Monday, January 19, 2015

The Blind Spot of Spatial Absurdity (sort of like this title, really)

Sigh... apparently the one place in our flat that I don't check when I'm looking for my purse is the coat-and-purse rack right next to the front door. It's like a gosh-darned blind spot. Or a black hole. This is the third time in a week I've turned the whole flat upside down and the purse is just... hanging there... watching me.
            Can't it know? Put out little blinky lights or discreet whistling noises? Hum "you're being an idiot again" in beeping morse code or three part harmony? I'd be grateful and actually wash off the marks from when I left the lid off my gel-pen and scribbled down the side -
            See? Mutual accommodations and benefits! Pretty please?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bah Hachoo Humbug.

I'm sure that flus come at worse times than between Christmas and new year, but this particular time is probably the least fun time of the lot.
Bah Hachoo Humbug.

Let's pretend that my sneezing sounds like this - and feel all holiday happy and fizz.

It's pretty much the reverse of inappropriately lugubrious holiday music, isn't it?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Post Prandial Phantasies. Burp.

"On the seventeenth day of Christmas
The Elephant said to me -
It's almost HALLOWEEN!"

Someone has a turkey-stuffing hangover...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, You-All!

This morning's shower ditty:

"I don't want a lot for Christmas
That is one big honking fib!
I'm dreaming of buckets of gold and rubies
A necklace like a diamond bib

(Just like Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies in her seminal royal portrait of 1830)*

Oh, I just want you for my own
Just how much you're gonna know
When i throw you down, tear off your stockings
And smooch you beneath the mistletoe -

At which point Mr Tabubil stuck his head into the shower, asked if I was quite done, and that he was going to be out on the terrace with a boiled egg. Did I want one? There was one for me if i wanted one.

*The line doesn't scan, but pedantic accuracy is important when it comes to Santa's Wish List. You can hum it in E sharp if you like.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Second-rate Holly Jollies.

I am trapped in customer service telephone hell.
            I wouldn't mind so much if the infinite roll of Christmas carols they're playing at me weren't buried in so much static.  Or if they chose versions that weren't maudlin and lugubrious.  
            Stop singing about holly jolly holidays with a catch in your throat.  And if you're going to hang a star upon the highest bough, remember that only Judy ever got away with quavering like that. Your quivers, semi-quivers, demi-quivers and little achey-breachy wibble-wobble-whoopses will not be supplanting Judy as doleful holiday queen anytime soon, alright? Go try a jolly little jingle bells.  Go ahead, try it. Throw in that perky decant about snowflakes if you want, but above all, sing it cheery!  
            I've got  long wait and an epic argument ahead of me and i want to be in a fighting spirit. Not curled up sobbing underneath my Christmas tree while a second-rate celebrity sings a mournful dirge about snowmen.
            Please.  Thank you.  Please.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Zephyrs and Divans and Ladies of Leisure

It's been a quiet few months here at Tabubilgirl. A medical situation has turned me into a Lady of Leisure, and I have spent the spring reclining genteelly on a sofa (proper divans being in short supply) watching the world turn green outside my window, while the Platanos Orientales unfurled their green canopies across the street -
            Which meant coughing (genteelly) into a hanky as the year's first warm zephyrs drew out the platano pollen out from between those green leaves- and then coughing less genteelly and with more steel as the spring winds built in force and the damn trees dropped their annual load of toxic yellow fuzz all over the damn place -
            At which point, picking platano pollen out of my teeth, I decided that Ladies of Leisure were more inclined towards windows firmly shut and Farscape marathons in a darkened room than quiet contemplation of nature's annual miracle.
            That particular miracle is a loaded one. Both barrels.

This past Sunday, when the zephyrs were turned off for the afternoon and the fuzz was away on half-holiday, Mr Tabubil took me for a stroll around our local park. As we progressed toward the children's playground, we noticed that the children we passed seemed to be all lightly tinted pink.
           Their mouths were sticky, their fingers were worse, and their little faces were either looking dazed and ill or carooming off the trees in some sort of hyperactive fit- 
            Leaving Mr Tabubil in the dust, I made a beeline for the playground. The Fairy Floss man was there!
            Our fairy-floss man pushes a hand- cart with a treadle-powered fairy-floss machine. Pumping the treadle with his foot, he dips a wooden stick into the spinning sugar vat, and neatly twirls you a cloud of pink sugar-floss larger than your head. 
            Mr Tabubil treated me to a stick, and I ate it, and life was very good.  We wandered back up the park, and I found a man with a hose who let me wash my hands and drink, and life was even better. Fairy-floss is divine, but sticky is sticky. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween in the Calle Rosas

This morning my mother-in-law  took a little trip into Centro- the old heart of Santiago -  to do a little Halloween shopping.  Our first stop was a little arcade just outside the Plaza de Armas- the arcade was mostly hairdressers and cell-phone-cover stores, but I remembered a little toy store in there that had a wall of boxes full of rubber animals. You know the sort of thing - rubber snakes and technicolor stegosaurus and wolf-spiders with fangs the size of hubcaps. I wanted to see if they had any plastic rats.
            Did they have plastic rats? Does New York have a Big Apple in it? Did Gustave Eiffel design some rather nice train stations in South America? Did they have rats?! -
            We left the shop with a bag full of big black red-eyed rodents, a handful of little black mice and a clutch of nasty rubber spiders. My mother-in-law was chortling. She insisted on carrying the bag.

