KILL ME* I AM SO FRELLING STUPID. I RAN WOLFGANG INTO THE GATE AT THE MEWS. ARRRRRRGH DOESN’T BEGIN TO COVER IT. STUPID! STUPID!!!! STUPID!!!!!!
It was totally, totally, TOTALLY my own cretinous fault but there are one or two extenuating circumstances (sort of). The drive into the mews is the long squiggly we’re-an-IMPORTANT-county-family drive to the Big Pink Blot, which used to be the local big house** and therefore has to have a grand entrance to elide gracefully with the rest of the general pretension level. The entire front wall that faces the road (from a judicious and dignified distance: this is all about impressing the crap out of anyone approaching) is still there, including the brick pillars on either side of the gateway . . . and the gates. The gates are just what you’d expect: black-painted wrought iron with a few twirly bits. They always stand open, and they open inward.
The drive is very badly lit. That’s very badly lit. There are a lot of trees—and two faint point-zero-six candlepower lights set into the brick posts—on the outside. They serve to make the entrance look like a good place to avoid—the sort of place M R James wrote stories about.*** They throw just-inside the gate into absolute darkness. When you’re on foot—perhaps flanked by two hellhounds—crossing that threshold after sunset is like walking into a wall. We do it almost every day, this time of year. Ugh.
Even during the day—or the so-called day, when it’s overcast and January—the driveway, and especially the entrance, are murky. It was overcast and January yesterday. And I was thinking about the handbells† I was on my way from the mews back to the cottage to ring. . . .
BANG. Tinkle tinkle tinkle.
It was bad enough yesterday evening. I knew I’d taken out a headlamp, and crunched the wing. I got back to the cottage and immediately rang the garage. They said Monday earliest even to get the parts. And what I haven’t told you yet is that I’m visiting a seriously-poorly friend on Tuesday—and I am visiting her, if hellhounds and I were going to have to set out tomorrow and walk all the way.
But it wasn’t till this morning after the shock-horror part had worn off a bit that I took a really good look at poor Wolfgang’s front end. Whereupon I bundled hellhounds into the back and drove out to our old village, which is where our garage still is—and peering around nervously for policepersons, since I’m pretty sure we’re illegal in this condition. Blaze took a look at the situation and sent me back to the designated body shop, which is this ominous looking industrial estate/warehouse on the edge of New Arcadia . . . which looks like the kind of place Stephen King writes stories about. There’s also no door. Having wandered whimpering in the general environs for a few minutes I eventually took a closer look at a battered, scuffed piece of detritus that wasn’t quite a match for the rest of the wall and . . . it was the door. Sign? Label? Doorknob? Anything? Ha. That would have been much too easy. I suppose this nonstandard approach to public relations does prevent them from being overwhelmed by work from a paroxysmal, inattentive public, but when you’re already feeling a bit emotionally frail it does your head in. Especially after I opened the magic portal and stepped into something out of the final battle in SUNSHINE only with more ambient dust. When some fellow loomed toward me through the twinkling, toxic clouds, I almost screamed and ran away.
Which would have been a pity, because he’s a sweetie.†† He looked at Wolfgang and went ah, hmm, and I said, the car is sixteen years old, I just want it to run, and he said fine, we can do that. And I said (pathetically), when? And he said, well, we aren’t doing anything urgent, I can get on the phone now about the parts, and . . . you can have it back Wednesday morning latest. I breathed a deep sigh of 90% relief while the remaining 10% went into high gear about Tuesday . . . And then he gave me the keys to the courtesy car. There is a god. At least a small, friendly one to do with absent-minded women who are too stupid to live. Eep, I said.†††
Windscreen wipers‡ here, he said briskly. Lights here. Everything’s pretty straightforward. Fill the petrol tank before you bring it back.
I was probably looking a little dazed. You’ll be fine, he said, patted the bonnet in a genial way, and disappeared back into the billowing whatsit‡‡.
The very first thing I had to do is back up about a hundred yards, with a brick wall six inches to my left and a long queue of semi-derelict cars to my right and the gear box on my borrowed charger is weird, with all the gears sort of bundled down at the bottom somewhere: once you’ve successfully made it into one gear the rest of them are more or less in the right place . . . but it’s like a kid’s drawing of a face, where all the features are crowded into the chin. You expect eyes to be up near the forehead, the nose to be in the middle . . . my tiny blue rescuer also has the getaway force of a lame hedgehog—makes my sixteen-year-old Golf look positively frisky. But the point is it exists. And I didn’t run into anything . . .
