thetillyvanilly

Awkward things.

Random Acts of Awesome

Sometimes it’s fun to give something back to the world, especially if it’s done in ways that people don’t expect. It’s like ninja niceness, sneaky sweetness or, as I prefer to call it, Jedi gentility, because I own a thesaurus and words are like candy for the less fortunate. Or something. So here are a few ideas to get you started on your charm offensive…

  • Literary Scribbles

Imagine you’re having a pretty crappy day. Your hair won’t sit right, you’re almost certain your boss hates you, and you might have left the gas on and therefore be going back to a burning wreck of a house and a toasted poodle. In short, life is not like happy. So what do you do when life sucks? You buy books, of course! And imagine finding a note inside your sniff-worthy copy of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, (because someone’s always got it worse than you) telling you what an awesome person you are. That would fix everything! Ok, it might not fix everything, but when your boss summons you into his office to fire you, you could shove the note right down his throat, and that would be pretty damn sweet.

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  • Gladiolas for Gladys

I used to have this awesome, little-old-lady neighbour. She was super sweet and taught me how to tell the time. She also slipped me candy like it was crack. Old ladies do that, they have a lot of candy. But what old ladies don’t have is flowers, at least the single ones. Don’t go presenting a taken lady with a bouquet or you’re bound to find a slipper up your ass. My favourite technique is to leave a bunch of flowers on the doorstep and wait. That way, the old dear won’t know who loves her, but she’ll know that she is loved, meaning every stranger is a possible sweetheart.

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  • Noms for the Nomless

Obviously I don’t need to tell you that if someone’s homeless, then they’re probably hungry. A lot of people don’t like to give homeless people money, since it could be spent on dodgy dealings, so food is a lovely idea to keep someone warm and healthy and simply make their day. It’s best if you speak to the person first to ask them what they’re into. Just because someone’s homeless, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be vegetarian or lactose-intolerant, and you don’t wanna give them something that will be wasted or make them ill. A sandwich is all it takes to make the world that tiniest bit better, especially if it’s PB+J. Peanut butter will save the world one day, you heard it here first.

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  • Retail Recompense

If you have a job, you’ll know how sucky it is to have to go to it every day, especially when all you want to do is stay home in your underwear, watching every episode of Game of Thrones, whilst tossing popcorn in the vague direction of your mouth. But you go and that is awesome. Well done you! Working in a service role is even harder than just relocating your body from bed to desk. Serving people sucks. Spare a thought then, for the people who, despite constant encouragement, don’t go on murder rampages after the millionth customer throws all of their food onto the floor or yells at them for not stocking a product that they have no control over. Just one kind review can make someone’s day, make it really sweet and you can cancel out a week’s worth of meanness. You have the power here, wield it wisely and judge justly.

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  • Be Santa

Obviously this depends on how dodgy you look and how panicky their parents are, but kids love balloons. Seriously. If they had to choose between candy and a balloon, the balloon wins every time. You could steal their candy, give them a balloon and they wouldn’t be in the least bit bothered. Obviously I don’t recommend this because we’re going for nice here, and stealing isn’t nice unless you’re wearing tights. Fact.

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  • Chat Up Compliment a Stranger

Do they have a cool T-shirt, yummy-smelling perfume or awesome eyebrows? Let them know that you’ve noticed. Yeah, we all dress for ourselves and everything, but it’s nice to know that our hard work has paid off. Try to focus on the same gender here, otherwise you’re basically chatting them up. Remember, you don’t get anything out of this but a rosy glow. If you get a phone number, you lose the game of loveliness, but you win at being a stud. You go Glen Coco!

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  • COFFEE!!!…!!!

Coffee cures all things. Ok, maybe not the big things, like war and plague and stuff, but coffee’s pretty sweet. The next time you’re in a coffee shop, getting your caffeine fix, why not offer to buy a drink for the next person in line? Especially the ones wearing shades indoors, they will love you forever. Or you could get into the whole suspended coffee thang, which is an idea that started in Naples, where you pay for a coffee that is then donated to someone needy, like a homeless person or someone who’s having sucky luck, basically anyone who could do with a good cup of Joe.

