27 July 2004
I'm not talking about slightly tedious daytime TV.
I also don't quite know why I feel it appropriate to proclaim the fact now, since I suppose the countdown technically began last Tuesday, when I made the phone call. But last week it all seemed too abstract. This week, the imminence makes it all seem more real.
There are two more days to go.
I'm quite tempted to end this post here. Leave you wondering what's happening in two days time. Much like the adverts when they launched Always sanitary towels.
Except I can't. I'm far too excited.
In two days time, I shall have my very own telephone line once more! Internet access at home! No more sneaking internet access at work when I've got the office to myself, no more seedy internet cafes with sticky keys that make you worry what it is that people have been looking up. Who knows, I may even manage to start to write in my blog regularly.
I will leave you to murmur "yeah, right," to yourself.
19 July 2004
Yesterday I decided I have a new ambition in my life. Well, it was more the rediscovery of a childhood ambition. Are you sitting comfortably, then I'll begin...
Yesterday a friend and I had a veritable film fest. We started the day before lunchtime (which as far as I'm concerned is a kind of sin... getting out of bed before 1pm on a Sunday) at the Curzon Soho where we saw a double bill of But I'm A Cheerleader and Gazon Maudit. Anyone who knows me knows about my deep love of both the film But I'm A Cheerleader and the gorgeous Clea DuVall. It's a true testament to how hungry I was towards the end of the film that during the scene where Megan is rubbing Rock's shoulders and Graham gives Joel some cake, that rather than thinking "Hmmmm.... Clea..." that I found myself thinking "Hmmmm.... Cake..." Despite my passion for the film, I'd never seen it on the big screen before. I'm glad I did, especially as seeing it on something larger than a portable TV made me notice the cute little freckles on Clea's shoulders. Ahhh. Bless.
Ahem, anyway. Following the films, we decided to go and get some lunch. By the time we'd finished it was 6pm, and my friend said "You know, I really quite fancy going to see another film." As I'd just been thinking exactly the same thing, we ended up going to see Shrek 2 at the Empire, Leicester Square.
This my friends is where I become ambitious. You see, the Empire is quite famous for often hosting movie premieres etc. I discovered that their wheelchair access into the building is up a vertical drop, through a fire exit that smells of piss off one of the streets leading off of the square (and I have to pay despite the fact that they let my "carer" in free). So, of course, I now want to be a hugely rich and famous movie star to see them have to red carpet that.
Of course, I never will be. I blame careers advisors. I could've been a film star! I could! (OK, maybe not) If only I'd had the right advice!
As a child, you get "advised" in school - even if hearing "Oooo, you can't do that, you're in a wheelchair"... "Oooo, you'll never be able to do that, you're disabled"... "Have you thought about being a secretary, because no-one is going to want to employ you to do anything else 'cos you can't walk proper" isn't particularly helpful.
At sixth form college they're not so bad (even if they do suggest they arrange a meeting with the "special" careers advisor - they listen when you refuse rather than forcing it on you like schools do).
Then you go to university. There you get the joy of seeing the careers advisor who "specialises" in advising people studying performing arts. When you tell her you want to do something funny, she suggests contacting your NHS HR department and asking to join their bank of temp secretaries. I hear that's how Billy Connolly started out. She offered me no more constructive suggestions than that.
As an adult, no-one advises you on your career paths/options. The Job Centre. They don't advise. If you're signing on they say:
"Got a job yet?"
"Well, I'm sure something will turn up. Even though you are disabled."
And if you're not currently unemployed: "Well, what you doing 'ere then?"
I fear this internet cafe is closing, and I have to depart. While I may never roll over a red carpet, I can enjoy the works of people who have. I'm off to see Farenheit 9/11.
15 July 2004
As if the concept of me doing exercise isn't difficult enough to get your head round, I did exercise wearing shorts. I very nearly didn't leave the house as I was worried that the glare off my fluorescent white legs might blind me as I made my way to my car. To make matters worse, I got about as far as Swiss Cottage and realised that when shaving my legs, I'd missed a spot. This problem was resolved about 20 minutes into the session when I got into a fight with an exercise bike and lost, nicely scraping the skin off my thigh. At least I didn't have to worry about the hairy patch any more. Some how I don't think depilation the Lisy Babe way is going to catch on.
