Sunday, 20 June 2010

On being Grown Up

I just lost an entire Saturday to a hangover, something which hasn't happened to me since at least... um.. well, since I left Poland anyway. As far as I can tell, I have a critical mass point where alcohol, lack of sleep and proper food are combined, and after which a full-blown vomiting migraine is guaranteed, regardless of how much I have actually drunk. On days like these, I can feel my brain swelling against the inside of my skull and I can't even keep down water. When I was a child, I used to get these attacks without the help of alcohol at all, so, looking on the bright side, at least these days I get to do something fun to deserve it first.

- but I didn't think you drank that much last night...
- *writhing* It's not really about how much.
- can I use your coffee machine?
- do whatever you like (but stop talking to me)
- would you like some baguette?
- *starts to retch*
- it's really fresh. mmm...

 I am sure that by now I should know better. I should be able to listen to my instincts, and refuse that last pintje. I should eat sensibly, go jogging in the morning instead of last thing at night, and pay my bills As Soon As They Arrive, and not three days after the deadline (guilty). My life should be organised in all departments: but it's not...

- Work: I should go to bed at 10pm on a school night. I should file my glossaries Straight After The Meeting, and not three weeks later, when I'm looking for something else altogether, and when I can't remember which stray page belonged to which working group. I should not be flying down the hill at 9.50 am, with my hair only half-dry and make-up smeared on haphazardly, scattering a trail of scarves and documents and access badges behind me.
It is not grown-up to be childishly excited about working in the Parliament, which feels overwhelmingly like Darth Vadar's Death Star, or on the secret top floor of the Commission, which resembles nothing so much as the command bridge of the Starship Enterprise, poised to launch itself out over a - probably largely apathetic - Brussels. I resolve also to develop greater lift management skills. There must have been trainee Storm Troopers who leaned against the alarm button in the Death Star lifts on their second day and were startled by a disembodied voice saying 'Deespatcheeng bonjour?'. Fortunately the lift stopped at my floor before they had a chance to come and dispatch me and I left my fellow traveller explaining that 'oui, c'etait une erreur, il y avait une dame qui...'

- Housework: I am officially a slattern. I don't think I've vaccuumed the flat since before my sister's hen party in Edinburgh. The bath has a greasy grey scum ring around the plughole. I've run out of shelf space for books, so any new acquisitions (which are frequent) are piled up next to the sofa. I can't put down my keys or glasses on any surface because I won't be able to find them again. I am fielding gentle hints like: 'that bin looks ready to take itself out' and 'you know, it's so much nicer when things are tidy'. A lot of colleagues have cleaning ladies (mostly Polish), but I'm too embarrassed to admit that I can't keep fifteen square metres of studio clean all by myself. Plus I'd never tidy the flat in time for her arrival. And I seem - however improbably - to have inherited some hugely misplaced working class pride from somewhere. Possibly from my mother, who would have got it from her mother who spent most of her life as a maid, companion, dinner lady, etc. I'm faintly ashamed at the thought of someone else coming in and scrubbing my loo (in any case I would do it better: bordering on the obsessive).

- Luurve: uuf. I should be able to play it cool, instead of ... um... holding hands on the second date. I should not send drunk text messages. My mobile phone (and facebook) should come equipped with breathalysing devices. I must learn not to break out in a cold sweat or to visibly shudder at the sound of the words 'boyfriend', 'girlfriend', 'relationship' or 'children'. Eek.

- Food: I will finish a lettuce before it goes all slimy in the bottom of my fridge. I will do the washing up properly, and not leave it out until brackish dishwater stains the plates and I have to wash them all over again. I will eat fruit. Every day.
In my Masters year at Bath, things got a little competitive, and even the lunch table was not exempt from the madness. We would sit down together, sneak furtive glances across at our dining companions, and then whip open our lunchboxes. Out would come neat sticks of celery, chunks of cucumber, carrot batons. At particularly stressful moments, I would take a wholemeal pitta stuffed with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and the most fragile of reduced-fat cheddar shards scraped from the edge of the block. Mineral water was the order of the day, and there was a fierce contest to see who could get their full five-a-day into their packed lunch.
Oh, and the following do not constitute a healthy breakfast: chocolate cereal, waffles, Speculoos spread, leftover pizza.

Summer: I must organise a) my Poland trip b) a place to live in September. Before I leave in two weeks...

I will also go to the dentist, some time, definitely. Oh crap, and pay my social security.

Above all, I must stop splashing in puddles when it rains. Which after all in Brussels is pretty much all the time.

You see my problem?! Are you grown-up yet? Would you be afraid of your cleaning lady?


Jeannie said...

I have never had a cleaning lady--I felt that I should do my own, even with three children and when I was working full-time! The other consideration was that I didn't want a cleaning lady stealing my stuff. Some of these cleaning people are thieves who have to bond and insure themselves, but who wants to deal with that kind of hassle? If you have someone you trust and they don't cost too much, then I'd say, go for it, but I'd be more afraid of someone stealing your "identity" and pilphering incidentals than worrying if your place is tidy enough to allow a cleaning lady in.

Laura said...

I would like a cleaning lady, but I'm too scared to phone one up. I'm also worried that she wouldn't do a very good job and I would be too shy to sack her, instead settling for an even more half heartedly cleaned flat than I have at the moment. Apparently it's ok to leave your washing up for them, as long as you leave some extra money.

I am slowly overcoming my childish fear of speaking French. And I have nearly got to the point where I don't worry every Monday morning that my boss has sacked me, but forgotten to tell me.

I think I might slowly be becoming a grown up!

I am still too scared to talk to the IT boys though as they are funnier than me, and being funny is my mad little comfort blanket.

Jeannie said...

Hi Pin,
Missing you and your posts and wondering how you're doing and what you're up to. I just come on here to reread your last post and see how very busy you are and it's no wonder you don't have time to do the housework. I hope you've been able to sort something out--curious about it now.

Michael Dembinski said...

What happened to the post entitled "What you missed" that your ardent fans (M. Dembinski, B. Usniacki) have on their blog lists?

Anonymous said...

I think I've seen an update here, but it seems the post has mysterioulsy disappeared since Sunday.

Hope Pino is OK and it's just that la donna è mobile :)

a faithful reader

pinolona said...

hello! I'm back. Had a bit of a busy few weeks, combined with a minor privacy confidence crisis. Am back to talking about Polish language, which is a fairly safe area...

pinolona said...

Michael - it disappeared because I deleted it. Sorry. But I'll write more, promise!