Sunday, 7 October 2007

Revelry and recycling

I woke up crippled yesterday morning although I didn’t realise I’d lost the use of one of my legs until I tried to get out of bed and found myself in an untidy heap on the floor.

This temporary condition – it takes about three days to right itself – is a result of staying up until 3 in the morning drinking wine with your sister, then stumbling off to bed on limbs that are so disconnected from your coordination centre that they may as well belong to someone else. And in the morning you wish they did, because you’ve somehow slept with them so curled around each other that they’ve done their BSc in Pins and Needles, their Masters in Loss of Blood to the Extremities and their Doctorate in Advanced Numbness.

These alcohol-related indignities aren’t uncommon in my family, who like their wine. My Auntie Janet claimed the record for Most Inconvenient Day-After Disability when, one Christmas Eve, she had a smidgen too much brandy pudding and ended up speaking into the big white telephone. It wasn’t until the hard light of morning dawned, however, that she realised she’d relinquished more than the contents of her stomach – her dentures, too, had found their way into the city’s sewerage system. Since the Christmas long weekend had just begun, there wasn’t a dentist to be had for love or money, and Auntie Janet was forced to spend the next four days wearing a yashmak. Nobody could understand a word she said, and she didn’t make things any easier by mumbling, ‘Don’t look at me!’ whenever anyone did.

A relative who shall remain nameless (but he knows who he is) took the award for Most Spectacular Body Part Confusion, when, after a long night of beer and seafood curry with the boys, he came home to find that a recalcitrant bit of prawn had lodged itself at the back of his throat. After vigorously brushing his teeth, gargling and flossing, it was still there, so he tried to manually remove it. Pity it was his uvula. He couldn’t speak for a week afterwards.

Social drunks we may be, but we’re ecologically sober. Aware of our debt to the environment, our family is rigorous about taking empties to our nearest recycling station – which is almost always at the local school, the one our children attend. My late mother taught me all I need to know about this. Keen to avoid being spotted by any of our teachers when she arrived with the cavernous boot of her Peugeot station wagon piled to the roof with dead soldiers, she would make the run to the recycling depot only under cover of darkness. It is a family tradition that I uphold to this day, although I did once make an exception.

One year my kids’ school held a competition, with impressive prizes for the class whose parents could contribute the most to the recycling bins. Secure in the knowledge that I was a dead cert for first place, I brazenly arrived in full daylight, week after week, to deposit my wealth of empties in the bins. When the results were announced a few months later I was devastated to discover that I hadn’t, in fact, won. First prize went to some little snit in another class – whose father owned a pub. I came second.

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meggie said...

Your tales of family inconveniences had me rolling with laughter!
I dont think it was fair that the publican was allowed to contribute!
All to a good cause I suppose, but still...
I have fished Gom's teeth out of a bucket,(yes, of vomit) & then teased him next day that they had been thrown out!

蚵仔麵線Jeff said...