Monday, October 26, 2009

Week Three

This week I learned that you can take the girl out of Ireland, but you can’t take the Ireland out of the girl. That feckin Catholic guilt will catch up on you, no matter where you go. There is just no escaping it. It is rooted deep in your psyche, and comes up to give you the dirty eyeball just as you are about to reach for that glass of wine/slice of cake/tube of lubricant. It's a fecker alright.

Monday 21st Oct

Let me just explain one of my daily Catholic Guilt related trials here in Italy regarding my food shopping. But firstly I must furnish you with a little background info on my supermarket situation. Usually I go about 3 or 4 times a week, because it’s too far a walk to carry my big shop home, so instead I go a few times and pick up things as I go through the week. Anyway your food is fresher that way. I usually go to Esselunga, a huge AMAZING supermarket that literally has everything my heart desires.

There is, however, something that has me up in a heap every time I get closer to the place. It literally gives me what I like to refer to as SAS, or “Sweaty Arse Syndrome”. Sweaty Arse Syndrome is a common ailment which can afflict anyone, regardless of age, race or social class. It is usually caused by anxiety, stress and/or extreme nervousness and usually occurs at inappropriate times, such as, for example, during job interviews, leaving the interviewee, i.e. the SAS sufferer, thinking “please oh please oh please let me not leave a sweaty arse mark on this chair after me”. In the case of this affliction, prevention is better than cure. The sufferer should apply talc liberally to their arse crack and to the surrounding arse area if they think they may be entering into a stressful situation. Applying talc is also effective in the prevention of SAS’ close relative, Sweaty Knee Syndrome (SKS), but less effective in the treatment of its more distant cousins “The Reddner” and “The Whitener”.

Anyway this whole supermarket situation has me going through two bottles of Johnson’s Baby Powder a week. Basically, there are two ways to get to the entrance. The first (and nearest) way is to walk across a footbridge, at the other side of which you can turn right to go into the supermarket or you can turn left and go down some steps into a green area. Hail, rain or shine, without fail, this fella stands at the top of these steps holding an illegible sign. All the letters are squooshed up on top of each other, so it is literally impossible to decipher. This guy is ALWAYS there. Every day. From dawn ‘til dusk, no joke, there has never been a time that I went to the supermarket and he wasn’t standing there.

The second way in is to walk an extra 1-2 mins to the faraway ramp past some really aggressive fella who harasses me to buy knock off handbags EVERY SINGLE TIME I pass him.

Now anyone would say to me, “Jennie girl - are you on crack? Go in the first way which is the nearest, and where the fella wont be all up in yo’ grill trying to make you buy a handbag.” But no, NO! I would rather walk across hot coals than walk past the fella holding the sign. I presume the sign is asking for money or things of that nature. I hate passing him. I feel so guilty. But if I walk past the footbridge to the next ramp, he can SEE ME avoiding him. Oh God, I just don’t know what to do. When I turn the corner onto the street where the entrance is, the SAS hits me full force. We’re talking rivulets here, people. Sometimes he sees me, and then I HAVE to walk past him, because now we are on speaking terms. All the Italians just walk past him as if he wasn’t there, but he IS there like, the least you can do is acknowledge his existence as a fellow human being. Honestly, how rude. So now we say hello to each other every time I pass, but recently I have noticed he is trying to draw me in. He raises his hand and says hello, and then turns the wave into a point at his sign as in “If you’re saying hello to me you may as well read the sign, Missus”. God I really wish I just kept ignoring him like the Italians do, but it’s easy for them, they don’t stand out like a sore thumb! I might as well be wearing a sombrero and a moustache going past him.

I know we women are always being told not to give money to homeless people/beggars because it puts us in danger but that doesn’t stop me feeling guilty. If I grab him something in the supermarket, then he might think I actually have money when I don’t, which also puts me in danger. All people see of me here is my blonde hair, and then they immediately presume I am a rich American and hassle me in the street non stop. So this fella probably thinks I have money because I’m obviously a foreigner. He probably thinks I’m loaded walking past him with my bag of shopping, but little does he know all that’s in it is me K.V.I. bread and yellow pack spuds.

Also I’m scared that if I stand there and actually read the sign , it will say “if you read this your left boob will explode”.

