Monday, 30 July 2012

Why the hell it means so much to me

I am passionate about words. I read a decent amount of them. I've been inherently tuned in to lyrics and verse for my entire conscious life, and remember an inordinate amount of songs even when I've only heard them once, or not for years. As a child, I read prolifically, and started early. As an adult, I'm extremely picky when it comes to reading. I'll decide within the first few pages whether or not I can finish a book. I have to be passionate about it. For a long time, I only read poetry, because I valued succinct beauty, not long-winded story telling. I even found a poem that explained that preference, that need. If I'm not totally absorbed, enthralled, engaged, then I won't finish the book. I've given up feeling guilty about it: I'm not a patient reader. I'm a selfish, greedy, gobble-it-up reader, who doesn't want to read novels that 'might get better' or have some kind of 'classic literature value'. That said, I feel like having more free time this past year has improved my reading habits, and I've noticed that I've been reading a lot more, and a wider range, too. 

Book reviews aren't really my thing, and the last time I think I mentioned a book on this blog in any significant way was when I finished 'We Need to Talk About Kevin', and that was around this time last year. Since then I've read several novels and a couple of guide books, including 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', 'Let's Pretend This Never Happened', 'The Hunger Games' trilogy, 'Dog Training for Dummies', and (I'm mildly embarrassed to say) 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. That last one can be chalked up to liking to be informed about things I'm mocking and the fact that, sometimes, an easy book is something I like too. Still in my queue are 'Me The People' and 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius'.

I recently finished reading 'Tiny Beautiful Things' by Cheryl Strayed, and I am absolutely and utterly compelled to write something about it. I've not felt this way about a book in a long time, and possibly never about a non-fiction book. One of her readers describes her words as 'sacred', and I actually don't think it's an exaggeration. You must, must, must read this book. It's stunning.

What started as an advice column on the book club website 'The Rumpus' has resulted in - you guessed it - a book. It's more than just a collection of columns (although essentially those are its main components), because it explains the background of how Cheryl Strayed became 'Sugar', and a little of who Chery Strayed is, too. But it's not just a collection of columns in the figurative sense, either, because these aren't just columns. They are beautiful, soul-clenching missives that you want to bundle up and somehow ingest, to remember their wisdom, their particular phrasing that rings that distant 'oh, of course!' bell. They speak to you as though you always knew their truth; they reassure you that it's okay to fuck up; they remind you that you're human in a way that gives you an innate tugging somewhere in your belly, connecting you to it all.

I'm a little concerned that I'll come across as fanatical if I continue in this vein, plus I'm certain that my words aren't enough to do justice to hers. I'm also reluctant to directly quote some of her letters because I don't want to spoil the discovery of them for you. Finally, I don't want to misrepresent what Sugar does. Her work isn't about mollycoddling, whatever you write to her about. She is honest, sometimes brutally and shockingly so. She swears (I think rather effectively, but this may put some people off). She is soothing, she is open (sometimes using personal stories to illustrate her replies), she is hilarious, and she shows such empathy that sometimes it breaks your heart almost as much as the reason she's been written to.

So, I'll just tell you how I found 'Dear Sugar', and maybe drop in one quote and leave it at that. A friend posted Sugar's Column #48 on their Facebook page and tagged me and a few others in it, meaning to give some inspiration for being perseverant in the pursuit of one's dreams. In all honesty, I thought that the letter to Sugar was the thing I was supposed to be reading to start with, as that was pretty damn good. But then Sugar came in, responding to that young female writer-who-couldn't-write's cry for help. I was... entranced? Breathless? All sounds a bit like a romantic novel, doesn't it?! But I sat with goosebumps up and down my arms, a few happy tears trailing down my cheeks, and an immediate desire to read it again. And again. And again. The way Strayed could be kind, firm, funny, inspirational, sweet, tough, and caring all at once impressed me so much. The ability to unify these elements, to simultaneously open out and condense the writer's issues, and then to find on reading the collection that she could do it with each and every diverse, painful, wonderfully human letter written to her - ah.

"The unifying theme is resilience and faith."

