Highlights of Miserable Lives
Memories are for delusional people, who completely lack self-awareness and think that their miserable lives are worth remembering.
Childhood memories are the worst and there are very few undertakings more tedious than listening to a random 20-something trying to bond with a bunch of other tiresome everymen his age, by reminiscing about the cartoons they all used to watch when they were little. Similarly – and in direct competition with reciting one’s dreams for the most unbearable expression of individualism – it is achingly dull to hear grown men go on about loving parents, blissful childhood summers, and secondary school mischief.
Luckily, even on those rare occasions that I suffer clarity of mind due to accidentally under-dosing on sedatives, there are just two singular, isolated incidents that I remember from my childhood: the Arts & Crafts incident and the Lift incident.
Arts & Crafts
We had A4-sized pieces of card with outlines of basic shapes drawn on them. And we had tiny pieces of coloured paper, each one no bigger than the nail on my small finger. In bright colours, of course, because I was 5 years old and small children are idiots with underdeveloped brains, who can’t distinguish anything unless it’s bright red or has a furry texture or moos like a cow. We were supposed to put glue on the card and stick the pieces of paper on, filling up the inside of each shape. These were the only instructions we were given, I swear.
I started taking each tiny piece of paper, cautiously applying glue to the back of it and slowly placing it flat on the card, each piece next to the previous one, forming seamless lines both across and down. The end result was geometrically perfect, presumably what every sensible human would be inclined to achieve.
The next thing I remember is a destructive Greek teacher standing over my head, scolding me for being so careful and meticulous in my task, before proceeding to sloppily apply some glue to my card and sprinkle the tiny pieces of paper over it completely haphazardly. The result was a mess. Some of the pieces were upside down exposing their white underside, some were half-drowning in glue with their dry parts seemingly trying to escape upwards, some were outside the shape borders and there were gaps everywhere. I wanted to cry. And I hated that tramp.
Looking back at the incident, however, she wasn’t to blame. She was Greek, that was all. Faithful to her tribe, she was lazy, imprudent, irresponsible and thoughtless, exhibiting all the key characteristics that, two and a half decades later, would make Greece the plughole that sank that European monetary union. In retrospect, this was probably the day I instinctively decided to distance myself from those people; a decision, which reached its happy apex the day I acquired my British passport at the age of 21.
The guy in the lift must have pressed the STOP button to make it come to a halt between floors. He got his dick out and a couple of minutes later I felt something wet dripping down the side of my head. I’m still not sure whether it was semen or urine. I was 7 years old and at that point I wasn’t aware that anything else could come out of your willy other than pee.
I didn’t even see the incident happen to be honest; I guess I was looking on the floor during the whole time, avoiding making eye contact with the stranger. I don’t even know how we got out of there. Most likely my brother, who was 10 at the time, pressed the alarm, the guy panicked, started the lift again and bolted out when we got to the next floor. We ran up the stairs to the top of the building where my parents’ apartment was and breathlessly blurted everything out to my mum.
She was there with some staff and her sister preparing the house for a party she was hosting later in the evening. That’s the reason why she hadn’t been the one waiting for me at the entrance downstairs when the school bus dropped me off, and she’d asked my brother to go meet me instead. I’m unsure of what the party was for. It might have been for my parents’ wedding anniversary, my mum’s birthday, something like that. This was my day now, anyway.
My mum’s sister, always particularly boisterous, ran out and tried to find the guy, but it was too late. My mum took me to the bathroom and started vigorously washing my hair. That’s when she told me the guy had ‘peed’ on me, but looking back on the whole thing, I’m suspicious. Why would a paedophile get trapped in a lift with two minors just to piss on them? Surely we were sexier than that?