Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.
That awkward moment when your dad dies two years before you were conceived.
Did anyone else notice her mom died a month after her dad…
That awkward moment where your mom dies before she gives birth to you.
That awkward moment when you were raised by a dog…
and then the dog died.
CLEARLY THE DOG RAISED HER.
So very true.
By the time Other Half and I loaded the last taxi yesterday - meaning she did all the heavy lifting (playing a dangerous game of Suitcase Tetris) while I carefully supervised - I was exhausted. I had been feeling pretty ill at work that day; my nose, ears and throat all hurt, I felt dizzy, disorientated and kind of like I was walking underwater. My brain appeared to be attempting to escape by tunnelling through my temples, aided by the tiny furnaces burning behind each of my eyes. When we finally returned home, I immediately fell into bed in a sad, bedraggled heap. It was clear I was sick and/or dying.
I am so susceptible to flu and colds it’s almost laughable. If even a whiff of something gets within twenty feet of me, bam! I’m sniffling and wheezing for days on end, sinuses clogged up so that my voice comes out as a kind of nasal shriek, if it comes out at all. Other Half hardly ever gets sick. She considers it a sign of weakness. However, when I am dragging myself around, looking at our empty fridge with large, mournful eyes and making pathetic whimpers punctuated by spluttering, she does not hesitate to take care of me. She’s pretty awesome, even if she does roll her eyes at me a lot.
I tweeted this morning how crap I was feeling and many of you very kindly replied with nice get-better-soon-tweets. That really cheered me up and definitely contributed to how much more alive I’m feeling now. One particular fellow twitterer suggested that I blog about the things that make me feel better when I’m sick. I liked the idea and so I shall.
Here’s the situation - you’re ill, so you’ve taken the day off work. What do you do with your time other than lie around, vomiting, sweating and feeling sorry for yourself? Here are my helpful suggestions:
1. Firstly, eat something. If you have Other Halves/flatmates/family/pets that you can bribe, blackmail or make mewling noises at, like I do, then you’ll find it easier to obtain food. If you’re alone, best order in. You can’t go out like that. Look at the state of you. No, sit down. I’ll get the takeaway menus.
2. Secondly, take a shower or bath. You’ll feel better when you’re clean. I like to take both at the same time so I can imagine I’m sitting in a lagoon while a waterfall cascades gently down on top of me, like in the Herbal Essences shampoo adverts. You don’t necessarily have to do this but it may increase your overall enjoyment of shower/bath. I hope Other Half doesn’t read this because she’ll be all blah blah wasting water blah blah environment and I’ll nod along in the right places but I’m totally still thinking about the Herbal Essences advert and how I’ll brush aside the palm fronds to find that Laura Dern is sharing my lagoon and, how inconvenient, her shampoo just ran out and she needs to share mine. Sweet.
I also recommend singing as the steam generated by the hot water will clear your sinuses out. You can choose any song, but.I personally prefer I Feel Shitty, set to the tune of I Feel Pretty. Today I also incorporated a Tenacious D medley, which really opened up the old airways.
3. Once you’re clean and have eaten, you may begin to get bored. Never fear, the internet is here! I don’t know if you’ve noticed just how damn awesome the internet is, but let me tell you. It’s pretty damn awesome. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Stumbleupon and all kinds of interesting sites just waiting to help you find newer and better pictures of kittens or to fill up your friend’s wall with posts about complete crap or to read new blogs. In addition, much fun can be had by simply browsing. You never know what you might find just by clicking from one page to another, leaving a little breadcrumb url trail behind you as you trudge further into the darkness of cyberspace. Here are a couple of links to things I’ve enjoyed recently, to start you off:
This is an Australian DJ who has, brilliantly, remixed music and words from the Lord of the Rings films to create one super-awesome master track. I played this to Other Half and was overjoyed to see her respond with something other than apathy (her default setting), so it must really be good.
This is a man doing the best impression of Ian McKellan you have ever heard or will ever hear. It is a massive bonus that he’s reciting the lyrics to Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Recommended by a twitter friend, to whom I am now forever in debt.
If you’ve heard of Glee (and come on, who hasn’t these days? There’s even a Glee perfume. Other Half and I were so excited/appalled about this that we took phone photos and sent them to everyone we knew, and then I spent the next two months making Glee-related facebook status updates that said things like “I’m Blainesexual” and “You think that’s hard? Try fighting a spider army with nothing but a cup! That’s hard!”) then you will hopefully find this link particularly amusing. It’s a summary of the entire first season of Glee in 60 seconds and it does cover all the major plot lines in a very amusing way.
4. Make a pillow fort or duvet cocoon, resplendent with all the blankets you can find and have a nice nap. You’ll wake feeling as good as new. Except if you’ve had crazy fever-dreams about Other Half cheating on you, and then you wake up and you’re incredibly angry until you realise that you can’t actually accuse her of anything because technically it never happened, you dreamt it, but you can’t stop being mad that she kissed some stupid blonde girl on a ski slope and left you in the hunting lodge with your face pressed sadly into the window as you watched them ski off together into the sunset.
Repeat these steps as necessary until the illness passes.You’ll thank me for this, I’m sure of it.
