Militarily speaking

I’ve just had a text from my casting agency asking if I have any military experience (if so, I must reply regarding a new feature film). I find the entire concept of me having military experience so hilarious – images of me in some kind of uniform, marching, straight arms (no flow to the wrists), maybe a hat unjauntily angled – I am simply going with the non-reply and snort-to-myself-quietly option.

I am the star child of schooling, really – straight As (unless A*s were an option) – and a genuine enthusiasm for most subjects. I had highlighters, musical instruments, calculators with slide-on covers – the lot. But uniforms were more tricky for me. Within the approximate boundaries of school regulation colours, I preferred high heels, tight trousers or mini skirts, roughly the right coloured sweatshirt but in a slightly more pleasant hue, nail varnish and statement jewellery (though any jewellery was a statement, so it wasn’t even very statement). Mr. B in physics told eerie, violent tales of girls who got earrings stuck in electric geiger counters (don’t ask me for the detail; I was probably distracted by my stealthy, slow-motion removal of a silver hoop at the time), and Miss C (a self-proclaimed witch) mentioned her availability for providing frightening eye make up removing solutions for those afflicted by blue eyeshadow (what? My french exchange romance complimented by periwinkle eyelids). A history teacher alternated complimenting my necklaces and giving me detention for them.

I never went to the detentions. I didn’t see the point in going; it would only encourage them. And, when I was kicked out of my form group it was (apparently) with mixed feelings: my grades were stellar; my punctuality was not.

I haven’t even got to the fighting aspect implied in ‘military experience’. I might skip that one completely, actually, it’s such a non-idea in the context of, well, me. (I write this with my dog leaning gently against me, snuggling her pretty, soft bottom against my shin. I’m too soppy.) I mean, I can be very direct, but I don’t know how far that would get in a GOT-style battle scene.

I’m not going to drop down and give twenty for anyone (real or theatrical). I’ll do it myself, if I want to, not because someone is barking at me. It’s not that I have a problem with authority… it’s just that, as fascinating as it is, I don’t believe in it.

The only thing swaying towards militarianism in my life is my embarrassing enthusiasm for self-made schedules. I have nursed this habit over the years; I currently have a particular slip of paper in a particular pink which serves to detail my ideal day, which (every few weeks or so) gets whittled and refined and altered and tweaked until my ideal day involves absolutely everything I need to exist; everything from music, writing, my natural skincare range (Leafology) to reading, herbal study, baking and the conscientious denial of my email inbox.

Still, it is with military precision that I shall, on occasion, forego even my own pink-papered authority – what is life if not a space in which to make things up anew? I’m writing this instead of doing something else entirely.



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