This morning it is pissing rain.
The Italians, cool as penguins in sunglasses, take snow in their stride.
In summer, when it is 35 degrees c, they strut around in jeans and boots while I sweat and melt and stick to bus seats in the lightest smallest bit of fabric I possess.
But it RAINS, motherfuckers?
It RAINS and chaos. Anarchy. Every man for himself… well, ok, but even more so than usual.
The entire footpath around the bus stop is flooded, although it’s raised above the road which is not flooded. (Nice design, ITALY.)
Everyone is packed in together under the bus shelter even though it is barely raining at all. I have a hat, so I am not degrading myself by putting my body that close to other people’s bodies, especially since I go to work at the same time old people emerge from their homes to stroll around and argue about coupons and generally get in people’s way.
Then there are the umbrellas. By choosing not to dive into the sea of wet, saggy flesh under the shelter, I am forced to go into ninja defensive mode to protect my eyes and other soft bits from their metal spikes.
Italians especially the elderly are mostly shorter than me, so I see them as these grumpy pixie people who protect themselves from tiny droplets of water by shielding their bodies and enough space for 5 more such bodies with a massive golf umbrella.
They wield their unneccessarily dangerous water shields like a puppy wields its tail in a liquor store.
I am lurching and swooping out of the way constantly as nobody around me is aware of the space they take up.
Then some bus comes by and everyone squashes forward and puts down umbrellas and stampedes for what they imagine is a delightfully empty load of seats… they spray me with water and I have to put my arms up to defend my face, my gorgeous face, from umbrella metal.
But it is not an empty bus, it is an out of service bus. It said it on the front, and now the driver tells us. Moaning and groaning ensues. Umbrellas are erected with flumps and fresh sprays of wet.
One elderly woman finds this experience so injust, she waves her umbrella accusingly and shrieks at the driver.
The driver mutters something back to her re “doing my job, it said out of service on the front, etc”.
The woman yells at him saying in a tone that drips with more sarcasm than when I thank my customers
“VERY POLITE, you have a very good education obviously!”
Another old woman beside her joins in berating the bus driver and the bus service in general, and the bus drives off leaving us to fall back into our previous, pre-bus formation.
A woman in a burka (or hijab… look I don’t know the difference, and I don’t care) scours the face of a prune-juice enthusiast who’s passing. I watch the umbrella’s pointy bit dig a furrow through her face, slowly, without breaking the skin or anything, but then it was a plastic tip. She shrieks. The burka woman jerks her umbrella away and gets me with it in the shoulders, but I have my hands up, I’m blocking.
Eventually we get on the bus which is crammed full when it arrives, so we are practically having sex with each other after my stop which is a main train station. Then people hold their soaking wet umbrellas all folded up, against my coat, my tights, my legs. Umbrella water drips down into my boots. I take a passive aggressive stance against this treatment and manage to divert the umbrellas towards more passive and less aggressive companions. I look at facebook on my kindle, but then I can’t hold onto the bar so I have to put it away and stare at the tops of these peoples midget heads.
Several slimey slimeballs try to catch my eye.
I’m not even flattered because I woke up at the last possible minute to wake up for arriving in work on time…. yesterday.
Today I woke up at the last possible minute for leaving the house to arrive on time.
So I didn’t put on any makeup or brush my hair which is GROSS and I mean I never leave the house without at least eyeliner. I look really shit without makeup, trust me.
I arrive at work and don’t even go to my hot barman bar for coffee also because I’m late but I would normally sneak off anyway for a quick shot of coffee anyway. But I look shit so I don’t want sexy barman to see me sans slap and be discover my filthy secret, ie, what I really look like.
So I have not had a coffee yet. Lack of caffeine is like my vitriol-fuel.
Anyway by some freak of random eventitude, I arrive 1 minute before I have to be in work. YES!
Then I start reading shit online. I know I am safe to use the internet this morning because it is pissing rain, my dad won’t be popping in today, he can stay home and be warm.
Then I am just internetting it up, being disappointed with my lack of facebook love, and suddenly BAM out of the corner of my eye, a freaking spider lurking past me with deliberate, menacing movements like someone wearing boots that are way too big for them… ….who is also menacing.
What the fuck? I jump away from the danger area, the computer-equipped danger area, and wait, quivering with fear, for some clever course of action to present itself to me.
I wait, and it becomes clear that I have two choices.
First choice is to kill the spider. This is actually not possible for me. I never understood people who are afraid of spiders and yet able to kill them. How can you be afraid of something where you have a simple solution to get rid of it at all times? If I could stomach squishing a bug and having its bug guts VISIBLE to me… ugh no. Can’t do it. I can’t.
