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I blow a fuse

  Sat 31st August 2019

Me and Hayley got ourselves in a tangle over the room we were supposed to move into today. A skein of text messages from her about complicated lines of credit, thickened until I gave up trying to unravel it. I just assumed we were splitting everything 50/50 and paying it on the due dates. With two days to go to our moving date, I told her that I am withdrawing from the plan.

The following morning, my sangfroid lost, I asked Unhinged Landlady if I could rescind my notice. She turned bright and hot, telling me that I had been very rude when I had spoken to her on the phone a month or so ago, and refused, saying "I don't want you living here any more." She wanted a fight, so I reacted as though someone had declined me a tea bag." "No, no, that's fine, that's OK."

I went to my room, but she wasn't giving up. "And that goes for [her boyfriend] too!" she shouted up the stairs.

A few seconds later she remembers something. "Are you still alright to look after the cat this weekend or do you want me to find someone else?" I leant over the landing to dispense what I hoped would be an irritating generosity of spirit. "Of course I am! Really, it's fine, Unhinged Landlady, more than happy to do that."


I got back from work, looking forward to a weekend in the house with but a cat for company. A while ago, I had unscrewed two of the bulbs in my room and draped a red flannel over the remaining one, exploiting cotton's natural fire retardant properties. I wanted to smother the Estate Agent White of the halogen bulbs. Last night, the light being insufficient to write this, I went to replace one of the set of three bulbs set into their S-bend aluminium fitting (school of Argos, c.1988).

There was a bang and the house went dark. I had fused all the upstairs lights. I rang Trina, the most practical of my friends, who advised me to flick a switch in the fuse box. I did so and it let out a blue flash like a pilot light, and returned to its refusal position. I was stoned, and I was horrified for a moment to hear a man asleep breathing in rasps on the sofa, before I realised that it was my own amplified respiration.

Trina told me to tell Unhinged Landlady that it had blown after I'd switched the lights on. It's a common enough occurence, a plausible explanation, but something I dreaded saying, imagining the way she'd find pleasure in adding it to her ledger of my errors and omissions I have committed during our year-long co-dependency. I looked up "emergency electrician Bristol" and found a possible saviour at £75 per hour plus VAT, then went to bed with the cannabis that was meant to sail with me through a night of house music and improvised flannel-draped lighting now over-analysing the consequences of a blown fuse.

I got up at half past six, after what felt like a sleepless night. I tried switching the fuse again, and everything apart from the lights in my room came back on. I rang Trina. It was more to thank her for listening to me worry out loud in several phone calls at eleven o'clock, but her practical advice, about trying it again when the circuit was cold, proved to be the electrical and social remedy.

I texted her tonight. "You, my darling, are a rock xx."

4 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Ack, I hate it when that happens - anything electrical going wrong makes me realise how dependent I am on light bulbs etc. Nothing works without electricity, and it can be an expensive pain to fix. Glad you got it sorted. Did you remember to feed the cat? Where are you going to live?
Sx

Sun 1st September 2019 @ 06:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yes, I didn’t fancy having 100 quid plus up my shirt on a Saturday morning.

The cat’s shown far greater social graces than Unhinged Landlady and has been fed and watered and soil-removed well.

No idea where I am going to live in three weeks’ time. I’m combing the rooms for rent pages but there’s a big prejudice against people my age when it comes to house sharing. Very few ads will entertain people even over 30.

Sun 1st September 2019 @ 10:53 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Eryl Gasper-Dick [Visitor]

Everyone needs a Trina, and I’m so glad you have one!

I do hope you and Hayley can make up and find a solution. X

Mon 2nd September 2019 @ 12:43 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I keep having to tilt the screen back and forth to type this because there is no electric light in my room. Still I suppose I’m not on a raft hoping that’s Calabria over there.

Trina’s great, now that’s she’s stopped trying to make me love her in a boyfriendy way and turning me into a gigolo as a fallback.

Me and Hayley had a good night last night. I am fond of her. She’s got the banter, the pisstaking and the miniskirts.

Mon 2nd September 2019 @ 20:17 Reply to this comment


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