I now have to spoil this happy not-quite-ending with the tale of the frelling gate, but I think I’ll save that for the next chapter.‡‡‡
* * *
* I know you’re not going to kill me till after I finish PEG II.^ Still. Keep it in mind.
^ And the one theoretically next in the queue is ALBION, you know, the not-Sunshine-but-in-Sunshine’s-world. You might even want to wait after that one. And the FORTY SEVEN NEXT DAMAR NOVELS of course. And TAM LIN. And NOT THE WICKED STEPFATHER STORY. And . . .
** They may have been important, but they had no taste. And it’s some kind of listed^, so the current co-op owners can’t change much.
Don’t let English Heritage—who is in the business, after all—fool you. Being listed is—or anyway can be—a nightmare. Both the cottage and Third House are in a ‘conservation area’, which is to say the old centre of town, which is bad enough.
*** You had better know who M R James is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._R._James
† Which is the real reason^ I was a trifle preoccupied during handbells last night. Although we still got through bob major. I would be much happier about the apparent/comparative rapid development of a bob major autopilot if this hadn’t, of course, given Niall ideas. I’m supposed to learn one of the inside pairs of bells for next Tuesday.^^ The trebles and tenors—the two outside pairs of bells (1-2 and 7-8 in major)—are easier. That’s easier, cough cough cough. But an inside pair, so the 3-4 or the 5-6 . . . well, insert extreme metaphor here. It’s like expecting someone who likes to eat chocolate to buy a cocoa farm.
^ Handbells are evil. Make a note.
^^ Yes. Extra handbells next week. Supposing that my train back to Rumbelow, where the small blue charger will be sitting in the car park, doesn’t spend an hour or two sitting in a siding/field somewhere.
†† He’s even cute, if you go for the radical mechanic look. The office is fabulous. It looks like mine only with more tools^—although they have actual filing cabinets as well as the piles on every flat surface. There was a large cardboard box labelled 1994 in the middle of the floor.
^ Okay, and fewer books.
††† Actually, first I said, let me take the dogs home. I’ll be back in ten minutes.
‡ It was sheeting with rain. Just by the way.
‡‡ There were also Strange Noises. And I’m sure some of the parts lying around had nothing to do with cars.
‡‡‡ As easy blog material goes, I could have done without this particular source.^
^ And I still haven’t told you about last night’s ghastly adventure, when WordPress refused to load my photos. The NEW! CAMERA! entry almost didn’t happen. Is Mercury retrograde or anything?
AND I’M BACK AT THE FRELLING BEGINNING AGAIN. Just enough time for a sprint through the thing again, trying to claw the worst remaining inconsistencies out of the corners—the ones that glow in the dark: the ones that don’t can just stay there—and put (light-proof) bags over their heads, tidy up the hemlines, which people seem to keep putting their feet through,* and send out job applications to be a tissue-folder in a Kleenex factory. AAAAUGH. But at least I’m away from the ending again.** Bangadangaporf. Frigglescorch. Imprecations. Etc. I know I’ve told this story before (it’s in the FAQ, I’m reasonably sure it’s somewhere in Days in the Life as well) but I remember writing Aerin’s first meeting with Maur in THE HERO AND THE CROWN, and how I went limping around the house for months*** because I suffer from the character-identification disease† and yes, actually, one of the reasons I don’t torture my main characters a lot is because it hurts. Well, I’ve been telling myself that one of the good things about getting old is that I don’t identify with my characters as much as I used to, which means that—brace yourselves, you’re going to find this one a little difficult to come to grips with—I don’t get as strung out about my stories as I used to—and in fact this is true. But ‘as strung out’ is one of those relative concepts. Nobody’s bleeding at the end of PEGASUS I, but . . . Well, maybe this’ll get my tail sufficiently on fire to rocket-launch me through PEGASUS II. One of the things that is increasingly preoccupying me at present†† is the thought that here it is October, I’ve had better than a year and a half on PEG I, I’m still running late . . . and I wanted to have PEG II done for NEXT AUTUMN???