Read this book.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Not tailored for a U.S. audience

As pretty much the whole of the planet is aware (at least, I think it is, as that's kind of the point), the 2012 Olympics began this past Friday in Britain. The opening ceremony, although I am yet to see it in full, was a beautiful mix of humour, respect, tradition, and incredible choreography, all with the purpose of celebrating the UK, the human race, and the spirit of unity that these games embody.

So, it's been something of an issue that the American coverage of the opening ceremony on NBC purposefully cut away from the 'Abide With Me' tribute to the victims of the London 7/7 bombings, opting instead to show their viewers an interview with Michael Phelps conducted by Ryan Seacrest.

Never mind that the tribute wasn't just meant for the 7/7 victims and survivors (although that tragedy is inherently tied in with the London Olympics, as it happened the day after London was awarded the 2012 event). Never mind that the choreographer intended it as a tribute to the struggle between life and death - something we can all identify with as humans, wherever we're from. Never mind that it had a theme of triumph over terrorism, which I think we can safely say the American people would also appreciate. Never mind the fact that, with only the smallest reference to the tribute, NBC took the decision to cut it on the basis that it 'was not tailored for a U.S. audience'. What does that mean?! That they thought Americans wouldn't care, because it wasn't a terrorist attack on the USA? That the singer's vocals were perhaps not showy enough to fit on 'American Idol' and so didn't belong on U.S. screens? Maybe that death's really quite depressing, and we shouldn't think about if we don't have to?

As far as I am concerned, NBC made a huge error here. They've insulted the UK by omitting a deeply personal tribute; they've insulted individuals already irreparably hurt by loss in the 7/7 bombings; they've insulted the dead by ignoring a public memorial to them; and they've insulted the American people by presuming that they wouldn't care.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Swallow it down

Today I had my first experience of Planned Parenthood, the US version of the Family Planning Association. This organisation is even more important than that in the UK because they provide affordable contraceptive and other sexual health care for all American women, and no one is denied treatment on the basis of their insurance or lack thereof. In England, all contraceptives are free-of-charge (both a prescription and the medication itself), so while having a great body like the FPA to provide wide-reaching reproductive advice and care in Great Britain, it seems all the more necessary to have an organisation like that here, when not everyone can afford a regular doctor.

I will admit to being a little nervous of attending my appointment. I was lucky that my excellent UK doctor had prescribed me a year's worth of my pill just before I left for Charlotte (the usual procedure for any woman going travelling), so I had no need to seek contraceptive help until now. Back home, the fact that the pill (or the coil, or the injection, or the implant etc.) is free reflects the British attitude to contraception: it's a necessity, there's no shame in it, and while ethics and consequences of abortion are certainly taken very seriously, the idea that contraception is somehow not a basic right doesn't even come up. It's every person's right to decide what happens to their body, and this is demonstrated by the national health care system's approach here. Compare that to what I saw yesterday, when a group of people (I mostly observed men in their 40s and 50s) were protesting outside the entrance to a local hospital with giant photos of babies that had been 'saved' from abortion, and it's no wonder that I was a bit concerned.

Of course, I wasn't going to PP for an abortion. I don't think I could write about it if I were, and I'm not actually sure I could even go through with one if I did fall pregnant when we hadn't planned it. That goes for pre- and post-marriage. I've intuitively felt that way my whole life but, or rather, and, have made sure that I was always medically protected to prevent ever having to make that kind of decision. But that's my personal choice, and it has nothing to do with what anyone else's personal choice would be in the same situation, nor anyone else's beliefs about what I should do in that circumstance.

Regardless of what I feel I would psychologically and physically not be able to live with, I am fundamentally and vehemently pro-choice. Because to me, that is what pro-life really means: the choice about one's own life. The idea of 'personhood', of a blastocyst having more rights than the woman carrying it, that women should be forced to continue with a pregnancy that resulted from incest or rape, or a child being made to be born into a family that doesn't want him, is just alien and nonsensical to me. Ideally abortions would never be necessary, because all babies would be planned, born into loving, welcoming, prepared families, and rape and incest just wouldn't happen. But to say that therefore abortions shouldn't be made available because the world should be like that is the mental equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling 'LALALALA!' until the complicated thoughts go away.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of babies are unplanned. A lot of babies are unwanted. Rape and incest, horrific as they are, do happen. And this is where another lack of logic hits me: some people here argue that contraception is a form of abortion; that preventing a baby from ever occurring is somehow aborting the potential child you could make were you having sex during the time that you might have been fertile enough to conceive. (You may need to read that sentence twice.)


