Monday, 25 October 2010

If you could instantly become fluent in another language, which language would you pick?

This is actually a really hard question now that I'm thinking about it...

My plan is to learn French next but I'm tempted to learn Spanish seeing as how many Spanish-speakers we have at work now...

on the other hand, I don't feel particularly fluent in German just yet...

I think my brain is about to explode from indecision -_-'

Friday, 22 October 2010

Oh The Drama

I had to go through a lot of what some have described as a whole lot of drama. All because of reasons that I never thought would be the basis of a problem: games.

I suppose things started to go really badly when both me and Smurf got into A Game of Thrones. It is a nice card game that many people at our local gaming shop played. So it was only natural that with many opportunities to try the game, I would try it. I quite liked it and soon after had a Stark deck. For weeks I ignored the other players proclamations of superiority over the Magic players and their scoffing at their scoffing of other games, how A Game of Thrones was much more elaborate and didn’t need deck building of any sort. In summary I found all this yapping to be quite hypocritical and just played the game.

I had a lot of fun and always looked forward to playing another game. It was nice to just play, modify the deck a bit, then play again. Apparently that didn’t jibe well with some people. At the time I was living with Smurf and while we were returning from gaming one night he started to go off on me about how I need to change my deck so I stop losing games. I found this rather odd coming from the person who once told me that the most important thing in games is to have fun while playing them rather then winning. I told him that I have no problems not winning games because I’m still having fun playing. So he asked me what’s the point of playing a game when you can’t win. After he started telling me what cards I must take out of my deck to make it better I had enough of the hypocrisy of being told how to build a deck by the same guy who says A Game of Thrones is better than Magic because you don’t have to build a deck, so I told him to stop it.

I went into the house and into my room in silence after that. Then I went to grab something from the kitchen. Smurf was there and apologised for what he said, saying he didn’t know where that came from. Then he asked if we could play a one-on-one A Game of Thrones game because he had a theory that my Stark deck would do much better 1-on-1 than in a multiplayer game. He was right, I utterly destroyed his Greyjoy deck and there was nothing he could do... but the game was extremely boring. I knew this happened and agreed to play despite knowing it’ll be an unexciting game only because he asked. After the game finished he asked me if I’m happy that we played the sort of game I was asking for. To which I replied he was the one asking for a 1-on-1 and I wasn’t too keen on it because of I knew how it would go. Smurf kept on saying that it wasn’t him who asked to play and I was too tired with his lack of memory or obvious lies that I just dropped the issue and shrugged.

A few weeks passed and I gave my laptop for repairs. That week I used the computer in the living room for online stuff, which I was told a couple months back that I can do. The first few days of that week were alright. Whenever Smurf came back from work we talked a bit and watched something on the telly. Then somewhere in the middle of said week he started to go straight to his room after work. I thought he might be either working at home or just having a bad day at work and didn’t feel like talking to anyone. So I simply let him be.

After a few days I went to Worthing to play some card games with a group there that Smurf introduced me to. One of the guys worked for the same company as he and he asked me something that really surprised me: “What did you do to wind up Smurf so much?” I had no idea what he was talking about. Apparently Smurf was very depressed at work over something that I did but I couldn’t think what I did. As far as I knew I didn’t do anything.

I returned that night to find Smurf somewhat drunk, a pretty normal state for him. He greeted me by saying that I look a lot less depressed than I did this past week. Once more, I had no idea what was going on. I told him I wasn’t depressed at all, to which he replied: “You don’t realise it yourself but you were horribly miserable.” He told me how the past week he felt like he couldn’t use his own living room because of me and all he could do was go to his room to drink himself to sleep. I asked him why he didn’t tell me this earlier, like, when the problem actually started... all he could say was: “Ah, you know how it is” and well, I didn’t. I just didn’t understand why he choose to hide away rather than work on an issue that bothered him so much.

Then he started going on about how bad of a Game Master I am. That he didn’t enjoy any of my games and gave me pointers on how to improve (“I don’t mean to discourage you from gaming” he said). I should be more animated, walk around the table, look over people’s shoulders and hit everyone with obvious plot hooks rather than just hint at stuff. Essentially, his advice was to run games exactly like he does.