You can hear me screaming from wherever you are.†††
* * *
* My heroine is short.
** I emailed a friend this afternoon just after I hit ‘control-home’^: ARGLEBACKLE UMFUMFESTERING GLARK I FUDGELFLABBING HATE THE IZZERGANDERING ENDING OF FRELLING PEGASUS. IT WAS BAD ENOUGH WHEN IT WAS THE END OF PART ONE AND YOU COULD TURN THE PAGE AND KEEP GOING. I HATE IT! HATE! Hate! Hate! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE! WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS FITZERBRANGING WRITING STORIES THING ANYWAY? WHY COULDN’T I HAVE BEEN AN ALLIGATOR WRESTLER OR SOMETHING SENSIBLE AND BETTER PAID? WHOSE CLEVER TOXITERTWERP IDEA WAS IT TO CUT PEGASUS INTO TWO BOOKS?
My friend wrote back: Oh sure, Alligator Wrestling LOOKS glamorous and easy… but the insurance premiums are a ratbag.
So I guess it’s back to grocery cart corral attendant. Those carts had better not try any funny stuff though or I’ll . . . I might be a better alligator wrestler.
^ I’m also into the Pathological Back-up Phase. PEGASUS at present exists on up to four computers and two memory sticks. I’m spending almost as much time updating back ups as I am telling minor anecdotes to keep it the frell down.
*** I don’t think this has a lot to do with the fact that this was shortly after I’d been mugged but it may have helped on the details.
† Which is one of those signifiers that I’m a cheap genre author. Bite me.^
^ Which is the sort of thing cheap genre authors say. Bite me again.
†† Which is just what I need, right now, less than a week before I am eaten by sharks, an additional preoccupation
††† Nor has it been the best of all possible days in other ways. In the first place, I stopped sleeping two nights ago.^ Let’s pretend that this explains the following story. I went up to Third House between morning hellhound-hurtling and lunch to water anything in a pot, since we haven’t had anything resembling rain in over a fortnight. It’s recycle collection week this week, which means you put out your bin with the cardboard, paper and certain specific bits of plastic^^ in it, and your green garden bag. Third House in its present unfortunate state of limbo^^^ takes a while to fill a bin, but the garden bag goes out every time. I drag it out to the street, and snuggle it up against the gatepost so I can’t run over it when Wolfgang and I and a backseat full of hellhounds reemerge.
I watered everything that needed watering, collected the empty cachepots for the new indoor bulbs that are accumulating (with the outdoor bulbs) at the cottage, and set off to the mews for lunch. All seems well—why shouldn’t everything be well?—and then halfway down the street there’s the most awful crunching thump. I can’t even imagine.^^^^ I look back . . . and there is some disturbingly familiar greenery lying in the road behind me. No.
Yes. I managed—somehow—to hook the compost bag with Wolfgang’s bumper, and it took half the length of the road to work itself underneath, get run over by a set of wheels, and thus wedge itself into the undercarriage in such a manner that . . . I having got out to view the situation . . . I can’t get it back out again. Can. Not. I spent a good ten minutes on my frelling knees in the frelling road, clawing^^^^^ the contents of the compost bag out all over the road till I could get at the bag and detach it from WHATEVER THE HELL IT HAD MANAGED TO HANG ITSELF UP ON. And then I got to go back to Third House and find a rake to get most of said contents back in the bag again . . . some of which, especially that which had been on the bottom of the bag for the last fortnight, were nothing I conspicuously wanted to come into close contact with in the first place. Fortunately Third House is on another little cul de sac and no one appeared during any of this operation snorting and pawing the ground and demanding to get past me and my curiously staged botanical post mortem. Although I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that my performance was dragging any number of people away from Sunday afternoon TV.
^ This morning’s service ring was a case of, What? I’m supposed to do what?
^^ there’s a list
^^^ First on MUST DO list, speaking of lists, is tackling the interior of poor Third House, after PEGASUS is enthusiastically embraced by everyone at my publisher. Please. Whimper.
^^^^ There are no appalling noises, so I’m assuming I haven’t run over one of the frelling neighbourhood cats, who like not only to lie in the road+, but to play chicken with cars. You know how invisible a grey and white tabby is on an asphalt road? Geez.
