29 January 2004

It's that time of year again when I forget that I'm only in my twenties.

Is it my birthday, and I suddenly have become concious of how life is passing me by and I'm achieving nothing?


It's all snowy and icy outside. And like a true 85-year-old, I'm terrified that if I put one foot outside my front door that I'll break my hip. The fact that I probably actually would makes my fear less irrational and makes me seem less crazy. Though, if I did have an irrational fear of going outside because the temperature has dropped below zero, I'm sure I'd justify it by saying "but, it probably would really happen" just to make myself sound less crazy. But these things do always happen to the people who are most phobic. Like Mr Play-It-Safe. He was afraid to fly. He packed his suitcase, and kissed his kids goodbye. He waited his whole damn life, to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down he thought "well, isn't this nice."

I once had a grand debate in Cambridge's least classy nightclub, Route 66 (I don't think it exists anymore, which is no great loss to those who inhabit the city), with a gentleman in a similar state of drunkenness to myself about whether Mr Play-It-Safe survived or not. I was seventeen and optimistic about the world. Still, people can survive plane crashes. I was reminded of this three years later when I was on a flight back from LA which flew through a hurricane over the east coast of America when the guy sitting next to me said "I've been in a plane crash before, it wasn't so bad". I think he was trying to get revenge for the fact that I'd dug my fingernails into his arm. Total stranger that he was....

I do have justification for having a fear of snapping a part of my skeleton if I step on the ice. Like most elderly people, my bones also have the tendency of breaking with the greatest of ease. For different reasons of course, but, the same end result of having had more broken bones than most rugby players (fortunately my ears don't look like vegetables though).

When the blizzard hit London yesterday tea-time I found myself having to push through it for half an hour to get to Westminster station so I could get on the tube to get to Hammersmith. Times like that the fact that I can only use a tiny percentage of tube stations bothers me most. And, of course, sitting in a wheelchair your knees are at the perfect angle to catch every drop of rain that falls. So, the snow was hitting me and melting on contact, despite the fact that it was freezing. So, my lap was so wet and then cold that someone could quite easily of used my knees as a skating rink.

To add insult to injury (if frozen trousers counts as injury), I had to talk a wheelie-jump off a kerb at Cambridge Circus and land in what was effectively a Slush Puppie. The impact of my four wheels landing in the slightly brown (must've been a cola Slush Puppie) sludge sent it splashing up and hit me right in the arse. So not only was my lap wet, but now my bum was too. And it's hard to be happy when you've got a wet bum. I'm sure babies would be happy to tell you that... if they could. I now understand why they cry so.

And it got worse, Trafalgar Square is on a hill... yup, I had to try and stop in sludgy snow despite the fact that my hands were so cold, the only thing I could feel was pain. That was exciting. Fortunately the green man was flashing when I shot across The Strand like.... someone in a wheelchair going down a hill through ice and snow who can't stop.

By the time I actually got to Hammersmith I was in a vile mood. I got to Riverside Studios and immediately headed straight for the toilets to individually dry all my clothes (including socks) under the hand-dryer (until it decided it had overheated and stopped working). Life is better when your bum is dry.

After seeing Die I proceeded to head back home. It took me two and a half hours, I could no longer feel my feet, and after pushing up Golders Green Road I'm very surprised I had any skin left on my hands after having to push over smashed ice like that. Finally I came to the bit of the evening I'd been dreading ever since the snow fell... having to stand up out of my wheelchair to get up my front door step. I was convinced that this would be the moment that my hip was going to be snapped. For the first time since I saw the builders butt crack of an ageing Sex Pistol while I was trying to eat my breakfast on Tuesday morning, fate smiled kindly on me. We have a thingy over the front door! The door step was snow free! (If anyone has any kind of vocabulary, I'd appreciate being told what the name of one of those thingies that shelters front door steps is). And, most importantly, I managed to get through yesterday without breaking myself.

And, I'm not leaving the house until Golders Green defrosts. I do hope whatever supreme being is responsible for weather gets his/her microwave fixed soon. I'm having to get food shipped in by Sainsburys because I can't get out to buy milk. Still, better than last year when I was living in student halls so couldn't get supermarkets to deliver and had to get someone to post me toilet paper.

Last night my friend and I were discussing "Weather. Why?" over a paper cup of tea in a theatre bar (oh yes, we are trendy). She has this theory about "the circle of life" and so we have to have winter so we can have summer. I don't get it, why can't we just have one level of blandness all the time? After all... a circle is symetrical, if it was different on both sides then it wouldn't be a circle, it'd just be like a blob.

I quite like this being housebound thing. You get the perks of being ill, like not having to do anything except watch daytime TV, but you're not actually ill. Entertain me while I can't get out. Your essay topic is "Weather. Why?". You may Email essays, or post them as comments. Anything overly scientific will be immediately discarded. I failed A'level biology don't you know.

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