Thursday, 20 January 2011

Canned Laughter.

Is it any wonder that we embark on a New Year beset by the nastiest of bugs and germs when the last few weeks has seen such a contrast in temperatures? Only a few days ago, the pavement outside my house was as frozen as the northern tundra; its ice as slippery as any glacial counterpart if the countless cartoon like scrabblings of pedestrians, desperately attempting to stay upright before they fell on their bottoms, was anything to go by. Now that the temperature has risen by almost 15 degrees, the bacteria are procreating like spring time bunnies; consequently, the rubbish which is piled outside our back door and which when frozen, only looked objectionable, now smells offensive too.
If only what happens outside would stay outside, unfortunately, the indoor viruses are spreading through this family as quickly as God knows what through the decaying and defrosting turkey carcass in a black bin-liner.
There is so much to do and I am running out of hours in which to do it. By Tuesday, I have to write a pretend letter of application for a job, in order, I presume, to demonstrate to our uni tutors that we have the wherewithal to string a decent sentence together whilst selling our skills as young bright things, intent on inspiring young minds. The being young thing is proving to be a bit of a challenge.There are other tasks even more onerous to complete that I cannot actually face and have thus shoved them all to the back of my mind. At least I thought that’s where worries were stored, however, given the gnawing feeling gripping my tummy very early, every morning, one must assume that all one’s demons and inner conscience has little to do with the mind and an awful lot to do with the gut.
Hubby has been a dead loss. For over a week now he has been dressed in the most appalling of garments, coughing, spluttering and nose blowing, resolute in not moving from in front of the fire or his armchair, a blanket over his knees, his glasses perched on his sweaty and snivelling nose, as he peered through them at the television set. I have lost count of the number of ‘social engagements’ we’ve missed out on.
Fortuitously, I have until these past 24 hours, been hale and hearty. How could I not? There was 44 metres of wrapping paper to get through – I counted the empty cardboard tubes. Eleven rolls, each four metres long. That’s a lot of paper and even more sellotape, revolutionised this year by a contraption on my wrist that dispensed sticky tape at the rate of knots. Good job really as it was a one woman show. As was the Christmas Eve party, the day itself, the cooking for 13, the magic, the madness, the mayhem. The parties, the pantos, the games, the sausage rolls. The sales, the shopping and the charades and not only the parlour game but the whole metaphor for happy families. It is no wonder that I have finally crashed and burned.
Even Mags, whom I depend upon to rouse my spirits, has herself been in the depths of despair. Frozen in time in a village cut off from the rest of polite society, trapped in the company of a far less polite mother-in-law, she made a heroic effort to reach me on Christmas Eve. She is evidently less well read than she professes to be otherwise she would have known the recklessness of venturing out into the icy wastes and that slamming the door of her 4x4 in a fit of pique and yelling “I’m just going outside and may be some time”, would have only scarified the car, nothing else. And so it came to pass. Only a couple of hundred yards into her polar expedition, the car and all of its four by four, flipping useless wheels, hurtled into a wall. Her car and wall are dented. She is unhurt. Her marriage less so. Her mother-in-law has, it goes without saying, taken every opportunity to tut-tut and gang up on her with her husband, calling her fool-hardy, selfish and irresponsible. In turn and I have it on good authority as Mags rang me on her mobile from the far corners of a frosty field to tell me so, that she screamed back with, “Not as irresponsible as when you had unprotected sex the night he was conceived”, simultaneously jabbing her until then, smug husband in the arm with a hot, oil-filled turkey baster.
“Shizer”, I replied, “What happened then?”
“The old boot demanded on being taken home, but the car is, quite literally, off the road and the trains aren’t running either, so we have no alternative other than to endure each other until such time as a thaw occurs, either in relations or in the weather, whichever comes first”.
The main difference between modern life and its sitcom counterpart is that it would be infinitely more bearable if only we could hear the studio audience laugh once in a while.

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