I did generally manage to batter myself. Though apart from the exercise bike as razor incident, the rest of my cuts and scrapes I managed to acquire before actually entering the building. I've mentioned my inability to perform in front of an audience before, well...
I parked my car. Quite amazingly actually as I was squeezing into a space about two inches longer than my car, and there were people standing in the street outside Kentish Town Sports Centre, and I can't generally park if there's an audience or even a potential audience (in that someone might notice me out of the corner of their eye). La! So far so good. But then of course... I had to get my wheelchair out of the boot. Cue everyone within sight turning round to stare to see how The Lady With The Wheelchair puts it together. So, of course I drop my chair on my hand, take a chunk out my finger and then immediately drop it on my knee and make a slice in that too.
For god's sake, when will Endemol put a cripple on Big Brother so everyone can have their "I wonder how a disabled person does that?" questions answered and people can stop staring at me?
The session itself was alright. The circuit seemed much easier than when I used to go circuit training at the St Ivo, and not quite as good. Though, I did like the exercise bikes as a nice touch for some aerobic exercise seeing as I can't do jumping up and down. Perhaps it was a good thing that it was an easier circuit, seeing as I'm so unfit that it nearly killed me. An hour of blood pumping through my body faster than it's done for about 5 years. Fine, I can cope with that. Come to doing the cool down, the blood slows down it's frantic race around my system and starts to drain away from my head. Like I wasn't insecure enough being the only fat person in the room, and lets not get started on the slightly shocked looks at the sight of someone in a wheelchair going circuit training... I then have to come over all faint. Great. Fortunately by sitting still in a corner I did manage to retain conciousness, but how fucking embarrassing.
Another odd thing about going circuit training in London was how friendly everyone was. London is reknowned for it's not speaking, not making eye contact ethos, and here was I, going to a sports class and people were introducing themselves to me, talking to me and generally being friendly. I never experienced that at either the Ivo or at Impington. The instuctor did amuse me. To his credit he never once questioned what I was doing there, he just obviously accepted that I knew my own physical abilities, and that I had done this before. But then at the end of the session, I was talking to one of the other participants, and the instructor who had been so accepting for the last hour turned to her, pointed at me and said "Did you bring her then?" Because of course, I can do infinite sit ups, frantically pedal an exercise bike, I'm probably the most flexible person in the room - but I'm incapable of free thought or making my own way across London.
Anyway, I've done my exercise for this Millenium. I'm now off to see if I can still move my arms close enough to my mouth to put chocolate in it.
13 July 2004
But that's a story for another day as me and my noodle knickers have to get back to London with some speed..
I feel it important to point out that I was in a hurry. I had not gone narcotic shopping in Clacton, I was not transporting anything illegal, and I haven't begun some amphetamine based diet.
Despite quite blatantly not dieting using amphetamines, or any other kind of dieting technique for that matter, I have been thinking about actually doing some exercise, since my Leisurecard landed on my doormat on Saturday morning.
I'm tempted to start going Circuit Training again. I know, it's probably going to be more painful than childbirth given that I've done no exercise at all for the past 5 years, and when I used to go I was pretty fit what with the whole swimming training 9 times a week and circuits used to make my muscles ache because I'm so feeble. I am slightly scared of that now. I think I may need to arrange a personal masseur.
Any good with your hands? Apply in the form of a comment at the end of this entry.
I really can't be bothered to diet, but I do feel I need to lose some weight. If for no other reason I can't afford a whole new wardrobe, and my clothes are all at pending explosion point.
Over the years I've tried various diets etc, and none of them have done me much good. Even with swimming 9 times a week and going circuit training 3 times a week, I still had a layer of lard. If you poked me in the stomach you could feel I had a reasonably well developed 6 pack... you just couldn't see it because of the liberal coating of fat.