He also told me he didn’t like the way I wear. That having your shirt in your trousers reminded him too much of work. He then remarked that I looked better that day because I didn’t have my shirt in my trousers. So I asked him if he knows why I didn’t have it like that. He said: “Yes, because the other Polish guy at the club made fun of you for it so you changed.” After I stopped being baffled at how he thought the opinions of someone else would influence my dressing style I told him that no, it was because I don’t have anything over my shirt. When I wear a jacket, I like to have my shirt in my trousers. When I don’t have my jacket on, I don’t like to have my shirt in my trousers... and frankly, I don’t care what people think of it.

It went on for a couple of hours and I finally went to bed. I was mad at him for telling me how I feel (like I don’t realise my own emotions), how he hates what I play and having problems with things so insignificant as how I choose to wear my shirt. He also told me that I would never find work unless I get out of my shell. The hypocrisy of having a guy who would rather lock himself in his room than go up to a friend and talk things through tell me that I need to be more open was just too much.

And then I was in Belgium. While there I thought a lot about what happened in recent weeks. I decided that living with someone who made problems out of silly things and didn’t like what was basically how I spend my free time was just not worth it. So I thought that after I come back from Belgium, I’ll have a look at rooms, find something, sign a contract and give my notice. Naturally, life rarely goes to plan.

When I returned Smurf told me I have a month to move out because my presence started to depress him too much. I said “ok” and he waved my hand in a stupid gesture to signify to me I should say something more. So I did: “I was thinking of doing that anyway.” The conversation ended, he didn’t ask why or anything and I didn’t think there was much to say. So I went off and told my friend BJ and my parents what went on.

The next day I had BJ and her friend come over to visit me and look for some jobs for ourselves. It was a planned thing and Smurf agreed to it a few months back. It’s always better to have trips to other countries planned ahead of time so as to cut the plane ticket costs. They arrived and we started to look for jobs. We went to hotels and fast food restaurants and had fun in the meantime. I was lucky enough to get a job at Burger King at the end of the first week. Now that I had a job/paycheck it would be easier to find someplace to live.

My friends weren’t so lucky so while I was at work they enjoyed Brighton. Most evenings we just spent in my room. BJ felt somewhat sorry that Smurf kept brooding in the living room so she often went off and gave him company. She kept coming back and telling me what he said. Like that he was happy she talked to him because he felt sad we didn’t go to him to hang out. I suppose it didn’t occur to him he could just knock on the door and propose something if he wanted to hang out so badly. He also said that he likes me as a friend but it’s “so hard to change him (meaning: me)”. And thus I learnt of another thing I didn’t understand. Smurf likes me but wants to change me so he likes the person I am but wants me to be a different person from whom he likes. That’s how it sounded to me.

Later on, after BJ and her friend left back to Poland, I was told that Smurf complained a lot about me and mocked me for working at Burger King during the Roleplay Club meetings. It wasn’t a nice thing to hear but it at least shut BJ up about how I should try and mend things with Smurf because it is good to have someone who would let you sleep on his couch at the very least. That way of thinking didn’t lie well with me because it felt like using someone rather than being friends.

After about a week of looking for a place to stay I was contacted by Mr G who Smurf started to play a game of Delta Green with and who I first met two years ago. Mr G apparently wanted to help me out by offering to rent me his spare room because he felt depressed living by himself and that we’re both gamers, have similar tastes and like superheroes, we would get on well together. I told him I don’t have a lot of money to pay rent with, to which he said money wasn’t a problem because he can safely afford the apartment by himself and had some friends stay with him for free before. I did make sure to tell him I heard he was desperate for players for his Delta Green game but I wasn’t interested in it and that he shouldn’t expect me living with him would change that. He didn’t seem to have a problem with that so I asked him if it would be alright if I started to move in slowly over the course of the next few weeks. I didn’t have neither the money nor enough boxes to just pack everything and buy a cab ride. Although more demanding in terms of money and energy, it was cheaper to just go one bag at a time whenever I had a day off. Mr G agreed so all seemed to be looking up... but it quickly spiralled down into a even worse situation than I had before.

I spent the next month on getting my stuff in. I tried to use as many of my days off to move things one bag at a time. Since I only had one bag, I kept packing it with stuff, going on the bus and unpacking it in what would become my room. I couldn’t do it every day I had a day off because Mr G kept texting me about how he was depressed over not having a flatmate and the flat was a mess but I told him that didn’t bother me. This went on for a month during which I sometimes stayed over to watch some films (Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2) and play some games. So things looked nice.

