It really does not pay to be my closest friend’s husband, truly it doesn’t. Not when your beloved has a friend like me. M’s other half, also M (so let’s call him N because otherwise this could get mightily confusing), well …. I like to think he views me with a certain amount of amused indulgence and the odd chuckle, but I suspect instead he puts up with me like the gentleman he is, occasionally gets a big laugh out of my antics and definitely, oh definitely occasionally goes “what the fuck is she ON?”
To give you some background to this story … I am notoriously daft sometimes and no more so than in the morning. I am NOT a morning person. A dear friend, S, lived with me for a few years and realised that mornings were not good.
One classic morning, she listened as I slept through all five of my alarms (yup, I need a minimum of five, all making different noises to get me even to stir), finally shaking me awake well after the sensible time for me to be hoisting myself out of bed and making my train.
What followed was me leaping half-naked out of bed, cursing the worst words she had ever heard and then running around in mad circles, continuing to curse and achieving nothing except teaching her some new combinations of profanity. I am told this lasted around two or three long minutes before I actually woke up and dashed around like someone on speed, washing, dressing, brushing my teeth and throwing food in the general direction of the cat’s bowls before bundling off up the road in haste to the station, trailing papers and clothes in my wake.
In order to prevent a repeat, she took it upon herself each morning to wake me up and make sure that I was awake before she left for work. This went very well, until the time my subconscious caught up with her tricks. One fateful morning, she yelled at me to get up, followed by me yelling that I was awake. Concerned after some minutes of no noise that I had gone back to sleep, she poked her head round the door and said “if you are awake, I want to hear your feet on the floor”. At which point, one of my legs exited the covers, stamped up and down on the floor before inserting itself back into the duvet. Her helpless laughter was what woke me up in the end.
It is not unusual for me to fake-awake an hour or so of the day and several times, I have actually gone through the whole morning routine of wakeup-feedcats-havetea-putonmakeup&clothes-exithouse-getontrain-gettowork and have actually woken up around 10am having no recollection of having got to the office.
So … we fast forward a few years … at the time, I have a high level job which requires long hours and a bathroom door which has a catch which plays up. Long hours + cat requirements + general life are not a recipe for sleep-indulged nights and one fateful morning I woke up, fed the cats, made tea and got into the bathroom. In the mornings I have an awful habit of sitting on the bathroom floor with my back (which thanks to the ME is never good in the morning) on the warm radiator (which helps), tea in one hand and a fag in the other and proceed to do my makeup.
This particular morning was no different to 100s of others. Except for one fatal flaw. The bathroom door handle had been dicky for months. It was loose and in order to get into the bathroom when the door was closed required a bit of a handledown-shovetothesideandopen-approach. It had never occurred to me that one day it might give up altogether.
Because I have an illicit fag in the bathroom, I close the door (not wanting to expose the cats to my ciggie fumes). It also prevents 7 cats from trying to share the space with me and stepping in my tea, the ashtry, my makeup, etc.
All was fine and dandy except that on this particular day, the door latch decided to expire and as I exited the bathroom (or tried to) it became clear that I was very, very stuck.
So I did a quick recce of my situation:
|Both work & personal mobiles were with me||Neither had much juice|
|I had a boyfriend||He was at work and not very sympathetic when I called|
|My neighbour had keys||I had double locked the door so she could not get past the yale lock|
|My boss was brilliant||He was going to take the piss out of me, big time|
|I didn’t have any meetings first thing||I did have later on that morning|
|There was a way out of the window||Onto a glass-roofed conservatory that I doubted would hold my weight. Also it was raining, I was in my underwear and I am notoriously clumsy and would be likely to end up head first crashing through the glass|
So having cast around for tools I could use, finding only a nail file which bent sadly as I tried to insert it between door and frame, I resorted to the only thing I could think to do in my early morning, panicked fug.
I rang my first line emergency services – M’s.
What you need to know about N is that he is dead sensible. Exceptionally so. So I figured that if anyone could find a way out of this jam, he could. He of course asked whether I had tried to get the door open, whether there was anything I could use as a tool, who I had called etc. All dead sensible stuff which, to my credit, I had already tried.
Having exhausted sensible, he suggested that as he had ladders and tooled and was already loaded up to go to work, he simply came round, over the conservatory roof and opened the door for me. I warned him about the conservatory (in the long run of building cockups at Chez Titflasher, the conservatory was one which was still the most likely to make it into the books as the “one which demolished more builders than the 80s recession”). N, however, was well used to working at height in weird situations so I breathed a sigh of relief as I put down the second of my now dying mobiles.
