone found a steel ball and doesn’t know what it is, therefore aliens. Because what else could it possibly be? Also, why aliens would be dropping large agricultural float valves is anybody’s guess…

I’ll admit this last one was more interesting than most. At least commenters pointed out what the balls are. But since I clicked on the link, I’ve probably mucked up the algorithms even more and indicated an interest in these things…


Update: My ban was lifted. I disagreed with the decision, and this time it got reversed. That was the most bizarre ban yet though… for a comment that agreed with the view that men should use contraceptive pills.

Strange dreams

I don’t believe dreams have any meaning – they’re just noise, I think, generated by a brain that’s busy doing whatever a brain does in downtime… moving the day’s data into long term memory and that sort of thing. They can be entertaining though… At least this one entertained my son.

Three nights ago I had two quite unusual dreams. One of which, a recurring dream that repeated four times that night, was immediately forgotten. The other was more interesting…

I found myself living back in Cape Town, not far from where I spent the last few years there. I seemed to be in some kind of parallel reality, in that it was this year, but my life was some messed up combination of what it was around twenty years ago as well as now.

I found myself walking to my mother’s office (United Building Society or maybe ABSA Bank) in Lakeside. (Except she never had an office in Lakeside.) She was off that day and was spending the day with my father, doing something that I knew at the time but have since forgotten. So I would be working in her place, as the bank teller in the little one person bank. (Something I might have done twenty years ago when I was a student without a job, but which doesn’t make sense now.)

I was walking there for some reason, with my son, Josh, who is twelve, and his cousin. But in the dream, he has a male cousin around his age. It was a boy I knew well and had known for years, even though he has no such cousin in real life. (He has real cousins but none like the one in the dream.) I even knew the boy’s name, but this is one of the many details forgotten by now. Also my entire history of drug addiction didn’t happen in this reality.

As we walked, there were two annoying young men walking in front of us. They ate KFC, and one of them littered, throwing a chicken bone into a massive bush with a hollow inside it as he walked. I could see what looked like a large stray dog in the hollow, but as we got closer, I realized it was not a dog. “Isn’t that a mountain lion?” I asked nervously, and someone confirmed that it was. There are no mountain lions in Lakeside/Muizenberg – not that I know what one looks like. If I saw a lion in real life, I’d probably call it a ‘lion’ as I shat myself. I became afraid that the lion would attack, and it did begin to stalk us.

As it happens in dreams, we then found ourselves outside the office, along with another woman and her child, who I seemed to know from somewhere but have also since forgotten. She ran the other way, while I took out the keys and got myself and the two children into the office, locking the door behind me. But, again as it happens in dreams, we found ourselves in this office where the front section had no roof. It was a single room, the whole front section, but the top was completely open, so the lion jumped up onto the top of the door. With one of the two large poles that had appeared in my hands, I took a swipe at it, and it jumped down.

A strange man and his worker subordinate banged on the door, so I told them to go fuck themselves. It turned out he was the owner, but I suggested he should not be sticking around while a mountain lion roamed loose. He suggested I take the day off. I thought for a moment that this might be irresponsible, but then decided to call my mother and let her know.

With my mobile phone in my hand, I tried to think what her number was. Knowing her number, I recalled that she died on 7 December 2018, and my father had died way back on February 13th 2000. Remembering these things snapped me out of the dream reality. Once lucid, I did what I always do in lucid dreams… I took to the skies. I flew away.

As usual, I couldn’t hold onto the lucid dream. As soon as I began to fly, I woke up. Bummer. I have crazy dreams every night, always detailed. This was probably one of the less crazy ones, but at least this one I remember.

Are we all stuck, tied to a particular year or decade?

I used to love listening to new music. There were years when I knew the dates of all the releases of the upcoming albums of the music I was into. First it was Depeche Mode in my teens, then I moved on to mostly alternative/rock/goth or I’m not sure what to call it exactly… But I knew when every new Depeche Mode or Cure or Mission album was coming out.