Firstly, I’d really like to thank you all for reading my blog. I never imagined that anyone would care about the life and times of an Otternator. Even more thanks go to the people who inspire me - mainly Other Half, my family, and people on Twitter, who have been wonderfully encouraging and complimentary. You guys freaking rock! Okay so yes, maybe I’ve been watching the Oscars a little bit, and maybe I’ve been giving my acceptance speech for Best New Most Awesomest Blogger With Totally Awesome Non-BieberHair to the bathroom mirror, clutching a bottle of shampoo to my chest with delight and gesturing emphatically to the imaginary crowds. Nonetheless, I thank you all, and hope you enjoy reading the following post as much as I did writing it.
Other Half and I were in the study the other day, each wandering aimlessly through the internet on our own laptops and occasionally exchanging links to pictures of kittens (the foundation of the internet) and some rather surreal song parodies, when she turned her laptop to face me.
Other Half: Look at my old school.
Me: (obediently looking) That’s a very nice, fancy school, dear. Not at all like the shithole I went to.
Other Half: It really is fancy. It costs thousands of pounds to send your child there, even for one term.
Me: My education, and the lack of enthusiasm my peers had for learning, was completely free.
Other Half: (ignoring me) Look at all the ex-pupils who are famous now - there are scientists, and doctors and writers…
Me: A guy who went to my school won the X Factor a couple of years ago.
Other Half (pointing): …and a Nobel Prize winner!
Me: X Factor.
Other Half: Nobel Prize.
We exchanged a long stare.
Me: What field was it in?
Other Half: Peace.
Me: (sniffing) Well anyone can do that.
This is a perfect example of an ordinary conversation with Other Half. I’m sure if you videotaped us on a daily basis you would find thousands of small moments of pure genius, but my brain can only hold so much information at one time and it’s really anyone’s guess what I’ll remember by the time I’ve found paper and a pen. Some conversations, however, are too good to forget. We went to bed rather late at the weekend, because of all the moving house malarkey still going on, and as I turned off the light I leant in for a goodnight kiss. After a moment Other Half pulled back rather suddenly.
Other Half: Are you okay?
Me: Yes, why wouldn’t I be?
Other Half: Your head is shaking.
Me: Is it?
Other Half: You can’t feel that? It’s kind of trembling.
Me: (intrigued) Maybe I’m having a stroke.
Other Half: Oh god!
Me: How does my face look? Is it squinty?
Other Half: The parts of it I can see look alright, I guess…
Me: Then we’re fine. Kiss me.
Other Half: Sweetheart, I really think we should-
Me: KISS ME.
Other Half: Okay fine. Have it your way. But if you’re really having a stroke don’t come crying to me about it afterwards.
Me: (happily) Okay!
A Twitter friend referred to me today as a “weaver of fables”. I really like this phrase. I wish it was true. In reality, it’s more like I catch small, silvery fables in the imagination stream with a old and fraying net, drag them onto the bank and bludgeon them until they stop wriggling before I drag them back to my lair to fashion them into roughly hewn blog posts. It’s not an easy job being this surreal, but someone’s got to do it.
In conclusion, please don’t be afraid to comment if you like what you’re reading. Unless you’re a fable, in which case you better swim fast.
The house move is going well so far. I’m currently working my way through our alcohol stock, on the logic that it’s easier to drink it than transport it. I prepared a short Powerpoint presentation for Other Half on this subject but she just rolled her eyes at the title page, flicked the lights back on and passed me the bottle opener. It was another easy victory for the Otternator.
I’ve been thinking today about how much I hate camels. I don’t know why this occurred to me while I was carrying a 32” flatscreen TV up flights of stairs, but that’s the way my mind works. They are are evil, vicious beasts and as such, they are punished by being placed high on the Scale of Lame. A camel tried to kill me halfway up a volcano when I was 15. This is a fact. I shall elaborate - I was on holiday with my best friend and her parents in Lanzarote, and they had decided that we should take a drive to see the scenery and enjoy one of the more touristy attractions - the geysers in Timanfaya National Park . The day was pleasant. The sun was shining but not too brightly, and there was a nice breeze. I was covered in my usual Factor 50 sunblock because even at that age I’d resigned myself to the fact that red-haired, green-eyed people were supposed to remain deathly pale forever and would never get to star in Baywatch.
I’d never ridden anything other than a horse at this point and the thought of getting onto a camel, riding up a volcano and generally pretending to be like Rachel Weisz in The Mummy was overheating my teenage brain with excitement. How little I knew then. I mounted the camel along with the rest of the crowd and off we went in a line, one guide at the head of our column and one guide bringing up the rear. About halfway up the volcano, I began to get properly nervous. (Heights are also on the Scale of Lame, just above wasps, if you’re interested - some day I may post an actual list). I tried to breathe deeply, tried to admire the view. The breeze began to change direction. My camel lifted its head, legs slowing their pace, as it sniffed the air. It turned its massive brown head and stared at me, Suddenly, without any warning, it totally fucking freaked out. It gnashed its teeth and tried to bite me. It tried to buck me off. It foamed at the mouth. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an animal foam, but there’s something about this action that instinctively warns you to stay away, that coming near this animal is a really, really bad idea. It seems reasonable to assume, therefore, that the last thing you should ever do with an animal that is in fact currently foaming rather violently and staring at you with mad, rolling eyes, is ride it.
