Friday, 4 December 2009

Week 10

Apologies for my absence last week, but I returned home to attend my eighth wedding of the year. Well, not my wedding - it was that of my lovely friends Sam and Jon - but it’s the eighth time in 365 days that I’ve danced to Build Me Up Buttercup at a wedding reception. A message to The Foundations, the group responsible for this song: I don’t know why the buttercup builds you up, and quite frankly I don’t care, so stop whining.

After a couple of hours on a very busy and very orange easyJet flight, I was back on English soil. And how things have changed since Will and I departed in the Vauxhall Astra at the crack of dawn on 16 September. Mum and dad now have an even bigger flat-screen TV, a fruit war is being waged between two shops by Woodford tube station, Oxford Circus has a new pedestrian crossing and to top it all, the Circle Line isn’t even going to be a circle anymore when it gets a new branch that terminates at Hammersmith. It was lovely being home though, and I especially enjoyed not having to rehearse what I was going to say every time I went into a shop.

Since returning to Barcelona, my sleep has been disturbed by late-night ramblings from Will. This is not a new phenomenon; when he lived in Penge, he bolted up in the middle of the night, convinced there was a spider in the bed. Last night, just as I was drifting off to sleep, he leapt up and darted into the kitchen which is next to our bed. Apparently, the fridge was humming so he went to sort it out, but I was none the wiser which is one of the few benefits to being a bit deaf. On his return, he said, “remind me tomorrow to move the fridge into the spare room so the noise doesn’t bother me.”
"Mmm ... yes, goodnight," I replied. What I was really thinking, was, are you mental? A fridge in the spare room? What next? A stereo in the bathroom? This is not a Travelodge! 


Lying in the dark, I listen as the humming of the fridge gets louder and louder, developing into a whine, then a buzz.



Are you awake?

“Sfghesh. Hhnhnhn?”

Christina, I think I might move the fridge into the spare room.


I stumble, zombie-like, into the kitchen and give the fridge the sort of meaty, open-handed slap a Sicilian might give to a misbehaving donkey. The buzzing noise cuts out. I have about ten minutes to get soundly asleep, before the hum works its way back up to full volume. Christina has started snoring.

I envy Christina; she is just deaf enough that she can sleep through any amount of nocturnal noise, but not so deaf that it presents her with any problems during the day. I, on the other hand, can hear a mouse clearing its throat in a hurricane, so I get to stay awake all night listening to the fridge, and the people urinating in the street outside, and the quiet metallic farting of the boiler. Best of all, I get woken up a couple of times a night by a strange, demonic susurration on the other side of the bed. It’s a specialised sort of snore that Christina has developed, which combines breathing in with a sort of backwards whispering and smacking of the lips. It is genuinely terrifying. It sounds like she’s possessed. More than once I have awoken, confused and afraid, and thought to myself, run for the cathedral. There is Holy Water there, and a priest who may cast out the… oh, it’s just Christina’s Linda Blair impression.

Anyway, that’s my excuse for not getting up until half nine on a weekday.  

 Spongebob, aloft

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