That’s that option out.
Second choice is to stay back and hope its trajectory leads it far far away from anything I will need or want to go near, and I can just be on spiderwatch all day. This isn’t a great plan at work, because if a customer distracts me and I lose visual contact with the spider, he will be missing and presumed RIGHT BEHIND ME at all times.
This is the action I took, of course, and I imediately lost sight of the spider as her retreated behind some shelves.
The spider was last seen behind some leather bags, he is considered unarmed and extremely terrifying.
I try to look for him. He is definitely not by the computer right now though so I am safe to type for the moment.
But of course I am jumpy and nervous as hell. I keep imagining his spindly spidey legs wrapping around the side of my face and just as I realise what’s happening, he’s got his icky spider body in front of my eye and because he’s so close and I am young with amazing eyesight, I can see all the cogs and gears that make up his non-human exoskeletal body and it’s wrong and unnatural. And then I see his EYES and he spits spider acid in my eye and I am blinded.
This is my greatest fear.
It combines my two single greatest fears- having acid thrown in my face (leaving me with something REAL to complain about) and my fear of spiders.
Anyway I keep jerking around the place and my eyelid is threatening to come out and get jiggy with it. Damn that shit is annoying. I hadn’t had eyelid- freaky- trouble in years, probably since I lived with my mother. Hmm.
Anyway. A customer comes in and goes straight to the part of the shop I consider most likely to be hiding the spider. I put on some Bootsy Collins so nowI can kind of pass off some of my involuntary shuddering as just bad white person dancing to funky music.
(I didn’t imediately see this side of things, I was just having a little boogie and realised how similar my on purpose dancing is to my ugh spider makes my skin crawl movements)
The customer watches me warily indeed. I stop dancing. I don’t wanna look weird.
He is buying a wallet decorated with flowers, so for some stupid fucking reason I offer to gift wrap it even though I am not mentally ready for anything right now. I have adrenaline raging through my ill-equipped body, telling me to hide or run away. (fight only occurs to me when I am drunk, otherwise big coward)
Normally I am ok with giftwrapping unless I am hung over but this spider thing has me tormented. I am having what can only be described (without too much exaggeration) as a mid-day crisis. I imediately hate myself for offering to wrap the gift. It was a stupid thing to blurt out, it was a moment of insanity and now I have to pay for it.
I smile shakily and select what I think is the right sized gift wrap. It’s not. It’s just too small to close neatly. My fingers try to do some deft shop assistant movements and make nice, but it’s not working. I am trembling like a hung over person and my peripheral vision keeps sending me false alarms regarding the missing spider.
I try to look sick or hung over so it makes sense to the customer that I am looking really weird and my hands are shaking.
I toss aside the giftwrap and take a bigger piece. Then I remember my dad put the scissors in his pocket yesterday, I remeber telling him it was dangerous (it’s a BIG scissors) and he was like “pff” but now I have no scissors. So at this point the customer has been standing waiting for his gift wrapped package for five minutes while I wrestle pathetically with a just too small bit of giftwrap.
Now I can’t cut the big piece so I just wrap it around loads of times and sellotape clumsily at the edges. It looks terrible. I try to slide my creation into a plastic bag without him seeing, but the plastic bag is stuck to the next one and I can’t get them apart with one hand. I crumble and deposit the shittiest gift ever onto the counter and take a bag and then he HELPS me open the bag because he has seen enough to realise I am SPECIAL and not in the good, Fallout games kind of way.
WHERE IS THIS SPIDER?
I can’t find it. My nerves are shot. I keep finding stray bits of my hair brushing across my forehead or neck and am ready to burst into self indulgent tears if it’s actually the spider.
Not happy right now.
Anyway it is raining lots and I am sniffling and sneezing which probably means I should get an umbrella because my hat aint doing its job, if you can’t beat em join em, but I am OIRISH! WE don’t waste our time with such inventions.
For those of you unlucky enough to have never visited the nation that spewed me forth from its lovely loins, let me tell you about Irish rain.
In Ireland it rains on average, 300 days out of 365. That doesn’t mean that wherever you are, it is raining 300 days of the year- but somewhere on the island it is raining, yes. It isn’t a particularly huge island, so that’s… well whatever. It’s a statistic, for whatever it’s worth.
Anyway you would think knowing that it rains a lot, that the Irish would be massive users of umbrellas. You might expect us to have monogrammed umbrellas with gold plated handles, or to accessorise umbrellas with our outfits. Or something. But we don’t.