+ Having first extensively defecated in Third House’s garden
^^^^^ Speaking of clawing things out of small dark cramped spaces
Sorry about the monster photo . . . or anyway it’s a monster photo on my screen . . . the SUV That Ate the Internet.* Hastily writing to Blogmom . . . heeeeeeeelp . . .
But meanwhile, speaking of technology confounding me, as it does on a regular basis, my memory confounds me even oftener, and in combination . . . well. I meant to ask about a fortnight ago that everybody who should have received a klutzim klub membership card** and never did . . . please email me again. *** And I’ll send it again. Or in some cases I may be sending it the first time. I had graphic proof just a few days ago that I’m still not getting all the email that is sent to me. Sigh. We can only do what we can do. A signed copy of SUNSHINE also disappeared between here and Australia only a couple of months ago. That hurts. But I don’t mind sending out a few repeat membership cards . . . and besides, I have another silly game I want to play with anyone who wants another chance at a free signed book. I have a new set of Will Arrive Where Sent charms to glue on the envelope . We live (sillily) in hope.
* * *
*I always knew SUVs were up to no good. Oh, but I’m going to let this one live. At least till the window melts. That makes two: this one–which may in fact be a proper truck which does things like haul hay bales to snowy furballs in far flung fields reached only by deeply rutted tracks protected by trolls, in which case I apologise–and Obama’s Black Beast. Go Beast! We like this one! We want to keep him!
** Which membership cards, in case, with the passage of time, you’ve forgotten, look a lot like bookmarks with DRAGONHAVEN on one side and CHALICE on the other
*** Note that I’ve deleted all the klutzim requests–as I sent them out, you know. So you need to send me your full name and address–and preferably a reminder of your particular claim to klutzimhood, although this is not required–all over again.
I missed my train.
You will remember that I was going to London for the bookstore signing today. Hellhounds and I had our first proper walk in several days this morning* and then we came home and I hared round pulling everything off the clothes racks in the attic and hauling it downstairs and dumping it on the bed while I decided what I was going to wear to this momentous event.**
I had allowed lots of time. Lots. Which is not my modus operandi as you know. Driving to the station I was even singing.*** And then I got there and the car park I always use was full. It’s never full after 4 pm. Never. It was full today.
The big multi-storey across the street has been closed for renovation so long it’s become a very large piece of modern art.† That left several car parks I didn’t have time to walk back from and . . . The Station Car Park.
In the first place, the station car park is always full. It’s full at midnight. In the second place, I have history with the station car park.†† It was there that three years or so ago in an access of joy at seeing an empty space across the tarmac from me I turned sharply . . . and ran over a bollardy thing about eighteen inches high that I had no way of seeing, but which nonetheless took out the rear door on that side with no harm to itself. I–we, because Peter was with me–went to London anyway and the car was even still there when we got back, although as I recall Peter had to sit in back holding the door shut while I drove home (slowly)†††
And then there’s the fact that the station ticket meters are all possessed by demons. Even when you’ve managed to find a space to leave your car you have to be tortured by at least one meter if not two or three. They have a variety of stratagems: there’s the No, We Aren’t Accepting Any Coins Today, when you have the temerity to attempt to insert one, and it doesn’t go, and you think, is there some other slot to put coins in? And you try again, and you try a different coin . . . and eventually you start screaming, and then you move on to another machine. Then there’s the No We Don’t Like That One Give Us Another One, where every coin you put in instantly falls through, and pretty soon you don’t have any more coins to try, especially because the car park costs £257.35 and only takes coins.‡ And then there’s the Loggerhead Stratagem, which is when however many coins you put in, none of them either register or fall through Today’s adventure was mostly the last named with some of the second and a little of the first thrown in.
I spent a good ten minutes wrestling with the damn machine. I think it ate a few coins along the way: I sure didn’t seem to have as many at the end as I started with. Eventually I wrote a note saying I CAN’T GET YOUR MACHINE TO WORK and left it on the dashboard . . . and sprinted ‡‡ And saw my train pulling away from the station as I flung open the door.
