Hey, Barbecutie

A Few Thoughts Over The Course Of A Weekend At Home

Posted on: March 15, 2011

Sunny Warrenpoint

I live in London but sporadically return to Northern Ireland, to the small town where I lived since birth. I once had an idea to write down every internal thought not related to an external event (i.e. one that was actually occurring in reality) over the course of a single day. Then I realised that it would mostly be me thinking about kissing. So I did this instead:

A bad place to get the giggles is when being frisked by airport security. It makes you look more suspicious and with an accent like mine, you can’t get much more suspicious. No, it is not appropriate to tell them that this is the most physical contact you’ve had with another human being in weeks.

Male body hair is inevitable, and mostly inoffensive, unless it takes the form of a hairshirt so intense that it peeks out a good inch above the collar of your t-shirt, and especially when I’m stuck behind you at close proximity in a queue for nearly half an hour. It was an unhappy occasion.

Heathrow crosses itself – the people coming from Ireland and the people going to Ireland cross paths, separated by glass partitions. We don’t look at each other. On one side, sepia pictures of London landmarks welcome the arrivals. Our side get the Irish counterparts, blurry, generic green fields and aged Celtic crosses. A bridge. Nothing so iconic as Nelson or Big Ben. But in a way that makes me even more ready to escape.

There is nothing more boring than writing about air travel. Air travel is inherently boring, and I find somehow that dullness overtakes everything. There’s nothing to think about but how boring everything is. Every time I’m at an airport, I’m inspired to write about airports. As though anyone wants to read that.

My primary emotion is pre-emptive rage. The mere idea of the person in front of me putting their seat back sends me into paroxysms of fury. I imagine it happening, I think I would kick off, for no apparent reason, but then I realise that would result in air rage of Mike Mills-esque proportions, and I would be arrested, and my mum would be very annoyed, so I resolve to endure. And it doesn’t happen anyway. But it’s good to have a plan of action in case it does.

It is either raining from a completely clear sky, or the wind is so vicious that it’s ripping moisture from the lough and whipping it across the country and soaking us. For some reason being rained/not rained on makes me very nostalgic.

I tell my mum I am going to dye my hair. She jokes about me making a mess, but I remind her that it’s my sister who wrecks the show in such situations. I then proceed to destroy two towels, one bath mat and a rug. At one point, I tentatively scratch the back of my head, then look at my scarlet fingers. It is entirely possible that it is blood. (It is not.) My hair turns out exactly the same colour as it was before. I also accidentally huff the ammonia.

Watching a programme on Carl Orff. The subtitles translate “O Fortuna” as “Great God of Fortune” which is, I feel, a totally unnecessary translation. Something is lost. In his final work, Comedy for the End of Time, the lyrics ask God for forgiveness, so that his sins might be forgotten. Orff not only wanted for his sins, but for them to be forgotten.

I head to the big town nearby and wander around the shopping centre, making note of the shops that have closed since my last visit. It’s a lot. The place is full of young people, or “youths”. One guy walking with his girlfriend checks me out unsubtly behind her back. It makes me feel good. Then the fact that it made me feel good makes me feel very, very bad.

I inexplicably have “Fix You” by Coldplay in my head. The only fixing involving Chris Martin that I’m interested in is castration. And at least then his voice would make sense.

I watch some Hammer Horror with my friend Méabh. She works out the twist within the first ten minutes. I refuse to believe her, but she turns out to be right. I suppose I am distracted by men with preposterous moustaches and mustard polo necks. I now realise no man is trustworthy in a polo neck.

I find it astonishing that they (“They”) are allowed to advertise shoes that claim to tone your body. I mean, that’s preposterous. It’s insane. Is that really the level of intelligence we’re dealing with? It makes me want to slam my head through the plasma screen. I am simultaneously transfixed and amazed by plasma screens. I can’t stop myself poking them and removing my finger so I can see it ripple, but I’m also afraid that I’ll tear it with a nail and all the plasma will pour out. I think maybe I don’t fully understand what plasma screens are.

I am having eye trouble. Vision is blurred, left eye hurts when opened, and in a different way when closed. Between this, the nosebleeds, and the constant smell of burnt toast, I assume I have a brain tumour. My mum and I can’t decide whether I should see my optician (who I hate) or my G.P. (who doesn’t exist). Do opticians deal with more than mere spectacle administration? Can they tell if I’m diseased or do they hide away in their office playing the mouth organ? Is it foolish not to have a doctor and instead hoping that you’ll be okay? Some things I’ll never know in my lifetime.

An actual sentence spoken by a visitor in our house: “I’m all right for toilet seats.”

I was meant to take pictures of the spectacular vistas of the town to show back in London. However the weather is bad and I keep forgetting my camera, and also I don’t get round to it. It’s a shame – at times I am truly astonished by the beauty of a green landscape, so deprived am I in London. The greater shame is that I instead spend my time on the phone to various customer service operatives, all of whom I hate. Next time I will.

On the tube back, in inky black London, before it disappears underground, I spot an advert for cheap fares to Strasbourg on the Eurostar. I really, really, desperately want to go, proving that advertising works. When I get back, I pledge, I will find out where the hell Strasbourg is.

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