Sunday, April 30, 2006

Greece 2 600 - 36Just don't.

You know when you want to stab an anonymous flatmate, but end up cutting your finger washing up instead? Well, firstly there's the little problem which led to the following message masking-taped to the bathroom door:

To whom it may concern:

Either learn to piss straight or learn to clean up after yourself.

Yep, I'm getting somewhat annoyed by the twice daily delight of having to wipe someone's stale urine off the loo seat. And by the smell of it, they're not getting enough water and may have kidneys damaged by high blood pressure, or just eat way too much protein (which sort of suggests it's the Peruvian, who eats only fried steaks with Frankfurters as cristini).

Anyway, a short while after I resorted to note-leaving (doesn't it just irritate you so much that you want to do the opposite? And isn't it fabulous when you stay in some regrettably not Godforsaken B&B (maybe it is Godforsaken, but the owners can't take a hint), which comes with 3M's heaven of notes, if only they hadn't used laminated, cliparted computer printouts in Comic Sans [the purple ink of the font world, if that isn't claimed by Mistral]? The type of place which has guidance and warnings for every conceivable possibility, although in some cases one wonders why it was conceived, and just how it was. Who, in the history of one nameless B&B, managed to urinate so fast that the vibration made the downpipe leak? I don't know, but I commend them for inducing the owner to include a notice on urinating with excessive speed. And just what is excessive? How much variation in flow rates occurs? Within one individual? Across the population? Is it sex linked? Age linked? Are there cultural impacts?. All this because some VOC fresh, dry-flowered, doilied hellhole has dodgy plumbing).

Getting back to a different kind of hellhole (one that has a magic fairy who cleans the bathroom, empties the bin, takes the rubbish out, changes lightbulbs, answers the door and wonders just why one flatmate apparently needs to shower seven times a day. He can't be obsessive compulsive because the food splattered across the kitchen floor doesn't turn him into a gibbering wreck; instead he just treads in it and walks it round until the whole floor's sticky. I hate being the clean one in the flat, especially as my grime and mess tolerance levels are worryingly high). A few hours after I left instructions on the loo door (I originally intended there to be three options, but I realised suggesting that Mr Pisspoor might want to lift the seat would only result in continued accretion of urine salts on the front of the loo (this is why I hate being the clean one. Isn't many months worth of unknown people's dusty urine just the nicest thing to clean?). Oh yeah, completing that last sentence amendment appeared, scrawled in red biro:

I don't pee while standing.

Well good for you.

Actually small confession. Neither do I normally. Hence having to wipe the seat every time. It's part of being a perfectionist (yes I know, but I'm a perfectionist without patience, so I'll hate myself for being bad, but not put the time in to be good. Basically I just start by hating myself and I find that saves on the whole process), so while I can control most of the process, including the necessary spasm at the end, I haven't the foggiest where the first bit will go; usually two directions at once if it feels like impressing. So I've never been confident in terms of urinal aim, which just becomes self-reinforcing; I avoid it because I'm bad at it, I'm bad because I avoid it. I don't even do it (ok, try not to) when in need in the wilderness (read half a mile away from a village, which is about as wildernessed as it gets in this country), although that maybe just the tales (true, I was close by when it happened) of the guy who relieved himself into a sparse hedge, which was supplemented by an electric fence. I've held one of those (we had one at school. I was put there to stop us feeding the horses in the neighbouring field. Instead it just made waiting to bat in rounders more interesting when we weren't feeding the horses) and while I can imagine some pain round there might be enjoyable, that might be a little bit too much.

And was that comment a little bit too much? Sod it, I'm tired, worried and annoyed. Thank God (or Sainsbury's) that salmon can be microwaved in 2.5 minutes. I was busy, I came in, turned the oven on, so turn the control two notches to the right, turn the thermostat up (I don't know who keeps putting it on zero, but then I still maltreat it because it gives me Celsius not Gas Mark, so everything gets cooked at just below 200; it's amazing what three months of thermostatless oven cooking, plus a childhood of scout campfire cooking, will do for thermodiligence), realise the fan isn't on and so turn it on at the wall. It starts chucking out the contents somewhere at mid thigh level (I don't get why it's efficient for an oven to pump out heated air into the room; I strongly suspect part of it is missing). Put water on for the rice. Start washing up for I have something to eat off (yes, the rice pan had previously been used for pasta, but it was dry, which is nearly clean, and anyway, starch is starch). Realise the potential conflict that will occur as I'm washing up in the sink, using the plug (as my washing up bowl still has purloined cement-like North London soil in it), which might make draining difficult or washing up a bit dirtier than it was when it went in.