In my teens I learnt that making myself sick is an incredibly expensive way of losing weight. Why? Whenever I'm sick I lose my nasal attire. I don't know why it just falls out, but it does. I couldn't afford to keep buying new nose studs. Still, probably healthier in the long run.
As you can probably tell, my weight has honestly been a big (literally) issue for me all my life. But then, while I was at university, something strange happened. I became proud of being fat. I didn't suddenly have a revelation that "big is beautiful" or any such thing, after all, I'm still subjected to the same media images as all of you, every day, telling us that we should look like we haven't eaten since 1986. What happened was: I got bored of hearing about diets.
Remember that at university I studied drama (well, joint honours with film studies, but this story only involves the drama half of my course). Imagine spending about half your week for several months surrounded by people who can only talk about what diet they're on this week. Literally every rehearsal began with 15 minutes of about 6 girly girls comparing diet success:
"Well I'm on the Atkins diet."
"I'm only eating breakfast cereals, and my jeans are already too big, look!" (cue a massive deep breath in)
"All I'm eating at the moment is rice and beans, and I feel great!"
"This week I'm not eating, and I'm only smoking Marlboro Lights."
And so on and so on. After a while this became like The Four Yorkshiremen Revisited:
"I want to lose two stone,"
"Well I'm not giving up dieting until I'm thin enough to stand behind Courteney Cox-Arquette and not be seen."
"Well I'm staying on my diet until the scales go backwards when I step on them!"
This wasn't just boring of course, using the small drama studio which has no windows and no air conditioning was pretty malodorous when someone was on the "I want to be a celebrity, someone pay me attention!" diet. I felt so smug to be obese and felt genuine happiness when I hoovered down a chocolate bar in rehearsals.
Having now moved a couple of times since leaving university, I've started to leave some of the baggage behind that I picked up over three years (along with my knives and the odd bottle of shampoo), and my attitude towards my weight is becoming healthier again - i.e. I need to lose some.
But it's all so much effort. I remember on Celebrity Fit Club that Alison got this machine that's supposed to vibrate the weight off. Huh. Losing weight and having fun. I wonder if that principle works with any of the eqipment available from Sh!?
12 July 2004
I should probably explain how this happened so you don't think I'm some sick pervert with a strange noodle fetish.
I live in a bedsit. Is any more explanation needed?
Having my entire life in one room so small has lead me to noticing so many new smells that I didn't realise existed. A couple of weeks ago I made myself a sandwich with Quorn fake chicken. After eating it I left my cupboard for a while. Upon returning I opened my door and was immediately struck by the smell of Quorn. I didn't know Quorn smelt of anything before.
But I never realised that I could bring the smell of Super Noodles halfway across the country on my underwear. On Friday night when during a game of 'I have never' someone said "I have never gotten distracted by Lisa's knickers" (and an alarming number of people drank) I thought they were referring to the fact that I'd just bent over in low cut jeans, and not that they were getting distracted by the strange smell.
Yes. Halfway across the country. Or something like that. I brought my salsa pants to the grand Clacton on Sea, which would qualify as halfway across the country had I been coming from Derby I suppose, to assist my father in celebrating his 70th birthday. But that's a story for another day as me and my noodle knickers have to get back to London with some speed.
11 July 2004
Another good thing about the healing process is that I now have a choice in shoes once more. You see, when I unintentionally found myself spontaneously training for the Paralympic Slippery Floor Skiing Demonstration Event, I was on my way to the recording of It's Been A Bad Week, because it's quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon when you're owed the time off work. I did spend five minutes pondering "shall I go? Or should I stay home and feel sorry for myself?" Knowing that I had to consume some alcohol, and concluding that the bar at Ronnie Scotts had a broader choice than the 4 pack of Smirnoff Black Ice I had in the cupboard, I decided to go out.
The problem I encountered was - footwear. You see, I was in a fair bit of pain (though, fortunately because of my ankle I already had prescription pain killers in my system when I did the toe, so it could've been worse) and my foot was getting larger quite rapidly.
