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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

I have a habit, of an evening, of sitting backwards on our sofa, legs tucked underneath me and with my back to the room, staring directly at He Who Only… as he watches whatever sport he’s managed to find being televised. I’ve learned through a process of trial and error that this is the best way of eventually breaking his concentration, ruining his enjoyment of said sporting function, redirecting his attention to me and at the same time appearing to be endearing.

This is one of only about 20,000 little things that He Who Only… has to tolerate on a daily basis while having the pleasure of co-habiting with me. I’m beginning to wonder when his patience will finally run out.

So I’ve started to ask him this at about 2 in the morning, every morning, just as he’s drifting off to sleep, while prodding him hard in the ribs and simultaneously kicking his ankles. He has yet to provide me with a coherent answer, but only responds in what sounds suspiciously like muffled sobbing and a broken spirit.

On Saturday afternoon, though, I surpassed myself in the Lets-See-How-Much-I-Can-Throw-At-Him stakes, in terms of overemotional and incoherent mood swings. I was struggling with my last essay, a beautifully crafted question that basically said “tell us all you understand about the entire course in no more than 2,000 words and by God make it interesting”, to which I was in the middle of replying “God, oh God, I don’t know anything about a course I’ve been studying for eight months, my life is hell and I’m obviously retarded”.

The essay, in short, was not going well.

Having struggled with the question for most of the week and not gotten past the point at which I was supposed to be laying the grounds of my argument - the main thing that was blocking my progress was that I didn’t have an argument, because I didn’t understand the question - I had decided that, instead of angrily reading the same sentences over and over again while glaring accusingly at my text books for not growing mouths and telling me the answer themselves, I would go down the shop, get some bread, make some toast and to hell with writers block.

I went to the shop. I got some bread. I came back. I put bread in the toaster. I poured myself a healing glass full of chilled diet coke, talked myself down from the ledge, decided to give up on the essay for a couple of hours, calm down, not be grumpy and everything would be fine. Toast popped. I opened the flip down lid of our new squeezy marmite, stared at said lid, threw the marmite at the wall, stamped my feet, screamed a wide range of profanities and burst into tears.

Lid was covered in ants. In our flat, if it’s not the mice, it’s the ants.

I went totally crazed. He Who Only… came rushing into the kitchen, assuming some kind of terrible accident had befallen me. He found me weeping over some unseasoned toast, gibbering about ants and mice and flats and essays. Instead of slapping me round the face for being hysterical (as I’m sure he would have liked to), he told me he’d clean the entire kitchen and put down more ant spray.

This he did, while I lay face down on our bed, weeping about the hand that life had played me and being entirely ungrateful for the fantastic work that even then was happening in our kitchen by my long-suffering better half.

I repayed him for his kindness later that evening by spending a good ten minutes making a high pitched shrieking noise directly in his ear while he was trying to watch the Ryder Cup.


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