Southwest Trains keeps changing its mind about whether you can buy a ticket on board or not. At present we’re in a If You Don’t Have A Valid Ticket When You Board We’re Gonna Fine Your Ass, which is extremely boring, because you may get there with fifteen minutes lead time, but only one ticket window open, and a queue that stretches to Calais.‡‡‡ This happened to me the last time I went up to London, to see Hannah.§
So, today, I bought a train ticket, from a machine.§§ Then I went and found a staff person and poured out my woeful story and he shook his head and said it was very bad and that I was likely to come back and find my car clamped. OH GODS. That’s just what I’m going to want, and cope well with, coming home late and brain-fried from an Author Appearance.
But All Is Not Lost (I Hope). He sold me a car park ticket . . . and then kept it, with the registration number§§§, which he said he would pass on. He said it very convincingly too, so while I write this in the train going home again I am reasonably hopeful of having an unclamped car when I arrive. . . .
The problem with Author Appearances is that I go into Full Public Mode and the me that all of you know, and who has some resemblance to my concept of real life, closes down and goes away for a while until she/I hears the all-clear and she/I/we sneak back and have a cautious look round before settling in again. I think it went okay, barring the ‘the person we’re all here for is late‘ aspect, although I suppose you could call that Making An Entrance. It’s a tiny store, so the–twenty? Maybe? Did anyone count?–people who were there made it look really packed full. Whew. Someone came. Upon request I read a bit aloud from CHALICE and from SUNSHINE¤ and I therefore failed to mention that I’d come prepared to read aloud from work in progress.¤¤ Then I answered a few questions, all of which have entirely escaped being copied into memory–except for the one about why I haven’t gone on with the Damar series, which was memorable for the fact that everyone who reads the blog moaned, and immediately crouched down and assumed the ‘crash’ position–and then I signed books. I signed rather a lot of books, since everyone who came seems to have brought their library with them.
Have I said here that signing books is the one thing about Author Appearances that I know I can do? Most of that relating to your audience thing I find rather risky and alarming, but I feel I know where I am signing books. And I positively like signing ancient falling-apart books, and people with ancient falling-apart copies of lots of my books are my friends. But not every writer feels this way–especially the seriously famous, the ones who have been writing a book a year for the last forty years, and those with tendonitis. None of this applies to me. I am happy to sign books as long as there are books to sign. But you might want to check first, next author signing you go to.
. . . And at this point I nearly missed getting off the train. Sigh. Well, I was writing, you see, even if it was only a blog entry, and I seem to have missed noticing the previous station altogether, and then I began to have a slightly twitchy feeling like maybe I’d been on this familiar train about long enough and I looked at my watch and EEEEEEK. Have you noticed how slowly computers close down? However I am now in a position to say categorically that the car was not clamped, and I didn’t run over any bollards either. And hellhounds were very glad to see me and had eaten their dinner.
And at this point I am going to bed. Having carefully neglected to identify any specific blog people in attendance this evening. Well, that’s up to you. I can still say embarrassing things tomorrow, depending on how revealing anyone’s comments are tonight. The thing is, I can delete you, but you can’t delete me very well.¤¤¤
* * *
* I do not like sick hellhounds. It upsets me. The walk we took today is probably our current Basic Walk, the one we take whenever I can’t think of anything else, which is to say three times a week or so. And it felt like years since we’d last done it.
** Including whether or not I was going to say the hell with it, no one was ever arrested for being mutton dressed as lamb, and wear the black denim mini. Yes. I officially gave up wearing it some time after I passed fifty, but every now and then I come all over funny and decide I have to wear it again in a totemic sort of way. I don’t think there are any photos however. I was wearing my full-length wide-boy black leather coat and when I wasn’t, I was hiding behind a desk. The pale-pink climbing-rose All Stars were fairly visible however. Mutton dressed as slightly mad lamb.
*** I sing now, you know. But I have to sing in the car because I haven’t got a shower. The resonances are really not as good.
† Representing the Failure of Modern Transport
†† [klutzim alert]
††† Possibly the only car jackers working that day were solo and hadn’t come prepared to tie doors shut
‡ If you see someone all bent over and jangling, they’re probably planning on parking at the train station some time soon.
‡‡ Thus discovering that my brand-new climbing-rose All Stars are very comfortable, thank you
‡‡‡ There’s this little pontoon bridge. . . .
§ . . . and I said, so, fine me, got on the train . . . and nobody asked for my ticket. This is not in fact as brilliant as it sounds A return–a round trip–has been known to cost less than a single (one way). And this meant I had to stand in the queue at Waterloo on my way home . . . and I nearly missed that train as a result.
