There may be some hyperbole in the title, yo, but the facts are broadly true. Broadly!
So, back to work. But at least there is less work, right, with fifty-percent of my consultants on holiday? And the Physio – woo! Fifty percent less work!
…a lot less work, actually. The shelves were empty. Where is my work? But someone had done it. Weird; that never happens. So I thought I would kick back and get the mammoth pile of loose paperwork filed. But first! The boiler! I have to call that guy who ‘fixed’ it last week, (and who I have strong suspicions ripped me off royally – with hindsight – but noooo, at the time I was too busy trying to play it cool about suddenly having nothing to my name till, erm, argh).
Goddamn fair holiday, isn’t it. No tradesmen are available to take your call. Still, this meant the general public thought we were on holiday too, so it was nice and quiet. (Even without fifty percent of my workload, I have suspicions that this will be made up for by a hundred percent increase in angry phonecalls because there are no appointments available till sodding Christmas, and my phone number’s on everything. At what point did everyone stop having reflux and suddenly have actual serious shit going on?)
Well, the good news is I only paid a twenty to have the guy stomp back in and the boiler fire up on cue when he opened the front cover. I swear to Christ, I said, it was not working, and it is not just me, the Bossman’s an electrical engineer by trade (though not a gas one) so it was definitely bust, okay?
Probably a loose wire, he said, shrugging and storming back out. But, what about the loose wire? Thump it a bit! he said, slamming the door behind him. Um. Great.
The boiler instantly stopped working again, so I squared up to my responsibilities and made a payment plan with British Gas instead, and when it comes through, it will be (touchwood) fixed by someone who gives a damn, but too late, I am now officially the Worst Landlord In History. At least my lodgers are being very, very nice about it. Shame I can no longer look them in the eye.
That aside, you’d think the sudden lack of stress and pressure this week would mean I got loads more done, at home and work and everywhere, but I am weary to the bone and spent eleven hours a day sleeping instead. And eating regularly and healthily, which is probably a nice change. It will be three days of unaccustomed labour, I told myself. It will be hauling tatties out of mud every evening and flinging a beautiful rainbow of bastarding slugs that are munching them all over the fence! my colleagues said. It will be the impending crackup of stress! the Bossman said. It will be sleeping too much! said the lassie who bigs up the soup in the canteen. You need to get about six hours’ sleep, you will feel so much more alert!
Guess whose advice I took. Sadly, she was wrong, and on Friday I had to take an emergency day’s holiday because ‘I can’t come in because I am really tired even though I have no other symptoms whatsoever (if you don’t count a growing reluctance to be in the same room as any other humans whatsoever)’ didn’t sound very good. Even if you added, ‘and furthermore, there is a gang of mallards out back who hold some sort of fightclub at three in the morning, every single morning’. It may be too wet for the dawn chorus, but nature has filled the void just fine.
I spent my day off desultorily chopping about twenty pounds of tatties, which were gross and horrible and full of slugs. This is not the life I dreamed of. On the plus side, I am ever so much more impressed by supermarket tatties now.
However, on Friday night, my Colleague of Skull Scarves and her entire family came round to cheer me up with a loan of a hoover that washes your carpets for you. Woo! And my lodgers announced they were spending Saturday sightseeing in Edinburgh! WOO! I sense a whole day of relaxing with the carpet shampoo and the homebrew vats! (This still isn’t the life I dreamed of, and I am very much aware that it is thoroughly, thoroughly sad, but I have no money for a better life, so I am going to enjoy this very much. Dammit!)
And I did. And it may be horrible and damp out, but it is warm enough to run round the flat in my underwear (with a gigantic hoover, but still), hauling furniture about and boiling a big vat of tatties. True, I discovered that the vat of rosehip wine is borked, and is now rosehip vinegar – on the other hand, that means I just made a whole vat of vinegar and as long as no further mishaps befall it (haha) I have cleaning products FOREVER. Woo, I am a hero! Honest.
