Tues 17th April
Lisa: “I couldn’t sleep coz I had a migraine, hurty boobs and real anger”
No further explanation was offered. But a can of worms was offered round.
“I told Dom I had to be bathed in warm milk, fed chocolate and put to bed. He fetched me a fat free yogurt and left me to go upstairs to bed.”
The real anger became evident as the day wore on. Lisa’s world had drained of all fun, and she was in danger of being sent home to bed with no tea, if only we could find a lion tamer. Even the inanimate internet was to blame, as she shouted at the laptop screen;
“I’ll kill you unless you show me some dancing dogs.”
This has the same impotent power as my granddad shouting “I’ll set the dogs on you” down the microscopic phoneline to nuisance callers.
I may have scared the newsagent. There are many times when a dry sense of humour can get you in trouble.
“I thnk I have won a bit on this lottery ticket”
He takes it off me, scans it in. His eyebrows raise
“A little?! You’ve won nine hundred and sixty…”
The seconds stretch on interminably. My legs start to wobble.
“…pence” he finishes off, looking up and flashing me a cheeky smile.
“You bastard!” I say.
Next day, I see him on the street on my way to work. I had not planned for this, so my words are unprepared;
“I’ll get you back for that, by the way!” I stutter as he passes.
“For what?” he says with apprehension
“The lottery ticket”
“Oh” he replies, walking past hastily and trying to laugh.
Oh no, what have I started? My dry delivery and social awk. have made it sound like a cold blooded threat. I better avoid him for a while.
Ah well, as long as I act naturally next time, it’ll all be forgotten.
The next time I see him, he is safe behind his counter. As I make my exit, he calls me back.
“I’m pretty hard to get back, you know” he warns. Finally, the ball is in his court. I can stop now and he won’t be scared of me.
“That sounds like a challenge..” I reply.
Me and my big mouth!
Went to a nutrition fair in the university union today, ostensibly to support one of my students who was involved, but really to get a free lunch.
There really is no such thing though, because as I approached each morsel-laden stall, I realized that I would have to feign interest as I talk to the student stall-holders for a minimum of 5 minutes before asking to sample their goods.
Damn social etiquette, I want my lunch!
One stall was manned (literally) by two Greek gods, whose treacle skin burst steroidally out of their skinnyfit tshirts. Of course, when they talked it became clear that they were plebs, but for a while, these twin pillars of genetic perfection stood, arms crossed, surveyjng a world that was theirs for the taking.
My first impulse was to run to the flawed prettiness of next stall’s two girls. Herein lies the essential difference between viewing beautiful boys and beautiful girls: pain. In the case of boys, my narcissism is reflected back painfully into my face, but with girls the experience of objectifying is a warm and fuzzy (like wielding a mauve lightsabre, or a soft focus semi-erection). The key here is power: better looking boys confiscate it; pretty girls seem to offer it on a plate.
Anyway, my retreat to the next stall meant that for 5 minutes I listened attentively about the miracle that is pomegranate smoothies, during which I waited for an inch of purple sludge to make its way along the complementary cup to my mouth.
The next stall along had made high fibre cakes into the shape of poo and heaped them in a potty. While this would have put most people off, my love of cake had me shovelling the dense turd in and complimenting the chefs as dark matter cascaded from my mouth.
This appetiser was followed by a taster of kangaroo meat and a catch up with the student, whose autism means that life is essentially a re-enactment of slapstick films.
As we shook hands, he went
and cackled to himself.
His other favourite is
in the vicinity of computers like Buck Rogers’ robot:
Oh to have such simple, retro pleasures.
Esther’s grumpiness has reached an all time high. My silent prayers are no longer enough: It’s time to defer to a power higher than god- the maxillofacial doctor at the Royal Hallamshire.
We take the lift to floor I, where the doctor promised we would be at the front of the queue, only to find a bench full of casualties each twisted in their own form of agony. One guy is doubled over, cradling his head on a bloody tracksuit top; another is wheelchair-bound with lips so fat they droop under their own weight, and an accusatory leg he can’t bend at the knee. Next to us is a girl with pink hair whose unreadable expression leads me to the conclusion that she’s had a stroke. She should take up poker.
Esther’s painkillers are about to run out.
“Better not take anymore” I reason, “He needs to know how much pain your in. Plus I’m sure he’ll give you some kickass new ones that you can have straight away.”
Her lip wobbles as she agrees. At the dim distant end of the corridor, a figure with long dark hair and blue dressing gown is zigzagging aimlessly this way. Esther peeks past me at her, then flattens herself against the wall in terror. The Ring has a lot to answer for.
From the other side ambles an old man with deep gouges across one side of his face.
“He must have stroked his cat the wrong way” I say.
This is not entirely far-fetched: Linda’s dopey countenance will transform into a wildcat’s snarl if you stroke her in the wrong place. “Back and not the sides” is Esther’s smug motto whenever I stroke her and Linda’s tail starts ominously to lash from side to side.
In the ward opposite our bench there’s a twenty-something guy whose scalp has been stitched back on with huge Frankenstein zigzags. His friends keep rushing out to tell the nurse that “his head is leaking.”
As the pain takes hold, Esther’s legs shudder and her sharp intakes of breath get more frequent. I bury my head in World War Z.
Finally, after 4 hours, the 12 year old doctor calls Esther and I in. Esther’s social phobia tends to make her get a bit tongue tied and understate how bad she’s feeling, so I keep adding the things she’s been moaning in my ear about.
“Stop it!” she says when he leaves the room.
“You’re embarrassing me! Stop talking for me!”
You can bet that we’ll get home and once we’re alone she will let rip about how much it hurts. I haven’t seen Grizzly Man but I can guess how that guy felt. After all this time, he just gives her some antibiotics and puts a dressing on her tooth-hole.
“This is going to hurt a bit, and it looks like horse-hair” the doctor says cheerily.
“That’s good, you like horses” I say, equally cheerily.
Esther just glares.
As we wait for her prescription, I dare to ask for a pain update.
“Imagine if this room was full of mints and they were left to rot for a hundred years into a nugget the size of a pea. That’s what this dressing tastes like” she says.