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Monday, 4 May 2009

Stolen Cheese, Gay Tunes & The Ex Wife

01.05.09 – So May has arrived and with it the hint of a good summer to come, the air is clean and the sun begins to warm the morning. I didn’t welcome the month in by saying ‘White Rabbits’ as superstition would have me do, instead I bring the fifth month in with My Chemical Romance playing ‘Welcome To The Black Parade. I drive to work wondering why the roads are so quiet today, at the roundabout by the Britannia stadium; the home of Stoke City FC, I sit watching a man in a Lexus next to me picking his nose, he’s oblivious to the world around him as he, just as the lights change he looks in my direction and I mouth the word ‘nice’ before pulling away. This time of year is relatively quiet as many schools prepare for examinations, so are not really looking for visiting theatre. As I pull onto the office car park Siouxsie And The Banshees begin playing ‘Throw Them To The Lions’, I smile as the lads from the community action project jump into flat bed trailers and drive away, as they pass me I mutter ‘I wish somebody bloody would’. These are lads that are too cool for school, streetwise little shits with too much attitude but not enough common sense, who have been through the judicial system and are now paying their dues with community service. My inbox has a treat for me, as a valued customer of a music download site I am told that I can have 500 free downloads this month, like a red rag to a bull, that’s it I’m off. 247 downloads later I lock up, I look at my iPod today it’s shuffled 89 songs, some that have been ignored, some that have become nothing more than background music, the odd ones that have caused some sort of response like a singing along or at its worst dancing in the office, ‘Single Ladies’ by Beyoncé being the biggest culprit for initiating random daytime dancing. I switch off the engine back at home as Keane finish with, ‘This Is The Last Time’, and trying my best not to trip over an excited Jack Russell, I close my door against the first day of May, and the start of the long Bank Holiday weekend.
02.05.09 – Another fine day, so nice that it inspires us to splash out and buy two reclining chairs for outside on the patio, Dutch, my OH says these are nice and this price are ideal, besides when we move to Italy we can take them with us. Funny how so much of our desire to leave these shores for the land of la dolce vita enters our normal daily routine. It’s now been nearly a whole month since the recent earthquake struck L’Aquila, and we are still in the dark about the condition of our house in Fossa. I guess we just need to be patient, these things take time and I’m sure there are more important things to deal with. The day passes by with a visit to my parents, I sneakily cut myself some of that nice Abruzzese Pecorino I recently brought back for dad and scoff it in the kitchen, like a ravenous hound. “Oi, are you eating that bloody cheese?” Dad calls, “ Err, no just making a cuppa.” I lie.
Back home and thinking is it time for a glass of red and my mobile rings, it’s my ex wife, she tells me she’s been unwell for a few days and today has one swollen leg. I try to be sympathetic, but my response is to ask if she has ‘swine flu’. Indignant laughter ends before she asks me if I can take her to the emergency walk in hospital, as she can’t drive. I agree and set off to pick her up, pod installed and with Kirsty MacColl singing, ‘Here’s Comes That Man Again’ I drive over. A brief discussion with ex mother in law, on the merits of the staff at the walk in hospital; she has past experience. We set off, I say we; it’s myself with the ex and her two children from a second marriage. (It’s complicated don’t ask). The pod blurts out ‘Mama Mia’ by Abba and the youngest; (daughter) asks for it to be turned up. We arrive at the walk in hospital just as ‘Smalltown Boy’ by Bronski Beat begins to fade. I pay £2 to park and if adding insult to injury the woman behind the counter assumes I’m the husband and father, and ex laughs as she says, “No he’s not my husband he’s my partner”. The oldest child, (son) laughs and I smile sarcastically. To cut a long story short, walk in hospital tell me to take her to A&E, giving us a letter telling us we wont have to wait. So after just ten minutes we set off for another NHS establishment. We arrive at A&E and it’s packed to the rafters with people sat down with ice packs and bandages on one outstretched leg, one girl sits with her right leg bent at the knee and the left straight out in front of her wrapped with what looks like a kitchen towel wrapped around it, her boyfriend fetches her a coffee and they both sit staring into space with a countenance that indicates they’ve been here for quite a while. Ex wife is at the counter, she hands over her letter as I purchase some crisps for hungry daughter. A young man hobbles into the reception, his face not doing a convincing job of hiding the pain, he sits down and raises his left leg, his girlfriend goes to take off his trainer, but he just says curtly “Leave it.” Looking around at all these people with leg injuries I begin to wonder if something has gone wrong at a national hopping on one leg competition that must have been held near by. Another story trimmed for ease of reading is, the doctor takes us through to another department, he says to me, “Don’t worry your wife is in good hands,” before I can say anything, her offspring titter and she’s whisked off into a side room. To pass the time I bet the daughter £2 if she’ll sit in a wheelchair and pretend she’s Andy Pitkin off ‘Little Britain’, which she does. Ex re-appears and tells me she has something I can’t pronounce and we head off with a green slip of paper to get her prescription. On the way we have Liza Minnelli and a song from ‘Cabaret’ I move the track on only for it to be replaced by Man 2 Man, ‘Male Stripper', I groan and say, “Looks like my iPod is playing all the gay tunes today” We all` laugh as we arrive at the pharmacy and Bette Midler begins to sing.
Now suffice to say I’m a giving kind of person and don’t mind helping anyone out in his or her hour of need, but as I’ve just been relieved of £14.50 in charges and sit looking at a display of nit combs and family treatment packs for threadworm I begin to ponder the whole point of being the ex; and this said I’m ex number one, why can’t ex number two be sat here wondering which genius first thought of testing the properties of a pregnant mares urine as a possible treatment for the menopause. Drugs collected we set off for the home of the ex, we’re halfway there when the youngest asks, “Are we having a Macdonald’s?” I ask “Why?” and her response is to indicate the fact that because we’ve been travelling from hospital to hospital to pharmacy she’s missed her dinner. I try to point out that the food isn’t really nutritional but lose that battle, and before I know it I’m sat in, (heaven forbid it ever happens again) a ‘Drive Thru’, processed food paid for, another £4.85 out of my wallet, we take the invalid home; who by now looks like an escapee from a home for the bewildered. I make her scrambled egg on toast before I leave; I climb into the car and Ian Gillan starts to rock out with ‘No Laughing In Heaven’, I sigh and say “Too late mate”.

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