Way back in the day, when this was all still fields and I used to “blog” over at Livejournal (only we didn’t call it “blogging” then – at least, not without the inverted commas – we just called it “journalling”. Ah, t’was a more innocent age!), I used to follow the A Day of My Life in Pictures community, where people would basically, well, document a day of their lives in pictures, d’uh. I found it really fascinating to get these little insights into the minutiae of other people’s lives, right down to the seeing what type of shampoo they used, and what they ate for lunch. In fact, those little insights are what made me get interested in blogs in general: I just loved the fact that I could be sitting there, at my desk in central Scotland, and get a glimpse of what it might be like to be a mother of five in the Midwest, or an 18-year-old in Japan, or whatever. And so my love of blogging was born.
As it happens, not much has been happening in my life of late, which is why there haven’t been too many posts here lately. Or, you know, none at all. Last week, though, I thought it would be fun to document this not-very-much that happens, in a tribute to the ADIML community, and I decided to do it using the blogger’s favourite medium: the Instagram photo. (Yeah, yeah, I know it’s fashionable to sneer at Instagram users, but I like it, and it’s easier than lugging around a DSLR all day. And I promise there are no photos of cupcakes or macarons. I’m not THAT much of a blogging cliche. Yet.) “Because people will TOTALLY want to see photos of not-very-much happening!” I thought, excitedly. “In fact, I will wait for a day on which absolutely nothing happens and I am basically just stuck in the house all day with the dog, and then I will do it!”
That day was Sunday. Here’s what it looked like.
* * *
Sunday, August 7th, in the year of our Lord, 2011. I’m woken early, by the sound of Terry swearing and muttering to himself in the hall. And also by the scent of Indian food cooking, for some reason.
Terry enters the room, and informs me that Rubin has peed on his bed in the night (Rubin’s bed, that is. Not Terry’s bed. Because that would mean Rubin had peed on MY bed in the night, and that would mean he had peed on US. And this would be a very different post, let me tell you.), and then leaves. Awesome! Welcome to Sunday morning! Welcome to… MY LIFE.
(Actually, Rubin peeing the bed in the night ceased to be A Thing some years ago, so I can only assume he decided to reprise the trick on this particular morning because he knew this was the day I was going to be documenting, and he wanted it to be as awkward as possible. The little git.)
Luckily for me, Terry has cleaned Rubin, and cleaned the bed, and now he’s off to Perth, to go white water rafting. I’m not going because I hate cold water, rafts, danger, DEATH, getting up early on a Sunday morning, and any activity which forces me to wear a wetsuit. Instead, I am anticipating a nice, long lie, and a relaxing Sunday at home. But it is not to be, because right after Terry leaves, I take the photo at the top of the page, to document my “waking up”, and instantly notice that weird, red mark on the side of my jaw.
What IS that weird red mark on the side of my jaw, I wonder? Why is it there? Am I dying?
I get out of bed and head to the bathroom, to examine what I can only describe as … a weird, red mark on my jaw. I am dying, obviously. It is some bizarre kind of skin condition, a signifier of Certain Death. This day I have chosen to document in pictures… it will be my LAST DAY ON EARTH.
Oh, hai, hypochondria! Long time no see!
I walk dispiritedly back to the bedroom, a condemned woman. When I open the door, I discover that someone has made himself right at home in my absence:
(This picture was not posed. That’s actually how I found him.)
“Rubin,” I tell him, “I am dying. I have a weird red mark on the side of my jaw. I have Weird Red Mark On Side of Jaw Disease, and even if I survive today, I will have to abandon my Day in Pictures thing, because as soon as I post that first one, people will comment and say that, OMG, their Great Aunt Ethel woke up with a weird red mark on her jaw this one time, and she totally died.”
“That’s really interesting, Amber,” says Rubin, but I’d like some of that Indian food I can smell, do you think we could do something about that?”
And you know, Rubin is right. The house DOES smell strongly of Indian food, which is weird, because that’s not normally what we eat for breakfast. I follow the smell downstairs, to solve the mystery. I discover a couple of clues in the kitchen:
Exhibit A: dirty dishes, sink full of. Exhibit B: onion bhajis, six of.
There is no sign of the food itself, so I assume it is either inside Terry’s belly, or en-route to Perth. Strange.
(Note: in fairness to Terry, I should point out that he wouldn’t normally go out and leave dishes in the sink or rubbish on the counter. He just didn’t have time to clean because of the whole “Rubin peeing on his bed” fiasco. On balance, I’d much rather clean a couple of not-very-dirty plates than Rubin’s backside and bed. Thanks, Terry.)
