Today I went on an adventure. One of the things that happens when you're married to your soulmate is that you become inseparable. But after a whole year of being unemployed and together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I began to wonder if I could still be independent. I am independent in thought and practice: I do what I like and L and I pursue our own interests and are our own people. That's healthy. But we practically never go anywhere without each other, which is lovely & romantic bliss, but maybe not so normal? Like, I haven't walked down a street alone in ages. Until today.
We had to take a bus into Cork city to sort out some paperwork. When we got to the Social Welfare Office, the dole ques were epic, as usual and as frequently photographed in the local paper. My back was aching from who-knows-what and standing in line outside in the chilly, pissy excuse for a summer's day was just not exciting. So I said, "Chickadee-face [L], I'm going on a walk!" And off I went.
The day seemed fine and the city was quiet because practically the whole city is unemployed and was standing in line with L. I walked happily down Washington St. and noticed the Hindu goddesses in the Indian food restaurant had little bras on over their normally bare breasts. Next, I swung onto Grand Parade where I was almost hit by a car on that tricky corner, as per usual. Then I made it onto the Champs-Élysées of Cork, St. Patrick's St. There I was met my a tiny woman in 80's garb asking me to please be her hair model for her hairdressing class. A free hairstyle before breakfast, oh boy! And she looked like she needed help. I mean, she was asking people in the street before 10 AM. So I good naturedly said, "Oui."
She said it would take less than an hour. Ok. So I followed her down an alley way and into an unmarked building and off we went! A couple of students and their subjects were milling around inside, and while my hair was being lathered up and rinsed (oh, I love that part), we made small talk. I think my hair made her nervous because I haven't had a haircut in 10 months. Soon I was in the chair and she was inserting enormous roller-brushes in my waist-long mop with the desert-air blasts from her blow-torch hairdryer. Except the brushes were too small for my hair's length and they all got stuck. I should really say they all got tangled except for the last brush at the back of my head which really, really got stuck. 3 hairdressers and 30 minutes of pulling, ripping, and stabbing my hair with a long needle finally wrested the rogue brush disporting among my heavily hairsprayed tresses. Agony is the word. I'm tough. I can deal with a lot of pain. But after 20 minutes I was asking them to give up and shave my head. 10 minutes later than I thought I could have lasted, I was finally free.
The best part, you ask? Well, I was free, and L was nowhere to be found. Our wires crossed when I used my last euro coin to tell him I would meet him and the S.W.O., but when I got there, he was nowhere and they were closed. He was looking for me on Patrick's St., but I was convinced he was abducted by donkey-ninjas. After a few hours of frantically racing around Cork I finally resorted to begging strangers for change so I could try to ring the phone we've been sharing and locate him. Stuck in a city in a foreign country with no phone, no money, no house key, no way home, and no husband. Panic. Finally, around 1 pm he got my voicemail and we were reunited, and I was ready for a sedative.
I'll just be independent in other, less autonomous, ways tomorrow.