Somewhere during this time Mr G invited me to go see The Last Airbender. I met him outside the cinema and we went in. Before we went in I asked if we’re gonna buy some popcorn, he said he didn’t want any so we just went down to the movie screen room. After we found our seats and sat down, I asked if I could borrow 10 pounds off him to buy some popcorn. He was ok with that so I went upstairs to get some but when I came back, I noticed that the 3D glasses Mr G gave me weren’t on my seat. Mr G then went off to get a new pair. While he was gone, some couple came in with tickets for the seats we were in, so I had to take our stuff and wait for Mr G to return by the door. I told him what happened and he asked me where I do I want to sit so I told him I don’t mind where. He told me to make the decision so I said that it would be best if we sat at the back and in front. So he asked me where I want to sit, I showed the area and he said no. I asked him why and he raised his voice to say “Then go buy premium tickets!”. I backed away and just went to the nearest empty seats. Yeah, I should have taken that as a rather obvious red flag.

The problem was that Mr G has always seemed like a very welcoming and friendly person to me. When I was over to play games at his place, there were always snacks, drinks and he had a very cheerful manner about himself. That’s what it was like when me, Mr G and a couple of our friends met at his place one Sunday to play Antike. Smurf was also there but likely, he avoided talking to me and that was just fine with me.

Somewhere during this time I ended up with kidney stones going through my urinal tract. It was a rather unpleasant experience. At the time when it started I didn’t know what was going on so I tried to ignore it and waited an hour in hopes the pain would pass... but it didn’t. So I went out into the living room to get the phone. I was surprised to see Smurf sleeping on the couch considering how much I wailed in agony but I didn’t want to wake him up. It was Saturday and he should just rest. I called Ms L who was the only person in Brighton with a car I knew and asked her if she could drive me to the hospital. She was already awake so I at least I didn’t feel bad for ruining her morning. She drove me there and after I got morpheme, all was good. Sagitaria visited me in the evening, we talked about In Nomine and he left me a magazine to read. The next day I got discharged and went back to Smurf’s flat. I bumped into him on my way there and he stopped me to say: “Krzyś, I’m your friend and I still care for you so next time you’re in that much pain just wake me up.” I said something along the lines of “yeah, ok” still quite baffled on how he can consider himself my friend after all that he said and went off.

Next Tuesday, Smurf had some people over to play Call of Cthulhu and it was the first time in two months that he simply knocked on my door and asked if I want to join them for dinner. I rejected his offer on the grounds I already eaten but the offer sounded quite fake to me. It’s been 3 days since I was in the hospital and a third session of said game. He didn’t think of inviting me in on the previous two sessions nor offered to do anything when no one else was around. To me it just seemed like a way to show himself in good light to Ms L and the other players. Especially considering how Ms L kept on telling him to just talk to me after he kept complaining how he feels he’s an ogre in the living room because I spent all my time in the living room. So yeah, when I’m in the living room, he’s depressed... when I’m not in the living room, he’s depressed.

I did get to talk to him the next day when I was taking something from the kitchen and he asked me why I didn’t wake him up when I had my kidney problems. I told him I didn’t want to wake him up and he said “aha, I think you had different reasons.” So great, now I’m not only a depressing presence but also a liar. I had enough of it, shrugged and went to my room. Happy at the thought I won’t have to deal with anymore of this nonsense soon.

The next few weeks went rather well. Mr G told me to use his Xbox 360 because otherwise it won’t see any use and he told me how he usually has the TV on because he doesn’t like the silence, saying that he likes having some noise around him. I was at first somewhat meh about playing on a console. Smurf had a Wii and I only played on it twice during my stay with him and I wasn’t all that impressed with the Xbox when I had my visit in Belgium... but when he put on Dragon Age and put the controller in my hands I just decided to go on with what he asked for and played. I played the game when I didn’t have much else to do and when I had to keep myself awake (keeping a proper sleep pattern is difficult). It was a nice game and it let me be in the living room to have some opportunities to talk with Mr G from time to time. Though he mostly spent his time on Facebook... and I honestly didn’t care for what sort of drama he read for me from his friend’s wall.

We played a few games of HeroClix and a game of Lord of the Rings Escalation. All in all, life was good and I just had to adjust. He did surprise me when he said I probably want another shelf in my room and I told him I’d rather have a desk, after that he said: “A desk?” and seemed quite surprised. I don’t really understand why wanting a desk would be considered strange but I just shrugged it off. Then one day he was about to go shopping and asked me what sort of bread I eat. I told him that I’ll buy my own and he said to not worry about it, to just tell him which kind I like and he’ll buy one for the both of us. So I told him I like the brown sort, he was happy that it was the same as him. After that I just made myself a sandwich when I felt hungry. I was also allowed to drink the coke that was in the fridge. When those 3 bottles were gone, next time I went to Tesco I wanted to buy 3 more bottled. Unfortunately, the didn’t have the exact same ones so I went with the discount offer of 2 Pepsi Max and Coke.

