Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Please, Not Like This, I'm Wearing DangerMouse Knickers and Mismatching Socks!

So, one thing you've got to understand about me is I have a completely over-active imagination. If I see a leaf fly past my bedroom, it has not simply fallen off a tree, it has been kicked off the roof by a serial killer who is stalking along the side of the house, preparing to swing down, launch themselves through my bedroom window, kill me with a crow bar, and then eat my head whilst they try on all of my bras. In honour of Hallowe'en, the five year anniversary of the time I accidentally got myself suspended from school and therefore a very special day for me, I am going to regale you all with a tale of horror from earlier on in my week that, due to aforementioned over-active imagination, turned into one of the most frightening experiences of my life.

I arrived home from work at approximately 8:46pm on Thursday evening. It was a cold, rainy October night and the low fog that had been hanging over my village for the past week seemed denser than usual, as though the weather was shielding from me something sinister, something... evil. A black cat crossed my path, averting its eyes so as not to meet my gaze, letting out a long, mournful meow. I continued on, a chill making its way up my spine as the cat meowed again. Reaching the middle of the street, I looked up at my house, silhouetted against the backdrop of a starless sky. Three witches stood outside, a bubbling cauldron in front of them. The cat meowed once more. My blood ran cold. "Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd!"

Wait. Hang on. That's Macbeth... That's not what happened, I got confused. What did happen, however, was I got home and my house alarm was wailing, leading me to the natural conclusion that a killer was in there and, as my mum was away for the night in London (globe trotter that she is), there was no way that I was about to enter the house alone. I ran in, did a quick shufti around the kitchen to check the coast was clear, entered the alarm code so it stopped screaming the street down (thanks for coming to help by the way, neighbours...), and then legged it back out onto my drive and rang my dad.
"There's a killer in the house," was my opening line, to which I could practically hear my dad rolling his eyes. "Come round immediately and save your child."
Instead of turning up at my house as fast as humanly possible and acting as my protector, my dad insisted on staying on the phone as I circled the house, whimpering, and checked that none of the windows had been broken into. May I just say, not the same. After resting assured that no one had squeezed their way through the downstairs bathroom window with an axe, I plucked up all my courage and went through the front door, still occasionally spitting words like "killer" and "precious baby girl" down the phone to my dad. On his advice, I turned around to lock the door (still keeping my keys in my hand in case I had to use them to fight off enemies) and noticed that my hand was covered in blood. Blood. If the house alarm wasn't enough reason for me to have a legitimate freak out, a limb covered in blood of an unknown provenance definitely was. I was now having a full on nervy b (nervous breakdown, obviously) whilst my dad, who was acting almost insultingly cavalier given the situation, told me to run my hand under the tap and check I'd not just accidentally cut myself. Determined to be correct about a killer, I begrudgingly rinsed my hand, realising as I did so that there was a cut on my finger that I must have acquired from the pebble dashing as I went around the back of the house, not feeling it due to the sheer amount of terror-induced adrenaline pumping through my body. The appearance of blood had put me on red alert and I crept slowly and cautiously around the house, checking each room twice, making sure my dad was prepared to send help if I was suddenly viciously attacked by a serial killer wearing my bra. By the time I got to the bathroom, I was certain that someone was in there. If you've ever watched a horror film, then you'll know that the bathroom is always the killer's chosen hang out spot, and the chances of me finding one in there were (in my head) very high. It was at this moment that my hilarious father decided to yell, "ARRGHH!" down the phone, very nearly sending me into cardiac arrest and prompting an early death. As my life flashed before my eyes, all I could think was, "Please, not like this, I'm wearing DangerMouse knickers and mismatching socks!" Decidedly uncool. My father obviously did not care in the slightest that his precious baby girl, his youngest child, was about to have her eyeball sockets turned into condiment holders.

As it transpired, there was no killer in the house. Well, either that, or they are still in hiding, which is quite impressive and, fair play to them, they deserve to kill me, eat me, and wear as much of my underwear as they like. They can even have my DangerMouse knickers.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

