Warning: The following post may contain some exaggeration, the absence of balance, self-pitying and a lot of pettiness.
Have you ever had a period of your life where nothing you put your hand to goes right? Well that time is April 2016 for me. When I say literally nothing has gone right this month, I actually mean literally, not even in the ‘literally but actually I mean figuratively’ way. Like nothing has gone right. Unless you count not dying as something going right but I don’t. That’s just surviving. So let me take you on a journey through Megan Ashby’s life in April 2016. Before we start, let me just warn you, there may be graphic description of gross things so maybe if you’re squeamish stop here and know that you have saved yourself.
I guess our story truly starts in the dying days of March. I had a cold. Another cold. I seem to have had a cold consistently since the beginning of 2016 if I’m honest but this time, this cold was bad. It made me feel like crap. So a week, maybe a week and a half I’ve already had this cold when the very first day of this nightmare month comes round. I wake up and begin to cough. And I cough so much that eventually I throw up because I’m coughing so much. Always a great way to start a day. So I call in sick deciding against struggling through another day of work while I’ll cough and potentially throw up.
Then the 2nd of April happens, I decide I’m healthy enough (although not really) to go to a birthday party after work. I don’t drink because I’m driving and to be honest, I’m not into alcohol induced idiocy much anymore. Sober idiocy is my thing. So as I’m driving and the vast majority of my lovely friends are drunk, I do the decent and good thing of offering 3 people lifts home. 3. Not 1. Not even 2. But three. Now I in no way blame anyone else for any of my misfortune this month but I do wonder if what happened next would have happened if I had been an asshole and just taken myself home. But no I was a good person and gave lifts. So I get home, I park my car and then my phone drops out of my hoodie pocket and hits the floor face down.
You know how when you drop your phone, your stomach drops and you just know that disaster is waiting for you when you pick up that phone. Well yes, my screen was cracked. Well done me. 2am on a Sunday morning, sober as the day is long, I cracked my damn phone screen.
The next morning, having slept until 12, I head to a shop to get a new screen. I’m told it will cost me £140 (it is an iPhone 6s after all) and I’ll have to wait until Tuesday for the screen to be delivered. Fine. I can handle a cracked screen for a couple of days. I broke my iPhone 5 screen multiple times. Last summer, I even had a white screen on a black phone because I had lost the will to care what it looked like.
So I get the screen replaced (not before on Monday the guy calls me informing that actually it will £170) and I pay the man then head home. Within minutes of getting home, I discover that actually my screen is not working as it should and in actual fact a small section is popping in and out. I get frustrated but no problem, I’ll go back and they’ll fix it. Probably just something put in wrong.
Now the phone screen saga is truly a saga so I’ll give you the short version. After 2 more visits to the shop that week on Wednesday and Friday, I am told I should a new screen on the Monday. They’ll call me. No call. I call them on Thursday. I’ll get a call back Friday. No call. I call them. Okay this time, the screen will be here on Monday, the warehouse promise. Monday comes and goes. I call them this Monday (i.e 3 weeks since the screen broke). The screen is in! I decide that this is still not good enough and make a complaint on their website. Within 5 minutes, I’ve got the area manager on the phone telling me that I will be getting £50 refunded once my screen is perfect again. So I toddle off to the shop again.
‘So this screen is actually for a plus…my delivery driver should be here soon. In the next 10 minutes and your screen should be in this delivery.’
Really? Really?! So I sit in Costa and wait. 25 minutes later, he finds me and takes my phone to fix it. Another 30 minutes later, he’s back and the screen is done. This time it works perfectly and I get handed £50 in cash.
So while this phone saga is going on in the background, other hellish things are going on. Back on the 9th, I was doing my first closing team leader shift. How exciting. It’s a Saturday and it’s busy. No pressure. Everything is going great until 9.30. Thirty minutes till close. This is when I decide the residual cold is not enough to deal with. I almost rip my thumb nail entirely off on a cardboard cage. Honestly, this has to be one of the most painful things I have experienced, so naturally I get cleaned up and wrapped up and carry on. Counting notes becomes considerably harder than your thumb has no grip but I manage. The next morning, my lovely mother and I spent an hour sitting in minor injuries. Small children come in after me and get seen before me. I finally give in to the need to pee. I haven’t even locked the door when I hear ‘Megan Ashby’. I even bloody said this would happen. So we see the nurse. She takes about 20 second to look at it and barely clean. Tells me to keep it covered for 3 days and that’s that. An hour wait for less than 5 minutes. Oh wait, she did also give me 2 big plasters. Yeah that’ll get me far. Thanks. NHS you are bloody brilliant but you are so frustrating at times.
So the thumb continues to be a pain for the next 2 weeks. I end up keeping it covered for over a week. It makes everything more difficult and more painful. Nowadays my nail is barely holding on and is a constant thing I fiddle with when I really shouldn’t. I still catch it every so often but hopefully it will eventually heal and I’ll have a normal thumb again.
Now lets move onto this week, I booked this week off from work. I needed a break just to get healthy again, get rid of the everlasting cold (that held out for 3 weeks by the way). So I had big plans for this week. I would finally get some work done on my book after a complete failure to do a single line all month (could you blame with all this crap going on?). I was going to go be one of those cool writers sitting in a coffee shop or a library in Central London. I’d finally do a research trip to Kensington Palace. I’d get a few little errands I needed to do done. I’d finally die my hair. Get a new watch battery. Pick up a prescription. Get in a few films at the cinema.
Some of this has happened. The most important one hasn’t. I haven’t written a single word in my actual book. I started the week with the single hardest work out I have ever done. I went to my usual trampoline fitness class on Sunday morning followed by yoga. Both of them turned out to be private session. The result was I had to almost run out of the end of yoga because I needed to throw up. I’ve heard of this throwing up after working out but this is the first time I have ever experienced it and hopefully the last.
I haven’t had the chance to go to any of the quiet, free with wi-fi places to write that I have looked up online. In fact, I haven’t really done anything except errands and chores. When did my life become all responsibility? You’ll notice that not even the thing I wanted to do was fun and frivolous. It was more work! And even with 4 more days to go until I’m back to work, the likelihood of getting to go sit in a big beautiful library is incredibly low. And I’ll be honest today I have seriously struggled with the idea that this week is not at all how I planned. Many tears of frustration have been shed and you might noticed some of my frustration coming out in this too. This frustration is not aimed at anyone other than myself and things not going to plan again.
So that sums up my April. Let me make it clear, I am not blaming anyone for any of this (well except for the idiots at Timpson’s who couldn’t fix a phone screen in less than 3 weeks). I don’t believe in higher powers or fate or God. But by God, it’s been a fucking complicated month. Nothing was just easy. Not even today when I got new shelves. It was still complex and involved. Bring on May. Let this crappy month be over. Lets just be thankful that I didn’t decide to do something crazy and book a holiday abroad this week. I can only imagine what could have gone wrong if I’d got on a plane this month.
At least the hair dying went right. Even if I’m not entirely sure about it yet. If you made it through this, I salute you. Almost as impressive as getting through my April alive.
I do know that the horrors that befell me weren’t actually horrors.
Ashby and her book