The nightly walk, however important, brings its challenges as well as its merits. Polite though they may be, there are many many homeless people in the streets, and passing them always causes a minor surge of cortisol to the system. Additionally, I have noticed that I appear to be living in the slightly dodgier quarters of the city, and the street on which I live is lined with numerous halal kebab joints, outside which sit groups of men smoking illegal looking substances from large bongs. They appear to do this all day and all night, all the while eyeballing you lecherously from their pedestals of mild intoxication. Having experimented with various methods, I have found that coughing, yawning, being on the phone, looking for your lost credit card or admiring the roofs of the surrounding buildings are all methods, with varying degrees of success, of avoiding eye contact. Eye contact is the worst possible thing to happen between a walking woman and a lustful lecher. It would naturally be taken as a sign of romantic interest and I would doubtless find myself in the throes of a loving embrace in the blink of an eye.
However, alas, yes, you read correctly. My credit card is perdu. It was dans ma poche when i set out, and upon my return home, I had only empty poches. I can only blame the repeated overly-enthusiastic “whipping out” of the phone from said poche, in my excitement to record some observation or other, one incident of which clearly took the credit card with it. No amount of retracing my steps retrieved it, although I quickly put a block on it before the homeless person who has doubtless pocketed it can order any Gucci handbags on the internet. However, the number of credit card-like objects one can find on a city’s streets is most alarming, once one’s eyes become attuned to small rectangular pieces of plastic. Chewing gum wrappers, discarded train tickets, even the inexplicable metal studs that line the streets for no apparent reason, all appear furnished with sixteen friendly digits and my own signature. But to no avail. I’ll try a few lost and found places in the morning.
In the course of my continuous loop of traipsing tonight, the city’s fitness obsession became increasingly evident. I had been fore-warned about this -I met a guy in a pub in Ireland who told me a story about a woman he met one night while he lived here. She was after a few drinks and on for more, but he politely declined her offer as he had a long cycle scheduled for the morning. She irately and bitterly complained that “everyone een theece fucking town eece always fucking exercising”. I well believe her, and I feel her pain. It the two hours I have been scanning the footpaths, I have passed the same guy twice, running at high speed and talking on his hands free phone as casually as if he was at home cooking the dinner. Not a huff or a puff out of him. The jealousy I felt of his fitness and posture (lovely knees -perfectly aligned) sent me into a such a fit of inadequacy and despondency that I was almost ground to a halt. Then I saw one of the lechers making to go down on one knee and I quickly thought the better of it.
In home news: Omelettus Interruptus! Following more door banging accusations, Mrs. G. took exception to my omelette making technique and insisted that browning the top of it under the grill was illegal in most civilised countries and considered a crime against pot and person. I sulkily scrambled my omelette and engaged in high level huffing and puffing. Omelettes that is not omelettes is not the same. Interestingly, I didn’t mind her reproaches a single bit -such an exchange would normally have me cringing in shame and in a three day spiral of guilt, but happily the effect of someone sounding off in French is much less pronounced! Additionally, I secretly note the incident for blogging purposes and it becomes not an awkward social situation but inspiration and ammunition. Also, having overheard her continuing a phone conversation through the entirety of a visit to the toilet (unashamedly I might add -she even flushed!), I am not too bothered about Mrs. G’s definitions of what is and isn’t appropriate… Only three days left here though, so I’ll carry on regardless.