I am on a roller coaster.
It’s not very fast, but it’s very steep. Very steep indeed. I’ve been on it for longer than I had realized, buckled onto the hard plastic before I’d volunteered myself to be so. My thighs are aching and sweaty on the bench, and holding on to the bar makes me want to wash my hands, makes me want to test its strength, makes my hands ache from holding for hard. And although the sun is in my eyes, the wind is in my hair, and the sounds of the fair are below me, the truth is I hate roller coasters and always have.
I’m at the apex now.
It started this weekend with a camping trip to the Isle of Wight, complete with lots of extended family and more barefoot games of football with numerous cousins for the twins. While we were there the weather finally – finally! – broke. It’s as though someone woke up at the control board and went “Oh fuck, sorry! What was I meant to be doing? One second.” The sun came out, the heat came on, the rain (the relentless fucking rain) went away. In one day the smell of Britain’s sizzling flesh could be whiffed from a continent away. This includes my flesh, as although I coated the children, Alastair’s face and neck, and what I thought was all of me, I stupidly missed the back of my legs so I look like I am walking on peppermint sticks.
We camped. We didn’t sleep enough. We had loads of food. We fished (and caught mackerel). We ate the mackerel. We laughed and played games and talked crap. It was lovely.
The rick-rick-rick pull of the roller coaster clicked on.
We headed back to the mainland today.
And now the roller coaster has paused, mid-air, and we are about to scream downward in a rush of G force.
This week a little thing called the Olympics starts. Alastair’s been devoting his heart and soul to it, and they are ready. For his devotion he’s gotten a large amount of grey hair and a free ticket to the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony, which he has given to me. For my devotion, I get to see the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony this week, and why yes I am pleased beyond compare. I am, strangely, extremely stressed about it too.
That’s me, looking the equine dentition straight on. I am so incredibly grateful, yes, but at the same time I too have given up a lot to support London 2012. On Thursday our fridge broke down, and I was facing paying £400 and waiting a week for a repairmen. I have neither £400 nor time for my food to go off, so while on conference calls Thursday morning I dismantled the fridge down to the motor, fixed the fridge, and put it back together. I had never done this before and did it with help from web forums and YouTube, and when the fridge started working I felt like a fucking rock star.
And it creaks ever forward. The roller coaster. It goes, that heart stopping moment where you’re not sure if it’ll come to a dead stop or not, if it’ll get stuck or soon you’ll be flying.
On Friday the father of my children will be working the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. I’ll be watching them at home on 3D. And I will be watching them with my father and stepmother, who fly in and visit us. They are also partaking in the Olympics experience – over here the tickets were awarded in a lottery system. We didn’t get any. The second round was a sort of lottery too (along with serious luck), in which if you had the keys to the castle you could compete with others to try to get tickets to different events. Still nada. The third round we scored – we got a pair of men’s synchronized diving tickets. And we got a pair of men’s basketball tickets (we didn’t know who was playing as the teams weren’t assigned to groups then).
I gave the basketball tickets to my dad for Father’s Day, as he is a crazy basketball fan.
And as luck would have it, we did well. My father and his love of basketball will go with my stepmum to the Olympic Park, where it transpires they have tickets to see Team USA play (I have no idea who any of the players are, but if you know them, they’re these guys).
My dad is beyond thrilled. He doesn’t even seem to mind they’re cheap seats (premium tickets were £250 each. I could fix my fridge for a pair of those).
I have off work next week to try to get some sleep, to try and recover, to try and breathe. I can’t even get the chance for a goddamn hair cut. Alastair has been working with the Olympics for a few years now – it all starts this week, at which point we will see him only occasionally (and randomly) between now and mid-September.
The sun is out. The Games are nearly on. Work gallops. The twins reach for school. I can’t sleep at night for fear of dreams. I can’t stop any of this and it’s fucking crazy and brilliant and real.
The roller coaster has the pull of momentum now. Hands up, everyone. It’s about to begin.