When was the last time you slept in a bathroom?

I have cold, and can’t really sleep lying down.  I don’t make a very good sick person, and like to sleep when I know I’m not missing anything.  I also remember all my dreams and feel sad if I don’t get to have any.

On Sunday night, I couldn’t sleep at all.  As the pillows crept further and further up the headboard, I knew this was a battle I would not win.  I reached for the toilet roll I’d been using to blow my nose every five minutes, and realised I’d run out.  I went into the bathroom to get more, and actually fell asleep on the toilet, mid-sneeze.

This was not, however, the first time I found myself sleeping in a bathroom.  The first time was at the end of my second trip to Paris.  My reason for the trip doesn’t bear repeating, except to say that the whole experience was so very strange that I’m not surprised it ended in a toilet.

A friend and I had taken the bus from Paris to the airport to catch our early flight home the next day.  We’d slept in the airport before the flight out a week before.  I’d always wanted to sleep in an airport before a flight, so we did.  And we planned to do it one more time.

I raided the vending machine with the last of my Euros, while my friend pumped up her not actually that conspicuous air mattress.

And then.  An announcement over the loud-speaker that ended in:  the airport will be closing in fifteen minutes.  Surely this was a message for other people and not those of us with early flights the next day.  Flights too early for the earliest possible bus.  We looked around at other people with the same idea, safe with the thought that this time, the rules did not apply to them, or us.

And then.  Security guards came around.  Now, I took seven years of French, my French accent is non-existent.  But seven years is just enough to understand, and I’m translating now, ‘the airport is closed.’

I was so ready to go home by this point.  I wanted to not pass go, not collect 200 Euros and sleep in my own damn bed.  My brain was so fried I fumbled to explain that our flight was too early for any buses in the morning, that we were here and we needed to stay.  No, we were not a security risk; we were just two twenty-something people who wanted to go home.  No, we didn’t plan to break into the tills and steal.  We planned to talk and sleep and then go the hell home.  Yes, we did know there was a bed and breakfast tantalisingly close.  Woefully inaccessible, but close.  And its proximity made me feel so much better, merci.

Those other people with the same idea went to the pedestrian bed and breakfast.  And we, well, we went to the carpark.

It was July, but it was cold.  We wrapped up in everything we had, which for some reason included a tin foil blanket.  We obviously knew we’d be sleeping under the stars on our last night.

I was with my best friend from University.  We were used to all-nighters.  Our friendship was solidified by staying up and talking all night.  But with pizza.  And chocolate.  Indoors.  With heaters.  And wine.

This was a little ridiculous, even for us.  But we kept playing cards and calling the whole thing ‘an experience we’d never forget.’

At about 3 o’clock a groundskeeper presented us with a key to what looked like a shed, but was actually a row of toilet stalls.  Since the night couldn’t get any weirder, we stretched out on the tiles.  And I mumbled something like, ‘how very appropriate.’

A few hours later, we watched the sunrise from this unlikely vantage point.  It’s still one of the best I’ve seen.

We were first in the queue to go home.

I actually slept in my bed last night, and had a dream.  This wasn’t it.  This actually happened.

When was the last time you slept in a bathroom?

The Mascot

 

Her favourite hang out in my old flat.

 

This is the cat I belong to.  Her name is CJ and if ever a pet deserved their own blog post, it’s her.    Her mother was the first cat to tolerate my presence, and her name was Cappuccino.  This was another nod to my love of coffee.  And the fact that her markings were like that of a capuchin monkey.  Cappuccino Junior has the same markings, only in gray, with an extra splotch on her shoulders.

CJ likes expensive food and shoes.  She does headstands.  And if she really likes you, she’ll do a headstand in your shoes.  She is a merciless flirt, and a magnet to those who wear black.  Anyone who comes to visit gets antihistamines when they arrive and use of a lint-roller when they leave.

She is psychic.  She knows the precise moment anyone is going to sit on the couch, and she races to get there first.  She usually wins.

If I’m eating, she will jump up and nudge the fork away from my mouth.  This sometimes ends in disaster, for her, when something lands on her head.  You’d think there would be a photo opportunity when that happens, but she is too quick for the camera.  She’s quick, but she’s also a poser.

