I’ve done my back in. Somehow. I think it’s done me in, I don’t think I had anything to do with it. I can just about wiggle my fingers on a keyboard without screaming. I expect to hear a giant exhalation of grim sympathy echoing across the networld at this admission. How many people haven’t put their back out some time or other? I am perhaps especially sulky because I don’t have back trouble any more, not in years and years, although the sheer lack of sleep the last three nights could explain any crankiness. But my chronic (cranky-making) insomnia doesn’t hurt.
I can no longer remember the order in which I took, as one might say, steps, toward muscular-skeletal harmony. Unfortunately I think the important one was finally giving up high heels. SIIIIIGH. I realise you have immediately lost all respect for me and I agree that high heels as standard is, um, not in the best interests of yourself and good relations with your pelvis and your spine, let alone of walking quickly*, but I wore them for dress-up for many years** and because I am a silly person I’ve kept a few of my favourite pairs because they’re friends.*** But the point is I STOPPED HAVING BACK TROUBLE, FREAKING DINGBLAST IT, and I am not greeting its return with open arms. Hey, raising my arms hurts.
The (*&^%$£”!!!!!!!!!!!!! pain is the main thing, of course, but also the TACTICS involved in bearing a yelling, twanging, non-functional back? I’m just about getting away with hurtling Genghis, although Genghis would tell you our walks the last few days are not the best he’s ever had, and there’s a lot of suppressed yelping going on from the human on the far end of the lead. But let’s talk about feeding the dog? His bowl is on the floor. Um. First you have to get down there to pick it up. One hand on counter, one hand on stepstool, begin to lower rigidly upright body floorward. Take third hand—I mean first hand—cautiously remove from counter and place on corresponding thigh. Brace. Bring knee matching second hand gently into contact with floor. Pause to yelp. Bring other knee to floor. Gasp. Now pick up the bowl?? And stand UP? Are you JOKING? And then fill bowl with food so it is now HEAVIER, and put it ON THE FLOOR FOR THE DOG? Maybe there are worse things than having a dog that eats off the table.†
We will not discuss the insurmountable problems of, for example, getting dressed. Catching your feet in the suddenly labyrinthine legs of your jeans. The sheer impossibility of putting your shoes on. Having somehow dragged socks on first. Also my socks are in the bottom drawer.
I have to put the dustbins out tonight. Wish me luck.
My back will get better. It has to.
* * *
* That’s what CONVERSE ALL STARS were made for.
** I’m such a girl. Peter derived a good deal of fun out of commenting on the difference between walking with me when we were out with the dogs at home in Hampshire, AKA Rampaging Across the Countryside, and tittuping down a London street toward the English National Opera or some goofy white-linen-tablecloth restaurant that had both good champagne and the leather-tongue French reds Peter loved.^ I got a certain amount of my own back however when I bought what Peter dubbed my French schoolgirl shoes, or rather boots, which were flat black leather lace-ups—there were freaking more tiny holes to thread your laces through than I have ever seen ANYWHERE else, they climbed halfway up your calves, seeking, and no doubt puzzled at the lack of, fastenings to a chastity belt—with a demure leather bead across the smoothly rounded toes. French convent schoolgirl shoes, I think. But I could WALK in them. And then I found out that the long swirly skirts I favour UNDID THE BLASTED LACES when we were going at speed, which restarted both the spousal hilarity and the tittuping.^^ Arrrgh.
I think I’ve told you I’ve found a non-damaging and non-infuriating work-around, since my going-to-restaurants-and-live-theatre days are past, for my (girlie) affection for long swishy skirts? That I started sleeping in dresses I could answer the door in because I live alone and can guarantee that any night I’ve stayed up particularly late there will be some gargleblasted delivery at 7 or 8 am the next morning?^^^ But this also means that every morning when I fall (crankily) out of bed^^^^ some cheering-up happens because I am wearing a long twirly dress and I can go on wearing it till I have to gird various body parts in sturdy denim to take Genghis out for his hurtle. Any legal method that makes mornings, and the prospect of all the stuff you should have done yesterday or last month that you aren’t going to get done today either, less appalling, is worth investing in. I have quite a few long swirly dresses at this point. All of them machine-washable, none of them having seen an iron since they were purchased, and all of which would probably get me stopped at the door of any white-linen restaurant. Especially because I’m barefoot and wearing a lurid apron.
^ Ah those were the days. Although I miss them less than you might think. Live broadcast opera is great for those of us whose allergy to other human beings+ is increasing with age and things like global pandemics, and I really don’t miss the days after the nights before—it only takes about two glasses and an unwise hors d’oeuvre to do me in; we’re not talking a gorge-fest here—but my first mouthful of Vieux Telegraphe I admit was a mind-blowing and transformative experience.++
What I miss is Peter. Going on eight years and counting. Sigh.
+ call it agoraphobia if you wish. But it’s not the marketplace, it’s the people.
++ I still have the (empty) bottle. Of course. You’re developing an understanding of why this four-bedroom-plus-attic house is JAMMED WITH STUFF?
^^ Yes I still have these shoes too.
