Thursday, September 08, 2011

A Social Predicament I Hope I Never Have to Deal with Again

My late August tour de France was spoiled by a severe chest infection that rendered me incapable of enjoying the delights of the local cuisine and sampling the wines of the Bordeaux region. I limped home a few days early to lick my wounds – and to prepare emotionally and physically for the encounter in Croke Park. A heavy-duty dose of antibiotics renders you depleted for quite a time afterwards and in retrospect perhaps my social comeback at Croke Park came a bit early. I suppose I should have taken it easy on the drink. There were the two pints in anticipation of the game, and the three pints for consolation afterwards. And then of course a bottle of wine with dinner.

Anyway I woke Monday morning (after a restless night) very sick indeed and getting up was not an option. Nor was it an option on Tuesday: my sinuses were blocked, my throat ached, my head throbbed, my tongue stung with a spiteful ulcer, and a dodgy tooth added to my grief. Another sleepless night followed with the malevolent tooth reigning supreme. I managed to get an emergency appointment with my dentist on Wednesday. She declared I had an abscess and despite my equivocations decided she had to get to work immediately. This involved much digging deep amongst the nerves. Traumatic.

I resolved to get back to bed immediately but as I was out of reading matter I decided on a quick visit to Hodges Figgis in town. Coming out of the bookshop with the latest Franzen I began to feel decidedly light-headed. I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, nor even had a coffee, so I headed for Fixx on the corner of Molesworth Street and Dawson Street. I ordered a coffee and pastry and barely made it to a seat – so faint was I. The place was packed and I found myself perched between two burly middle-aged guys.

I was relieved I had made it without fainting but the fun was only just starting. I took a sip of the black coffee and a bite of a croissant and then seemed to slip into some kind of reverie. It was quite pleasant and amusing at first and I remember chortling a bit. Then very abruptly it turned very nasty and I recall being dragged backwards by some malevolent and implacable force – I was aware of two bright red orbs and also of the extreme frenzy that accompanied this undoubtedly terminal attack. Then nothing. I came around after I don’t know how long. My coffee was still hot but my two flankers had disappeared. I looked around - nobody seemed to have noticed my predicament. There was cold sweat streaming down my face, and horrible relatu, something luke-warm dribbling down my leg. The horror. Luckily I hadn’t drunk anything that day so the volume was low and my trousers were up to absorbing it. But how to escape. Should I call the staff and say I’ve had an accident. The right thing to do of course but the social consequences (a crowded city centre restaurant) far outweighed the harm an encounter with a drop of urine would cause their customers. Should I attempt to dab my seat dry with the napkins that abounded. I pondered awhile. It was raining heavily outside – in such circumstances a wet seat is not unusual. I rose quickly and shuffled out into the companionable rain. My car was nearby, thankfully, I judiciously placed a plastic bag on the front seat and struggled home. Into the shower and back to the bed again - with what's proving to be the excellent Franzen novel.

I may get up tomorrow.