Next few weeks I was working mainly in the evenings so I didn’t see much of Mr G. I kept getting back to the flat between 1am and 2am so I just went to bed and when I woke up at 8am I just had my tea while he went to work. Then at about 12 I took a nap so I wouldn’t feel dead at work. Mr G had his lunch break at home so we missed each other at that time too. This went on for a few weeks so I was beginning to think we’re not being all that social with one another. All we did was play a game in the evening when I had a day off and go to bed. So when I had a day off, I went to buy a pizza in the morning for the both of us and waited for Mr G to show up at about 1pm to ask if he’d like to watch some DVD tonight.

He didn’t show up, I waited until it was dark and just when I was about to go to bed. He came in, I turned the Xbox off and was about to talk with him... but he just sat down on his chair and looked rather gloomy. So I asked what’s wrong, he didn’t say anything. So I thought that maybe he wants to be alone for a moment, I asked if he wants me to go and he said: “Yes, I want you to go!” I was a bit surprised at how he raised his voice and then he started talking.

“I didn’t have to go out today with the guys from work but I knew you had a day off. I’ve been drinking to get the courage to tell you this. You’re making me depressed. I don’t want to even be in my own flat. I try to take what Smurf tells me with a grain of salt because he said that you never play just GM all the time and you said you’d love to play DnD when I told you I want to run a game but he’s right, you’re really depressing.”

“But why? What am I doing that’s so depressing?” I asked.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said. “Look, I’m planning holidays to just get away. Me! Planning a holiday! I never go on holidays! This is just not working out. I thought I was making a good deed here but I’m suffering for it. And it’s dangerous when I feel like this. I don’t want you to hate me like you do Smurf, I don’t want to kick you out because Smurf is a lot more selfish than I am. Sagitarria told me not to tell you anything before he has a chance to talk to you because we think you’re clinically depressed. He warned me not to tell you anything because you might jump out the window but I’m manic depressive, I told him I might throw you out before you jump. You know, Sagitarria and Ms L really worry about you and you would do yourself a favour if you’d listen to their advice.”

“Ok, look,” I started to say because at that point we were both not in the proper emotional state to deal with this issue. “Let’s just have some rest and talk things through tomorrow when we’re not horribly tired.”

Unfortunately, the whole ordeal put me down horribly. I ended up crying most of the night and so when I woke up I texted Mr G to tell him I didn’t sleep well and that it would be better if instead of playing Scion on Sunday we would talk things through. The next day I also phoned Sagitarria to tell him about what happened and ask him for advice because I thought it would help if I did what Mr G wanted me to do. Sagitarria offered to help by coming over on Sunday and getting our issues resolved. I thought it would be good to have someone outside of this matter to help reconcile us so I agreed.

The next few days I just went to work in the evening and then back. I wasn’t sure if he was in on Friday but on Saturday I saw light coming out of his room. The door was closed so I just went to the toilet and to sleep. On Sunday, Sagitarria and Mr G were already playing something when I got up. We then played Pandemic and A Game of Thrones before it was time to talk about domestic issues.

His issues were as follows:

- One day he got up and wanted to make himself breakfast only to learn I ate the last slice of bread from the loaf he bought for the both of us
- I constantly play on the Xbox and he can’t have the TV on to listen to the news. Instead he kept just reading them on the net. It was nice of me to turn the Xbox off the moment he said he wanted to watch his soap and then told me to play the Xbox because nothing else was on.
- I got really annoyed he didn’t buy premium tickets and we couldn’t sit at the back of the cinema for The Last Airbender
- I bought myself expensive popcorn when I was having money problems but it was nice of me to give him the money back even though he forgot about it
- I am playing Dragon Age, a game that he already knows because people played it with him in the room so the storyline is just not that interesting
- During the weeks I was moving in I dumped my stuff on the bed without even thinking he might want to have people stay over. I wasn’t even here and I already took the bed
- By keeping to my room the last few days, I was running away from the issues and I made him feel he can’t get out of his own room
- When we played A Game of Thrones, I said “looks like Sagitarria will win next turn” after Sagitarria got 8 Renown in one go (you need 15 to win). To Mr G it sounded like I was saying “Oh no! The Fates are conspiring against me!” while I was just making an ironic joke (because when that happens, you know who will be the target of absolutely everyone next turn)
- I bought the wrong drinks. Mr G doesn’t even drink Pepsi Max, only Diet Coke and I drank the Coke that was for guests
- It was a mistake to cancel Scion to talk about the issues we were having

