Onion-skin May 11, 2007Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
…or BiB’s domestic bliss tips, Part I.
But I don’t mean anything to do with onion-skin used for dyeing. In fact, growing up in the least artistic household in the UK and going to Catholic schools where creativity was considered a sin, I didn’t even know that onion-skin was used for dyeing until well into my teenage years. It’s my Swedish penpal wot told me.
Did other folk have penpals when they were teenagers? I had a bazillion. All girls, of course, as I assumed writing to a boy would make me gay. Yes, all us pre-blogging autists would find each other on the back pages of Smash Hits and then write each other utterly asinine, banal letters on a frantic basis. (Still, mustn’t knock it. I’m still in touch with one of them 20-something years later. Proper pals now.) The ads would read along the lines of, ‘Lomppi Lomppilainen, 15, likes Duran Duran, U2 and robotic jazz. Write to: P.O. Box 27772, Turku, Finland’ or ‘Johanna Johansson, 9, likes Europe, Cher and eating solids. Write to: P.O. Box 27772, Uppsala, Sweden’. It was wall-to-wall Nordics. Eva R_ from Denmark used to cover her stamps in Sellotape when she wrote to me so that I could peel them off and send them back to her with my next thrilling letter. Although as I became more expert at never leaving my bedroom and scribbling away frenetically and asking my mother for money for stamps, I did manage to spread out to cover most of the rest of the world too. Nor O_ from Malaysia told me about her Proton Saga. Megan B_ from New Zealand told me she and her friends ran around drinking milk from people’s doorsteps – Christ, New Zealand hooligans must be early-risers – and then Ronald v_D_ from Holland somehow found my address and instantly made me gay. (Still in touch with him too, vaguely.)
So Ingela J_ taught me about onion-skins. We took a break in our riveting correspondence from writing about what we were doing at school – “Oh, you’ve dropped Geography? Really? My French teacher had a baby” – to her telling me about her holiday. To London. With her family. Don’t know why we didn’t meet. Maybe I wasn’t allowed out. She saw a real punk somewhere or other and he’d even asked them the time and they were very surprised that he didn’t steal their watches. The Tube was dirty. And in Harrods she bought an onion-skin…
Yes, an onion-skin.
My pre-googling research suggested it was used for dyeing. Buggered if I knew. School only taught us about god and sin and Bunsen burners. I didn’t even know it was something I didn’t know about. An unknown unknown, if you will.
Anyway, forget all that. I mean onion-skin. As in the skin on an onion. That which you remove in order to get to the delicious lachrymator beneath.
Now here’s my hint for domestic bliss. Say there are two of you in a kitchen. A couple, say. One is chopping onions. The other is standing guard, surveying the scene with a beady eye looking out for the onset of mess. The chopper may be a hopeless and unskilled cook (although a real French person taught this particular chopper the topography of the onion and the chopper can now chop with the best of ’em). And may need to interrupt his chopping, mid-chop, deciding that he desperately needs to check some blogs, check his e-mail or go to buy some fags. In the flurry of excitement, a wisp of onion-skin gently floats down to the floor.
The guard’s Soviet-manufactured mess-alarm goes berserk. If you’re not careful, the alarm can lead to the very rapid deployment of mop, rolled-up sleeves and talk of ‘mikroby’. The Soviet-manufactured guard would like this mess cleared up with record speed. To have his wishes carried out, while maintaining the all-pervasive aura of domestic bliss, should the mess-guard…
a) Say, “Ooh, chopper, it looks, in your insouciance, that you’ve caused a microscopic particle of onion-skin to land on the gleaming, microbe-free kitchen-floor…”
b) Sigh loudly and holler, “What are you bloody doing? Can’t you be more careful? Now there’s onion-skin and microbes on the kitchen-floor! For god’s sake. When did you last get out the hoover? It’s not as if you ever do the hoovering. And why does the flat stink of smoke? And you haven’t hung the washing out yet. And have you sorted out my visa? Oh god. Can’t you be more serious? Have you replied to that job application yet? What? You’re going out AGAIN this evening? But you had fun last year. Uh-huh, blogging. Is that my shirt you’re wearing?
For god’s sake. It’s only onion-skin. Biodegradable anyway.