One album was ruined for me, and that was The Cure’s Bloodflowers, released on February 14th, Valentine’s Day 2000, because after I looked forward to its release for months, my father died on the 13th. I still bought the album, but it really wasn’t the same. I never really listened to that one apart from the title track.

But I digress…

After I got used to my feelings of loss, and didn’t get over but became accustomed to my father’s death, I carried on. I listened to new music, and moved on to Placebo as my favourite band at some point. (I must confess, the artists I’ve loved have been almost exclusively male, with the one exception being Shirley Manson of Garbage. I fucking love her.) I collected all their albums just as I’d done with the bands I obsessed over in my teens, and I loved their music. It became the anthem to my life, some a little too literal in my drug addicted years.

But it stopped. I don’t know when. I don’t remember losing interest in the new, but at some point I did.

The last time I remember being excited about a new album was Battle for the Sun, and it was as much as MEDS had been before it. Then nothing. I don’t feel it any more. I don’t get excited about music any more. I’ll have the odd day or weekend or hours when I listen to the same old songs and feel it all again, but it doesn’t happen with new stuff. Not any more.

Is this normal? Do we all stop? Stagnate? Or is it just me?

Good news and bad news

Well, not so much good news.

I got robbed at an ATM this morning. Robbed/conned. I don’t know what to call it but I feel pretty stupid. So I drew cash, having been paid early, but a lot less than normal. I wanted to get some cash out before my debit orders swallow everything.

I drew my normal amount, then put my card back in to draw again, and it inexplicably failed. No reason why it should have, but maybe there wasn’t enough cash in the machine. So I was a little surprised, and let the guy behind me in the queue go, just to see if the ATM would work, and it did. Then after I put my card back in the ATM, he came to “help” me, taking my card out before I could stop him, he said I should cancel it. He appeared to put my card back in, went to another menu and said I should enter my pin. I don’t know why I did it, but I did enter my pin, only to see it appear on the display, because it was on a screen actually asking for my cellphone number.

Then I tried to take my card out of the ATM. But it wasn’t in. It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened. I checked the ATM, my hand, my wallet… before realizing that it must have been the guy and sleight of hand. I turned but he was long gone. With both my bank card and my pin number.

Like, how can I be so fucking stupid?!? Then I panicked. I could have cancelled my card there and then at the ATM, but instead I drove to the bank branch, which is about two minutes away. But the bank wasn’t open yet! So then I cancelled my card at another ATM. Of course that gave him about five minutes… two minutes that it took me to drive to the shopping centre, and the time it took to walk to the bank, realize it wasn’t open yet, try to call the toll-free number on the ATM, which didn’t go through… twice, and only then think to cancel my card using the ATM. That gave him enough time to draw some money.

This sucks because I’m already on a reduced salary, I have to pay for medication for my son from one doctor, and a psychologist for him, and other bills I don’t normally have. Not getting into details – let’s just say my son has some serious issues. So I’m so fucked now.

And the good news? Well, it’s not that special. A Facebook friend who shared a bunch of nonsense involving COVID-19 conspiracies has posted a lengthy apology after being fact-checked and realizing that he had been taken in by misinformation. He’s embarrassed and is asking that nobody else post humiliating fact-checks (because he’s presumably feeling pretty dumb right now). But not as dumb as me. My faith in humanity would be restored by his post, except it isn’t, because of the guy who robbed me, and tricked me. Fuck humanity. Fuck it in its collective arse.

I’ve been mugged before. Once in my twenties and once when I was older, but the second time, in my thirties, I fought off the two muggers, and believe me, I hurt them pretty badly. Knocked the one down and then got the better of the other and smashed his face into the ground before running away. But I’d never been conned. Defeated mentally and with no one to fight off because he got away so quickly. I can deal with a physical threat. But a mental one… fuck.