I was terrified. The path was nothing more than a dirt track, and there was no rail to protect against falls. The camel was staggering drunkenly and we were veering closer to the edge. I became reasonably certain that I was going to die a virgin with a terrible haircut. It all seemed terribly unfair. If there was an afterlife, I was going to have words with someone. I screamed at the guide.
Me: (wailing) Save me! This thing is trying to kill me! HELP! HELP!
Guide: (trying to approach) It doesn’t like you!
Me: We didn’t even talk on the way up!
Guide: (managing to grab the camel’s head) Are you wearing perfume?
Me: I wasn’t aware he had a preference.
Guide: They don’t like perfume.
Me: That is really the kind of thing you should tell people AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VOLCANO.
They calmed it down eventually although it did spend the rest of the trip eyeing me with a murderous rage. To this day, I have never forgiven that one camel, and I’ve tarred the rest with the same brush. If that makes me camel-ist, so be it. Let it be known, from the Book of Otternator, verses 126 to 127, that the Otternator spoke from on high, and said yea, listen closely both people and animals, do not try to kill me on a mountain or volcano, or even a small hill, for I shall consider this to be the end of our friendship and also it makes you a dick. Yea
Since so many of you enjoyed the ‘King Justice’ part of yesterday’s post, I thought I’d write a little something about my family. Trust me when I say I have a veritable comedy goldmine in the form of my mum, who really only needs to be awake to produce some truly hilarious sentences, although the chances are massively improved when she is sleepy or drunk. My dad says this is why he married her. If I showed you the wedding photos, however, you might wonder why she married him, because he had a ginger afro, a ginger moustache and looked like one of the 118 men. For those international readers who won’t know what that refers to, look at this http://tiny.cc/l0sht Yes. That’s right. Sexy, isn’t it? Still, it was the 80s. It was acceptable at the time.
My mum has very little mental filter. Anything she thinks in her head is invariably repeated, like an echo, out of her mouth. If you watch closely you can see her little brain cogs whirring and grinding together, and then you only have a matter of moments to interrupt the conversation or change the topic before she says something truly embarrassing. Whereas most people have boundaries to their conversations - or at least have an inner voice that tells them ‘this is probably a good time to stop talking' - my mum does not possess such a thing. Over the years, her family and friends have learned that as a rule, it's much more interesting and amusing to allow her to do this rather than trying to interfere. I seem to have inherited this trait although it is not fully-fledged - it appears to get stronger with age. However I don't believe that, even if I live to be 100, I could ever surpass my mum as a magnet for these types of situations. If it had a name, she'd be the queen of it.
Let me illustrate with an example. My parents had decided to move house a few years back, into a small village only a mile or so away from the small town I grew up in. My mum, who is a very small, chatty, blonde hurricane, had spotted a neighbour lady hanging out her washing in the garden of the house opposite. She decided this would be a perfect opportunity to ingratiate herself with the locals and perhaps make a new friend. I want to confirm now that this story is completely true. I actually could not have made it up. It is not possible to pretend or fantasize this level of insanity and mortification.
My mum headed across the road and introduced herself. Before long, she and the neighbour lady were chatting away when the conversation turned rather gossipy.
Lady: And that man, in the house on that side, he cheated on his wife!
Lady: (conspiratorially) And the man living next to you… well, he’s very nice, but he’s a homosexual and sometimes he has (and here she mouthed a word to my mum)
My mum was puzzled. She wondered why the lady was mouthing a word rather than saying it. She couldn’t quite make it out, but thought that it had looked a bit like ‘parties’. What was so wrong about parties, my mum mused, that this lady would disapprove so much? Maybe she wasn’t keen on noise or disturbance? My mum, instead of asking like a normal person for clarification, clung to her conclusion like a drowning man to a log.
Mum: (brightly) Well, I don’t mind that. As long as he invites me in as well!
The woman’s face changed, very slowly, from an expression of friendliness, to sheer confusion and more a little horror. My mum realised, with the sinking feeling she must be very used to by now, that the conclusion she’d arrived at must have been dead wrong. Not parties then. It dawned on my mum, with all the immediacy of a bullet to the head, that the word the lady had mouthed was in fact ‘partner’.
Mum: Sorry, I…um… .
Lady: (backing away) Um, I’m quite busy, doing, something, so…see you around…
The lady fled, and rightly so, back to the safety of her house. My mum turned sadly and walked straight back into her new house. My dad was unpacking boxes in the living room, humming happily to himself.
Mum: We need to move again.
Dad: What? We just got here!
Mum: I know, but I sort of accidentally told that lady that I wanted to have a threesome with our gay neighbour and his boyfriend.
Dad: OH FOR FUCKS SAKE! THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS!
That’s my family. And I’m a product of that environment, which is a fairly frightening thought. Maybe some day, one of my future-children will roll their eyes at something stupid I’ve done and blog about it. I can only dream.
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