Sometimes the depth and range of my ineptitude and astounds me. Upon waking this morning, I made to turn over and reach for water to slake my thirst. This slight incline to the left and ‘rotating motion’ was clearly too strenuous for my aging form, and I experienced a sharp and nipping pain. My neck now aches and LSB has fed me an Ibruprofen the size of a Tim Peake’s space pod and I’ve a hot water bottle tucked down my dressing gown. I look like an asymmetric hunchback as I sit, grimacing, at my breakfast.
Imagine, sustaining such an injury, in the very place to where one is supposed to recuperate, rest and restore. Maybe it is the bed’s revenge from overuse of late. Not, sadly, due to amorous exertions (does that actually happen to couples nearing forty with 2 children and an attention seeking cat?) but since dabbling again with full time work, I tend to come home, and be drawn, sonambulant like, to the cosiness of the king-size. I retreat up the stairs and lie very very still, for AT LEAST half an hour, while the children ignore instructions to ‘sit quietly’ and wreck the house, plastering stones with acrylic paint and strewing stuff about. My father called recently, Mothership in tow, of course, and they actually GASPED when they peered through the window. I didn’t see this of course, because I was lying down, but the Mothership was fit to tell me when I emerged blearily sometime later.
‘Now Helen,’ she began, after pressing a cup of tea upon me, ‘we need to discuss this.’ I swear, Joe Pesci in Goodfellas could evoke less fear in a person, and that’s when he’s waving a handgun about, with half of Medellin’s finest up his nostrils.
Undeterred by my expression, which I think conveyed both pathetic-ness and mirth, she went on.
‘When you own a house, you must ‘Respect the space.’
What the heck has she been reading now, I wonder? ‘Respect the space?’ It’s not like my mother to watch morning television and quote some wanky mindfulness guru, but then again, she’s always had the ability to surprise.
‘You have to look after it. Look around you. Pre-empt disaster before it strikes.’ She led me outside, where my father was doggedly digging out leaves from the guttering. ‘You’re storing up trouble for yourself,’ he puffed, ‘if you let these accumulate.’
The children, in the meantime, still looked like Smurfs, with hands a lurid shade of blue. The windowsill in the living room and a section of the floor, boasted a similar hue. ‘I’m sorry,’ said the Mothership, ‘but I’ll not be starting into that. Yon pair don’t know what to be at. Why don’t you HIDE things? Leaving paint and GLUE about? Put them in the cupboard! High up! Or better still, IN THE BIN.’
That was last week. I haven’t got around to cleaning any of it. And now my shoulder is banjaxed. Today is of course marathon day, and LSB is doing the relay and our two friends on the street, without whom I would infinitely more sour, are running the full hog. They will, because they are brilliant, run the 26.2 miles, and shrug off any compliments or praise. They will finish, looking as though they’ve done nothing more arduous than a big shop at Sainsbury’s. And they will say, as they always do, ‘But how are YOU, Helen?’ and I, unable to help myself because I’m a master of the PLOMB (Poor Little Old Me Bullshit) will say, ‘I’ve tweaked my shoulder and it’s very sore,’ and they will look sad on my behalf and ask me about it all week and offer to be of any assistance.
And to think, that one of the reasons I say I will NEVER run a marathon (apart from being a lazy bastard) is because I ‘don’t want to injure myself.’ I should just have run the flipping thing then at least I could have lapped up any sympathy which came my way.
I’m going to get showered now and try to avoid further mishaps, before heading down the Ormeau with a load of Easter Egg bits in an old Celebrations tub to offer runners. I will take care to only clap with mild enthusiasm lest I bugger the neck further. And I shall try to avert my eyes from all the plastic bottles. Should you see me, please remember to look sympathetic.