Tag Archives: panic

We Are Never Alone

Mood: Lazy
Listening to: Humming buzz and slight whine (tinnitus?)

“They say we are never more than ten feet from a rat” said my mother to her friends, and they all went ‘bleuch!’

The conversation came up because they had all been talking about their fears, and rats figured well at the top. She did not hate rats as much as they do, and wondered why rats should cause more horror than things like heights, crowds, fire, enclosed spaces, deep water etc. Perhaps, as she said, it’s just that ‘we are never more than ten feet from a rat’ whereas most of the other things can generally be avoided.

I would rather deal with a hundred rats than climb a small mountain, face a raging fire, get stuck in a lift or make a public speech. I suppose I couldn’t be a pet minder otherwise – possibly Ace Ventura Pet Detective would disagree, saying any pet minder worth her salt would take all of the above things in her stride.

Mum told me about her friends’ conversation one day when I told her I had been coming home along a busy road (the sort lorries whizz along because they think they’ve left the residential area – which they have not). I was passing a car dealership and there was a narrow grassy verge alongside the pavement, and when I looked down, there was a rat sitting on the grass, almost at my feet. It was stuffing something in its mouth and then, without even bothering to look at me, whisked quietly off into its little burrow.

There you are – that’s confidence worth having. I envy the little soul.

Another thing I was thinking about – they say people on their own talk to themselves, but it’s not true. If you put ‘bugs’ in my house and listened, you would hear the following:

In bedroom, late at night: (Strangled shriek). “GET out of my bed! No, don’t wriggle under the quilt. My bed is MINE. Get your own.”

In kitchen, turning on the light: “Ohh… you’ll catch it if the cats see you eating their food. Don’t you waggle your horns at me, madam. Nobody invited you here.”

In hall: “Oh my! Look at you go! You’re Speedy Gonzales with 8 legs. Just be careful where you go to in there, as I don’t want to squish you in the door. That would be a shame.”

A little while later, in the ‘office’: “don’t you DARE disconnect – I’ve not finished surfing yet. THANK you.”

Do I talk to myself? I don’t think so.

Advertisements

Trolley and Me Against the World

Last summer we went to a huge car boot sale. Mum said there must have been 200 stalls when she was expecting 50. I said I was expecting a sweet little sale with 20!

I threw a wobbly, which is the first time I’ve done that for ages. I get a little worrit at times, usually when I’m somewhere like a shopping centre, but it’s the first time for years that I’ve had to say, “sorry, I’m going back to the car!”

The odd thing is, I was fine the minute I stepped back through the gate. The stalls and the people were still right behind me and the cars were parked ahead – hundreds of them – but I immediately felt better. It was as though I had been trying to push myself through a wall, and the headache only disappeared when I stopped.

It was a lovely place and I wished I had bought my camera. The sun was hot and bright, the sky blue with huge sweeping clouds meeting the blue sea. There were golden fields of oats nodding on either side of the airfield with a heat haze shimmering above their hairy ears. The cars were all shining like mirrors – I remember the silver on the stalls blinded me as I walked past; even white paper hit me with a blinding glare. I had to leave the car door open or I would have suffocated – the sun was so hot on my skin I wrapped my raincoat round my arm to protect it. There were a few thrips landing annoyingly on my nose and hands. One smeared rusty red blood on my slacks.

A few people in sporty cars with hoods down were driving around just for the joy of it. I saw a silver sports car come flying down the road past me, with a couple in it who looked about 60. There was pure happiness on their faces, big grins. I thought rather wistfully “they look happy” but my physical reaction was to shrink away. “Go away, people – you are the enemy.”

I got out of the car and stood looking at the views all around. I was quite happy except for a lingering feeling of shock and disappointment. I really wanted to look at all those stalls and see what they had. There was a stall of Ty Beanie Babies, all nice and clean – Mum said “do you want any?” and I said “no” and walked past – just as I left I caught sight of a white bear with a blue star and blue wings. I’ve been looking for that one. There wasn’t a thing I could do about it though; it was right there on the table and I was too stressed out to buy it!

They finally came back to the car, and Mum gave me a lovely Russ teddy called Timber. “We can try again!” they said, and grinned at me. I didn’t say no. I said I wished I had taken the camera, it was lovely there. “What is there to take pictures of?” asked my sister.
“People going past laden with goodies” said Mum.
“No, it was the big sky, big sea…” I said. “It made me think of America.”

The very next weekend we tried going to a different car boot sale. I quite enjoyed myself and even bought a few things. We recognized some of the stalls from the previous sale – the one that annoyed me the most had dejected teddy bears tethered to a rope. The notice said “Dog toys – 50p”. There should be a law against it! Anyway, the beanie baby lady was there, with her blue star bear, so of course I bought it. “You can’t get this in the shops here,” she said. Nice to meet someone who knows her beanie babies.

I have a little trick, mind you. It’s the way I got myself used to going round the supermarket again. Even if I was only getting bread and milk, I would take a trolley (‘shopping cart’ for those with a more U.S. vocabulary) instead of a hand-basket. It made me feel safer because I could lean on the trolley. So at this car boot sale I got out a small wheelie suitcase of Mum’s, just a little upright one with a long handle. I thought we had a proper shopping trolley but this was all I could find. It’s peculiar, I even feel better if I have a huge bag without wheelies – there’s something about lugging it around that’s reassuring. It puts it between me and the rest of the world! I wasn’t the only one – there were lots of shopping trolleys there. I vividly remember a huge red tartan one.

When we got home I opened up the trolley and it was stuffed with all the bears we had bought. There was nothing there that wasn’t a bear in some form (stuffed or ornament).

I preferred the second sale because the crowd and the stalls were more dispersed and sectioned up. Short little rows – you turned the corner and embarked on the next, or you could go back round the edge to the exit. The first sale was two very long rows of stalls with the crowd confined to the middle – much more formal layout and no way of leaving in a hurry. With Mum’s trolley in tow, though, I have no worries…