^^^ While I admit that the missed deliveries, brain-exploding frustration and general mayhem of having no doorbell for about eight months wasn’t worth it, not being awakened by loud bonging noises four or five hours after you finally got into bed had its attractions.+
+ I can’t remember if I’ve told you about the epic effort to find a doorbell that has more than one Bonging Unit? Doorbells are wireless, these days, which is a good thing in theory, your electrician dorks around with the fancy stuff outside and then all you have to do is plug the bonging unit(s) into handy wall outlets inside. Except most doorbell packages only come with one unit. WHAT? Lots of people live in houses that are more than one room AND have those remarkable heat-saving inventions, internal doors. When I’m shut in the kitchen with a large snoring dog and the radio on I don’t hear a single bonging unit singing to itself in the hall. If I’m asleep# with a pillow over my head## I don’t hear a single bonging unit singing in the kitchen, especially if that door is closed, which during the winter it most certainly is, so the Aga can get on with keeping my heating bills down, as she’s supposed to.
My lovely electrician### had to fossick in dangerous professionals-only sites, where you had to know your Ohms from your Circuit Protective Conductors before they let you in, to find a two-unit gizmo. So I now have a doorbell with two Bonging Units. Yaay. HOWEVER in this over-specified, choice-heavy world, where something doesn’t work in sixteen different ways#### instead of working in one way, you have eighty-nine choices of bong. If any of them were amusing it would help, but they aren’t.= They’re all either boring or migraine-instigating. I have settled for the basic old-fashioned doorbell noise==.
THE BUTTONS TO CHANGE YOUR RINGTONE ARE DOWN THE SIDE OF THE UNIT, SO YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY TOUCH IT, LET ALONE PICK IT UP, WITHOUT CHANGING YOUR FRELLING RINGTONE. AND THEN YOU HAVE TO CLICK THROUGH THE EIGHTY-EIGHT OTHER CHOICES TO GET BACK TO YOURS. SLOWLY. BECAUSE EACH RINGTONE HAS TO GO GLEEP BEFORE YOU CAN FORGE ON TO THE NEXT ONE. Did they hire a designer to come up with this plan?===
# or pretending to be asleep, which is likelier
## Ear plugs and eye masks make me hysterical with claustrophobia. Pillow over my face, no problem. Go figure.
### Out of all 1,000,000,000,000,000 workmen~ involved in the, as you might say, monumental renovations on this house, I think my electrician is the only one whose guts I don’t want on a plate. Not least because he’s pretty much the only one who answers my phone calls now that I’m no longer a Big Client that he can expect to put his kids through college on the paid invoices of.~~
~ and yeah, I’m afraid I mean men.
~~ possibly these statistics would be more favourable if not all of the work force were MEN?? Just sayin’. And yes, I’d’ve hired women if I’d known of any who did joinery, plumbing, etc. The backwoods of Scotland may conceivably be a little behind the times about this. At least I hope this counts as behind the times.
#### I KEEP PUTTING OFF ANOTHER RANT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY BECAUSE I WILL MELT THE LAPTOP AND SCARE THE DOG.
= NOT AN IPHONE FAN, speaking of possessed-by-demons technology, but it does bark for a phone call and sound a hunting horn for Robin Hood when a text comes in.>
> When it’s in the mood, that is. See: all technology is possessed by demons. It’s bad enough I’m a space cadet my own flesh-and-blood dingbat self, I regularly am not informed I have a phone call or a text because my iPhone doesn’t feel like telling me just then.@ It’s dyeing its eyelashes or something and doesn’t want its concentration disturbed.
@ or an email, because Outlook doesn’t feel like it. ARRRRRRRRRRGH. ::fights off almost overwhelming urge to rant about technology::
== I was reading—probably a silly murder mystery; when the ME turns my brain to jello I mostly read murder mysteries—where someone says of mobile phones, ‘oh, everybody has old-dial-phones ringtones’. What planet is this person living on? I must have been reading fantasy and didn’t realise. I don’t know ANYONE who has an old-fashioned landline ringtone on their mobile. >
> Okay, I admit, this is a statistically small sample, and probably somewhat skewed from the population in general.
=== Hey, good excuse not to dust the thing. I’m always looking for good excuses not to dust things. I’ll settle for bad excuses.
^^^^ WHAM. Grace is not in my gift.
*** It’s not anthropomorphising. They’re shoes. They’re also friends.^ And your point would be?
^ Also I never throw anything out. Which is why the four bedrooms and attic of this house are JAMMED FULL. See above. Stuff that isn’t friends and is in good shape can go to charity shops. Stuff that has Loyally Worn Itself Out in My Service is only going to get binned at a charity shop and it has earned a peaceful retirement. Dusty, crowded and disorganised, but peaceful. Some day I really have to get into the attic and . . .
Plus empty wine bottles the draining of which marked important occasions. I even remember what most of those occasions were. These are mostly out on shelves. Sometimes decorated with flowers, ribbons, dangling tchotchkes, etc.
† But not very many. We aren’t there yet. At present I’m just white with muffled agony at every meal. And I’ve told you that I hide treats around the house for him to find every day after lunch?^ The last few days they’re all at human waist level. For some reason. Fortunately he is a tall dog with a long neck.
^ SOME DAY I’m going, not only to ask Blogdad to teach me how to load a video on the blog, but to take notes so that I can still do it more than two minutes after he’s rung off, and then I will give you a video of Genghis in treat-hunting mode. I don’t think it’s only the fond-owner thing that makes this, on occasion, very entertaining. Yes, I know I promised you mere still photos of Genghis as soon as I was installed in my permanent Flying Piano home, and no, it hasn’t happened, and it won’t surprise you to know this isn’t Blogdad’s fault, although THE PERVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY certainly comes into it.