That's like saying that if you cross the road and almost get hit by a bus, you should stay standing in the road until you get hit, because that was what could have happened at that moment. Like it was meant to be. It's also a massive presumption when you suggest that every time you have sex, you should be doing so to make a baby: as a married woman in her prime child-bearing years, I hate to tell you this, but that's not always how it works, even for a target demographic such as myself.

The huge contradictions I see in America (and sometimes in England too) are as follows:

  1. Young/unmarried people should not have sex.
  2. We will not teach young people about sex and sexual health.
  3. We will not provide contraception to unmarried people.
  4. We will not support a woman who gets pregnant outside of marriage.
  5. We will not allow abortion of an unplanned child/a child conceived through rape or incest.
This isn't the case everywhere, and clearly are not laws but rather a set of beliefs, but these are the kind of arguments I see and hear a lot more in the USA than I ever did back home. To me, it seems obvious what the consequences of this kind of thought process are:

  1. Young/unmarried people will have sex, no matter what, because they're people, and people are animals. Animals have and need to have sex. 
  2. If you do not teach about sexual health, the inevitable sex that the young/unmarried people are having will be far more risky in terms of STIs and unwanted pregnancies, not to mention the emotional well-being of these individuals and their ideas surrounding their sex lives. 
  3. If you do not provide contraception, or rather, provide the opportunity to obtain contraception, these young/unmarried people will still be having sex. Unprotected sex. See #2. 
  4. Men can't get pregnant. This is inherently sexist. 
  5. I don't understand how this can be morally right.
  6. Young/unmarried pregnant women have not really ever had a chance if the system of #1 - #4 is in place. Uneducated, unaware, and physically desirous people do not make good decisions about safe sex. 
  7. It is these beliefs/societal values that are increasing the chance of the need for abortions. Which do you hate more, the idea that people might be having sex out of wedlock, or the idea that more "children" will be "murdered"? 

It seems simple to me. It's a choice. Education provides greater choice, and admitting that - even with the best intentions when teaching about abstinence - people are going to be having sex isn't giving in to the idea that they should be. It's being realistic. Providing contraception options and information reduces the likelihood of the need for abortion. This is supported by the fact that Planned Parenthood prevent approximately 612,000 unplanned pregnancies, and 291,000 abortions annually. You can't stop people having sex, but you can help stop unwanted pregnancy. End of. 

I'm also not suggesting that people shouldn't be anti-abortion, or not protest these views. They just shouldn't be inflicted on individuals who make their own choices that contradict that view, should not be shoved in the faces of people visiting or working at the hospitals that perform such procedures (a giant baby photo? Really? Who the hell are you?!), and certainly should not be the basis for public policy. It scares me that political figures like Mitt Romney want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, leaving even more women without adequate sexual health care. If you don't like abortion, don't have one. Each person's body is their own. The best you can do as a country is openly teach your young people how to look after theirs well. You don't get a say in what happens after that.

Back to my appointment, then! The building itself was a large, nondescript office style building, which I found out houses all kinds of different organisations as well as Planned Parenthood. I checked in with reception as you would any regular doctor, and then got handed a clipboard of questionnaires. Despite being a simple appointment (I just needed to find the US equivalent of my contraceptive pill, as I've been on the same one for over four years without any issues at all), I still had to fill out four of these very long forms, all about my general and sexual health, as well as answering questions about my relationship and history of violent or abusive relationships. Once I had completed those, a nurse took me into an examination room, asked me some more questions, checked my blood pressure, pulse, and weight, and then took me to the doctor's office to await her recommendation and prescription. As coincidence would have it, my doctor was a young woman going through the CR-1 visa process with the USCIS right now, so we had a good old chat about US immigration before even touching on contraception requirements! Long story short is that there is an identical pill here that I can take, and it's one of the cheapest ones on the market. Yay! So I paid $74 for my appointment and got a year's prescription for my pill, which I can pick up at a cost of $9 per month. Considering some pills cost between $30 and $50 a month, this is really, really good news!

