Monday, 17 November 2014

Switching off.

It's six pm on Friday night, my arm is throbbing from the flu jab I had on Thursday, and from carrying six bags of heavy grocery shopping. 

I dump the bags on the kitchen island. Husband gets in from work and pours us both a beer. I decide to turn my phone off. 

This is a high risk strategy because there is one boy out babysitting and another out on the raz, but if I don't stop the flood of messages and text and tweets and emails and Facebook messages, I think my head might explode. 

There are emails about work still arriving, there is a text from the roofer about the hole in the bedroom ceiling where the rain is coming in and dripping noisily into a bucket, there is a question about Middle One's imminent birthday party (a load of teenagers decending on the house on Sunday night), there is a message about the babysitting assignment, there are offers from GAP and LoveTheatre and (how did that happen?) all mixed up with Guardian news alerts, emails from family members, an offer of a night out with friends, some responses to the minutes from a meeting held at the house on Monday night…

Fixing a hole where the rain gets in.

I reach for the phone to switch off but as I do so it slips from my hand, hits the wooden floor, no more violently than it has many times before, and the screen shatters
. This feels symbolic. 

That night we turn in early. Middle One is back from babysitting. Eldest is still out, but somehow I think I will sleep this time rather than lying awake wondering when he will get back, as usual. I am feeling rather flu-ey.

I do sleep: glorious, deep, sleep, until we are woken by a loud thudding noise at 3.50 am. Is it rain hitting the bucket again? Is it Eldest coming in? 

No, he is back, the landing light is out.

I get up and look out of the window. It's the neighbours opposite, the group of boys who recently moved in. They are having a party with all their windows open. They appear to have reached that, 'we are so drunk and stoned we don't care that we are playing a loud techno-beat with all the windows open at four in the morning' stage of the proceedings.

Husband and I both lie awake. For ages. Finally I get up and ring the local council noise abatement people. Someone actually answers the phone. That someone tells me he can't come out because they finish visits at 3 am. 

I ring the local police station and they put me through to the noise abatement people and the same someone tells me again that they can't come out because they finish visits at 3 am. 

We move into the guest room at the back of the house. 

"I don't think I can sleep in this bed," says Husband, "it's so small compared to ours." 

"Yes," I say, "but listen, it's really peaceful." And it is, wonderfully peaceful and wonderfully dark. 

Finally we fall asleep. Only to be woken what feels like five minutes later by a loud insistent ring at the front door. 

I go downstairs and switch my phone back on. 

There are four text messages, three emails from family members, something very important about work, sent at 11.30 pm, a text from Eldest saying he is going clubbing and will be back later, a text about the babysitting, three tweets and a voicemail from the roofer saying he is going to pop round first thing tomorrow, is that okay?

I turn it off again and go and let the roofer in.

Love E x


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