Over the past couple of weeks I've been forced to confront the major flaw in my gap year plans. It's that I didn't actually plan anything for the month after Paris. I believe I might have actually forgotten that the month of May exists. This is worrying enough in itself, but there is worse to come.
I gave up after a few days of making the effort to go out and traipse and decided (in a very uncharacertistic way, I'm sure you'll agree), to spend some quality time with the internet.
It can be a dark and terrifying world, online. It sucks you in slowly. First you find the site which will stream episodes of 'How I met your mother' online for you for free. It seems harmless enough, so you watch one, maybe two episodes. You realise that you don't even like the programme, but you find yourself watching more and more anyway, unable to stop.
The next thing you know, it's two in the morning and you're watching gag reels on youtube.
My dinner conversation began to take a strange turn...
Ro: Did you know that you can buy the action figures of famous murderers online?
Mother: *dryly* How exactly is it that you
Ro: *brightly* I can explain. I'm not a psycopath!
Mother: I blame your friends. I've no idea where else you could be getting it from.
Father: *thoughtfully* I wonder if the murderers get the royalties in prison. You could branch out from action figures.
Ro: An animated TV series? A trading card game? An animated TV series featuring
the trading card game? A different murderer for every card! They could have catchy attack names like 'Silent Garrotte Attack!', and 'Maniacal Laugh Attack!'
Father: That's pokemon.
I began to take it into my head to do strange things, like wander down to the bluebell woods near my house in the early evening. Wandering down to the bluebell woods sounds harmless enough, But around these parts they're known as 'The terrifying bluebell woods of doom!' (well actually, they're just known as 'The bluebell woods', but everyone assumes everyone else knows the terrifying doom part. It's there, just unspoken. People say it with meaningful eye twitching.)
The bluebell woods carry an aura of doom because they happen to be the bluebell woods where the bodies from at least two murders have been discovered in the past year. I, having been out of the country and away from my eye-twitching neighbours, forgot all about this and was happily stomping my way along, until I heard twigs begin to snap noisily behind me.
As it turned out, it was a squirrel. But it could easily have been much worse! When more twigs began to snap, and I realised it was getting dark and something (that was, in retrospect, probably a fox) began to scream, I did the thing any sensible girl would do in that situation. I panicked a little and ran off home.
My family were not very sympathetic.
Ro: *running into the kitchen* I thought there was something chasing me in the woods and it got all dark and there was screaming!
Mother: *fixing a grim stare on Ro's muddy feet*
Ro: *suddenly getting a very bad feeling about this*
Mother: *in an eerie monotone* Now I don't want anybody to get upset. No one is going to get hurt, as long as you do exctly what I say. Just back out slowly, and come back with a sponge, and there will be no trouble. I'm going to count to ten, but if you're not back by the time I finish, I will be forced to do something that I Do Not Want To Do.
Mother: That's right - I'll make you clean every carpet in the house with me. Just us, a bottle of Vanish and some mother-daughter bonding for Five Long Hours.
Ro: *scrambles off to get a sponge*
I've decided to do the sensible thing and leave the country. Not to flee to the continent, (though at times this seems like a sensible option), but to visit my grandmothers, because (being the sweet granddaughter that I am), I promised I would at some point this year. Toronto, here I come.
Since I'm not even close to being done with gap year wandering yet, I'm hoping to squeeze a trip to India into some of the five weeks I have between returning from Canada and heading off to Eastern Europe with one of my friends. Fingers are being crossed, money is changing hands, and painful injections and visa queues are soon to be faced. I can only hope it all works out, because if it doesn't, the whole month of June will probably consist of carpet-scrubbing.
I'm also dreading Friday a little. What friends I have who aren't currently swamped by exams are being lovely and tiptoeing around the b-word. (What friends I have who are swamped by exams tend to answer the phone tetchily and sometimes break down crying after they tell me how the supermarket didn't have the kind of ice cream they wanted and how it was just the last straw. Though I feel this is understandable. Ice cream is important, after all.)
The 16th of May almost always turns out to be a bad day for me, so I've decided to ignore it this year and hope that somehow it manages to go well instead. I'd appreciate it if everyone else would ignore it too.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, or what the 16th of May is, that's excellent! You're doing well. :)