I had my day all planned out. Dentist 9 am. Physio 9.45. Coffee with B at 11.30. Lunch with C at 1 pm. Home to pick up ~40 kg of groceries to deliver to Zs for her charity drive at 3.30 pm. Back home by 4.30 to pack for a trip, picking up some brown paper to wrap the last of the presents on the way. Drinks with I at 7 pm and then bed by 10. Everything timed. Everything set.
I got to the dentist 20 minutes before my appointment. I had my book. It was warm. I was grand waiting. But then she ran over. At 9.35 she said she could see me but I had a physio appointment in ten minutes. She asked if I could come afterwards, at 11.30. B had cancelled the coffee so I was free. But I couldn’t eat for two hours after a cleaning, and lunch wasn’t cancellable. So no dentist.
After physio I went home, planning to pick up an Advent wreath for J and some brown paper. They were out of paper. I got the wreath. And I lost a glove. When I left for my lunch date, I retraced my steps, used my muddled Hungarian to mime the glove loss with a singularly unhelpful shop assistant and got lucky.
Back home to pick up the food, I double-checked that Zs was home. She wasn’t. She was in Ikea. The meet was postponed two hours but I couldn’t wrap as I had no paper, so I ironed. Then, at 5, I left with two loaded wheelie bags that refused to come to heel. Like incalcitrant puppies, they had a will of their own. I checked that I had everything. Keys, phone, wallet, metro pass. No metro pass. I’d lost it at some stage after taking the metro that morning. It had 10 days left and 8 loose tickets. I wasn’t happy. I walked in circles around my kitchen invoking all sorts of hell and damnation. Had anyone been looking in the window, they’d have thought me mad.
At the tram stop, the ticket machine kept asking for exact change. I fed in more coins than I needed as I didn’t have the exact change. I wasn’t winning the battle. Three trams came and went. And the fight went on. I asked a fellow traveller for a 10 ft coin. She gave it to me with a smile, the first of the day and it was after 5 pm. But the ticket machine wasn’t having any of it. I took a photo of the screen to show that I’d paid in my money and then the next one showing it out of order. I planned on showing this to the controller if questioned. I was spoiling for a fight with someone who could talk back.
Getting off the stop, one of my wheelie bags upended. The crowd boarding the tram was unforgiving. My inner fishwife came out. I was beside myself. I recognised the day for what it was: a hormonal mess. As each little piece fell apart, a little piece of me went with it. Menopause is a bitch.
I don’t want to take hormones. When it gets so bad that I lose my sense of reason, I buy a packet of cigarettes. Trying to get up the steps and through the narrow door of the Nemzeti Donhánybolt with my 40 kg of groceries wobbling on leashes behind me was a spectacle. I came crashing through the door to the soundtrack of muffled curses in two languages.
I delivered the food, boxed it, and left for home. I’d have 20 minutes before I had to leave for my 7 pm drinks date. Time for a cigarette and a coffee. Time to magic up some calm and reason to douse those hormones.
I thought of the opposition MPs fighting for the right to be broadcast on Hungarian national media, and the thousands of protestors on the streets objecting to the new labour law. I thought of the Muslims in China who are being force-fed pork and alcohol in an effort to reprogram them and the way this piece of news hasn’t yet received international traction. I thought of my friend G whose brand new product Dragekiss has been counterfeited by unscrupulous Asian outfits and the long road she has ahead of her in her fight for justice. I thought of friends and acquaintances battling with their particular ailments and illnesses, of varying severity and hope. I thought of Saturn losing its rings. Of José Mourinho losing his job. Of the world losing the great Laverne. And I told myself that my day wouldn’t even register on the national or international crap scale. I heard that line from Kipling repeat itself again and again.
If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same…
And I thought f*&! it. My circus. My monkey. My hormones. I’d get over it. It’s days like these that wine is made for.