Sarge is allergic to cats, but she has accepted him as co-human.  She even lets him disturb her reading.

A Noodle fell into my Coffee

A photo of a cup of coffee.
Image via Wikipedia

I hit Publish on Tuesday’s post, and then had coffee and noodles, while sitting at my desk and dealing with more official stuff.  I was addressing envelopes and slurping my lunch when I looked up and noticed my post had been Freshly Pressed.  One particular noodle might have been so shocked that it jumped ship off the fork and landed in my coffee.  Just maybe.

I won’t go all Sally Field on you, but I will say that I genuinely appreciate all the comments and feedback I’ve received.  I’ve read every comment and look forward to responding to people.  Being able to connect with people on a human level is really what my life is about, and if you found something in my writing to connect to, the pleasure is mine.  I write this blog  for myself, and sometimes forget that people may be reading it.

Thank you for your words and I’ll keep writing mine.

Last night Sarge and I went to this gig.  I love live music, and go to see it every chance I get. Even if the musicians are new to me, I always get something out of the experience, and often come home with new favourites.  This is what happened last night.

As I looked down at the gig stamp on my hand, listened to the music and wondered what word rhymes with palimpsest, I had a ‘be here now’ moment that hasn’t yet ended.

And earlier today, as I listened to the rain and Plácido Domingo, I was very here.  Or there.  Life is good.

I just got back from the dentist, and I was even looking forward to that.  Maybe because, in my head anyway, dentist rhymes with palimpsest.

I Am Not a Number

The Mona Lisa (or La Joconde, La Gioconda).
Image via Wikipedia

The alarm clock is tuned to BBC Radio 4.  If I hear one more feature on benefit cuts, taxes, the Government, or even cricket, I think I may actually throw the radio out the window.  This is not the kind of stuff I want to wake up to in the morning.  Especially considering I live it.  I see the outcome of benefits and benefit cuts every time I look my bank balance.  I am on benefits.  They have their place.  I would like to be off them, though.  I am not going to comment on the actual statistics and numbers.  Other people have done that better than me.  I left my University Psychology course because of the stats.  I don’t like them.  I’ve never been one.

Every time I listen to a report that rattles off the statistics of people on benefits, I want to shout at the radio/screen, and I sometimes do.  That’s me, you bastard.  I am not a number .  And I want to work.  I’ve liked all the jobs I’ve had.  And I want another one.

I went to the jobcentre yesterday, and they asked for a number before they used my name.  I am not a number.

My name is Lorna.  I write things that aren’t numbers.  I am my parents daughter.  I’m a friend to many, and one man’s girlfriend.  One cat has claimed me as her human.  My favourite colours are purple and green.  I have an aversion to most vegetables, but I like spinach.  I’m not afraid of much, except bad stuff happening to the people I love.  And ferrets.  And vomiting.  Please don’t get me started on vomiting ferrets.  I love country music and subtitled movies.  I hate sirens.  I love to travel.  I’ve been fishing in Norway; I’ve watched German MTV in Prague.    I thought I was in the queue for the toilet in the Louvre, and ended up seeing the (very small) Mona Lisa.  I lit a candle in the Duomo in Florence.  I am not particularly religious, but I believe in my own benevolent angels.

I like looking at old photos, and I looked like Ugly Betty in my seventh grade school photo.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately, looking at old photos.  It’s a way to connect with the person that I am, in a time when others are concerned with my numbers, my income, my diagnosis.

Most people know that I am more than a number, client, customer, a file with a label on it.  For everyone else, there’s my voicemail.

I started this blog to carve out time for me.  Time between appointments and phone calls and home-visits with invasive questions.  My head has been so filled with so much official stuff; there is little room for me stuff.  This is that room.  Yes, I write about the wheels and my own access issues.  It is about the chair, but it’s also about the person sitting in it, and I have a lot to say.

I have been cheating on this blog…

On Friday, I listened to this and this, which made me want to start watching his actual stuff.  Sarge has both of Werner Herzog’s box sets, and he’s wanted me to get into his films for ages.  It can be said that every night is film night in this house.  Films and booze.    Friday film nights are special because they include not having to get up the next morning, and therefore, more booze.

