Spats and Lats and Rats

I remember reading this post of Annie’s last year and feeling her pain. I do that. I feel other people’s pain, even when they’re complete strangers. It is a gift, or a curse, or a slight mental defect, or something.

Now I just feel my own pain.

And there’s nothing like sitting outside a bus station in Latvia, which was meant to open at 5am but is still closed at 5.30, when you’re all angsty and sad and have been not sleeping and not eating cheeseburgers on a bus all night, and needing desperately to pee, and aching to sleep, and sitting shivering on your suitcase and watching a rat run past your foot, shortly before the heavens open and the rain starts pouring down on you, to wonderfully enhance the feeling that your life in general is pretty much one big giant cosmic joke.

Sheltering in a doorway from the rain and the rats yesterday morning, I became irrationally annoyed at the discovery that I had apparently mislaid or accidentally thrown out the Latvian money I had left over from my last trip to Riga. This was ridiculous, and sod’s law, and all sorts of other annoying things – particularly as it had lurked in my purse for months and months, getting mixed up with other currencies and generally being a nuisance. And now that I was actually in Latvia and starving to death and everything, it had vanished. It was only 10 lats, but it would have been enough for a coffee and some hot food.

In the end, I reluctantly got 10 lats from the ATM, as by the time the station finally opened I couldn’t do anything but run to the WC, where they charge 0.20 lats for the privilege of peeing in Europe’s smelliest toilet. You give them your money, they give you a short piece of cheap toilet roll. It is nasty and horrible, but I had no other choice.

After the WC Horror Show, I sat on a cold, hard station bench and ate an unidentifiable and strong-tasting meat-based product, trying hard not to associate it with the rats. Someone rolled a suitcase over my toe. I gave up and burst into tears.

Then when I went to look up that post of Annie’s in order to link to it, I discovered her latest post, which is just two simple words and a photograph, but which was perfectly timed to somehow make me feel less raw and crushed and hopeless.

Today, tomorrow, maybe for more time than I’d like, I will be sad. But I’m still me, and I’ve still got my sense of humour, and my wonderful friends and family, and my writing, and my kind readers, and the rest of the world to explore, and half an unidentifiable Latvian meat-based product.

It ain’t over till I die of food poisoning.

5 thoughts on “Spats and Lats and Rats

  1. Good for you Hails. I am the master of pessimism (but don’t tell the boyfriend I admitted that!) so could never manage to look on the bright side like that. I admire you! And the invitiation to stay in Germany still stands :-)

  2. Nelly – I really hope so!
    bevchen – thanks. Getting to where you are seems to cost more than I have, otherwise I’d probably be there! I need company. But I’ll see where I end up – grateful for the offer.

  3. Hey Hails, that sounds like some inspiration to write a good ole country & western song. I aint got an idea for the toon yet , but you got the story, so ‘go gal go'( as Nelly would say) write it :-)


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