Sunday, July 17, 2005

The long dark teatime of the soul

It's 11.38pm on Sunday evening. I've done three nights on the lash and was very much looking forward to an early night tonight. However, karma has chosen this evening to punish me for undisclosed indiscretions, and this post finds me sitting on a poorly-inflated blow up bed in my own living room, drinking the last stella in the house in an effort to anaesthetise me sufficiently to sleep. My flat is a constant source of irritation to me in that I require silence in order to achieve anything resembling a good night's sleep. If the Drop Dead Freds aren't at defcon 2 next door, there's always downstairs watching Heartbeat at earbleed volume til 9pm or so, the constant traffic noise (complete with screeching ambulances at all hours as I live on a busy crossroads on the ring road round town), and of course the fucking pigeons from 5am (have they evolved to the point of being born with megaphones?). However, the thing that gives me the most impotent rage is Stephen Hawking. Bear with me. The flat on the same floor as me is occupied by an unknown person who never, ever goes outside. He is attended to by visiting nurses about five times a day, and is envisioned as a wheelchair-bound, permanently pyjamaed shut-in, hence the slightly inappropriate nickname. All well and good, and perhaps deserving of my sympathy...except that he is apparently completely deaf, and an insomniac to boot. I finally snapped about two months ago and left a polite note requesting a reduction in tv volume after 11pm, which I don't feel is unreasonable regardless of his personal circumstances - we do after all live in close proximity and my bedroom shares a wall with his living room (existing room?). This has been observed and we've lived in relative harmony ever since (I did however have a protracted, absurd screaming match with a mad Polish lady over the way, via her first floor window, regarding the recycling bin this morning. I worry about the competence of a council that provides plastic refuse sacks specifically for the recycling bin and then refuses to collect said recycling bin on the basis that people are putting plastic refuse sacks in it.....), but recently the curfew has been sliding. At 11.25pm this evening I placed another note on his front door requesting a reduction in volume after 11pm, but since the situation can't be resolved this evening I found myself at 11.30pm inflating the guest bed and lugging the monster duvet down the hallway. I know I'll be awoken by daylight/traffic/pigeons at 5am but I'd rather that than lying in the sweltering darkness, weeping with frustration, listening to reruns of the Equaliser on his cable tv. This evening was an especially bad one to pick, as the Ex had helpfully kept Small Person up way too late last night (he said 9.30, she says midnight and it's not a phrase she's picked up from me...), and then let her sleep til 10.30 this morning. Subsequently she hung on til 10.30pm before reluctantly slipping into dreamland, and will be a nightmare in the morning. Hurrah!

That aside, it's been a top weekend. The summer ball last night was a surprisingly subdued affair, by our company's standards. It's traditionally held in a marquee in the grounds of a country hotel, and something about that seems to engender drunken pillaging on the scale of a rugby club emerging from a month-long detox. However, this year's bash was held in the function room of a dfferent hotel (when I say different I do of course mean rubbish - the corpse-shaped carpet stains and sofa bed reminiscent of a medieval torture rack in our room were a little unsettling), and this seemed to have a calming effect on the attending merrymakers. We did of course drink too much and dance like fools, but there was nothing to match the decadence of previous years - no vomiting on the tables, no casualties, no running away from senior management hell bent on justifying your recent pay rise. A good time was had by all, but the Other Half and I were pleasantly surprised at the absence of hangovers this morning, which was a little bit disappointing in it's own weird way. Am not used to this being a grownup thing.

Anyway, I feel slightly better for ranting. I feel a strange solidarity with favourite sister Fifi, who as I type is in early labour in anticipation of presenting Small Person with cousin #4. I can't wait to be an Auntie again, and am very much looking forward to the smell of the back of a new baby's neck. Can't be beaten.

Oh lord, it's Monday.


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