I Don't See Nothin' Wrong With A Little Bump n' Grind

Each day, the average adult requires at least half an hour of relatively vigorous exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent dropping dead at the ripe old age of 25. Despite having the occasional multi-pack single packet of crisps and having a few pints every day now and then, I lead a very health conscious lifestyle. I always walk to work (because I have no other option), and I have never, not once, not even when I was unemployed and miserable, eaten an entire circle of Camembert cheese in one sitting. That definitely did not happen at all.
So. Anyway. Exercise. According to this 'half an hour a day rule' that everyone refers to but no one can actually cite reference to, I should be exercising for 30 minutes per 24 hours. I don't mean to be a diva, but this doesn't really fit comfortably into my schedule of working, drinking and eating cheese, so instead I play squash for one and a half hours on a Monday and, if we're going by a roll over system here, that should do me until Thursday. Right? Right. So on Thursdays, I go swimming for an hour, and then that lasts me until the weekend, and I don't exercise on the weekend because the Sabbath is a day of rest, and who am I, a lowly peasant, to argue with the Lord? My sister Kezia and I have recently taken squash back up after a hearty eight year rest, during which Kezia stayed pretty much the same size and I, naturally, got fat. (There may or may not be a direct correlation between the amount of cider and Camembert I consumed over the years and the percentage by which my weight increased). I blame any and all excess weight from the ages of 13 to 22 on the squash coach we had when we were younger who went to the trouble of enforcing a ban on Kezia and I playing against each other, citing 'physical violence' as the main issue. I feel Kezia herself is also partially to blame for the demise of my once lean and slender (ish) body. You know when people get a really misbehaved cat after it acted all cute at the shelter and then turned out to be a little shit, so they spray it with water every time it is naughty and thus the cat starts to associate bad behaviour with being drenched with water out of an old Mr. Muscle bottle? Well that is what exercise is to me. I became conditioned to expect pain (being hit with Kezia's squash racket) every time I was involved in any kind of strenuous activity and thus avoided it at all costs. What surprised me the most, however, is that Kezia was oddly unaffected by these violent games and did not appear to be tormented by similar demons, despite me once almost (accidentally, I feel I should stress) drowning her to the point where she turned blue, cried, and had to go see the camp counsellor... Maybe my mistake was just doing it the one time. Perhaps she had to almost die every time we went swimming for it to work properly. Oh well. You live and you learn.

Although it fits in well with my roll over system, Thursday night swimming is not as fun as it could be, as, apparently, Thursday night swimming is also a big hit with the dreaded teacher-swimmers. Teacher-swimmers are the worst kind of swimmers you can encounter in the pool and, if possible, they should be avoided at all costs. If you are not familiar with these creatures, they are hoards of women who are often, but not necessarily, of the teaching profession and can be aged anywhere between 30 and 60. Teacher-swimmers do not enjoy getting their hair wet and thus swim at approximately 0.2 miles per hour in order to create minimal splash. In itself, this is not necessarily a problem, but these woman often feel that they simply do not see enough of each other throughout the week and that they just don't have enough chance to chat properly at work/at staff meetings/at dinner/on staff nights out, and this is where the real problem begins. In order to continue their chatter about which staff members they dislike, why Little Timmy is mixed race when the rest of his siblings are suspiciously not, and who left those inappropriate photos on the school camera, the teacher-swimmers swim five abreast, effectively taking up at least two thirds of the swimming pool and making it incredibly difficult to get out of once you find yourself caught behind a pack. With this in mind (and taking into account that there are only so many accidental kicks on the way past you can get away with), we decided to change our swimming to Tuesday nights instead. Tuesday nights, however, are filled by one of the worst things to come out of the 20th century after shoulder pads - aqua aerobics. Or, as our local pool has taken it upon itself to call it, aquasize. If there was one thing in this world that I am not at all suited to, aerobics is it. My hand-eye coordination is spot on (if I do say so myself), but when it comes to doing anything that requires any kind of coordination at all or, God forbid, grace, then I am not the person for it. Nothing has made me re-evaluate my life more than being in a swimming pool doing something that can only be described as 'prancing' amidst of a group of middle aged women, two of whom couldn't even swim and as such had to stand in the shallow end with a float while the rest of the class (the advanced ones, if you will) paddled to the deep end. Who goes to an aqua-aerobics class without being able to swim?! I mean, come on, really?

Weight-loss fanatics are everywhere you go these days. I heard two women talking at work the other day about WeightWatchers as they stood behind the counter admiring the cakes. "Oooh, it's really good!" said one of them, "My friend Julie lost ten pounds!" to which the other one replied, wait for it, "What? In weight?"... In weight. It took every ounce of self-restraint I had not to walk up to her and say, "no, dickhead, she got mugged on the way in," but I didn't, because I am a respectful member of staff, and I instead politely asked them if they would like a sample of cake. I've been on my best behaviour at work recently with just a few minor hiccoughs - apparently, it is mildly inappropriate to sing R Kelly's Bump N' Grind behind the counter whilst bumping and grinding against other members of staff. Who knew? Personally, I don't see nothing wrong with it...