The major lesson I’m learning this month is that when the manure hits the air con you can go one of two ways: Feel sorry for yourself and go bad luck is my avatar, stop washing your hair depressed or camp. Very Camp. This month I chose the later. I was not down and out. I was wronged and fabulous. Less Little Mo, more Scarlett freaking O’ Hara.
Post Edinburgh Festival the plan was to take September off. I was back to Ireland for the month to gently convalesce, like Robert Downey Jr at the end of “Chaplin” but instead of staring dreamily over a lake in Geneva, wrapped in a tartan blanket with my nineteen year old child bride, I’d be watching re runs of America’s Next Top model and eating toast. That was the plan.
Then I checked my bank balance and it politely suggested otherwise. It didn’t give me my balance as much as start laughing at me. Actual chortles. Like “Beadles About” guest starring Stephen Hawking. Personally I miss the days when your ATM just told you how many pounds you had in your financial pigeon hole. Will somebody please explain to me slowly, once and for all, the difference between your “cleared balance”, your “available balance”, and your “I hate to break it to you but that’s your balance” balance? I’d prefer if they just said “Listen we’ve rattled your piggy bank and it doesn’t sound good”. I also find their offer of advice slips patronizing. Banks offering to give me advice? That’s like Kate Moss offering parenting tips. Thanks Banks but why don’t you figure out how to stop bankrupting the country first, yeh? Then get back to me. And even then, only offer me useful advice like; stop buying a Starbucks every morning; it does not make your life more glamorous, or apply for that PGCE or go back to your natural hair colour for god’s sake.
Anyway, it became swiftly obvious that I couldn’t just slink home for a spell of reconnecting with my Celtic Soul; I needed to start temping. Stat. I couldn’t even fall back on my old reliable medical trials; selling your body but not in a sexy way. Prostitution for people who are rubbish in bed. Like a spa but with more unnecessary surgical procedures. Yeah, they’d be tough but I was up for it, Scarlett O Hara had to fight off Yankee Carpet baggers, I could handle a week of feeling permanently carsick. I’ve done two already, one for sleeping pills which convinced my mother I was going to turn into Elvis Presley and another for a muscle relaxant. Pah, I thought, my muscles are relaxed already. It was horrible. I had to stay in the unit for a week and swiftly turned into the ward’s Jack Nicholson figure; complaining, causing trouble, playing mind games with the nurses; it started with hiding unwanted food in my dressing gown pockets and ended just before I brought in the prostitutes. (On a positive note, I now know I could definetly handle prison)
But there were no trials and I had rented my room out to a stranger on Gumtree till October- Whither now Scarlett?
My genius plan was just to quietly move back into my flat, sleep on the couch and hope none of my flatmates would notice or mind. How hard could it be? Yes, I’d have no key and would only be able to leave the flat when I knew they were in and yes they were never ever in, but how much did I leave the flat anyway? I had eggs in the fridge and bread. Water in the taps. My job didn’t start for another week. I could bunker in…
By day one I was feeling just a bit weird. By day two I was so spooked and paranoid I hid in the bathroom when my flatmates came home. By day three I had gone Grey Gardens, Howard Hughes, what day is it bat crazy. Yes, I was still Judy Garland fabulous but I was heading into the couldn’t pay her bills, threatening to throw herself out the hotel window, do you want to be known as the place where Dorothy died part of her TV movie and I had a whole month to go.
It was around this time I had a phone call from a friend asking if I wanted to do a gig that evening. “No can do”, I monotonely explained, egg yolk flaking around my mouth, lying on my back on my living room floor in my dressing gown “I don’t leave the house anymore. Besides it’s five o’ clock and I’ve just found an old bottle of Absinthe, so my weekend’s full now”. There was a long silence and then my American friend quietly suggested I stay with her for a bit.