What I had not figured on was that (a) N is fit, (b) it only takes seconds to get from their house to mine in the car early in the morning. Very fit, in the sense of “can scale 7 foot gates with a ladder on his shoulder at 7am”. I had hardly put the phone down when I heard him vault the 7 foot gate at speed. And I realised, I had no bloody clothes on, just very, very tatty underwear.
Not that this was the time for sexy underwear, but if your best mate’s hubby is going to see you with less on than the average beach wearer, it would be nice if it wasn’t something that had gone through the wash several thousands of times.
In the 5 panicked seconds it took him to place the ladder on the side of the house and come over the conservatory like superman, I picked up and discarded the bath mat, tried a facecloth and realised I would just have to brazen it out. N came gallantly through the window as I tried to hide behind two very flimsy pieces of underwear, took one look at me grinning wildly, looked absolutely horrified, unhooked the door and then I said the only thing I could say …
To digress and to give you some more background … I have a terrible sense of humour which pops up at the worst moments … when all is black and without hope, when embarrassed beyond measure, my mouth will open and come up with the worst thing ever I can say and I will find it hilarious.
Also, N is quite shy.
So there I was, half-naked, in front of my best mate’s man … and what do I say ..
“Ooooooh N,” I said, “this is just like Confessions of a Window Cleaner”. I was crying with laughter. N shot me a terrified look and dashed out of the bathroom, down the stairs and out of the front door before I had had the chance to say “thank you”.
Luckily, when I phoned M a little later to ask her to pass my thanks on, she thought my quip hilarious too. It took weeks before I could look N in the eye.
Not so funny is my slight dyslexia. Letters are fine (unless I am very tired) but numbers remain the bane of my life. The worst thing is that I can see a set of numbers and make the same mistake, over and over, in adding them up. It means that if I get something wrong numerically, I will keep on getting it wrong until I take a break and do something weird, like turn the numbers on their side or diagonally. Then I tend to see the mistake.
So when a number is important to me, I tend to learn it voraciously. I can still tell you the telephone number of the house where I grew up and I can still remember our neighbour’s telephone number, even when the first 3 digits changed due to the increase in telephone numbers required.
However, occasionally my brain stutters. And so it has been with M’s number. Not able to remember her home phone, I remember instead N’s business line, which is also in their home. Which is good news, except that M and I are so close that sometimes I can’t tell where she starts and I finish. Sounds weird but that is the way it is. So there have been years of calling N’s number when I have meant to call my house, and calling my house when I mean to call N’s number to get hold of M.
Added to this, after a number of cab fails, including the taxi driver who drove me round and round the neighbourhood because he had discovered in conversation that I had read the Koran so just wanted to talk to me at length and the time they left me outside in the snow for an hour with repeated promises that they would be picking me up before an important meeting … I had changed the allegiances of a decade and changed my first call cab firm … so had to learn a new number …
Confused yet? Well clearly my brain is because … M and I were out for my Mom’s birthday a few weeks ago. My Mom loved Italian food (in fact Italian everything), wine, good company and fags so we had all of those things in commemoration. We were having a rather intense conversation and several more glasses of wine than were good for us. At silly o’clock with the restaurant slowly emptying, we needed a cab home. Keen to save money, we decided to minicab it back. Still chatting avidly, I dialled the cab number and was very surprised to hear a very groggy N on the other end. Bursting out laughing, I tried to explain but got my words muddled up and eventually I gave up.
M was in stitches. She promised to pass on my apologies for yet another silly ‘o clock phone call for a cab because alas it was not the first time I had done it. At least this time, I had an excuse.
And so we come to a few days ago. My workload at the orifice has increased substantially and I am at risk of becoming overloaded. My peak time for interruptions is 10am – 5pm and I spend around 40% of the time out of the office, going round each of the sites. So I decided to go in a bit early. However, Mr Morpheus had not been my friend of late and I was decidedly groggy when I woke up.
Sitting with my back on the radiator, tea in hand, I dialled the cab firm … hello this is TF from Chez Titflasher, can I please have a cab from CT to the Orifice for 8.15am? I got the whole schpiel out and then heard a very deep sigh on the other end of the phone. “Goodness”, I thought, “it’s not that bloody difficult”.
“No” said the cab office. “Why not?” asked I. There was silence and my brain clicked into gear … I had done it again. Poor bloke, I bet sometimes he wished M had a friend who behaved like a normal person …