because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Friday, 9 January 2009

It's Character Building.


Spot the difference. "Two whole weeks in the middle of nowhere," I thought to myself. "Open log fires, hot chocolate, jigsaws and Boggle. So romantic."

"Two whole weeks in the middle of nowhere," I presume He thought to Himself. "Long bike rides, building bonfires, having My Woman cook for me on demand. Real man stuff".

This, quite obviously, does not a harmonious time make- for either of the sexes.

Waking up this morning, the first thing I wanted to do was brush my teeth before I killed somebody or myself on its thick acidity. Fat chance- the tap in our bathroom had frozen during the minus seven night. I held my arms around myself for warmth- they tell you in 'Batman Begins' that this is very important- and tottered across the house to the other bathroom. No running water and the toilet chain flushed not. Nothing from the shower, either, nor by the tower of washing up from the kitchen sink downstairs.

"Baby!" I yelled. "The pipes are frozen again!" I grabbed my half-full (see what I did there? Bit of positivity? It was really half-empty) glass of day-old water from the sideboard and dipped in my toothbrush. It tasted like chemical soup as I brushed out my cold and my frustration before I remembered to notice that the parque floor was REALLY FREAKING COLD.

Holding the bannister on the way up to the mezzanine level of the house in the French wilderness, cursing and muttering profanity rude enough to turn the air blue- not least warm it up a little- I was struck by the story The Boyfriend's Mama had told me about the first time she had come to see her potential- euphemistically speaking 'doer upper'- of a house.

"The whole place was thick with spiderwebs," she had told me. "Great big black sacks and so much dust you could barely breathe. This guy had been using it as his holiday home. He must have just lived in this one room- there was a fold-out camp bed, fully made up, with a pair of men's pajama's lay on the pillow when we came to view the place. He kept a metal pan by the fireplace too, I presume for cooking with, and just a single plate". 

I had scowled when she had told me this. "You mean like he was camping?" "Yes, I think so," she had said. "Camping inside?" The Boyfriend's mama had smiled at me. "Some people think of it as fun, apparantly". I believe I may have laughed her suggestion off.

Camping, to a girl like me, is like forcing the United States of America to admit Sarah Palin was once an actual contender for White House vice-presidency. That would be, then, BAD, BAD, BAD. Why would one strip wash in cold water from a bucket or pretend that chopping their own firewood was somehow liberating? Where is the excitement in cooking in a single pan? Or waking up as cold as you fell asleep? The answer is, not altogether unsurprisingly, that there isn't any. Not for me. I can do the quixotic, middle-of-nowhere, cosy holiday-for-two in theory, as long as there is hot running water, two hours to myself everyday and heat enough to not have to wear the same tights/leggings/jeans combination like the newspaper underlayers of a World War evacuee everyday.

I can do it if there is a stack of logs that somebody else has chopped in the outhouse, and an internet connection, and a copy of Revolutionary Road at my disposal. To be really honest, I'd settle just for a hot cuppa tea right now. As I hoisted myself onto the landing, a little heavier than normal with my extra thermal layers, I recalled another story I was told about a man being found dead in the house at some point too. I do hope it wasn't the same one.

"Baby!" I yelled upstairs. "I want to go home! I am going to DIE out here and get eaten by spiders!" The Boyfriend poked his head out from under the duvet. "Just think of it as an adventure," he said to me. "A bit like camping".
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