Now that I’ve arrived back in Addu, much has changed, much has stayed the same. A new girl has come into my life, Jessie, but more on that later. The weather, the food, the hunger for politics have all remained constant. What has changed is my housing situation. I have been moved to a location slightly further away from the rowing site. Where I live is a building site, very indie. A man is renovating his house and whilst he and his family live downstairs, I live upstairs in the only furnished room. You walk in, it is very nice, green walls, aircon, couple of flat-pack wardrobes, nothing to turn your nose up at as a student.
After this initial impression, I took a keenish interest in the bedding situation. There is one bed, a double bed. Since I have someone else joining me in a week that might be an issue, but when I got in I wasn’t concerned too much, I just wanted to go straight to sleep.
Being young and foolish and excited by sleep, I did that typical Hollywood backwards jump onto the bed. Crunch. It seems the mattress was just as flatpack as the rest of it, I really think that it’s just a piece of chipboard with some bubble wrap all around it. The sounds this thing makes when you drop something on it or even shift over make me think it might actually be remnants of some local indigenous percussive instrument that has been recycled. They say that sleeping on hard things is good for your back… but I suppose you have to be able to sleep to get those benefits. To top off my night on what felt like a park bench, there was a severe shortage of blankets in the house, so severe that concerned shakes of the head were the only response when I asked whether I could get one for the night. I slept under my hand towel, much like one might imagine Gollum doing so on a good night when he’s found a few clothes the Orcs have left behind.
However, my mattress is to a slab of concrete what my pillow is to resting your head on a watermelon. This thing could perhaps be called “memory foam” but only because you would have so many memories of staring at the blinking light of the AC above your head during the night. No matter which way I have tried to put my head on this pillow, it just slides straight off to the tune of “thud” on my bass drum mattress. I have my suspicions that the stuff that makes this bed probably has more structural integrity than a G-Whizz.
But what troubles me the most is the ubuiqitousness of Jessie the Cowgirl all over the room. She is draped all over the cushions, pillows and bed, looking too pleased with herself as she rides a really dopey looking horse and waving a lasso in the air like the last livestock’s escaped off the ranch. I have tried to read into what is clearly a very significant message being sent to me by my landlord. Wikipedia says this of Jessie:
She is excitable, brave and very athletic. The doll, however, carries a great deal of sadness, as she was abandoned by her original owner, which left her somewhat distrustful. Years of being in storage have made her somewhat withdrawn, and noticeably afraid of the dark, to the extent of hyperventilating whenever she is inside dark enclosed spaces, or even at just the thought of being abandoned.
And I can’t help but think the brave, athletic maverick figure in the story is me. The rest of it stacks up as well: my original landlord doesn’t want me anymore and I have been deposited somewhere else. Am I going to suffer from claustrophobic panic attacks? Or will I find my saviour Buzz Lightyear?
Needless to say, I have asked about finding another mattress…