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  • Cake Cures All Ills

Do you know someone who’s having a pretty crappy life right now? Maybe their boyfriend dumped them or called them fat. Ugh, that guy. No cake for that guy. But what’s a better antidote to implied fatness than cake? Cake says ‘you’re not fat, you’re curvy, maybe even skinny. Yep, you’re definitely wasting away. Get some cake inside you before you disappear and we have to call in the FBI.’ In fact, cake is the answer to all of life’s problems, especially hunger, and, chances are, if someone’s not happy, they’re probably hungry. So bake a cake. Even if you’re not exactly an artist, I bet you could cook up something half decent and smother it with frosting. Sad people will squeeze through your cat flap for a slice of anything baked. Trust me

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  • Lurk Menacingly in the Make-up Aisle

Do you ever get vouchers thrust your way by over-excited shop staff, telling you that there’s an amazing amount off something you would never buy in your life? Ugh. Well guess what. There are people that actually buy that stuff. You might not know them, (for obvious reasons) but they definitely exist. So this is what I do, in a non-creepy way, (if that’s possible for you, I try, I do, just, it’s not in me to seem normal) hang around the area that your voucher corresponds to, eye up shoppers fingering the merchandise, and if anyone seems about to buy, hand them the voucher, smile and run. Together, we can start a creepy lurking trend that might just become a make-up counter epidemic.

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  • Paws for Thought

When you’re planning your random acts of awesome, don’t just think two legs good, four legs bad. Animals can also appreciate your kindness. If you see a dog tied up outside a store, why not say hello? In winter, leave food out for birds and bunnies to feed on. It’s hard to hunt out nomage when the ground is covered in snow. If you’re feeling super lovely, you could hang out at an animal shelter, or even adopt an animal rather than buying one that’s been bred. And remember, you’ll never know more gratitude than a mutt drowning you in saliva and love.

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  • Breakfast in Bed

This one applies ONLY if you know and love the person. Think of someone who wouldn’t murder you for breaking into their house and getting crumbs all over the sheets. Other lovely things that aren’t really geared towards strangers include: Running a bath, massaging their feet, writing passionate love letters and dumping a ton of rose petals onto their bed. Though I suppose it depends on how strange your strangers are…

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Farewell, My Love

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I have given up diet Coke for the millionth time in my life. Ok, slight exaggeration, but that’s the closest I’m gonna get to the actual number today. My brain isn’t into counting right now, or cooking, or writing, or anything that isn’t stabbing me with a cocktail stick and demanding a swig of delicious, brown, chemical death. Another exaggeration, but Coke and I are no longer speaking, and I want it to know that I think it’s a terrible excuse for a drink, that I want my stuff back and also, does anyone know if it’s found someone new already? Not that I care. I don’t care. Ok, I might care a bit.

I hate it, but I want it, and I feel like a heroin addict just writing that. Except that heroin is, according to Russell Brand at least, wonderful stuff, and if it didn’t consume you, we’d all be wrapped up in golden brown blankets of hugs. Great, now I want heroin too. I don’t know what I’m trying to say here apart from I miss having a routine. It’s like being a socially accepted addict. Smokers get kicked outside in the rain, but we Coke heads get welcomed in and offered ice and lemon and straws. Straws! I bet the smokers wish they had straws. Oh wow, I just realised that there will no longer be any straws. Kill me now.

Suddenly I’m just a lowly water drinker, ruining the party for everyone. Fizzy drinkers are waaay below their alcoholic friends on the fun scale, (according to society, who is, in my opinion, a teensy bit judgemental) but I’m not even on the scale. I get a whole new scale of fun, ranging from training to be a yoga teacher, to dieting, to talking about nothing but dieting, to ethical choices bore to Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m on a low rung, I can feel it. I don’t want to do anything right now but complain and lust after aspartame like it’s made of rainbows and joy, when really I know it’s just cancer that’s wearing a feather boa and trying to sell me watches. I know this, I’ve read terrible things that haunt my dreams, but still I reach for the bottle.

So here we go again. It’s day one and already I want to smother myself with a pillow, or find an Egyptian to scoop out my brain and pop it into a Coke-themed canopic jar, where I’m sure it’ll be much happier. Thankfully, I’ve been here a zillion times before, (see how the longer I complain, the bigger the hyperbole becomes?) and I know that it gets better. The trick is to not give in, but that’s a trick I haven’t mastered, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this ranting mess of lustful nonsense.

Coke is everywhere, trying to woo me with its tempting curves and bubbly personality. It’s hard to quit something you’re still in love with, especially when they insist on stalking you. In the supermarket, in Nandos, in the cinema, it’s always there, reminding me of the good times we’ve had together. But no more. No. This time I am strong. This time, I will reward myself with books, I will quench myself with water, and I will beat my brother in this quitting competition, because he too has a problem. So here it is, a promise:

Dear Coke,

It’s not me, it’s you. I’m too good for you. Also, I want white teeth and more money in my bank, which you clearly don’t care about, given your preoccupation with dying my teeth brown and sponging off me at least twice a day. I hope that you can move on with your life like I’m moving on with mine. You know I’ve never forgiven you for printing everyone IN THE WHOLE FREAKING WORLD’s name on your sleeve apart from mine. I mean, what was that about? Rude. Anyway, this is goodbye forever. Don’t try to tempt me back, I have a new love, his name is water and he can lift 500lbs, has an epic moustache, thinks that llamas are awesome, (which makes me wonder what is wrong with YOU) speaks like Ryan Gosling and looks like Vin Diesel wearing a wig and the aforementioned moustache. Ok, so none of those things are true. That’s not the point. The point is that we are over. Done and dusted, (whatever that means) and this is the last time you’ll be hearing from me. I love you, but you’re bad for me and that’s a good enough reason to leave. I hope you find someone new, but someone less awesome than me, because I am petty like that and you’re evil.