All in all, my experience was very positive. I expected the Planned Parenthood environment to be friendly, non-judgmental, and supportive, but I was kind of nervous because of the views I've heard expressed through the media, and sometimes even within my own circle. I would definitely recommend PP for any expat needing sexual health care, both in terms of the high quality of service, and the cost. I guess I'll see them again next year!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Stealing all your jobs

As I am now a legal alien, and because a girl cannot live on freelancing alone, I have been applying for jobs. All the jobs. Well, a lot of the jobs. It started with ones I was qualified for, and then ones I would like to do and could potentially be qualified/considered for. Then it went to jobs that I would like to do but am under-qualified for, and then jobs that I would like to do but might be considered overqualified for. Then it went to all the jobs I could find over a 72 hour period because I decided that I may as well apply for anything and everything, because throwing myself into the rhythm of form-filling and cover letter writing made me a little bit delirious.

About twenty applications later, I had got one phone interview, two regular interviews, and an email asking for more details in response to my rather extensive and exuberant outreach efforts. There are at least 15 positions from which I have heard nothing and doubt that I will hear anything. Such is the job market these days, and in NC (or maybe even the whole of America) it isn't customary to call unsuccessful applicants to enlighten them as to the reasons for their curtailed selection journey. I find this lack of feedback disconcerting and frustrating: not hearing anything doesn't confirm a rejection (for me), it just keeps me hanging on, not really knowing whether I've been heard by the intended recipient.

Speaking of rejection (well, of a sort), I failed my road test for my NC driving license today. I'm trying to make light of it, wounded though I am, as I know that I didn't pass on the basis of one thing: going down a hill, my car got up to almost 40mph in a 35mph area. My fault; I should have braked sooner to control it, but I guess 12 years of driving means that I've become a little more relaxed than I should be for a formal test. Other than that, I got a perfect score on my sign and theory tests, so I just have to go back next week and re-do the road test. It's nowhere near as stressful as the UK test (which of course makes me feel even sillier!), so I am trying to stay calm, especially now I know what it's like. I think perhaps I got a little bit ambitious, as I had a job interview this morning, which went wonderfully, so I was a-brimming with the potential for a super-awesome day...

So, the job! I will be working at a veterinary hospital around 10 miles from where we're living in Charlotte. I start next week, and I will be on reception. It's the perfect place: lovely people, surrounded by animals, a wide variety of clients, and the nicest vets you could wish to meet. It's not too far from our house (about 25 minutes in traffic), has a great work schedule for the admin staff, and allows me to bring Bertie to work with me on quiet days. Ideal! I'm so excited. I've always wanted to work in a veterinary environment, and can't quite believe that I will be - it's a really great opportunity. I'll update next week as to how it all goes. I'll also be continuing to freelance for MOL and at Studio1212 wherever possible.

Life goes on as 'normal'
The rest of this week will be finalising all my UK/US paperwork that still needs sorting out now that I have my green card. This is a pretty simple list of removing the work conditions on my social security card, changing my bank accounts to my married name (which I couldn't do without an official form of photo ID in my married name - the marriage certificate by itself isn't sufficient, apparently), registering with a doctor ($$$), and then filing my UK passport to be renewed in my new name too. All of this of course requires some more block capitals, ticks, and signing within the box AND NOT OUTSIDE THE BOX, but it's the last step. Once I've managed to shave 4mph off my itinerant driving style (okay, I need to watch the speedo better, but if I don't make light of it, I pretty much hate myself!) and get my license, I have no immigration/NC paperwork until 2014. I'm pretty sure you will be able to hear my sigh of relief all the way back over the other side of the pond...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


After quick Google search, I found out that LPR can stand for:
  • Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
  • lineprinter (Linux/Unix-like system command)
  • Le Poisson Rouge
  • License Plate Recognition

However, for me it stands for Legal Permanent Resident. My green card has arrived!

It's actually green!

Seriously...?! Wow!

Apparently so! Wireless techno magic, all in one little card.

My immigration journey is now, as far as paperwork is concerned, paused for 21 months or so (just under two years, when my LPR status has to be reapplied for, known as 'removal of conditions'). I can just be, with this little card in my wallet. I need to change my SS card for one without EAD limitations, and apply for a US driving license (eek!), change my name on my passport and update my bank account when I've done that (not necessary but important to me). All of these things are relatively simple, and in my control. I have time. I live here.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Legal Alien

I do drink coffee, but tea's best my dear; 
My toast has jam, not jelly on; 
And you can hear it with this accent that I've got:
I'm an English girl in Charlotte.

