Just another small embarrassing moment to report.

I still haven’t gotten used to this schedule, you see. If I get up before sunrise, I will most likely fall asleep before sunset. I sincerely hope that it won’t always be like this, and that I will, one day, be able to have something resembling a life outside of work, but for now my days go something like this:

– get up in the dark

– spend day talking in 3-word sentences and elaborate mime performances with 5-year-olds and their non-English-speaking teachers

– return home, cook, eat, read, fall asleep with book

And repeat.

Today, between schools, I left a little Pound Shop kind of place feeling all pleased with myself for successfully managing to mime and purchase drinking straws, fly swatters, and an ice cube tray. I am bound to be at expert level in charades by now. I am also quite possibly losing the ability to have real, meaningful, adult conversations using vocabulary beyond that of a small child.

Stuck my head around the accommodation office door before I headed home, as I needed to get back my deposit for something or other from Alana (I can’t keep track of anything at all, in my sleep-deprived state of befuddlement, and so am relying mostly on her beautiful honesty in all things financial), and she pointed out that I had a small orange cat puppet on my hand. I looked at my hand, vaguely surprised, and wondered how long I’d had it there. Since my last class? Like, on the bus and everything? Or did I just absently pick it out of my bag when I was waiting my turn for the photocopier 10 minutes ago? These are the great unanswered questions of my Monday.

Unable to switch out of Entertain All Of The Children mode, I made Cookie the Cat sing songs and say funny things in the background, while looking all cute and shy, as Alana filled out my paperwork and laughed the nervous laugh of one who doesn’t know whether to be amused or concerned. You’re very welcome, she said politely and uncertainly when Cookie accepted the deposit money in his paws and thanked her. I think she was quite relieved when I shuffled on out of the office.

I only live across the road from the school, so there didn’t seem much point in going to all the hassle of taking off my backpack, opening it, squeezing Cookie into it, zipping it up, and hoisting it on to my back again. I just kept him on my hand, and practised a little dialogue with him as I walked, putting the finishing touches to tomorrow’s lesson in my head. A little girl tugged on her mother’s sleeve and pointed at us. I made Cookie wave and say “Miaow! Hello!”, and the child nearly fell over with delight. Being near me is basically like being at Disney World, these days.

Met The Neighbour – you know, deliciously scruffy and poetic-looking guy upstairs, who – just to recap – has now seen me in the following scenarios:

  • falling down the stairs with a suitcase while swearing like a docker
  • wandering out of the building at 7am with an armful of rubbish and an empty vodka bottle
  • scrabbling around in a mud puddle with bizarre, swollen, lumpy arms

He was coming out of the building as I was about to open the front door with an orange cat puppet on my hand.

This in itself would probably not have been all that embarrassing, given our encounters thus far, but it was more the fact that he smiled a heartbeat-skippingly sexy smile and said hello, and I blushed, got flustered and confused, and replied “Miaow!”.

He looked at me with depressingly little surprise on his face, indicating that he has already decided that I am Actually Insane, and that there is nothing more I could do that would make him think “well, that was a little weird”. I half expect him to give me a lollipop and a pat on the head next time he sees me. My wistful daydreams of an encounter of even a slightly more adult nature are a mere blur of a memory at this point. When you’ve replied “Miaow!” to a friendly hello, then gone bright red and literally run away, there’s really not a great deal that can be done to salvage the situation.

I have put the stupid cat back in the bag. There’s a reason people are always saying it should never be let out.


One thought on “Miaow!

  1. Oh dear. Well, at least you made the little girl happy :-)

    I’ve been getting up at 6 am for the last 4 years. The tiredness never goes away but it does get easier to live with.

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