Au revoir, mon passé.

Bonjour mon avenir.

PS. I’m gonna keep your bottle and fill it with water. Ha.

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Socially Inept

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I met a new person today. This happens quite a lot to me, and you’d think that I’d be used to it by now, but I’m really not. In fact, for every new person I meet I say, on average, three new embarrassing things, fall over, on average, three times, and make exactly no new friends. I suck at meeting new people. It is my anti-skill. If I had to choose between grappling with conversation and grappling with a bear that thinks I’m made of cake, I would choose the bear. Heck, I would probably charm the bear, because that’s what kind of awkward I am.

Throw me at an assortment of animals and we will be having a tea party within the hour, complete with party games and mocktails. Throw me at a group of people and watch me mumble incoherently about how my armpits feel like toothpaste, (I actually said this today. In real life. Stupid awesome deodorant.) and struggle with the floor like a drunk chicken on a bouncy castle. Socialising is not for me. I would quite happily stay inside, making small talk with my books, who love me and think that I’m awesome. Actually, that’s not true. I mean, my books do think I’m awesome, (especially Pride and Prejudice. Darcy totally has a thing for me.) but I wouldn’t be happy to stay inside, alone but for fictional characters, because I have an active imagination and manage to convince myself that outside is a magical haven of future friends.

I don’t know why I think this. Past experience has told me that strangers think I’m strange and outside is full of dangerous things like sideward glances and behind-hand whispers. Even inside is scary if there are people there. You know where high school is? Yep, inside, and look how that turned out. But I am an optimist, despite reality wagging its finger at me. So I wander outside, my eyes wide with expectation and love for every single human being ever, until I meet one. Then I smile so hard that you see a mile of gums, babble about nothing at a million miles an hour and give the distinct impression of being the most excited serial killer you’ve ever met. Go me.

Let’s take today for example. Not only did I mention how nicely icy my armpits felt, I also threatened to burn down a supermarket, talked about the time I set fire to a small collection of courgettes because (of course) I do not like courgettes, and practically ran to the bathroom to escape my need to blurt out a conversation that I’d had earlier about dying from having an orgasm so intense that both of the couple’s hearts explode, leaving them to rot, naked, only to have their horrified parents discover their fly-blanketed bodies. I mean, what the hell is wrong with me?!

Luckily, this new person was a lovely girl, and not the sort of stranger to inform the secret services of my whereabouts and danger level, but because she’s so nice, it makes it worse. When I find people that I like, I want to impress them, I don’t want to send them screaming into the bushes after I’ve mistakenly decided to show them my blowtorch collection.* I want them to think ‘Wow, you’re really cool. You have a healthy sarcasm level, an excellent collection of paperbacks, a constant urge to make cake, and an endless supply of sloth facts. We should be friends.’ They do not think this. They never think this.

I think that I put too much pressure on myself. Instead of wanting to make simple conversation with this random human, I decide that the entire world relies on my ability to make myself seem likeable. And much like a puppy on speed, I discover that humping their leg, licking their face and peeing on their shoes is not the way to make friends. But in the moment, all of those things seem like AMAZING ideas to the puppy. ‘They’ll love this,’ he thinks, letting the pee stream over the carpet, ‘I’m sooo good at this whole socialising thang.’ And like that puppy, I will realise how super terrible I actually am at life when the newspaper comes down. No! Bad Tilly, naughty.

Sometimes I consider giving up, but it’s no use. I look around at my friends, my internet friends, (who are fooled by my ability to clatter at my keyboard until words become sentences that not only make sense, but make me out to be a bit normal) and my acquaintances who totally would be my friends if I could work out the secret formula, and it makes me realise that it’s totally worth it.

Every time I slip up, I’m trying. Every time I accidentally insult someone’s favourite movie, I’m talking. I’m still going because I care. I’m still making conversation because I want people in my life, no matter how many times I get smacked before someone strokes me. I know how much friendships are worth, and I’m willing to fight through the mists of awkward and wade through the swamps of inappropriate for just a glimmer of something golden beyond the mountains of social anxiety. So I will keep talking about my armpits and keep falling over my feet, because every time I do, I’m working towards laughing about it later with someone cool enough to be called a friend.

 

*There is no blowtorch collection. Yet.

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