Ireland is too windy for an umbrella to really be a very good idea. It’s too fucking windy. Here’s what has happened every time I have gone so long without using an umbrella that is has seemed like a fantastic invention and I have taken to the streets with one borrowed from an elderly relative (elderly people can use umbrellas because they will probably not go out in the wind anyway as they are too frail, frailer than an umbrella really)
Five minutes of wow, this is great, I’m not even wet, I could READ if I wanted to… my hair is gonna look awesome when I get to work.
Then a little gust of wind turns my umbrella inside out and I have to decide whether to use it anyway all broken and fucked up looking or discard it by the side of the road. Sometimes you see people with umbrellas in Ireland, but it is mystifying. Maybe business people are buying good quality unbreakable umbrellas that I can’t afford. Maybe that is it. All the more reason to hate thier stupid guts.
I hate umbrellas and whosoever wields them.
In Italy it is not windy, so umbrellas make sense. But I still resist them on principle- also, if I carry an umbrella and meet someone on the footpath who also has one, by the laws of I AM TALLER THAN MOST ITALIANS, I have to raise mine over theirs to squeeze by- that means theirs ducks under mine, and flings water onto my head and also my head is exposed to umbrella spikes.
GARRHHH! I hate umbrellas. I wish personal head-bubbles would become a thing, and we could say goodbye and fuck off to umbrellas forever.
I am going out tonight anyway and guess what, after three days of 10 hours shifts to make up for the hours I missed when my mum was over, I actually have tomorrow morning free from work! Saturday morning, imagine! That means I can get shitfaced and fancy free and even footloose if I so desire, and tomorrow I can sleep enough sleep to function as an employee!
Oh man it’s gonna be great.
Except it’s piddling rain.
So hopefully can find somewhere nice to drink and not call it off due to bad weather. My Saturday morning off work will not be taking a rain check, so I have to make tonight a good night.
Anyway. I better do some proper work now. There are no customers but I am too afraid to be near the computer it’s in a corner, if the spider strikes and he could at any moment, I am fucked.
UPDATE: I found the spider. I couldn’t handle not knowing… I shook the shelves by the expensive bags and it came scuttling out and up onto the top shelf. I thought ok, I will let it stay there. We can coexist. (Ie. I wish I could kill you but you are just as scary to me dead) but then the stupid fucker starts making an expedition towards my computer again and my workstation.
This will not stand.
You know how protective I get about bugs coming into my personal space.
So I took off my Clark Kent the pussy glasses and became EXTERMINATE-RA!
Or I don’t know about the name yet, I am working on it. The point is it is my bug killing alter ego who only comes out when I am really truly under siege by some crunchy multi-limbed plague.
So I got my gypsy stick and started stabbing at it through the metal grid back of the shelves as it picked its way across the wall. I said “Hiii— yah!” once but it felt like I was saying hiii-yaa! long after I had stabbed with my stick and the spider was much faster than my stabbing OR my voice so I didn’t continue with that. Then it was nearly getting to the part near my laptop where I would no longer be able to stab at all in case I got bug bits on my precious, so I got real crazy and did a frenzied attack on wherever the spider might hit next… I saw it slip a bit on the wall high above my laptop and realised with some feeling of guilt that I must have mutated its leg a bit. Poor guy. I am sorry mr. Spider, it’s not that I hate you, it’s just that everything about you and your species revolts me and makes my skin crawl. On a celular level I respect you, you are an awesome creature and you have such cool natural abilities that a human with those same powers is a SUPER HERO. So that’s cool. I mean no other creature can say that- maybe an ant. I hate ants too but they are smaller so I can squish them good so they don’t freak me out hence I can allow them to live. Catch 22 yo.
Anyway once I realised I had made it harder for this spider to live its life and catch flies and basically do what a spider does, I decided I could pretend to be merciful if I killed it. It still grosses me out but at least it doesn’t feel like senseless bloodlust. Even though it’s bollox- I only believe euthinasia is right if you can really know if the person wants to be alive or dead. So with animals, I can’t really feel justified with putting them out of their misery… but then luckily I’m not in a position where I have to clarify my stance on the subject.
Anyway I got out the hoover even though this spider was quite large although not very fat, he just had long spindly legs. I know spiders apparently can survive the hoovering process but at least he will be contained for a while. I wish I had some spider poison I could hoover up after him but I don’t. Oh well. I couldn’t allow him to stay living above my head while I blog, that would have been intollerable. That is all, now I can go back to doing nothing.
I’m at least grateful to the spider for giving me something to freak out about this morning as there have been only two customers so far.