§§ And it worked. They’re slipping.
§§§ Okay, I get points for this. He asked for my plate number and of course my mind instantly went blank. Numbers . . . letters . . . uh. But I remembered my insurance form. I not only remembered it, it was right where it ought to be. And it has the number plate number on it. Yaay.
¤ And the request wasn’t for vampires or undead unsex but for food^
^ Word spellcheck objects to ‘undead’ but not to ‘unsex’.
¤¤ Heh heh heh. PEGASUS or the short-short story for the new WATER. Heh.
¤¤¤ Well I am going to mention Hazel! Hazel is adorable! I want one! I’m sure she and the hellhounds would get along famously! She might even inspire Chaos to take to training! She also makes me wish I had girls again since I don’t think I’m going to try pink feather boas on the hellhounds! Hmmm . . . black, though. Silver? Purple?
Even as total searing ratbag days with added value gremlins and 50% extra FREE go, this has been AN UNUSUALLY CRUMMY DAY.
Darkness has the Streaming Yellow Squirts.
Computer Men were here for three hours. I have now begun a new, fresh list of the things that don’t work and mysterious error messages.
And in a manoeuvre of highest shiniest possibly Guinness record klutzery, I threw salad dressing all over the kitchen. I’m thinking, why is it that when you’re already under stress, you’re more likely to do something to increase it?
Darkness is at the moment a lot less bothered by his intestinal situation than I am. I am greatly bothered, both because no no no no no I can’t stand it, I can’t stand it any more, I can’t stand it for the next fifteen years, and also because I’m going to London on Thursday.* I do not want to be wondering what’s going on at home.**
I didn’t have as much time to traumatise this morning as I might however because we had to get our hurtle in sharpish to be prepared for the Descent of the Computer Men.*** I had a fairly long list of basilisks to be slain† and we all settled down in my workroom††, me to finish [sic] writing this really short, teeny weeny, nearly microscopic barely there short story for the extra material for the reissue of WATER–perching at the edge of the table that has my old electric piano keyboard on it, she who began all this piano nonsense three years ago, because that was the only space left†††, and Computer Men to do . . . whatever the heck it is that Computer Men do do, aside from speaking to each other in tongues.
A few of you who were so injudicious as to saunter through the forum this morning caught me in the act of whizzing around backstage posting reckless comments and trying to make various computers crash. Mine all crash with gay abandon, of course: wheeeeeeeeeee, splat. And then Computer Man B‡ set me up with one of their computers . . . and I couldn’t get it to crash for love, money, nor hellhound participation.
Put me back on one of mine and hey presto: prang.
So. Software. Eenie, meenie, miney, mo. . . .
To make a long, gruesomely continuing story short, they’ve taken away my Oxford English Dictionary‡‡ and my thesaurus. I can’t bloody live without my thesaurus–never could, and with advancing middle-toward-disintegration age it’s getting worse fast–but the awful, horrible, unspeakable, Lovecraftian truth is that the Oxford iFinger set–compact dictionary, thesaurus, book of quotations and itty bitty encyclopedia–has always been cranky and unstable and prone to popping up where you don’t want it. I still use it about a million times a day. Computer Man A said comfortingly, maybe you just need an update . . . but the amazon customer reviews slam the latest update in terms that sound only too familiar to me juggling the old one. If anyone can recommend a software thesaurus (or better yet a package), please say so pleeeeease? I want something I can load and have and use, like on a train or an airplane.‡‡‡ I also don’t do wireless–I have a rant about wireless, but I’ll merely say here that wireless is one of the many things implicated in ME, and I’m not going there–so when I take my laptop to bed, I want to take my external vocabulary with me. Yes, of course I still have my ancient well-worn paper Roget. I still use it too, because it’s ultimately better than the Oxford (say I). But I put up with enough nonsense from my computers: I want the good stuff as well as the virtual blocked drains and the funny smells and the mice eating your flower bulbs and the delivery man not knocking loudly enough even though you’re there and putting one of those slips through your door that says ‘hi, we tried to deliver a package today, and you weren’t there, and if you want your package now you’re going to have to drive to Canada, bringing sixteen pieces of photo ID and a full set of mature hen’s teeth. By Tuesday, or we’ll send it back.’