Fortunately I am the lesbian Imelda Marcos - my huge shoe collection (arising out of having the same size feet since I was 13 and barely being able to walk) consists solely of trainers and Doc Martins. Surely I must be able to get one pair onto my feet...
There was literally ONE pair of shoes of which I could get the right one onto my foot. The problem was the length of time it took me to try on all my other shoes to come across the The One. I'm aware that this tale is now starting to sound like a modern day, inverted, Cinderella. Sadly, there was no Princess Charming present, and I'm still awaiting a Civil-partnering proposal (gee. Who said romance is dead when hopefully there will come a day in my life when I can say to someone "Will you civilly partner me?" It sounds like the kind of agreement arch-enemies might come to when they realise they have to get along to gain mutual benefits. Actually... probably not that far off the truth).
Needless to say, I was late, as always. At least for once I had a reasonably good excuse for my puntually challengedness.
But now my variety of shoes is opening up again! Hoorah! Though, this may not be all great as on Friday I did look slightly out of place in a bright pink T-shirt and very sparkly trainers at a party of goths (I didn't really mind, I got told I had a great butt. Compliments about my appearance other than "I like the colour of your hair" or "oooo, I like your new piercing" don't come often when you look like me).
People with a mindset like mine can often be heard to utter phrases like "I'm glad I'm disabled/gay/a huge Hi-De-Hi, fan and wouldn't change a thing about my life even if I could." It's true, my belonging to one minority group is often complimented by my belonging to another. I'll never forget something I read once written by Francesca Martinez about high heeled shoes. You see, Osteogenesis Imperfecta means I can only wear sensible shoes and I generally need a selection of sensible shoes to cater for various foot/ankle related injuries/pains (though, fortunately, I haven't seen the gigantic fluorescent socks which fitted over a plaster cast for about 20 years now), but being a lesbian means that sensible are the only kind of shoes I have the desire to wear. All I need now is a pair of Doc Martins with Su Pollard's face painted all over them and I'm set.
09 July 2004
The woman on West End Lane in West Hampstead who said to me "Oh, I'll let you go first, you're quicker than me. Though, it must be hard work up hill."
Because, of course, the pavement isn't wide enough for two people. Mind you, with an ego like that, I'm not sure I'd of fitted past her head. And there is the issue around the fact that I am in a wheelchair, so therefore require space the size of a bus to fit through. I'd forgotten that one.
I have to say that I do love those "quirky" people. My favourites are the ones so convinced that my wheelchair takes up the whole pavement (I know I'm obese, but I'm still not that wide) that they start flinging themselves into hedges, gardens, oncoming traffic etc, in a desperate effort to avoid my path.
Still, living in London I suppose I should be grateful for the personal space.
Something that happened while I was in Uxbridge this morning has lead me to wonder if I might be the next Messiah (after all, I'm neither very naughty or a boy). Though according to Dictionary.com, one definition for a 'Messiah' is "any expected deliverer." Slightly generous word for describing the man with one GCSE and a driving licence from Sainsbury's, don't you think?
I was in The Chimes and before I rounded the corner, I could hear a baby having a massive screaming tantrum. Her scream was possibly louder than even my laugh. I round the corner and there's this kid, screaming her lungs out, face bright red and tears streaming. One sight of me of course and she forgets whatever it was she was crying about because she's too busy staring in amazement. If my presence does that to all children, then if I ever have any I could look forward to a very peaceful motherhood.
I started thinking about this. Every time I leave the house, I get random strangers telling me that they think I'm wonderful. These are people that know nothing about me. For all they know I could've just been selling drugs to school children, but I have some weird status in their foolish eyes. Then there's the fact that people are always wanting to touch me - I thought those people who kept breaking my wheelchair were misguidedly (and mannerlessly - ooo I like that word) attempting to be helpful, but maybe I was wrong.
I suppose I should be grateful for this - I probably get treated more like a celebrity than Marco off of Big Brother, who has only been out of the house for a week and has already found himself in the desperately clutching, wanting to be a star position of being prepared to spend an hour and a half on a Friday morning signing autographs in a mobile phone shop in Uxbridge. And, no... that's not why I was in that awful town.
