I had a meltdown last weekend. I reverted to type – completely. I turned into a 1950’s helpless woman. I exhibited every stereotypical female emotion known to man. And I did it in style. If you plotted my weekend on a graph in terms of an enjoyment factor of 1 to 10, 1 being HATED IT and 10 being LOVED IT, it would look a little like the silhouette of a Toblerone bar.
On Friday, I decided I was going to hear some Blues. A new terasz bar has opened across the road (Körlet Terasz) and it had advertised a Blues band to kick off at 8pm. I tried a few people I thought might enjoy it and come along, but all were busy doing other things. I posted it on FB, too, and a young musician friend of mine said he’d join me. As it happened, he was in the market for some live music, too.
There might have been 30 people there at 8.30 and it wasn’t looking all that promising but the drinks were cheap and cold and half-decent. The first band – a duo that goes by the name of Garda-Benkő (i.e., Garda Zsuzsa and Benkő Zsolt) – were larger than life and could/should have been playing to 300, not 30. She had an amazing voice and, according to my guitar-playing friend, he knew his way around a guitar.
Next up was the legend Fekete Jenő (I had to be told this, of course, as I’m not all that up with my Hungarian Blues). Now there’s a voice that has seen its fair share of late nights and overflowing ashtrays. Gorgeous. Accompanied by Horváth Misi on the harmonica, the pair of them made the world disappear for a while. I was having a blast, enjoying a lesson in Blues legends from my friend. My innocent ‘Who’s Robert Johnson?’ was met with a one-word admonition: Homework. Followed by a short explanation: Not a question to ask in a Blues bar.
Back home though, in my three-hour absence, my sinks had been filling up with water. I emptied them before I went to bed, and put both plugs in, intending to set the alarm for three hours in case that didn’t work. But I forgot and woke the next morning to a kitchen inches deep in water. Cue revert to type meltdown. I called the House who told me there was already a plumber in the building and that I should go find him – last know whereabouts was the cellar. Completely forgetting I had yet to get dressed, I took off barefooted around the building; I even went out on to the street. But no plumber in sight. I called again, having ratcheted up a few sobs higher on the hysteria scale. She called the plumber. I started emptying sinks and mopping floors, all the while cursing the men in my life – or rather their absence – where were they when I needed them. Some six hours later, exhausted, wet, but with a working sink, I sat and recalibrated.
Years of hard-won independence had flown out the window. All that supposed self-sufficiency had vanished. What the world might see as a relatively successful, capable, intelligent woman who has for years provided for herself and navigated what life has thrown her way – well she went down the drain with the dishwater. And in her place was this whimpering, pitiful specimen whose one and only thought was ‘Where’s the man!’ I was not at all impressed with myself.
So, in an effort to find that independent self, I ignored all other invites that Saturday night and took myself off to a bar in Buda to hear some more music. (Truth be told, I wasn’t fit for human consumption and might well have taken the eye out of anyone who so much as looked crooked at me – I know the signs.) This time it was PASO – aka Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra – Hungary’s answer to Madness, and a favourite of my young musician friend. I stood around, danced a little, ate, drank, and took photos of others dancing in the rain. It was cathartic. I needed it. I don’t think I spoke to anyone but the bartender and that conversation was limited to a screaming rosé vice hazmeister kerem. I had a blast.
I was home before midnight again and the sinks had held – no water. A week has passed – and a busy one at that. And I’ve had time to reflect a little and see the silver lining in that otherwise water-logged cloud.
This week, I’m grateful that age is not a barrier to friendship. I’m grateful for that infectious enthusiasm that lends itself to excellent teaching (I have been doing my homework DA). I’m grateful, too, that I had my meltdown and reverted to type because that, in itself, has taught me a lot about the mental contortions to which I so often subject my reasoning. I learned a lot about myself this week – and perhaps I’ve even made some progress with my (in)dependency issues.