I told him that I was somewhat annoyed and depressed last week because my bank didn’t cancel my direct debit to Smurf and they couldn’t do anything about the money having gone there. I was annoyed because I couldn’t get in touch with Smurf for days and was starting to think I’ll never see that money back and won’t be able to pay Mr G for rent. But Mr G said it doesn’t matter, that he doesn’t need the money and that Smurf will surely give the money back so there’s nothing to worry about. Apparently he had much more trust in him than I did. I told them that when I finally got in touch with Smurf he told me he has part of the money but will need some time to get the rest. What was strange is that he told Sagitarria and Mr G that he had it all. Sagitarria got me a lift and I took the money off him. It was true, he really did have it all... I don’t know why was I apparently the last person to know that little fact. I was kinda expecting I would hear that first than any 3rd parties not directly involved in this problem.

Next week, I bought X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the Xbox and bought the Diet Cokes. Then I didn’t touch them at all. I had a day off on Wednesday. The first thing Mr G said to me is that he will buy the game off from me. I wasn’t expecting that but didn’t say anything. Then we talked a bit and he told me to play the Xbox since it was my day off while he started ironing his shirts.

On Saturday I was rather happy that things were going well and that I would be able to see some friends and play games on Sunday. I saw Mr G in the morning when he was getting ready to leave for a Magic The Gathering event. I had some soup and my stomach started to hurt, so I just told him I’ll go get some painkillers when I passed him in the corridor. He said that eating pot noodles is just not healthy, I told him that was the first I heard of it. Then I just sat down and had my tea, I didn’t want to get in Mr G’s way when he was going around the flat getting ready. Just before he went off he asked me if I know my schedule for next week (more work in the day than in the evenings) so I gave it to him. He looked it over and went out.

Then he returned a moment later, I thought he might have forgotten something but then he said: “You know what?”

“I don’t want you here! The last week was good but only because you weren’t here! I have to wake up at five to get to work. At FIVE! I've never seen anyone so... so... lethargic. This is me taking out the trash! I can’t take it anymore! Two weeks! Two weeks and I want you OOOOOOOOUUUUUUT!!!” and then he was out the door and gone. He was walking around, shouting and slamming doors the whole time he said that.

The way he just changed from an alright mood to seriously crazy just scared me. I called in sick at work and then called Sagitarria to talk. He came over, we went out to have a meal, talked and then I joined in with him, Ms L and one guy from the Roleplay Club and his other half. We all went to a club and had fun. Sagitarria said getting myself tired from dancing would help me sleep and it did but I still had a nightmare where Mr G was strangling me to death.

On Sunday we played Pandemic and A Game of Thrones but I was really nervous. Just not knowing when Mr G would return terrified me. When I talked with my dad earlier, he said I should have called the police when that happened the other day but I didn’t think of it at the time. He was strangely supportive during the whole thing... not something that I’m used to. Well, for lunch we went to get some pizza and I apologised to Sagitarria for me not being my best right now. After I told him how badly I slept, he offered to let me stay at his place until I find a room.

I got one after a few days and took it. I texted Mr G to tell him I’ll be taking my stuff out on Sunday. He texted me back to say thanks and asked me if I would be in that day because he wanted to have some friends over and me not being there. So I told him I was at Sagitarria’s place this whole week. On Sunday, Sagitarria helped me move my stuff out and I got him lunch. I told him that I hope what happened between me and Mr G would affect their friendship and he assured me it wouldn’t. So I was relieved.

In the evening Mr G texted me to ask if I kept the keys. I texted him to say I forgot about a few things and wanted to give him the keys personally rather than just leaving them on the floor. He said he was fine with that and the next day I had an evening shift, I took the rest of my stuff. The next day I had a day off I texted him to say I can give him the keys back now.

He texted me back to say that after what I told Ms L (it later turned out that it much have been Smurf who told Mr G about what I told Ms L) about him and losing Sagitarria as a friend, he really doesn’t want to see me so I should just put the keys through the mail box on the door... he wished that he never tried to help me...

So I put the keys through the door... The End...