Get salmon out of now defrosted pack, stick in foil with a chopped tomato and two spring onions, seal cocoon, place in oven, which claims to be up to temperature for once. Continue washing up between putting the rice in (rinse it? But it's going in water anyway), decanting the now cooked rice water to a different saucepan, using that to cook the spring greens (well it says steam, so a glug of starch soup is sort of the same), which were another reduced-therefore-buy, rather buy-because-need purchase, and one which was more successful than the Jerusalem artichokes (what does one do with them?) which are still attempting their escape, but that's probably because I know what to do with them; cook a la cabbage, so hack about a bit, then cook until not quite cooked.

Decant the Exorcist vomit into a third saucepan (also pre-dirtied) and leave to steep and form polysaccharide continents. Get salmon out... oh. There's no blast of hot air whumping into my face. There's, I'll just take the oven glove off, no heat. Er. But the fan's on. And thermostat's on the right level. And, oh, the turn-the-oven-on dial was on the setting diametrically opposite the only useful one. Because as we know, it's very important to be able to illuminate and ventilate one's oven independently. After all, one may want to read in there on a warm night. And because it's a stunning piece of ergonomic, fully rotational design, the knob looks exactly the same if you rotate it 180 degrees.

And I thought the knobs on the microwave, which you can only operate if you have fingernails, were bad (yes, this is my microwave, or more technically one of the spare family microwaves, my parents having bought both sets of grandparents them, only to have them return after different amounts of time, as was probably a bit predictable. The bought my mother's mother's one first, which could calculate the exact amount of power and time needed to defrost a turkey provided you could navigate the menu past pressing 1 for feathered and 2 for plucked. I was the youngest in that family, and I couldn't make the thing work, except when it did then wouldn't stop, so the rest of them had no hope. So when it became time for my father's parents, they made sure they found the nearest to my parent's old Bejam thing [Bejam's became Iceland the shop and they used to sell domestic electrical things], which is so simple it's dark brown. So they found the only model with two dials; one for time, the other for power, and nothing else (even the Bejam thing came with a start button [long before Windows maligned those words] and one to open the door), and think they've done well. The only comment we got back was that my grandfather wasn't used to it, so didn't use it much. He didn't quite get round to mentioning that he couldn't turn the dials, and that the grip designed gives a rounded ledge about 3 mm deep to hold, and both opposing ledges are about 5mm from the central axis, which combined with the resistance of the dial, means that to turn the thing you need more torque than is in British Museum's room of bronze age jewellery. The only way you can shift it is by hooking the end of a fingernail against the slightly raised marker on the edge of the knob. I've no idea why it's so badly designed; presumably someone thought a miniscule white plastic marker on a white plastic background wouldn't disturb the yin and yang swirls of the knobs. And has anyone else made a microwave or cooker with knobs and dials which look like a clock used to teach children to tell the time? One you can control with one finger? If not, why the hell not? If it takes good eyesight and dextrous hands to use, it's not really a mass market product is it? Actually they probably don't care, because can you imagine Curry's reaction if you brought something back because you can't physically use it? This is quite long for a passing comment).

Oh hell, it's far too late I haven't done things I want to do nor those I need to do.

Oh, and thinking of hell, could someone bomb Abbey [nee National] for me? Bloody close at half-past four not open on at weekends nor on Bank Holiday places. Guess who only discovered this at four twenty-five on Friday when the automatic doors failed to be quite as automatic as I'd like. Still one shouldn't rely on banks (or institutions previously known as building societies) to be able to do anything with numbers, even if it is only tell the time. And yes, woman who gave me a disapproving look from safe within three layers of glass, I was saying "bugger" repeatedly.

By the way, if you do choose to annihilate them, could you wait till I've taken my money out. It'll be Tuesday at the earliest, if I have time, plus allow 14 days for the cheque to clear (I could pay to transfer it quicker, but why the hell should I? And B, despite there being no mention of an A, it takes about the same time as a cheque).

Anyway, beds beckons (well, just lies there looking crumpled), so I'd better finish, so I can be up at the crack of dawn, only to realise how miserable getting up for dawn is on Mayday if you're only doing it to do work, rather than fling yourself off a bridge, although bridge-flinging sounds quite tempting at the moment, but it won't be the Cherwell (knowing me I'd probably land on a Cory's Enviromental barge).


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