See me walking down North Tryon Street,
Smiling 'cause now I can stay.
Green Card's just been approved: jackpot!
I'm an English girl in Charlotte.

Woah-oh! I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien,
I'm an English girl in Charlotte.

It will be here by August 11th!

With apologies to Sting.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Details in the fabric

Generally good advice for Walmart trips
We went to Walmart yesterday (yes, really - we needed to), to combine a quick shop for essentials with a search for a few bits that wouldn't be available at Harris Teeter or Trader Joe's. We mainly needed a new cover for Bertie's crate, as she's been managing to pull the old one through the bars and so uncovering the "roof", and reducing the calming effect of having her own little den area.

We got the essentials part out of the way and decided that our best bet would be to go to the bedroom department and see if they had any cheap blankets that we could use to do the job. When we got there, we lucked out as there was a huge basket of end-of-line cut-offs, and the fleecy materials we found were perfect to give the crate that warm, cosy feeling that might stop B needing to pull the blankets out of the way to see through the crate up the stairs. The cut-offs were all wrapped around chunks of cardboard under a sign that said 'Price as Marked' and 'Priced by the Yard'. The two pieces we'd selected were marked $5.44 and $2 respectively - bargain!

We got to the check-out and the first bit of material went through fine at $5.44. The other one didn't have a working bar code though, so a manager had to be called over. The check-out assistant explained the issue and wanted to know what code to run the $2 price under. The manager was insistent that the material would be more than $2, and told us that this problem had happened earlier in the week, hence why they now had a sign up saying 'Priced by the Yard'. This resulted in the following rather tetchy and tense conversation:

Manager: It says 'priced by the yard' quite clearly above the fabrics.
Ben: It also says 'price as marked', and it's marked as $2.
Manager: The sign above the fabrics is clear: it is priced by the yard.
Ben: But the other fabric we bought went through as marked.
Manager: But they are priced by the yard.
Ben: They were both from the same place.
Manager: It says they are priced by the yard.
Ben: But the price is marked as $2.
Manager: But the fabrics are priced by the yard.
Ben: It says they are priced as marked.
Manager: Fabrics are all priced by the yard, that's why that large sign is there.

This continued, it seemed, for some time, while I watched, honestly quite surprised, by how irritable the manager was getting and how impatient Ben became.

I'm not sure whether it is the British or the American in me that did this, but I decided enough was enough: saying the same thing over and over again wasn't useful and, much as this manager was being a rather unhelpful cow, Ben's getting angry with her wasn't helping our situation either. So I interjected.

Me: Okay, so it's both priced by the yard and priced as marked. That's rather confusing. It might need measuring if the former is the case. Would you mind going back to the department for us and getting the correct price, so we can decide whether or not we actually do want to buy this piece?

Cue manager slightly huffily going off to find out the correct price for the item. I suspect that it was just an administrative glitch - that the bar code didn't work and it's normal for the fabrics to be priced by the yard - but I was still quite astounded by how obstinate and really rather rude the manager was. The source of confusion was, I thought, obvious: the fabrics are priced by the yard if you have to cut them yourself and then take them to the department desk to get the bar code for that length of fabric; the cut-off sales fabrics were already bound and priced - what would the point be of writing the price per yard on the sale fabrics and not including the length of each one too?! Maybe she just couldn't be bothered to sort it out, and thought that we would give in and just leave that piece if she made it difficult enough.

I've come to expect really rather exceptional customer service in America (polite and enthusiastic to your face, even if they hate you behind your back), and so I think a combination of my English "I know how to deal with this kind of grumpy mare" approach plus my new-found US expectations/balls meant that I wasn't going to take any crap. 

After the socially awkward few minutes of holding up the check-out queue, the manager returned and started keying various codes into the register. About a minute into this, she coldly remarks to the check-out assistant, "You should be writing this down, so you can do it next time." Ah, delightful. She then rings up the fabric which - ta-da! - comes up as $2.

