Friday, May 20, 2005

Soldiering on

We’re supposed to be going out tonight for a Thai meal. It’s really an IT boys’ night out but since I work for the same company the Other Half is allowed to bring me along by default. Except the poor lamb is poorly ill AGAIN. We think we’ve figured out the reason why he’s coming down with so many colds at the moment – Small Person has just started school and is therefore bringing home all sorts of new and exciting illnesses. I have a natural immunity as this has been happening since she started nursery at the tender age of not-quite-two. The Other Half, however, has no kids of his own and has therefore not previously been party to the rivers of snot and administering of Calpol in the small hours (come on, let’s not pretend you’ve never given a bit more than the specified dose just to get the little buggers to sleep at 3am when you have work the next day. It can’t just be me…) that are part of the rich tapestry of parenthood. Talk about a baptism of fire – in the weeks since she started school they’ve been passing the same cold or variations thereof back and forth like some twisted game of viral tag. At any given point one of them can be found slumped, red-eyed and pitiful, bravely reaching for yet another tissue and demanding cuddles and chocolate (not necessarily in that order). To be fair to both of them, they’re actually pretty good at feeling bad and I constantly surprise myself at the level of sympathy this conjures up in me. Despite the fact that the merest hint of coming down with something myself has me morphing instantly into Verucca Salt and demanding levels of care and attention that would make Mariah Carey proud (I tend to soldier bravely on while giving the impression that I’m about to breathe my last so you’d better appreciate me while I’m here, dammit), I don’t really get on very well with ill people. I’d have made a fabulous fifties hospital matron – hustling malingerers out of the door quick smart before they could clutter up my nice clean ward. If the Ex was ever suffering from a cold or the like, I’d find my mind wandering to thoughts of euthanasia and how I’d explain to his mum that it was the kindest thing, really. Mind you, I used to dream about that even if he wasn’t ill. (Note to self: must never reveal my true identity…)

So instead of a fascinating evening watching an entire department of geeks struggling to interact with each other (all the while wishing the time away so that they can get back to their PC’s and log back into the real world) in a social setting, we’re staying home. It’s rare on a Friday night, but following last week’s headlong encounter with the pavement after a night on the ale, perhaps a night off won’t be too much of a bad thing. I’m going to head to the Co-op, fight my way past the disaffected youths mooching around the alcopops and stock up on lovely munchies. Not for the Other Half you understand – I’ll be insisting he sticks to Beechams and dry toast (it’s the best thing, honestly darling), but to keep me occupied while he sleeps it off. Mind you, as far as munchies go I’ll have to go some way to beat the incredible performance of one of his friends on Wednesday. A couple of the lads came round to watch the Ipswich/West Ham game (and that’s as far as my knowledge of anything football related goes), and one of them decided to bring “a few nibbles”. The minute he arrived he unloaded a carrier bag of food and set to work. The next hour and a half heralded a display of gluttony that would have had Rick Waller reaching for the Dominos menu in a panic lest he lose his crown as the World’s Fattest Man. This unassuming looking, not-very-tall-but-a-bit-round bloke proceeded to tuck away twelve mini scotch eggs, fourteen sausage rolls, fifteen white chocolate cookies and half of the biggest bag of Doritos I’ve ever seen, accompanied by garlic dip (the Doritos not the cookies, although it probably crossed his mind). Those are the facts, honest – I swear I haven’t embellished the sheer quantity of food he ingested. I didn’t see much of the football – I was transfixed by the sight of snack after snack disappearing rapidly down this guy’s throat. It was like watching a python swallow a goat – I’m sure that, if that man were the surviving male member of the human race, in about ten thousand years human beings would have the ability to unhinge their jaws in order to neck vast quantities of savoury snacks more efficiently. I can only thank my lucky stars that he wasn’t sleeping next to me that night – the combination of scotch egg, garlic dip and speed eating can’t be good for the digestion. Apparently he was very keen to stop for a bargain bucket on the way home – I wonder if maybe he has a tapeworm to feed?

How lovely.


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