Ok so I’ve finished Jane Eyre, in probably the place you would least imagine her being. If I wasn’t me but Jane Eyre, what would I be doing and thinking? First of all I have to decide whether this is a Maldivian Jane Eyre, or a British one who has come to live here. I think the latter. That way she will be pining over her Rochester, like I’m pining after real milk. This morning she would have had to give an impromptu rowing session to two visiting doctors from Malé who were very nice and eager to help, which due to her teaching skillset, she would be perfectly capable of.
But how would she deal with serious dilemmas here? Take for example, the Hell’s Itch I experienced this morning, having showered after the rowing session? For those of you who don’t know what Hell Itch is, it’s not a medical term, but one adopted by its sufferers on account of its mind-frazzling intensity. Google it. Quotes about it include:“This itch is unlike ANYTHING ELSE. It makes me want to rip my skin off using rusty razors, to put it lightly.” And “I felt like the only relief would be to knock me out. With that in mind I started contemplating taking strong pain killers and drinking myself to sleep with tequila. I’d been googling all night trying to find a cure and was at my wits end. If there was a cure that required you to rip off your toenails with a rusty chisel and then eat them, I would have done it in a heartbeat”.
I hope you get the picture. Thankfully there were no rusty razors knocking about. So while harmless, it’s pretty darn painful. It seems that that snorkeling sunburn has returned to actually bite me in the back. Apparently when your skin is healing, your body can sometimes have an allergic reaction which results in an uber intense itching, which is hot, burning, and never-ending. The internet was my first port of call. Ten minutes later and all notion of dignity had vanished. I was stooped over my sink slapping myself silly with wet teabags, that didn’t work; then I stooped over my sink pouring vinegar all over my back, that worked but I ran out of vinegar and then it stopped working; then I just stood in the shower for 45 minutes, which helped, but as soon as I came out from the cool water, it started again but oh so much worse. So, trapped in this vicious circle of pain I attained a sort of eyeball-rolling Nirvana, where I was able to ponder two things:
A) What would Jane Eyre do?
B) What should I actually do right now?
I was really surprised that this time of all times was when I tried empathising with a literary character. I worked out that the answer to A is that I would just grin and bear it, and chastise myself for wanting relief. I would not tell anybody about the pain, but I would just feel very sorry for myself and put on a brave face. Perhaps I would tell Rochester at a later date, but only if I then made fun of him, despite me loving him loads and loads.
But because I’m not a frigid Victorian woman, what I actually did was ignored the strange part of myself that thought I was Jane Eyre and rang up the doctors who I had fortunately been coaching earlier this morning. They swiftly texted through the drugs I needed but they couldn’t get to a pharmacy because it was a Friday. Brain Engage! I rang up Roba and told him to go the hospital to get them for me. At this point I was stooped over in the shower, probably in the crippled posture of Bertha, Rochester’s incarcerated mentalist wife. The half an hour Roba took to came went by very slowly as the only entertainment I had was playing an unresponsive version of snake on the replacement Nokia Brick1000. But came he did. And then laughed at me as he applied cream to my quivering spastic back as I yelped and cursed. Wise people say that there are painful moments in life when one day you will look back and be able to laugh; they are right, but there are also very few moments where people laugh at you while you are still in pain. I now know how all those stupid skateboarders on YouTube feel when they crush their manparts on railings. Never again shall a Fail video be funny to me.