You know when you’re younger and you read stories about people living in weird but exciting places, like theme parks or tree houses or that Christmas film with the family that live in the tent section of a department store? I always wanted to be one of those people, but I think that somehow my request has fallen victim to the cruel fate of Chinese whispers and somehow been muddled up, so although life might have tried its best to grant me my wish, instead of living in a theme park I am now living in a cemetery. Not next to a cemetery, not near a cemetery, but actually in a cemetery. People tend to be a bit apprehensive at first, but then they start to come around to the idea when I tell them how low my rent is. Working for minimum wage tends to lower your standards in most aspects of life, so an old cemetery house with a bathroom sink that may come off the wall at any given moment is really no big deal. Low rent combined with finding nearly £8 inside an old armchair pretty much means I’m rolling in it now - or as much as a poor person can be considered rolling in it anyway. My mum and I eagerly slashed open the bottom of the poor chair after hearing coins rolling around inside it – all we need now is a fridge in the garden and we’ll be a proper white trash family.
When I’m not torturing myself with thoughts of zombies, trying to decide whether the smell downstairs is rat urine, dead bodies, or just ‘old house smell’, or doing my best to give off the impression that I am normal to my new housemates, I actually really enjoy living amongst the dead. They’re excellent neighbours, they never complain about the noise, and my garden is always full of fresh flowers. It does have its down sides, though. For example, it’s not very well lit, so when I’m trying to find my front door in the dark coming home from the pub, there’s always the slight possibility that I’ll end up flat on my back in a freshly dug grave. I think that would give a whole new meaning to waking up in someone else’s bed…
Another downside is my new abode happens, purely coincidentally, to be a 45 second walk from my mum’s house. I never wanted to be that person that moves around the corner from their mother, but sometimes things just work out that way and you have to deal with them. Living so close has its benefits, don’t get me wrong. It was particularly useful in the first few days when I’d not done a proper shop and I could wait until she went out and then sneak round and make myself some dinner. It’s also very convenient that she is close enough to pop round and do handy jobs like putting up blinds and shelves for me whilst I’m at work – it pays to have a loving, retired mother at times like this. She doesn’t half make life hard for herself sometimes, though. Last week she spent an hour and a half trying to drill holes in my wall before realising she had the electric drill in reverse and was in effect just forcing it into the wall with the productivity rate of a teaspoon… (Despite all her helpful efforts, she is not doing a great job with the ‘make Amy seem normal’ plan – during my first week she took it upon herself to lay a new shower mat in the bath. Normally, this would not be a problem, however, this particular shower mat was bright green and in the shape of a crocodile. Naturally. Because who can live without one of those?)
As a general rule in life, I have grown to accept my lot. I have accepted that my mother is going to buy ridiculous home furnishings and lay them out for all of my housemates to see instead of gradually letting my weirdness out in small bursts so that by the time they realise just how weird I am, we’re already friends and it’s too late. I have accepted that I am going to find myself in an awkward situation on a bi-weekly basis, and I have accepted that life is usually going to do everything it can to make me look like a knob, but there are still times when I find myself in a situation and all I want to do is crawl into a hole in the ground and ask whoever is listening, ‘why me?’
Some Why Me moments are worse than others. For example, the time I accidentally pulled the emergency cord in Waterstones’ toilets – humiliating, but not crushing. The time I set off all the alarms in Tesco after accidentally stealing an orange – embarrassing, but recoverable. The time I projectile vomited at the back of the bus and then had to sit there waiting for my stop as sick gradually made its way all the way down the aisle to the front – embarrassing, humiliating, and just all around mortifying. This week’s Why Me moment consisted of my new manager calling me Jean (see previous post about name badge), and, instead of correcting her, I answered to it, had a conversation with her, and then let her walk away and continue to think my name was Jean. I guess I’m just going to have to change it by deed poll and deal with it. Verdict: Awkward, but avoidable if willing to make alterations to birth certificate.
Work really has been all fun and games this week as not only have we got a new manager, but I also got to go on the health and hygiene course, which was beyond exciting, let me tell you. There’s nothing I love more than sitting in a tiny, stuffy room on my day off, looking out over the fields as the sun is shining for the first time since last year, listening to someone tell horror stories about finding a worm in a Sainsbury’s sandwich, finding ants in a loaf of bread, and a butcher going to jail for accidentally killing 19 old age pensioners after a serious incident of cross contamination. When she started asking us what the best conditions were for micro-bacteria to reproduce, I couldn’t stop myself from offering up ‘mood lighting and Barry White’ as an answer. Apparently, that was incorrect and she was slightly displeased, but a little romance never hurt anyone. (She was also displeased when a sheep from the field outside the window backed up, rested its rear end on the windowsill, and defecated all over the window, but some people are just difficult to please).