So I let Rubin out into the garden, where it has been raining now for forty days and forty nights, as prophesied by all of that rain we got on St. Swithin’s Day.
“Er, no thanks,” says Rubin. “YOU can go and pee in the rain if you want: I’ll just stick to peeing on my bed, if it’s all the same to you.” He doesn’t like the rain.
I make coffee.
And I have a look in the fridge to see what there is to eat. Here is the only thing that was in the fridge:
Those are two melons propping it up, just to give you an idea of scale. My in-laws brought it back from their visit to the Cadbury factory in Birmingham last week. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when Terry walked in with it.
OK, it wasn’t the ONLY thing in the fridge. There was also wine. But I figured it was a little early for wine, considering. I mean, here is the time on the oven as I was making my coffee:
OMFG! It is ten o’clock AT NIGHT! I have missed the whole day! I have either slept through it, or… or ALIENS HAVE KIDNAPPED ME AND BROUGHT ME BACK, AND NOW I WILL BE LIKE FALLON IN DYNASTY THAT TIME AND NO ONE WILL EVER BELIEVE ME OMG. ALSO, THAT WILL EXPLAIN THE WEIRD MARK ON MY FACE.
Oh no, wait: the clock is just at the wrong time. It’s not 22:40. Actually, it’s not even 10:40. I think it may have been around 10am? Maybe? Possibly? But hey, it’s Sunday, who cares, right?
I take my coffee and chocolate upstairs and settle down to check my email, comments, etc, and also to frantically Google the phrase “Weird red mark on jaw, totally nothing to worry about, really common”.
I’ve only been doing this for a couple of minutes (which is all it takes, incidentally, to establish that yes, I AM DYING), when I am disturbed by Rubin barking. His bark has that particular tone to it which I, being able to speak fluent Rubinman, am able to translate as, “Hello, I am barking because I want to sit in the window. Please place me there immediately, so that I may sit there, king of all I survey, and totally freak the hell out if I see so much as a BIRD land in the street.”
I have no choice but to obey. I am, after all, but a helpless minion, he, my furry overlord:
Yes, he is badly needing to be groomed. He’s looking particularly scruffy in these because he did eventually go out in the rain, albeit grudgingly. Also because he’d PEED HIS OWN BED, and probably his own self, too. GOD.
I tool around on the internet for a while and start writing this post. I would have taken a photo of me writing this post, but I think that would be taking “self-referential” to a new low, don’t you? Anyway, I’m sure you can all imagine what I looked like writing this post, can’t you? (When you do, please imagine me looking a bit like Angelina Jolie, thanks. On no account imagine me wearing a ratty old dressing gown, with uncombed hair, and a weird red mark on my jaw.)
I also did this:
Eyelash dye. Best thing ever for the fair of lash. (Also, 45 days MY ASS. I mean, maybe if your lashes don’t ever grow? I have to do mine every couple of weeks, though, or I end up with blonde roots. On my eyelashes.)
After that, I think, “Screw it, I’m going back to bed.” Shut up, it was Sunday. And I am dying, according to Dr Google (SHOULDBESTRUCKOFF). But first: MOAR COFFEE. And then, some relaxin’:
I’m reading The Secret Garden. I like to read children’s books when I’m dying, they help calm me down. That particular chapter was called “THA MUNNOT WASTE NO TIME.” Seriously.
At this point, I kind of gave up on the photos for a while. “Hate the stupid Day of My Life in Pictures,” I thought. “Who will read it, anyway? NO ONE, that’s who will read it. Giving up now.” I also did that thing where I lost my phone, and had to call myself to find out where it was. It was in the bathroom, naturally.
Anyway, I did some cleaning up around the house, fed the dog, and fed myself, cleverly creating a small meal out of Things I Found in the Fridge or Thereabouts. Turns out you can make a pretty good lunch out of two melons, a huge bar of chocolate, WINE and half a tub of spreadable cheese. WHO KNEW? Then I worked for a while, and honestly, I bet you’re glad I’d decided to stop taking photos at this point because it would just have been dozens of photos of me either sitting at my desk or cleaning the floors, and that would be even MORE boring than the kind of rubbish that usually passes for “a blog post” around here. Oh, and I brushed the dog. I really wasn’t joking about The Boring, was I?
Then I decided I should at least try to finish what I’d started. “Follow through, Amber,” I told myself. “Complete the project! Or people will think you didn’t even get dressed all day!”
