Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Falling Down (Again)

Let me tell you about my day.

Normally my life is a pretty dull affair. I get up, I go to work, I go home, I eat, I watch telly, I sleep. There are sporadic periods of neurotic angst thrown in to spice things up now and again, but for the most part I've become a rather dull version of myself now that I'm into my late 30's.

But today was different. And not in a good way. The morning was unremarkable, except for an unwelcome fire drill. Every Wednesday morning the fire alarm goes off at work and is duly ignored. Everyone knows it's a test. But today it went off for a second time. In a this-is-not-a-test sort of way. So we grabbed our coats and headed outside. For me this means waiting next to a lift which has recently been shut off and needs to be operated by a colleague with an evacuation key. All of which delays my exit long enough to ensure that when I get outside I am at the back of an army of students discussing I'm A Celebrity, TOWIE and Embarrassing Bodies. When I finally found my colleagues the freedom of being outside the office had clearly got to some of them. The level of banter was beyond banal.

An hour later I risk another foray into the outside world for my dinner. It was an ill-fated decision to say the least. As I was crossing the road three of my work colleagues walked up next to me. I asked them where they were going and they told me that they were going to Hemingways, which is a cafe just across the road from work. I go here often, but this looked like a girlie lunch and I didn't want to impose. Besides I had already half decided to take the risk of heading into the city centre. I say goodbye and we go our separate ways.

As I'm rolling down Stanley Street in Liverpool, towards the city centre, I'm thinking of just about everything except where I am going and what I am doing. Suddenly, quite inexplicably and unexpectedly, I hit a crack in the pavement. Before I even know this I am on all fours on the pavement, crawling around groping for my wheelchair. It's all very undignified but I manage to stop it before it rolls through the front window of the bloody Lobster Pot. As I do this, at least three people stop to try and help me. Everyone means well, but there are times when you wish that they didn't. It may sound harsh, but wouldn't it be better if, in this kind of embarrassing scenario, everyone just turned the other way and pretended that nothing had happened? Unless I'm mortally wounded then I don't really want help after falling out of my chair. I'm not mortally wounded, but my left wrist is very sore. You can write your own jokes about that.

The lunch-time that never ends moves on to Burger King, where another well-meaning able-bodied person gives up his seat for me. There are literally no other seats available, so it's a kind gesture. The kind of help you want if you are hungry and have just suffered the indignity of doing an Ashley Young in a busy Liverpool street. Just as I am about to leave I run into an old mate from my old basketball team. He tells me that he is not married any more (he got married about five minutes ago as far as I'm aware) and that he and another of my friends aren't really seeing much of each other. I tell him to get it sorted and promise to get in touch. I'll probably end up playing referee as the two of them try to outdo each other in the field of vodka-induced pettiness, but a good night will be had by all nonetheless I'm sure. As long as I can get the two of them in the same room.

I'm very late back for work by now and yet I run into another acquaintance. I relay my falling-out-of-chair story and he dazzles me with tales of going to Italy, Amsterdam and Sydney. This man is hardly ever in the country. Not a bad way to live your life, and it is genuinely nice to catch up with him. Same goes for the other bloke. A rare positive on a day of absurd levels of indignity.

The next of which comes at the Boots across the road from work. Not only have I hurt my wrist on my lunch break, but it also transpires that I have a searingly damaging dose of the screaming ab-dabs. The shits, not to put too fine a point on it. I need something to stop it, quickly. Again I have made a poor decision. All I asked for is a standard box of Immodium. The type you can buy over the counter almost anywhere. This isn't Breaking Bad. I'm not trying to buy Crystal Meth. I just want to stop shitting. At that point I am shitting through spaces which consider the eye of a needle to be spacious and roomy. Yet they are not going to sell me the tablets. They ask if I am on any other medication and, without thinking it through and lying blatantly, I admit that I am on medication for my kidneys and my sodium levels. If I had known that the inquisition which followed was going to take place I would have lied. I just never expected it to be a problem. It caught me off guard. Rather like the shits itself does. So anyway I am there fully 10 minutes waiting for the Boots staff to stop conferring about whether I can take Immodium without spontaneously combusting. The staff and I have a staggeringly unintelligent circular conversation about this and I'm reminded of the Monty Python sketch in which the man goes in for an argument and complains that all he is getting is contradiction. This isn't an argument. Yes it is. No it isn't. And so on.


At last, mercifully, thankfully, they agree that it is safe to sell me the Immodium. Who would have thought it? I've only been taking it for a bad stomach for pretty much my entire life. It would have served the jobsworth right if I'd have failed to hold on any longer while I was waiting and endured a Spud-From-Trainspotting soiling moment. That doesn't bear thinking about, clearly, but there might be those who would consider shitting on someone's shop floor to be a suitable form of revenge for contributing to the delay in halting my illness.

I'm feeling better now, you will be glad to know, although my left wrist is still a little bit sore. It's only ten to 5, however, and I am about to phone the chemist about my other medication which is often a challenge that Anneka Rice would baulk at.

It's just another day.

No comments: