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Dreadful Nonsense

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

Looking up at the stars

In my gym, the way down to the basement swimming pool brings you along the main stairs that connects reception to the changing rooms. Because it’s a women-only health club (filled, as you’d expect, with rampant tattooed lesbians and modestly covered Muslim and Jewish ladies in equal part) most people walking this route don’t cover themselves up particularly well, as there are no horrible men to spoil our fun. There is also a strange policy that allows, at certain allocated times during the week and weekend, any women with kids to bring their children in to the gym, so long as said children are female (or male under 2 years old).

I was happily on my way to the pool this morning, clomping down the stairs in my flip flops that have the hardest soles known to mankind and enjoying the echoing sounds they make around the walls, when a little girl, no more than two and half years old, turned around and yelled back up the stairs: “IS THAT YOU?”

I was slightly taken aback, and may have even stopped where I stood on the stairs. “Is that me… making the noise?” I asked.

She nodded.

“Um… yes,” I said. I felt chastised. By a two and a half year old.

“THERE’S SOMETHING ON YOUR LEG!” she yelled up at me.

I urgently examined my legs. A new bruise? A big spider? A previously undiscovered scar? I couldn’t see anything. I looked down the stairs at her, my eyes pleading for clarification.

“YOU’VE GOT STARS ON YOUR LEG!” she yelled in explanation.

“I’ve got stars on my foot,” I corrected her, starting to walk down the stairs again.

She paused for a moment to let me past, concentrating her entire attention now on my right foot.

“… YOU’VE GOT STARS ON YOUR FOOT!” she yelled again, just so we were both clear.

“Yes, I do” I answered, stopping then to have this whole thing out once and for all. “Do you like them?”

She thought about it for at least 10 seconds and then whispered “(…yes)”.

“Thank you, “ I said, and attempted to carry on towards the pool while her Mum tried to coax her out to reception.

We nearly got away with it too, until the little girl suddenly started up again “I’VE GOT LIPSTICK ON MY MOUTH!”

I thought that at least deserved a response, so I turned briefly, told her she was looking very pretty, and hastily continued towards the pool, just in case she had one final retort in reserve.

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