There's the fact that I'm a tortured soul. Phoebe could quite legitimately say to me "It's been so long since you last had sex, you're wondering if they've changed it?", and will I ever get over having seen Neil Hamilton in fishnet stockings in The Rocky Horror Show a few years ago?
I'm off to contemplate this some more over the bar of chocolate that so far today I've already managed to:
a) melt, by leaving it too close to the cooker
and b) freeze, by then putting it in the freezer in an attempt to rectify a, but forgetting to take it out.
Still... maybe I can turn it into a huge chocolate cake. After all, didn't someone famous once turn water into wine?
08 July 2004
I've been learning a lot in this last week. Possibly the most important lesson I've learnt is that my shower room floor is far more slippery than it looks. Unfortunately, whilst learning this, I was caught up in the process of breaking my big toe. This in fact served to be eductional on two levels. Not only did I learn that using the shower is inevitably going to kill me, I've also had a refresher course in "Alcohol really is the worlds best pain killer."
I've also had an evolutionary lesson this week. On Monday evening whilst waiting to cross Marylebone Road outside Baker Street station, I met a man who deserves a Darwin Award. It would appear that the sight of someone in a wheelchair at a pedestrian crossing was too much to bear. He felt the need to fling himself out in front of traffic in order to stop it for me. Clearly no-one ever taught him what the purpose of those red, amber and green lights is. If he thinks they're just decorative, London must look so pretty to him.
It was a crossing where I had to cross and then cross again. At the second crossing he bent over and said in my ear "It's safe for you to cross this time." I'm so glad he did that because I did skive school the day we were taught the Green Cross Code (perhaps explains why I feel nothing about men in lycra), and having only been driving a car for 9 years, I've still not grasped the concept of road safety.
Other academic areas I have explored within the last week have included social skills. Most notably, my own. Lack of that is. If anyone has seen my ability to initiate a conversation lying round somewhere, could they please return it to it's owner? I think it was last seen in a pub in Soho last Thursday. I've also developed an annoying habit of saying something that people around me all find hilarious, but quickly changing the mood by coming up behind with the phrase "no, actually, it's true." Perhaps it's a good thing that I've misplaced the skills required to initiate a conversation as when I end up involved in one by chance I don't have the abilities to say anything appropriate.
I have had a minor brush with celebrity this week. By "minor brush" I literally mean 'My First Toothbrush'. See, I've also this week taken a refresher course in selective hypochondria. Within the past 7 days I've contended with a broken toe, the joint pain I have fairly often in my ankle, but it's severe enough to keep me from sleeping etc, and also the worst pain I've experienced in my shoulder for literally years. All related to having OI and thus something incredibly psychologically easy deal with so doesn't inconvenience me in the slightest, it's just a fact of life. However, I've also had a cold.
So, returning to my brush with celebrity story.. At 4am on Tuesday I was convinced I was dying because I had a blocked nose and sore throat. By 6am I was bored, so I turned on my radio to listen to Mel and Sue filling in on the breakfast show on BBC LDN. By 7am they'd asked people to phone in with stories about the first film they saw at the cinema and whether or not they could swim. So of course, I phoned in and told them that I saw Disney's The Black Cauldron and it made me sick (scary, nasty film + squeamish child = vomit. Lots of). Of course I was asked if I could swim, so, of course I went all bashful and made some "uh, yeah" noises because I can't cope with boasting "well, actually, I've swum for Great Britain" at 7am. But, of course, I mentioned that I was a qualified teacher, so of course I got asked loads of complicated questions about adult swimming lessons. Of course, it was 7am at which time of the day my brain doesn't work so, of course, I came across as ridiculously stupid by answering "um.......". This is why I should not be allowed to own a telephone. This is also why I should never leave my bed before midday, and my lack of ability to speak articulately is why I will never do anything constructive with that drama degree I picked up somewhere along life's journey.
I have also learnt that when I'm updating my blog at 9:10pm and I haven't eaten since breakfast that I feel hungry. On that note, the baby cauliflower and ready made cheese sauce in my fridge are calling me home to do something with them.