Emergency purchases August 12, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Anyway, either the shant had made the militaristic one lose his discipline for a sec, or it was all just so exhausting, but we, of course, woke up about ten seconds before we had to set off from our camping thing to head for downtown Welly for them to get their ferry across whatever that stretch of water is called. They would head for the beautiful South Island. I would have a day – a wonderful one, it turns out – in Wellington before heading back up north. But the lack of time meant it was all fuss and palaver. There was no time for breakfast. Or washing. There was frantic preparation of the two children. One attached to one boob. The other – son, not boob – suggested mummy cut off her boobs altogether and throw little brother in the bin. The parents worried their son was mad and prepared to discipline him before getting into a disagreement about how to do so and arguing amongst themselves. All the while, packing, tooth-brushing and good-byes carried on in a panic.
I made my way off the ship about three seconds before it was due to depart. And stood alone in Wellington in what I’d slept in. An OK pair of shorts and a filthy, creased white t-shirt. “They’ll drop out in the course of the day,” I thought, and I set off to wander like mad round the city.
It couldn’t have been more boiling. And Wellington couldn’t have been more lovely. But NZers are an awfully funky bunch – at least they were in downtown Welly – and I felt just a tiny bit awkward unwashed and unkempt as I was. I wandered trampily into shops, hoping to find some emergency replacement garment. It was all horribly cool and horribly expensive, and I only wanted something to get me through to the evening. Painfully friendly shop assistants would come and befriend one. I would run away, self-consciously, mouthing, “No speak Kiwi.” Eventually I stumbled across a shop for old, working-class men and bought myself a plain old white polo-shirt for a couple of dollars from the becobwebbed shop-assistant. Dashed to a public loo, changed into it, stuffed the rag in a bag, tried to ruffle my hair slightly and got on with the rest of the day.
Gosh, sorry, that was all only the intro. I must learn to truncate.
Anyway, the plain old whitey has now become a staple of the BiB+Russian wardrobe. The Russian likes it, even though it’s technically ‘mine’ – this would normally give him cockshrink – because it hugs the figure in a way that best shows off his rippling muscles. But it is an undiscriminating garment. I have no figure to hug, and it hangs in a nicely neutral way on my skeletal frame too. We are both happy.
I was in said garment this very day, when the summer has made a brief but welcome return to the German capital. This heightened spirits like nobody’s business. The Russian and I wrestled our way down the street, leapfrogging small cars and clicking our heels in the air. “I love you, Russian,” I said, once per footstep. “Shut up, fool,” he replied.
On the hopelessly beautiful Kollwitzplatz, we saw an Italian restaurant – another sure sign of an inordinately good mood. Normally can’t be bothered to enthuse about Italian food. Poor Italians, having so little choice – that looked oodles too expensive for us, full of the type that we’d like to be. We dashed in and made ourselves comfortable. Ordered way beyond our means. I even ordered a real fish. The fiddliness would normally put me into an ungovernable rage. And while I can’t claim to pretend that I don’t know a fish is, well, a dead fish, I don’t usually order the headed version. But today I did. And ate it with relish. And didn’t manage to choke myself to death either.
But by the end of the meal, I looked like Sir Les Patterson. The Russian was almost as besmirched, but at least not in dazzling white. All around us, perfect folk strutted around, flashing their cleanliness and mastery of table-manners. It was quite a humiliation.
“Darling, we’re going to have to go and buy something to change into. (Translation: “you’re going to have to go and buy us something to change into.”) We can’t walk around like this. We’ll be arrested by the Ordnungsamt.”
We dashed into some shop. There were reductions galore. The Russian tried on a garment or two, but the ripple-factor wasn’t high enough. He put them back on the rack with a huff of disdain. Then, he spotted a jacket. For me. This is a rare occurrence. So I went with it big-time. I tried it on. It fitted (fat?) like a dream. And it would be light enough to wear home in this weather. And it covered the pattersonesque stains perfectly well.
It was a light, carefully scruffy affair. Greyish. Made of cobweb or something. And had some carefully positioned stains – can’t tell whether it’s sperm, tipp-ex or a smattering of old paint – dotted here and there. We allowed the prissy assistant to put it into one of those posh plastic bags before hurling that away within a nanosecond of leaving the shop. And, darlings, it was perfect. It went lovelily well with the emergency NZ purchase, the (Russian’s) jeans I was wearing and the (Russian’s) new trainers I’d just changed into because they were ripping his feet to shreds. I sashayed down the street. I dared to look some of the groovy Berlin types in the face. I wolf-whistled at topless builders. I could even see a reluctant hint of admiration in the Russian’s ravishing features.
I floated homewards. And as I floated past a window, dazzling in the sunshine, I caught my reflection. I looked exactly like Francis Rossi.