As she left, she did give us one snide comment: "I've only done that this one time; fabrics are priced by the yard normally." 

My parting shot? "Thank you for all your help; it's very much appreciated." And everyone knows that in my particular choice of tone, that's British for, "Hahahahaha, suck it."

NB As it turns out, we didn't need the second piece of fabric after all (the first one was more than long and thick enough to wrap around the crate). Ben suggested that we might return it... 


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

266 days later

We're 100 days off a year of my being here (as it's a leap year), and nothing much is going on today. Ben's at work and I'm home managing the menagerie, and contemplating my career (and navel, if I'm honest). Not having the best of days, but I thought I'd just write a quick list of things that have happened since I last wrote - which is three weeks ago now, and I think the biggest blogging gap since I arrived in NC - so this is at least up-to-date with Queen City happenings.

Tattoo: artistic impression of a Cardinal
  • Amber arrived the week after my last post, and stayed with us for 10 days. It was so lovely to see her and spend some proper time with her! We got to do quite a lot of different things, including seeing some universities she's interested in attending for her Master's in a year's time (eee!), and she was absolutely amazing with the puppy too, so I think Bertie misses her as well!
  • Went to Raleigh to visit NCSU with Amber, and look around the town a little. It was a great drive, a beautiful day, and a really impressive campus and course. Exciting!
  • Had a full-on girly day with Amber getting hair and nails done with the fabulous Johnny at Salon du Monde.
  • I got my second tattoo at 510 Expert in NoDa, by the amazing artist Tom "Ugly Tom" Michael. It wasn't as painful as I had imagined it to be after hearing so many people with foot tattoos saying how bad it was, but then again, that might be because people did say it was so very awful, so perhaps that made me over-prepare myself for horrific pain! 
  • We took Amber to the Crepe Cellar, Cowfish, Good Food, Sir Ed's etc. so she could enjoy the amazing quality and variety of eateries in Charlotte. 
  • More importantly than that, Amber got to meet lots of our friends here, and vice versa, so that was fantastic!
  • Bertie got her last shots and is now allowed out in parks/public/anywhere. So far we've walked her around two parks, taken her to the lake, and had an evening out with her at the Wine Vault. She's been brilliant!
  • The animals are settling in nicely, and we're starting to get some sleep.
  • Bertie also now has her own Facebook page. Yes, I am one of those people. But I figured it'd be better than clogging up friends' newsfeeds with personal posts about her on my own profile. This way, people can choose! Honest... 
  • Our friends Quinton and Ron, along with their friend Jameson (who I've only met once, so can't really claim friendship just yet!) launched their web comic 'Ready Set Awesome' last Saturday, and had a great launch party to start it off right. You can check the comic out here.
  • We went to the Wine Vault last night (as mentioned above) and caught up with some beloved people that we've not had the chance to hang out with en masse for such a long time! It was wonderful. 
  • My brother and sister-in-law moved back from Geneva to their new place in the UK. I am so very happy for them, as they're now setting up a real home, and you can already see how delighted they both are to be back in England.
  • Still no green card in sight, but I called the USCIS and they've filed a query as our case is now outside the standard processing times. They should be in touch within 15 days with a case update, if nothing more.
  • I've spoken to my folks at length and we're in the middle of making plans both for them to come over here, and for us to stay in England with them later on this year. Obviously, this makes me happier than I can say!
  • It's my first Independence Day here in the States tomorrow, so that should be fun!

That about sums it up. Today is not a good day for me: a combination of fatigue, girly hormones, feeling weirdly lonely/out of place over the last week (and not being able to work out whether this is due to just feeling that way, or another consequence of long-term homesickness), missing my family, missing friends both at home and here - which is also weird - and stressing about work (or lack thereof) have all resulted in me spending most of the morning in tears and hiding behind my favourite childhood cuddly toy, a large weebl-like rabbit (she doesn't have legs). Not entirely sure why I am mentioning all of this on a public blog, but hey, I have a Facebook page for my dog, so clearly I'm a bit ill-advised in the sharing department.

Right, after that delightfully upbeat and thoroughly optimistic last paragraph, I am off to teach Bertie to roll over, and then eat so much (genuine UK - thanks Amber!) Dairy Milk that there's no room for this silly sadness any more.