Friday, 4 July 2014

Surplus to requirements

You know how whenever you go on a long overseas trip; there's always some well-meaning friend or relation who turns up at the airport to say goodbye. And inevitably they have brought along a "little" gift for you. Never mind that you have spent the last three months weighting everything from your knickers to your toothbrush to keep your luggage under whatever requisite amount your ensuing travel plans permit - no, here's Aunty Whatshername with just a little thing she really thought you couldn't do without.
So you take it. Because what else are you supposed to do? And you carry it around with you for the next three months. Its almost certainly something utterly useless. A clothes drying line. A vanity case. An extra pair of fast-dry knickers. Whatever it is, you have it stowed away with you...just in case... It survives the overland haul from Thailand to Cambodia. It doesn't get nicked when most of the rest of your stuff does in Rome. It makes it back from the weekend in Paris you don't remember.
The whole time you feel slightly resentful of it. Its sitting there in the corner of your pack taking up room that could be used for a few extra pilfered hotel toiletries. Its definitely what made carrying the pack back from the station at 1am all the more arduous. Its annoying crinkly wrapper, well, is annoying. But you can't throw it out. You feel beholden to it. You don't own the damn thing; its begun to own you.
And you arrive back home with it, still safely packed away; probably still in its original wrapper. And when Aunty asks you exclaim "Oh, yes, so very useful. Thanks."
And that friends is how I feel about a whole lot of the equipment that I've been handed. That's how I feel most of all about all those organs of reproduction that I got courtesy of being female.
Don't get me wrong...I've got no problem with actually being a woman. Alright; sexism, oppression, systematic violence and inequality aren't a lot of fun...but all things being equal I would have been beaten up a lot more times in a lot more bar fights if I wasn't 5ft2 and female.
No, the problem I have is with all this equipment I have, and like Aunty's spare knickers, I'm never going to use. A perfectly (as far as we know, not that its ever been road-tested) functional uterus, all the attendant bits, doing what they should. And me with absolutely no use for them. Because I have never, ever, even for a moment wanted to produce babies.
The nasty cosmic joke of it just gets worse as I get older. Because now all that nicely functioning equipment is meeting its use-by date. The hormones are changing and the headaches, stomach aches, mood swings and general menopausal bullshit is beginning. So having never used the bloody extra equipment I got stuck with; now I'm having to deal with the maintenance of it.
Its at the level of unfair that makes an atheist want to wave her fist at heaven.

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