On the back side of the Plaza de Armas is a street called Calle Rosas. Down the west end of the street there are shops selling sewing machines and fabrics and sewing machine parts, but what Calle Rosas really does is parties. Chileans take parties seriously. You need a pinata, for a start. And hats, lots of hats. Not the good old Australian party standby - the paper cone with an elastic band to go under the chin and maybe a streamer at the top, but crowns with jewels on, and policeman's helmets, and dragons to roost on your head and coil down around your ears, and Egyptian cobras done in gold lame, and pirate's tricorns, and veddy English top hats, and feather bonnets, and flapper cloches and green fedoras -
            Hatted out, you need your streamers and balloons. And your banners, done up in glitter with the name of the guest of honor written three feet high, and your horns and your hooters and poppers and silly string - 

            Imagine all that and add Halloween.  The Calle Rosas had gone bananas. There was no other word for it - the stores that normally can't breath for confetti and paper streamers were tricked out (see what i did there?!) in balloons and paper bats - there was so much Halloween dangling from the ceilings of the stores that you had to enter in a sort of semi-crouch and sidle past barrels full of rubber masks and plastic pitchforks with plastic blood on to even get inside. 
            We started in the smaller stores that exist wistfully on the fringes of things where Calle Rosas bumps into Veintiuno de Mayo ( 21 May 1879, the Battle of Iquique. Chileans like to name streets after significant dates) and, bent sideways between racks of vampire capes (all sizes from toddler to XX-Tall, regardless of whether your vampire prefers basic black, vampy red, virginal white, or cotton-candy pink) we came away with bunting and streamers and bags and bags of little black plastic spiders. 
            And we bought Mr Tabubil a hat. It has cobwebs and big round eyeballs on it, and dangling wads of grey cheesecloth. It is splendid.
            Our purchases were bagged by somber fellow in a cowl and a hockey mask, who moaned sadly when we said Gracias. He had coughed at us when we entered, liquid and hacking, and when we flinched, he had clutched at a plastic pike with plastic blood on the handle and reeled sideways into the arms of a dancing skeleton. He was having a wonderful day. 

            After that we braved the bigger party stores.  Who knew what we'd see?  
            If we could get through the doors.  It wasn't the flying bats or the whispering ghosts or the jiggling hanged men with battery-operated jiggles - it was the flying bats and the whispering ghosts and the jiggling hanged men.  But mostly it was the people.  I don't know if any stores made any money anywhere else in Santiago today, because the entire city was out shopping in Calle Rosas. The only thing that made the experience bearable was the army of pumpkin-shirted men and women that patrolled the crowd, looking to latch onto anyone looking sufficiently wide-eyed, and take you and your shopping list in hand and drag you bodily through the scrum.
            They abandoned us, occasionally, so that we could be menaced by men in hockey masks (clearly the spook-face of the year) and army jackets that looked as if they'd been shredded by claws and buried for a month. A man would come close - and closer, and we'd notice that behind the hockey mask was another mask - this one with scars and maggots and a reek of fresh rubber. Bending down, he'd shrug, slightly, and we'd notice that the clinking sound we were hearing was the chains that he wore draped across his shoulders and over his chest, and we'd see that his leather motorcycle gauntlets were shredded by the same steel claws that had done for his coat, and once he'd seen that we'd seen, he settled down to make us feel really uncomfortable. It was wonderful.
            Above us, the ceiling howled and cackled and laughed manically, mechanically, because every single square foot of it was occupied by the whispering ghosts and jiggling hanged men, and a little girl, screaming with laughter, was jumping up and down and setting them all off.
            We laughed too, and our hockey-mask maniac winked at us and shuffled off to menace someone else.

Outside the store, we walked to the end of the street and there was no more Halloween, anywhere at all.  It was a whole festival confined to that one street, and nowhere else in the city.  We caught a taxi and drove home and unpacked our loot on the kitchen ledge.
            It's all about context, I think.  Take our Ghastly Severed Hand.  At a Halloween party, no-one would look at it twice, but at mid-afternoon outside the Calle Rosas, when Mr Tabubil came around the corner from the laundry and saw it lying on the kitchen ledge, he hit the ceiling. 
            Literally.  He screamed and then he jumped.            

            It is a rather good severed hand.  
            Also, there is a small black rat on Mr Tabubil's nightstand.  My mother-in-law and I are trying a small psychological experiment.