Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Plank life

Amy's finished with the cold and passed it on to me. So I'm sitting in bed staring out of the window at the rapidly disappearing blue in an increasingly grey sky, trying to summon up the will to live, or at least to carry on existing.

I woke up this morning with the gradual realisation that I had leprosy in both feet. They were sticking out of the covers, not cold, though the room was freezing, but with no discernable feeling in them apart from a vague uncoveredness. It was as though they'd given up the ghost (whatever that means) ahead of the rest of me.

I became aware of a distant thumping and the sound of an idling diesel motor. The heating oil delivery! I jumped out of bed and clattered down the stairs, flinging on any garment I could find. I looked a bit strange when I opened the door on the early morning grey, joyfully illuminated by pale gold reflections of the delivery tanker's headlights on grubby snow. The driver didn't seem to notice my odd appearance. He shook my hand, a sure sign that I was fitting right in with the general early morning, rural French ambience.

I opened the barn and fled inside to the comparative warmth of the house. Comparative warmth is a laugh - I thought of opening the fridge to warm the place up.

I waited shivering inside the house while he trailed a hundred feet of metal hose through the barn and pumped five hundred litres of the cheapest fuel oil into our ancient two thousand litre tank. Then I gave him almost all the cash we earned for playing the other night and scurried back to bed, intent on dying in a warm house.

It's lunch time now and I'm still alive so I think I'll get up. I'm worried that Amy and I are like the man and woman in the Swiss chalet - she comes out in the sunshine but at the first sign of crappy weather she swings into the balsa wood recesses of the little house, and I come pivotting out on the other end of our shared plank to stand outside until the sun comes back.

The sunshine that replaced the grey, oil-delivery dawn is all gone now. If I get up Amy might have a relapse. I think I'll stay put.