Today anyway I headed down and was battling the usual inner turmoil of how to get to the entrance and I looked – and lo! Yer man wasn’t there, so I decided to go over the footbridge. I couldn’t believe my luck! And I was right not to, because when I was halfway across the bridge his head started bobbing up the steps from the green exactly parallel to me! “Oh fuck!” I thought and I started speeding up – and then HE started speeding up the steps. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuuuuck!” and he got to the top of the steps JUST as I was passing them “Ciao!” he says victoriously up into my face, and points to the sign. “Ciao” I says as I walk past. Part of me was being “ett” alive by the guilt, while the other part of me was thinking that if he wanted people to read the fuckin sign, he shouldn’t have wrote it in fuckin hieroglyphics.

Me nerves are at me over this. I might sit down for a little minute.

Tuesday 22nd Oct

Ah today was a great day. I went to introduce myself to the professor that is looking after me over here and he is just a little puddin’ head. He was delighted to see me; he couldn’t cope when I walked in the door, shur God love him. We made a standing date to see each other for a chat every Tuesday for me to tell him all about what I get up to every week.

After meeting him I was so delighted I decided to buy a silk scarf that I had my eye on for ages. I was just up to the door of the shop when POOF! – little Eddie Hobbs appeared on my shoulder “don’t do it Jennie, you can’t afford it”. Ah piss off Eddie I said and went for the door handle. At that moment Eddie, in alliance with Catholic Guilt tried to wrestle me to the ground, but I would not be defeated! I bought the scarf and emerged from the shop triumphant. But Eddie won out in the end. Cos every time I look at it I gets a dose of the guilts.

Wednesday 21st Oct

It was BUCKETING down rain today. Went to training anyway. I grabbed the last available rowing machine. The seat was a bit bockety but I said shur what harm I’ll soldier bravely on. I looked up at the clock on the wall – 8.20/8.25 ish (it’s one of those ones without any numbers on them) I said I’ll give it about ten minutes and then I’ll take a rest. So I was rowing away anyway, thinking of the week and things I still have to do etc and I looked up and the ten minutes weren’t up yet so I kept rowing. And rowing and rowing. The sweat was drippin off my fringe. My clothes were stuck to me. The ten minutes were STILL not up. And then I copped on – the feckin clock was broken.

What time is it anyone? I said. Ten past nine someone said, why? Lads, I had been rowing for nearly an hour and here was I thinking it had only been ten minutes! At that I burst out laughing and started to point at the clock on the wall…thus leaving go of the handle. Mistake. Immediately I lost my balance and instead of just falling gracefully sideways onto the floor I tried to steady myself…on the bockety seat. Well there were arms and legs everywhere, I’m pretty sure some of them weren’t mine. It was a feckin visual symphony of limbs which ended up with me kickin the screen off the machine.

Now this is the SECOND time I’ve done something stupid in here. Thankfully though in times like these, I can always play the “goofy Irish girl” card and everyone will just laugh it off, and I can pretend to laugh it off too, while in reality I am HAUNTED by it every time the sun goes down.

Thursday 22nd Oct

After two weeks of being absolutely FREEZIN in the room, i.e. your breath is on full show, they finally decided to turn on the heating. In the middle of the night like. Except there aren’t radiators, there is a kind of vent thing in the ceiling that blows out hot air. Now I am not a fan of loud and terrifying noises in the night time, who is, I ask you? So when a loud chainsaw-like noise stared emanating from the ceiling you can imagine the terror. Still asleep, I leapt up out of the bed and opened my bedroom door, only to discover that the sound was coming from inside my room, and that it was accompanied by a tiny, almost unnoticeable puff of warmth from the ceiling. After about 5 mins I copped on, not before a little bit of wee came out though.

This is not the first time I’ve had one of these night terrors. One night last year in our house in Dublin, not too long after we all moved in there, I woke up in the middle of the night to a beeping sound. I was still in the thick fog of sleep so I thought it was someone’s phone beeping after it got a message, but it kept beeping. So I deduced in my semi-conscious state that it must be some alarm going off.

