Tuesday, October 05, 2004


I should have known. As soon as I half opened one eye and saw the digital clock at exactly 9:11, I should have rolled over, gone back to sleep and the hell with the day.

Unfortunately, I heaved my sorry ass out of bed and pin-balled into the bathroom where it took a few seconds for the signals from my shins to reach the brain and for me to realise that taking a piss might be a whole lot more comfortable if I were to raise the seat beforehand. Bugger!

So, I sat on the edge of the bath, swung my legs over the side, switched on the taps and reached for the shower head. I say 'reached for' and not grasped as I only succeeded in dislodging it from its perch, thereby chipping the enamel and sending a spray of water all over the floor. Shite!

I eventually managed to sluice off the piss, swung my legs out of the bath, stood up and promptly sat down again. On the floor. A more alert frontal lobe might have made the connection between a tiled floor and surface water and taken adequate precautionary measures but mine was still in caffeine deprivation mode and barely ticking over.

Realising that coffee was indeed a priority, I stumbled into the kitchen to find a note from Zsuzsi asking me to hoover the house and the kettle full of Calgon. Not wishing to de-scale the lining of my stomach that early in the morning thank you very much, I sloshed some milk into a saucepan, stuck it on the gas and went in search of tobacco. I found it next to the monitor, where I had left it the night before. Error.

Cigarette, check. E-mail, check. Favourite blogs, check. Smell of burning milk, check. Christ on a bike!

Search for kitchen roll. Fresh out. Fetch toilet roll from bathroom. Clean mess, make coffee. Take coffee into bathroom with Elmore Leonard paperback and settle down for bit of anal expulsion. CENSORED. Reach for toilet roll. Bugger, bugger, damn, shit, blast! I don't know if you have ever been in the unfortunate position of having to continue locomotion after having followed through on a particularly explosive botty burp but I'm sure you can appreciate the predicament nevertheless.

Anyway, I finally gather all my papers and cassettes together for a spot of marking. I arrange all the marking sheets for the candidates in the order in which they will appear on the cassettes, brace myself for an assault on my English speaking sensibilities and press play. The exam is in four sections and ten individual marks out of three are available spread out throughout the categories. To my intense pleasure, the quality of the recordings is excellent, the interlocutor doesn't over-run the 10 minutes per exam time limit by too much and I get through about twenty papers in about four and a half hours. I collect all the marking sheets together and am just about to switch off the cassette when I hear, "Kiss Balázs, test begins." Say what?!

I check the packing list...20. I check the labels on the cassettes...20. I count the marking sheets...19. Oh sweet fuckity fuck! I find the missing sheet and go back to the first cassette. It soon becomes clear that I have marked the first candidate on the second one's sheet, the second's on the third's and so on. Thank the gods I kept the sheets in order. A slight adjustment...crossing out the original name and writing in another and everything's tickerty boo.

Hoovering. Deep joy. Plug her in in the big room and work my way through house. I get to the office/guest room, reach full extent of flex and yank. Hard. Holy shit! What the fuck was that? What the fuck it was, was the ironing board coming a right purler as the flex wrapped itself around its legs. Only slight damage to floor boards and with a bit of luck, she'll never notice.

Anyway, shave, then bathtime with Robert Heinlein. I wake up, say a quick thank you to the gods again for having allowed me to drop the book on the dry side of the porcelain and check the time. Say "Fuck!" A lot.

I arrive at work with a minute to spare. I do my Fat Freddy's Cat fastest 50m nonchalant walk on record and sashay into the classroom as if everything is under total control. I take the register, I open my briefcase. I look for the lesson plan. I look again. And again. I place my head in the briefcase and attempt to close it. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have been bothered, I rarely use them anyway, but I had planned such a wonderful lesson. Ordinarily, I am probably one of the best improvisers in a classroom I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing in action but this had been no ordinary day. And nor was it then. I corpsed. I fluffed. I floundered.

Desperate times call for...

I showed them my two palms, then said, "Fuck it!", closed the book and flung it over their heads into the corner of the room by the door. "Right then. It's question time, folks. You can ask me any question you like and I will answer them as honestly as I can. Who's first?"

3×45 minutes later and we're still bouncing the questions around but I had opened it up to include everybody and they were really having a great time. I was just adjudicating at this point, only stepping in if somebody couldn't make themselves understood or if they were having trouble understanding. Bloody brilliant!

Arrive home, gates are closed. I park the car. Observe through window that Zsuzsi has the Frog in her arms and that she is crying. I enter the house. "Daaaaaaaaaaaaadeeeeeeeeeee!" She's missed me. Suddenly everything seems okay again. I am wanted. I am loved.

I put them both to bed. Kiss them goodnight. Am heading out the door when Zsuzsi asks, "What are those marks on the floor by the ironing board?"

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