(Top prize for “Least Flattering Camera Angle Ever”, huh?)
Let the record show that I was, in fact, dressed by this point, and had been for quite some time. On with the show…
At this point, I had planned to take Rubin for a nice, long walk. But it was pouring, and both Rubin and I HATE THAT, so I thew a ball around the house for him instead, to give him some exercise, and he looked at me as if I was mad and asked to be put back up in the window. It was around about then that the day pretty much turned from Not-Very-Funday-Sunday into Bleak, Rained-In, Kinda Depressing Sunday. I felt about as happy as… well, as a wet weekend, basically. And with nothing left to do but stare desolately out of the window at the rain, my thoughts turned to Terry, careering wildly down a waterfall in a rubber dinghy, on a day on which the MET Office had put part of Scotland under a severe weather warning.
I decided to start a Vigil.
I know what you’re thinking: AT LAST. Who waits until mid-afternoon before showering? Well, not me, normally, but in my defence, the dog was the only living being who’d seen me at this point, and Terry and I were planning on going out to dinner, so I figured showering later would mean my hair wouldn’t turn limp and greasy until halfway through the main course, as opposed to a few hours before we even left the house.
Obviously I couldn’t document the ACTUAL shower, so these photos are intended to represent The Shower and Its Immediate Aftermath.
I’ve got all my ducks in a row, boom boom! I’m here all week, folks…
(Aside: it’s totally weird to me that I had to watermark a photo of a contact lens case. But I just know that if I don’t, someone will steal it and claim that it’s THEIR contact lens case, or that they ARE the contact lens case or something. And that… well, it wouldn’t really make much difference to me, to be honest, but I’ve become completely bloody-minded about this now, so if you steal my prechus contact lens photo I WILL CUT YOU. I forgot to watermark some of the other photos, though, so take the one of the dirty dishes if you want.)
Anyway. I’m barely out of the shower, when:
Terry’s home, Terry’s home! And is ALIVE! He is NOT floating face-down in a river, his limp body battered by the rocks! Encouraged by this news, I prepare myself to face the outside world:
I discover that I am able to cover up the weird jaw mark with makeup. This doesn’t make me feel any less like I’m going to die.
(I also discover that Instagram has a self-portrait setting. It makes my face look weird, but my skin look remarkably free of strange jaw marks. )
“It just looks like a bruise,” Says Terry, as if there’s nothing AT ALL strange about waking up with a bruise on your jaw that you don’t remember acquiring. I am not reassured.
It’s time for me to get changed. What would you wear to walk the cobbled streets of Edinburgh in the rain, readers? Because I would wear suede, stiletto-heeled sandals:
(Carvela, c/o Sarenza)
I’d also wear a green dress, but then, that goes without saying.
(Dorothy Perkins, c/o yours truly.)
OK, ya got me: that one wasn’t an Instagram photo. Let’s just pretend it was.
Let’s also pretend that bit of my fringe isn’t sticking out awkwardly, m’kay?
We get into the car and head for the city:
It was just after taking this photo that the migraine hit. Terry was telling me about his white water rafting, I turned to look at him, and.., his head had been replaced by a huge, jagged circle. Awesome! I completed the rest of the journey with only about 50% of my vision. It’s a good job I wasn’t driving, hey?
I could’ve taken better photos of Edinburgh. If I had actually been able to see it, that is.
Now, I’m fairly lucky when it comes to migraines. I get the aura, but I don’t normally get the killer headache after it, so while there have been exceptions to that rule, most of the time I can start functioning normally again once the aura disappears. Or as normally as I ever function, anyway.
(NOTE: Yes, I have seen a doctor about my migraines. They’ve been the same since I was 18, and they are 100%, ordinary migraines. They are not the sign of a brain tumour. Yes, I have asked. No, I don’t want to hear about Great Aunt Ethel, and how she had migraines JUSTLIKETHAT, but it turned out to be a brain tumour, and she’s dead now.)
Happily, this was one of those times, and by the time we reached our restaurant, I was feeling about 90% normal. And then, a short while later, I felt 95% normal, AND with a belly full of Chinese food.
And this, my friends, is where I will leave you (“THANK GOD!” I hear you say. “I thought she was going to go on all night, and document brushing her teeth and taking her makeup off!”), because I don’t like taking photos in restuarants, and also because, well, I totally forgot about it after that. Suffice to say that we had a great meal, we made it home, and I am still alive today, although I’m no further forward in working out what the weird mark is. (It has almost disappeared now. That has to be a good sign, surely?)