03 November 2010

Not Only of Eyeballs

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel as though people are looking at you, talking about you behind your back, maybe even laughing at you? I know, I know: the bastards.

A few years ago, when the Grumpyberry haushold was still as one, and we were living in Canberra, I was standing at the bus stop on a chilly Monday morning, waiting for my transport to whisk me away to work. At first I was the only one there and then a few more people arrived and stood behind me. I was obviously having an off day because it seemed to me that there was a kind of whispered conversation, perhaps even muffled guffaws happening behind me. I turned around a couple of times to catch the offenders in the act, but they looked as innocent as could be. Still, I knew. Even though I also knew I was just having an off day and feeling sensitive and nothing whatsoever was going on.

I got into work and forgot all about it. Then I went out at lunch time and in the queue at the post office and the queue at the sandwich shop, I felt it happening again. Obviously just one of those days. I scurried back to work to hide away from my neurotic feelings, because I had heaps of work to get done, and because it was a bitter, yellow-skied, mid-winter day.

[I have to pause at this point to tell you that the Grumpyberry Canberra abode was perfect in winter: it faced north and had huge windows that filled it with sunshine and warmth. What it didn’t have was very nice carpet. There was the off-white disco seduction shagpile in the living area and the mission brown nylon horror in our bedroom. We kind of got used to it and never bothered replacing it. But, oh those north facing windows, and the glorious winter sunshine! It was on one of those sunny wintry days, the day before the bus stop incident, that I’d suddenly felt in need of a little lie down. I didn’t want to sleep, so I grabbed my hairbrush and lay on the bed doing quite a thorough job of removing all the hair from it. Then, deciding I really did want a snooze, and being a lazy wench, I rolled all the hair I’d collected into a ball and dropped it onto the carpet beside the bed.]


Back at work it was a super duper busy afternoon, spent hunched and tensed over the keyboard. Finally I finished whatever I was working on, stretched my arms above my head and my legs out in front of me. That’s when I saw it. The hairball I’d so idly dropped on the floor the afternoon before, had blended perfectly with the grim brown bedroom carpet. I’d forgotten about it after my snooze, and naturally didn’t see it subsequently. Then that morning as I sat on the bed, dragging my stockings on, the hosiery had neatly scooped the hairball up and lodged it on my calf, where it had been sitting, trapped all day, like a mutant mole.

I hadn’t imagined the giggles and whispers. I was a walking sideshow!

Unfortunately, I hadn’t yet heard of Jim Rose or I may have been tempted to run away and join the circus. And I tell you what, after wrestling those skin-tight stockings off, removing the offending growth, and cajoling my body back into them, I certainly could have demonstrated my acrobatic skills.

Before you mention it, it’s not like the hair would have counted for anything in the circus audition: give any woman enough years on earth, and she’ll eventually grow an excess of that in all the wrong places.

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