20 June 2004

Me? Neurotic? Never...

This afternoon I just left my room to get my stuff out of the washing machine when I ran into a girl (almost literally) who was surveying the washing machine, wondering if she stood more chance of being able to use that than the one upstairs (isn't living in a bedsit pure class? At least I can microwave a Linda McCartney lasagne without having to get out of bed... how many readers can say that?).

A human being! The first one I've seen in my building for a week! I had a vague idea that the other 11 bedsits in the two houses knocked together were occupied because I keep seeing the washing machine in use, and hearing the front door slam. But I've not encountered people. Which has been pleasantly peaceful, but also quite stressful as I needed to seek the advice of one of my neighbours, and I'm far too timid (read: neurotic) to knock on someone's door.

Where I'm living, the rent includes all bills except electricity. Electricity being provided by one of those meters with keys in the corner of my room that you have to get topped up. Pay As You Go electric. Great. I don't even have a pay as you go phone for fear of running out of credit mid phone-sex.... um, I mean, um, mid emergency phone call to my mother to tell her I've run out of money (and believe me I really do mean that. I'm so ugly that people don't even want to have non-sex with me, even if they can't see my face).

I've spent the last two weeks living in fear that I'll notice in the Radio Times that there's going to be on telly a documentary about Texas on tour, and my power is going to run out just as Sharleen gets down to her bikini to dive into the hotel pool. Because that is what my life is like.

Today the situation became truly urgent. I had less than £1 left on the meter. I had to get some electricity credit. I was starting to panic about the prospect of having to bother one of my neighbours to ask if they knew where the nearest place was that did electricity top ups following my unsuccessful outing on Thursday in which I popped into every shop on West End Lane, and the best I got was "well, there used to be a shop about 10 minutes away that did it, but it's closed down now."

But, luck shone upon me, I collided with someone! There was someone right there that I could ask without having to trouble!

"Oooo. I don't know. I always get mine in Belsize Park. There used to be a petrol station in Fortune Green that did it, but it's closed down now."

She was perfectly friendly. "You should come up for a cup of tea one day. There's a load of people that live in here, and no-one talks to anyone. Come up, and we'll have tea!"

"OK, that'd be lovely."


What have I comitted to? What if I remembered her number wrong and I knock on the door of someone who just scowls at me? What if I knock on her door and she's out? What if I knock on her door and she's indecent? What if I knock on her door and she's just cooked herself a meal so there's a really awkward situation where she doesn't want to invite me in, but she feels like she kind of has to? What if I knock on her door and she was having a nap? What if I knock on her door and suddenly have a mental block about her name? What if I knock on her door and she's with a boyfriend/girlfriend so it's not a good time? What if she's just got a friend round? What if I knock on her door and she's really upset and doesn't want to be sociable with strangers at that moment in time?

I could text her to ask if she's free, texting is so much less invasive... but I don't have her number. How would I get her number? I'd have to knock on her door to ask for it in the first place. I could wait until I run into her in the hall again, and ask her for her number... but what if she thinks that's really weird? She lives above me, why would I ever need to call her, I could just go upstairs and knock on her door. What if it's a couple of weeks before I run into her in the hall again and she thinks I'm really rude because I said I'd go upstairs for a cup of tea and I didn't?

It would be nice to make some local friends, as all mine seem to live south of the river. And it's not possible to get more local than right on top of you (oo er).

What (besides hibernating) is a girl to do?

I know what I'll do. I'll trek to Belsize Park to purchase electricity so I can cook tonight without being plunged into darkness.

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