Remember that movie Airplane! where the main character, Ted Striker, says, ‘It was then I discovered my drinking problem,’ and throws his drink down his face?
Well, recently I have been doing a fantastic impression of that, most memorably in a swish Moroccan restaurant last Saturday.
There I was with NikNak and The Writer, genteelly sipping my mint tea and nibbling on baklava – it was quite delicious. The ambience however, didn’t lend itself to efficient lipreading as it resembled a sort dark cavern with lanterns for mood lighting. The music was also rather loud. This meant that in order to follow what was going on I had to keep my eyes on NikNak and The Writer at all times.
Cue my drinking problem – first I missed my mouth with the mint tea and sent it down my dress and then, I tipped it too far and got a rather large piece of mint – sprig, stem, the lot – the kind you see garnishing very large cakes, wedged in my throat.
With visions of the Heimlich manoeuvre flashing through my mind, I tried desperately to will it to go up, or down – I didn’t really care which way it went but halfway, like that rhyme with the Duke of York isn’t really very productive.
Eventually I resorted to a large mouthful of baklava to help it on its way and thankfully it worked but it left me a bit shaken and wondering about all the other times I have found myself doing similar things.
Lipreading instead of focusing on the task in hand has got me into all sorts of strife in the past. Last year at work, I was bouncing around the office like an excitable puppy, as Lovely Housemate and I were due to fly to Istanbul the next day. My Boss gave me a simple job of cutting out photographs using a craft knife and as I did so, I chatted to a colleague about my impending trip looking up to lipread her rather than down at what I was doing.
And then, suddenly, I was aware that the last slice I did felt like I was cutting through butter rather than paper and then I felt pain.
There on the cutting board was the side of my fingertip and where it used to be attached, was rather a lot of blood.
Now, I pride myself on not being that squeamish but this was grim – the blood just kept coming – and I was soon slumped in the nearest chair asking dumbly if it was possible to stick my finger back together.
It wasn’t – but I got it patched up for my holiday and was ordered to hold it up as much as possible. Easier said than done when lugging heavy luggage to a different continent.
But that trip was amazing, and when the blood started to drip through the bandage, Lovely Housemate and her ma took me to this fantastic hospital under a mosque where a nice Turkish doctor redressed it for me. This was incredibly painful and made me say a very rude word as the last bandage had fused itself to my finger. (It clearly was a universally rude word by the look of shock on his face).
I never bothered to develop any photographs from that trip though. You see, my finger continued to bleed for the next three days, so as instructed, I continued to hold it up – so in every single flipping photograph I’m there with my gigantically bandaged finger pointing at sod all!