It all started on Monday morning when I nearly had a punch up with a posh banking women on the metro. Okay, it was partly my fault for penning all the commuters into a tiny space with my wife’s enormously long bike, but mine was being repaired. I’d acted like an professional sheepdog, mounting a blue push bike and barking at everyone to get back. To be fair, there was a tiny gap for people to pass by and gain access to a huge open area, but they’d somehow gathered like frightened sheep, no doubt hungover on a Monday morning.
The metro stopped at my penultimate stop, and loads of people got on.
“Can’t you move your bike?” asked a blond banker, wearing her shades with pride.
“Do I look like I can move my bike?” I said, turning round to highlight just how much space I didn’t have. My smarmy answer caused a stir.
“But no one can pass.”
“There’s plenty of room there,” I said, looking back, but as I did the driver pulled away and a different woman almost fell over my bike. The banker woman squeezed past and continued to have a go.
“I have a bike like that, and I wouldn’t dream of bringing it on the metro.”
“I don’t normally,” I said, in a softer, more apologetic tone, looking for some sympathy. “It’s just mine is broke and I have to take this one.”
“You should be more thoughtful of other people.”
“Sure, sure, just like you, you mean?” I looked ahead as my blood started to boil. Who did she think she was? What right did she have to assume I wasn’t thoughtful of others? I’d spent the whole night worrying how I’d affect the sheep on the train and had attempted to find the least offensive place, but it turned out to be the worst one.
Recently I’ve begun to hate going on the metro in the morning with my bike; tolerance levels are zero, especially from stuck up bankers. She really pissed me off. And I blame her for kicking off my worst week in a long time.
I rushed home after class, still annoyed from the woman, and barged through the door.
“Is he coming?” I said to my wife.
“He hasn’t called,” she said.
“Typical.” I said, referring to this guy we know, Mani Manitas; the local handy man who comes round and does all the stupid jobs that I can’t do, or am too scared to do. He’s fixed our oven, light switches, changed locks, and our latest project is to fix a dodgy antenna, which has been swaying back and forth this winter like a pole vaulting champion’s floppy stick.
I wasn’t surprised he hadn’t called, because he’s about as reliable as a Spanish politician, but it was probably just as well as the rain had started to pour, and the bad luck omen I had hanging over my shoulders would surely have caused a catastrophe.
Then came Tuesday, and until about 10.30pm, I was doing fine. I’d got through the day at work without too many aggravating moments and enjoyed a couple of classes, but suddenly I felt cold, strangely cold, and began to shiver on the way home. When I turned up, I was physically shivering. Luckily my wife had done some thoughtful soup, and within 30 minutes I was shivering in bed.
Wednesday morning I considered calling in sick. I’d slept terribly, had been shivering, felt dizzy, and my back was hurting. But I forced myself up so I could take my kids to school, took a mix of paracetamol and ibuprofen, and managed to edit some of my novel for a couple of hours. By then I wasn’t too bad, and managed to get through the day at work, even if the last 30 minutes were quite painful. That night I sweat it all out again by shivering and wet the bed- with sweat.
Thursday morning came and I still felt weird, but I battled on. After we dropped the kids in, we went for a coffee and waited for the local bike shop to open so I could pick up my own bike, and avoid any unwanted penning in of innocent commuters on the metro the next morning. I almost got into a ruck with the woman in the shop though.
Just to fill you in with a bit of a flashback; I met this woman before when she tried to overcharge me for a previous bike repair, only by 3 euros, but still, it was the way she looked down on me because my Spanish wasn’t perfect. Sound familiar?
So we turned up and I asked about my bike. This is how the conversation went, all in Spanish.
“Hi, I left a bike here the other day.”
“Oh yeah, it’s not ready yet; we are waiting for a few pieces.”
“Oh right, it’s just I need it for tomorrow.”
“Right, well, it probably won’t be ready. You see, a guy came the other day and brought the wrong wheel.”
“Yeah, and it was missing some parts, the, actually, why bother telling you the bits as you won’t understand me.”
I frowned in annoyance and was about to blurt out something when my wife stepped in.
“Sorry, but my husband has lived here for 12 years. He understands you perfectly.”
“Oh, you’re Spanish,” she said, blanking me now. “Oh, well in that case I’ll tell you.”
“But he understands you,” she said.
At this point I would have normally gone in with some harsh words, but I just didn’t have it in me. We arranged to come back on Friday at some point.
I left fuming. Why had she just completely blanked me once she knew my wife was Spanish? It was such a typical response from people here in the town. The rest of the day wasn’t too bad, but that woman’s disapproving look lingered in my thoughts.
Friday morning I was back on my wife’s bike, and had to get out a stop before my usual one as the carriage was filling up and I didn’t want to run into any moany bankers. I was still feeling weak too, and my throat was also beginning to hurt.
When I got back home and picked up my daughter, they informed me there was a virus going round (surprise, surprise) and our daughter had the squits.
The week just wasn’t getting any easier.
I shot off for a quick class, then when I came back, I stupidly left my daughter in her pram on a step outside our front door. As I was cleaning some pee pee off the floor from my son, I heard a crash, followed by a scream. I ran outside and my daughter was lying on the floor with the pram on her, with her face all cut up. My son did look guilty, but he was also smirking a little. I had to have a go, but felt bad afterwards. It was my fault for leaving it there after all.
On Saturday I woke up with a clenched throat, dreading going to 4 hours of oral examining. Luckily we had some antibiotics left over, which worked a treat and I got through the afternoon stress free.
So that just left Sunday; Father’s Day. I was allowed a lie in till 9am, to chill out after an exhausting week. I woke up in a decent mood, rested, and my throat was okay.
We were chatting in the kitchen, when the dog started to lick the floor. At first I thought she’d been sick, but then realised the dishwasher was leaking. A perfect extra job for Daddy to do on his ‘day off.’
We managed to sort out the mess, and did have a reasonable Sunday, largely helped by half a bottle of my favourite red wine, Beronia, and a victory by Spurs.
What a week though!