By this point it was midday, and I turned around to discover I had, somehow, absolutely devastated the entire flat. So that would all have to be fixed before my lodgers got back – otherwise there was the risk that instead of looking like a thoughtful landlord who deep-cleans everything while people with actual disposable incomes are off having fun, I would look like the sort of selfish bastard who runs round in my underwear making the place uninhabitable at the first opportunity. (Which is kinda what happened, although I’m still not sure how). And I was due at a hen do in… two hours. Erk.
To make things more complicated, I was also sort of due at a Really Important Birthday Party (hint: the number involved ended in a zero). At the same time, in a different place, location of one of these places as-yet unknown, one in fancy dress, one not, and the bride to be and birthday boy were exes. Great. I will fuck this up and get shouted at for sure.
To make things more complicated than that, I had had the place to myself for four whole hours, and was already starting to develop major Social Anxiety. Not even ‘oh no, I will go out and be under-dressed and make a tit of myself’ anxiety – nope, we were heading for the full-blown, ‘I will end up stuck somewhere and be attacked by random strangers and everyone will Tsk. At me‘ panic. ‘I will end up on a bus to The Bad Part of Maryhill, I will have embarrassing interactions with delusional nutters, I will lose everything I possess down the gullet of a passing seagull, The Apocalypse Itself will come to pass and I will be in Impractical Shoes, it will turn out I forgot to put on clothes‘ and so forth. Something will go badly wrong.
Fortunately, this kind of fear of going outdoors doesn’t happen to me very often, but when it does, it is a sodding nightmare. For instance, by the time I got out the door, Making Accidental Eye Contact With A Stranger was ‘Something going badly wrong’. However, help was at hand, for the Bossman was on skype; and while I chickened out of the whole, ‘So by the way, you may be going out with someone even more mentally unstable than you previously imagined, sorry about that,’ conversation, he probably already noticed, because he gave me advice along the lines of , do nothing all day Saturday, get wankered tonight, do nothing all day Sunday. THIS WILL HELP YOU. Awww, he is so sweet. (But so very wrong. For instance, he told me to go forth and enjoy the strippers, and it was not that kind of hen night at all.)
So I chickened out of the magical mystery bus directions, and got a cab from the city centre. Of course, I gave him, not my mate Cake’s address, but the one-word-different address of the flat where I had the worst year of my entire life (so far) and we piked up there instead. I laughed this off. However, not so much so when I finally found the right flat twenty minutes later and I went in and it turned out, it wasn’t just ‘drop in at some point this afternoon’, so I was late, and everyone was eating little cakes and looking very posh, and relaxed, and effortlessly at ease with their (far more successful than mine) lives. Everyone was having nail jobs and massages and waving little silver-foiled fingers around (I never did quite get what they were doing) and Cake looked radiantly beautiful, hurrah, and people kindly asked me about that time I went to France and I told them a couple of hilarious tales of near-death experiences, to show willing, and they sidled rapidly away again, presumably to talk to more normal people.
It was time to take preventative measures, so I pulled two people aside who I knew best (read: have had non-mortifying conversations with on previous occasions) and warned them I was probably in the middle of the mother of all meltdowns, sorry about that. Now free from the burden of feeling I had to conceal this (which is like trying to stop blushing by thinking of even more mortifying memories than whatever you just said that came out wrong), I then warbled absolute garbage at everyone in the vicinity until it was time to get a cab. Mostly, I warbled on about how awesome the Bossman is, doing myself absolutely no favours in terms of ‘scintillating’ and also setting myself up for singledom-by-Christmas in a oner.
However. Swanky hotel! Swanky food! Seating arrangement where I was next to the person I knew best, with the exception of the bride! … Seating arrangement where I was also next to one of her relatives, who works down the corridor from me, but with whom I have never actually spoken before, which pitched me headfirst into, ‘You really, REALLY better be on your best behaviour tonight, doll’, territory. Which I blame for what happened next.