Meanwhile I can’t decide if I want the answer to be the Oxford iFinger or not. A solution would be wonderful . . . but my thesaurus. . . . Without my thesaurus, you don’t want me on the forum. Remember that question every relatively median, unchallenged kid goes through a period of asking every relatively median, unchallenged person he or she knows: Which would you rather be, blind or deaf? NEITHER ONE.
And then the salad dressing. . . . Computer Men had finally left, smiling benignly,§ and I was finally going to have lunch. I’d fed hellhounds and Peter was having his coffee and playing patience. I was shaking the bottle of salad dressing. The thing is I’d checked that the cap was on tight, but it’s one of those horrible narrow necks with only about a quarter-turn of ridge for the cap brim to tuck itself under. And this particular salad dressing did not want to homogenise. And then the lid came off.
And I had salad dressing all over the kitchen. It came out with such violence that where there’s a small gap between the doors of my below-counter cupboard, it had sprayed through the crack and all over the contents of the cupboard. And no, despite the evils of menopause, this was not a low-fat dressing. This was the proper oil-based item.
And I stood there, dripping with salad dressing, and screamed I hate my life! I hate my life! I hate my life! And danced up and down on the spot once or twice for good measure§§, like a toddler having a tantrum.
Peter went on playing patience.
Hellhounds remained in their crate.
They know me well.
I now have a very, very, very, very, very, very clean kitchen. The Aga still smells faintly of hot salad dressing but it will have to do.
And now it’s time to try to post this and see if I can make anything untoward happen.§§§
And if Obama doesn’t win tomorrow, I’m moving to Pluto. No, Eris. No, Chiron. Why, as the saying goes, on earth, would you name something after Eris? If she were still Xena, I’d move there. It’s almost far enough away from Sarah Palin.¤ Not quite. Almost. Chiron isn’t really far enough at all, but I’d rather live with a centaur than a goddess of war with a seriously dysfunctional kid.
There’s a positive forest of lit candles going here. . . . No, no, I will blow them out very carefully before I go to bed. . . .
* * *
*Don’t forget: Murder One, 76-78 Charing Cross Road, easy walking distance from Waterloo station and around the corner from the Leicester Square tube stop, 6 pm Thursday the 6th of November. Be there or be square.
** You do not want me to be wondering what’s going on at home. Sunshine? What about it? It’s gone till March. Vampires? Vampires? Oh, don’t bother me. . . .
*** Look! What is that strange silvery object in the sky! What is that strange purple light–AAAAAAAAAAAUGH!
† That phrase originally read ‘dragons to be slain’ and I wrote it and looked at it and thought, dragons! We don’t slay dragons in this house! Now all I have to do is write a story about friendly basilisks^ and . . . we’re back to Cthulhu.
^ They wear blindfolds in case of accidents
†† Hellhounds were delighted. More people. More! Computer Man A has to be somewhat protected from canine enthusiasm^, but Computer Man B, who has a dog of his own, is fair game.
^ I think I’ve blogged before about Chaos’ interesting habit of rubbing his head fondly against the inside of your thigh . . . and then raising his head sharply like Grond against the gates of Gondor. I’m a girl, I don’t have dangly bits, I don’t much care.^ Computer Man A turned an interesting shade of puce. Computer Man B knows to dodge.
^ Yup. Fabulously irresponsible. Yup.
††† Which involved one foot in the hellhound bed. This delighted them possibly even more than the invasion of Computer Men.
‡ I am still resisting naming them because they shouldn’t be regulars in the blog dramatis personae and I feel as soon as I give them names they really are going to move in. It’s a small house, what if they snore? I used to worry about this when there was only one of them. I’m a light sleeper. Fortunately. Given hellhound digestion.
‡‡ Yes, the huge eleventy-seven volume one. The one that you go to look up a word and four hours later you notice it’s got dark out. Or possibly light.
‡‡‡ Okay, train. Since I’m not going anywhere farther than two hours from home for the next fifteen years.
§ Wait’ll they get the new list, tomorrow morning.
§§ See: 50% extra FREE
§§§ Computer Men are sufficiently clued in, having spent a lot of time on this blog and forum themselves in the last few weeks, to request humbly the Lighting of Candles.
¤ Blackbear sends us this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh9BmNuqeiQ