A smoke alarm going off in the night is the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone I think. I have thought so since I was ten and I watched an episode of Rescue 999 where someone’s house burnt down and the little girl was playing with her dolly in her room and the next minute it cut to the dolly melting while the bed was licked by flames. 15 years later, it still plays on my mind.

Filled with terror, I leapt from the bed at top speed (still asleep, you understand) in me vest and knickers and ran out to the house alarm and started beeping in the code. Cos you know the way keying in the house alarm code will make the smoke alarm stop beeping, like. Halfway through my frantic pawing at the keypad, Mark ran into the room like Linford Christie, in only his boxers, as asleep as I was, saying it wasn’t the house alarm it was the fire alarm, but by then I was after setting the house alarm off as well.

At this point Fran came out of her room in her jim jams and eye mask on the top of her head and we were all frantically trying to make the alarm stop beeping. My first thought was to wave the smoke away from it and Mark’s first thought was to press the button on it, but because the ceiling is so high, both were impossible without some sort of implement. We looked at each other as we both thought the same thing – we can reach it with our trusty JML wonderbroom! So we both grabbed the one broom and I was trying to wave the smoke away from the alarm with the brush end and he was trying to press the button with the handle end. Bear in mind now we were both trying to do it at the same time.

It didn’t work though (I wonder why?) and in the end me and Fran had to push the couch over to the fire alarm and Mark had to stand on the back of it and take the battery out. Finally, the ordeal was over. One of Anna’s friends was staying over and had left some candles burning when she went asleep, so it was just the smoke from the candles that set it off.

Crisis averted, the three of us looked around: I was there one tit in, one tit out of me vest, Fran had her eye mask half up onto her head, thus giving herself a beehive, and Mark was standing there with the front of his boxers yawning wide open. And here Anna’s friend was, still fast asleep on the couch. Lads. If I had been awake I would have pissed on myself.

Friday 23rd Oct

Today the young fella in the first room on my floor had his whole family come up. They were bringin in gallons and gallons of water, tins of this and that, loaves and loaves of bread, jars of homemade sauces and all quare homemade preserved things, eye of newt and pickled dragons farts or whatever. I mean now there must have been about seven of them, and they were bringing in the stuff for about a half an hour. Jesus Christ like, are they preparing him for the nuclear winter or what?

And it’s not just him, either. Everyone’s parents seem to do that here every weekend. Even older students. I mean, they are about the same age as me. I was shocked. I mean come on now, crawl out of the womb lads and go to the fuckin supermarket and don’t have your Mammy be cookin your dinner of a Saturday. It’s shameful so it is.

Cut to me making a countdown calendar to when Mammy is visiting me in November.

Saturday 24th Oct

Today is a great day. I have found the most delicious thing in the world. Little cakes with custard in them. They were so delicious I could hardly believe they were real, so I had to eat 8 of them to make sure. They even tasted delicious as I was puking them up later. Good times.

Sunday 25th Oct

Spent most of the day SLAVING over making an EU format CV. Lads, I’m not joking you, slaving is the right word. Toiling could also be used. I don’t know what it is. CVs are like my Kryptonite. They stress me out so much I just can’t cope with them. Every time I have to make a new one I need someone on hand to pass me cool drinks and hot compresses. Afterwards I have to lie down in a darkened room. This one was the worst I’ve ever had to do. I hope no prospective employer ever reads this blog. Unless they are an agent or a publisher, like. If anyone even suspected how hard it was for me to complete this simple task, I’d be MORTO.

Couple that with the fact that today instead of turning off the hob, I turned off the light, and I’m really startin to think I might actually be a bit stoopa.


Aisling said...

999 used to scare the living bejaysus out of me! Brilliant theme tune though...

amyj108 said...

"Sweaty Arse Syndrome" hahaha brilliant. Keep up the good work. Cant wait for your next blog already.

Sandy said...

ha ha ha ha ha once again i am hysterical in the internet cafe! i remember kvi bread and christy keane used to be partial to a few cans of yellow pack lager!

Hazel said...

Golden Jennie. Just pure Gold!!

Siobhan said...

You have a JML Wonderbroom?
I am so jealous!

Aoife said...

Jennie Jacques, you're a scream! You better find out what yer man has written on his sign-buggng the shit out of me! Sounds like he's after taking a shining to ya!