We sat down with My Best Fiend.  And beer for Sarge, cider for me.  That’s where the cheating bit comes in, see.  I drink drinks that aren’t gin and lemonade.

Since moving to Edinburgh, I have rediscovered my love of cider, and drank quite a lot of it here, on Saturday.  There was cider and friends and laughs and card games, and an actual accessible toilet in the pub we were in.  There was no leaving the pub to go off in search of another place to pee.  That has happened before.  I once left the original pub and went to one place after another with Out of Order Signs on their accessible toilet doors.   It took me half an hour to find one, and all I remember of that time was begging Sarge not to make me laugh.  He failed, but I didn’t, arriving at a working and unlocked accessible toilet still needing it.  But there was no such shenanigans on Saturday, and four and half pints of cider later, we went home and had drunken fish and chips.

I awoke without a hangover.  My last hangover was the result of a night out early on in my first year of Uni. I’d gone out with some friends, and the end of the night saw me leaving a trail of nuts and bolts from the chair from our front door to my room.  The taxi driver put the wheel on wrong, and snapped my tipper bars, which was the cause of the leakage.   I should also mention that I’d left my chair in the kitchen, using a spare chair to get to my room.  This confused my hall-mates, who knocked on my door, asking if I needed anything.

Advil, I said.

No need for anything stronger than coffee on Sunday.  And lots of fresh air on the way to the movies to see Winter’s Bone, which was brilliant and not unlike watching a really good documentary.

Since I’ve gone on a bit about drinking in this post, I’d like to say don’t drink and drive.  Even when all you drive is a wheelchair.

Your call is not important to us, please hang up.

You know what I hate?  Using my credit card over the phone.  Or putting any number longer than a local or international number into a phone.  Because that requires entering the number in before the automated voice says:  I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, try again.  Well, of course you didn’t catch that.  It wasn’t a ball.  Or my shoe, hurtling towards your head.  You don’t even have a head.  You are a machine.  May I speak to a real person, please?

Talking to a machine is driving me so nuts that I’m talking to a machine.  Figure that out.

And then the machine ‘connects you to an advisor’.  But there isn’t a connection, really.  No, there is no human understanding.  But there is classical music.  However, this is not a put on your best clothes and get carried away by the symphony for a few hours kind of experience.  This is sitting in your robe and doodling circles on an envelope while having tinny shit shoved in your ear.

By the time you hear a voice, you realise that in your boredom and frustration your circling pen has made a hole in the envelope.  Through both sides.  And then it dawns on you that all the automated voice said was:  Your call is important to us, please hold.  Hold what?  My head, so my brain doesn’t leak out my ears?  Ok, I think I will.

And you know the voice doesn’t really care.  It automated.  But what it’s really saying is: Your call is not important to us, please hang up.  You are one of a million people on the line right now.  We don’t want to help you.  In fact it would help us if you took your problem to the internet.  (I did, the internet told me to call and listen to crappy music for three hours).  And it always amuses me when that suggestion doesn’t work.  What about the times when you’re calling about your internet connection?  Well, I would visit the website, if I could get online, which is why I’m calling.  Well, that wasn’t the reason for my call today, but I’m sure someone out there is on hold for that very reason.  That person is annoyed because he or she is being told to ‘visit the website’.

I’ve worked in call centres before.  Ok, one.  I do know that the actual humans on the phone do their best.  And if I haven’t lost the power of speech/hung up by the time I do get through to one, I’m nice to them.  Partly because I’m so very excited that the music is off and I’m talking to a human.

I’m writing this in the office.  There is a wall between me and the phone.  We have decided we need some time apart.

The Bridge, or How My Brain Works

I write because I can’t not write

I think in sentences

Sometimes, even with punctuation.

My favourite is !

When I write

I am the most myself

When I’m not writing

My brain tweaks a little bit

Just enough to say

Get back to it!

Connections are made

When there are words

On a page

In the world

In a story

Or in my brain

And I write

Because that’s how it works.

I’m participating in And Now You Write, and this poem is written from my notes on the first prompt/Ice-breaker.