Because Cake really loves a murder mystery, so that’s what we were doing, in between courses, and although it turns out there were other murder mysteries, apart from the one I was at, where everyone got entirely too wankered to continue (at that one, coincidentally, I discovered I was to play the part of a stripper*; please god, let me have managed not to mention that in front of my surprise colleague), that was not happening this time. Because there was a professional troupe of actors in charge. Woo!
*(If memory serves, I eventually got murdered by the lassie who was sat next to me, who was playing the part of a successful businessman. Although we were not required to act out the lapdance that probably preceded this.)
Anyway, this one started off well, as there was a murder, and then we went into a succession of very dark rooms where people made (to me) incomprehensible ranting about being scared of the dark and being scared of being a monster, and being scared of a book they never finished writing. The guy who was ranting about being scared of being a monster, mid-rant, came marching across the room at me, in the dark, looking all loomy and silhouetty, with all sorts of dubious threats dripping from his lips – whereupon I figured I must have made some sort of sarcastic expression and really pissed him off – and stopped about three inches from my face. I promptly lost my shit like anything.
Of course, since everyone was staring at me, and I didn’t dare cause a Scene, (everyone would go, Tsk), I felt I couldn’t do this by flinging a large glass of red in his face and going for an arm-bar (especially in a very long and traily skirt), so I attempted to glare back at him (difficult, I had only the vaguest idea where his eyes were) and had a big drink out of my glass at him, and the bottom of the glass actually pushed him backwards slightly. Then I waited for whatever the hell horrible thing that was coming next to happen. Eventually, after what felt like half the night, he went away.
Pathetic as it sounds (and I know how pathetic it sounds) I was now an even more hyperactive ball of panic than I had been all afternoon. Also, despite (with hindsight) that being rather strong evidence of him being the sodding murderer, none of us had him pegged as the murderer – not just, none of us in our team, none of us in any team. We totally suck as detectives. Although I was rather distracted by Police Officer Hugh Janus, especially when he got killed as well. (Did he fall down with his arse in the air on purpose, I wonder).
I don’t think I made any major faux pas apart from that, and apart from when I was out having a fag and I was all, That guy scared the absolute shit out of me by the way, and it turned out he was right behind me.
(Also, that was part of the act, and happened in the other group as well. I would bet much money that the rather less mental lassie it happened to did not lose her shit like anything. Ho hum).
Not being at all familiar with the maze of streets around the hotel, and not feeling like courting any more surprises, especially in those heels, I got a cab back to Cake’s for an hour, attempted to get another cab back into town from Cake’s at midnight, and ended up with a four-hour wait for it. Which was not bad, do not get me wrong, there was lots (and lots and lots) of fizz and Cake’s wee sisters were with us and Cake’s bloke had done a miracle clean-up job on the party. Wow, it is weird seeing Cake’s sisters – I’ve met them at odd two-yearly intervals for about twelve years now, and here they are all grown up and with posh jobs and happy relationships and all (hurrah!)
But I did not see myself skulking around the back of the bus station waiting for a text confirming the birthday address, somehow, so I went to bed. At stupid o’clock. Where I got calf-cramp like anything around even-stupider o’clock and I had just put the satiny sheets on and my attempts to slither around in disorientation and agony in complete silence meant me and the duvet ended up like the Tasmanian devil and I ended up nearly choked.
My lodgers are really nice, but I really cannot wait to have this place to myself. Especially on Sunday morning, when I was so hideously embarrassed that I hid from them all day. And from the rest of the world, in fact, except of course the massive supply of bogroll I had stockpiled against this sort of emergency had just run out (last time this happened was a year ago, and I had the Fear like anything that day too, go figure!) So I had to go down the shops. Which were shut. So I had to go further down to LIDL, where three people queue-jumped me as one and then got all polite and ‘after you’ with each other, and I slunk away in shame at having been (probably correctly) pegged as Not Quite Human or something. Not enough to count, obviously. Time to hide forever! But hey, I saved the whole flat from, well, mortifying embarrassment! Somewhat.
That was the only thing of worth I achieved all day, and the Fear is still alive and kicking. And I really have to go to work tomorrow. Methinks this week could be a long week.