Monday 12 June
A friend from Chile is visiting for a few days, and as each day passes I realise how little I know him and how much I want to get to know him. At a potluck in the Garnethill multicultural centre, my friend gets chatting to half of the Chinese population of Garnethill and I learn that he has lived in China and speaks Mandarin. Some speak Cantonese, and my friend switches to his best Cantonese. They urge him to come back and he promises that he will.
He is in Glasgow for no more than four days and is busy with work, yet becomes a regular at a cafe, learns the train lines, and gains the trust of a small community. On the day before leaving, he travels up to Loch Lomond (which he refers to as the 'fake Highlands' after the rest of us failed to establish whether or not the lochs are really part of the Highlands) and spends the day with a date he met the day before on a dating app.
It may be that he is more fun than me and my friends in Glasgow, but we are choosing to believe that you simply experience much more when you are travelling. You have more time but, perhaps more importantly, you consist mostly of adrenaline.
Friday 16 June
Today we celebrate. My partner steps out of work and is met with flowers and his colleagues are waiting for him at the pub. Everyone cheers when he comes in and rushes over to hug him. Other friends are texting him to ask if the news is true.
It would seem like my partner had just had a promotion or perhaps completed a PhD. In fact, he has just resigned from his highly precarious job at a call centre. We are all overjoyed.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the precariousness of the job, his group of colleagues is tight-knit and they look after one another. When an angry man from Manchester calls to complain about a loose stitch in a £29.99 jumper on the day after the Manchester attack, and the call centre agent cannot bear to listen to the complaint one more time after they have already listened to the story for 30 minutes, the others at the centre understand. When my partner decides to leave the call centre, they all cheer.
Sunday 18 June
It is Sunday evening and we are having friends over for pizza. Eventually we get talking about jobs, and we realise that all of us are either currently, or were until recently (I am one of the lucky ones), holding highly precarious jobs. A new millennial game is invented: 'Who has the most precarious job?'
Round one: Eliminate anyone with a permanent contract. (This round is usually not necessary.)
Round two: Hours. Zero-hour contract? A few yeses there. One friend says that he is not guaranteed any hours, but according to his contract must be available to work 35 hours a week. Another friend is more fortunate and has 20 hours guaranteed. Per year.
Round three: Responsibilities. One of the friends was asked by his manager to take on a new client who requires his three machines for breathing to be maintained. Technically, this is work that should be performed by a trained nurse. Not to worry, they told him – he would get a day of training.
Round four: Sick leave. Some people snicker to themselves at this one, because it is so far-fetched. One friend feared that he would be fired a few weeks ago because he had been away for two days due to a fever. Eventually he was allowed to stay, but his colleague who had just returned from being away with a lung infection was fired, along with another employee who had been hospitalised for three days.
All of us who sat around for dinner on Sunday have degrees from highly ranked universities, and most of us are either studying at the moment or planning to pursue another degree in the coming years. Although we sometimes doubt it, we are all generally under the impression that our jobs are temporary and that we will eventually reach something resembling financial stability.
Yet, all of us have worked in precarious jobs together with colleagues for whom the situation has been seemingly endless. It can be so much more than a millennial game.
Monday 19 June
I listen to a radio programme about Jehovah's Witnesses, where listeners ask questions to a young man who left the religious group six years ago. Initially, he didn't leave because he doubted the religion, but because he wanted to get divorced and had fallen in love with another woman. It was only months after having been excluded that he began to reflect on the group's beliefs.
I mention the programme to my flatmate, whose grandmother is a Jehovah's Witness, and my flatmate and I are both full of questions. The young man in the programme had said that what he missed the most after having been excluded was the community of people with whom he shared everything. My flatmate's grandmother joined when she was already an adult, and we ask ourselves how you enter a closed community where almost everyone else has known each other since they were born.
We suddenly remember that a classmate in our high school in Sweden was a Jehovah's Witness. Neither of us knew her very well, but, apart from also being incredibly friendly and social, she was very progressive and loved dancing. We wonder how much communities of Jehovah's Witnesses differ from one another. And we wonder how difficult it must be to self-identify as a feminist whilst adhering to the rules set by elders who are exclusively men. Is there a feminist faction within Jehovah's Witnesses? Or do feminist Witnesses choose to fight for their beliefs in other aspects of their lives, where feminism does not cause social exclusion?
We ask ourselves these questions and wonder how many people we know are part of Jehovah's Witnesses without our awareness.