Sunday, February 27, 2011

swimming in the sea

The weather was excellent today. Clare and I cycled to the seaside to go for a swim, resolutely ignoring the fact that this is February. We joked about how blood-coagulatingly cold the water would probably be and laughed nervously. We cycled to Seapoint, about a half hour away, by which time we were melting under the heat of our plastic anoraks, so a swim in the sea seemed like a great idea. We stripped down to our swimsuits, which we had very cleverly worn under our clothes (ta-da!) and then stood in panicked silence for a second, realising it was too late to back out.

We paddled down the concrete steps which were built into the water and Clare, wisely deciding not to prolong the agony, dived (dove?) in immediately. I was a little less intrepid, wading down to the last step until the water was above my knees, and then sort of falling off the edge in a reluctant dive.

It was freezing, of course, so I started swimming. I swam out quite far, scared that the cold would get worse if i stopped moving. Then I swam in circles, screaming obscenities and laughing maniacally.  I do love the sea a lot even though it is a bit cold. A concerned family who were standing nearby seemed to think I was having a stroke and looked on anxiously. Then the cold hit my bones and my jaw locked and my lungs collapsed and I couldn't catch my breath and my skin burned like it was on fire and I stopped laughing and started to panic. So I decided to get out.

Clare stayed in a bit longer and then followed. The two of us stood at the edge of the water squishing up our faces and clutching our frozen brains. Realising we were starting to turn blue we stiffly got dressed and cycled on to Dun Laoghaire to enjoy an overpriced coffee.

I couldn't get warm in the coffee place because my blood was so cold. Clare was the same. We just sat there, being slightly blue and slurring our words because our faces wouldn't work properly. On the cycle home I pulled the drawstrings tight on my hood to keep the wind off my wet hair. The hood poked up at the top in what I assume was a sort of mammary fashion, based on the fact that someone leaned out their car window and shouted "Boob" as they drove past. Which is ironic, because Clare calls me Boob.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

worms on the stairs

Yesterday evening I came home and realised I had forgotten my keys. Well actually I had realised this earlier in the day, but had since forgotten about it. I took out my phone and called up the guy who lives downstairs to ask him to open the door.

I got upstairs and then remembered that actually I didn't have the key for my apartment either. So I plonked myself down on the stairs, rather sweaty from the cycle home. I looked at the carpet which I now noticed was all covered with dry rice grains. I stared at them, wondering when my housemates would be home. That's when I saw that the rice grains were moving. I was in fact, sitting in a pile of loads of worms.

First of all I freaked out, understandably, I think. I did the 'oh-my-god-I-am-covered-in-tiny-worms' dance, scrabbling at the walls. Then I gathered myself, found a rice free spot and ripped out my computer to try and identify them: more importantly to ascertain whether or not one of them could have got inside my skin in the short time I had been sitting amongst them.

The rice worms move very slowly, attatched to the carpet fibres by their bums, sort of gently flicking their bodies back and forth. I looked closely at one. He had a hard husk on the outside, which is the bit that looks like a grain of rice, the worm is actually inside it. He stretches his body out of his case sometimes, presumably when he wants to eat bits of carpet or write letters or play cards with his friends. It is a cunning disguise.

The general feeling on the Internet seems to be that any domestic pest is probably a carpet beetle, (I am unconvinced), however one source suggested they could be tapeworm eggs. This made my skin crawl and I started retching and had to run outside and take my coat off in case there were any worms in it.

When Clare came home we did some more research but found little else, just grossed ourselves out by talking about the worms, (the words hatching and larvae are much worse when you say them out loud). I took the precautionary measure of stuffing kitchen roll into the gap under the door, reasoning that if the worms get past this they will have to deal with the vinegar and chilli powder and salt I have sprinkled on the floor. I imagine contact with these substances would make them burn or fizz or something. I hope they don't like condiments, or they will just come over to our house any time they get chips.

I think I am developing a rash.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

a sunday afternoon in the graveyard

Last Sunday my friend Tom and I spent a pleasant few hours looking for our names on the headstones in the local graveyard (it was a slow day and we don't have a tv.) At about 4.50, feeling all funned out, we pottered back to the entrance. It was only when we were pressing our faces against the bars of the locked gates, trying to fit our heads through the gaps, that we entertained the idea that we might be in a spot of bother. Surveying the scene we began to notice the 12 or so signs flanking the entrance; REMEMBER GATES LOCKED AT 4PM SHARP. We did not see these signs earlier. I think they put them up after we came in. Probably to trap us.

While we waited passively for our predicament to resolve itself we played an elaborate game with four large orange traffic cones called (deceptively), 'Cone'.

The rules were very complicated, only diagonal shuffles were permitted, stickles were off, and we played no trumps. (I don't really know who won. I don't know if there is any such thing as a winner in 'Cone'.) We hung around, alternating between playing Cone and singing "What would you do?" by City High. After about an hour a man with a plastic bag came and opened the gates. He wouldn't let me take his picture. This was suspicious. When we got home and our keys didn't work in the lock, our suspicions were confirmed: 15 years had passed since we had entered the graveyard. The man with a plastic bag was a ghost. So were we. This is a posthumous-post.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

unforTUNAtely brief encounter

Last night I was in a shop buying, amongst other things, a tin of tuna. There was a man in front of me also buying a tin of tuna. I looked at his tin, same brand, in brine, same as mine. I thought this was a bit of a coincidence. He saw me looking and caught my eye and I got a bit embarrassed but then he noticed my tin and smiled. Then we looked at our own tins and then at each other and did that slightly embarrassed half-shrug eye-toss palms-up smile, were you silently acknowledge to each other that you are both buying tuna. It was the sequence that happens about 12 minutes into every Romantic comedy ever. He was probably just about to ask me on a date, or if I would consider dropping everything and coming with him to a leper colony in Nairobi on the boat-train from King's Cross. I might even have said yes. Then a girl joined the queue behind me. She was buying a tin of tuna as well.

I deflated a bit because i knew what was coming, so I did what I knew I had to, based on the unspoken rules of social etiquette: we both looked at her tin of tuna and she looked at ours and then me and him looked at each other and then back at her and the three of us tossed our eyes like, "tuna, eh!" Then we all did the half-shrug eye-toss palms-up smile, (again. Some of us not as enthusiastically this time round.) I stopped looking at him. I stared at my watch for a while and then glanced back at the girl. That's when I noticed her tuna was in sunflower oil. But it was too late, he'd already gone.