Whilst at work yesterday, I discovered I had a drink problem:
Completely missed the cup when spooning in the granules for my hot-brown.
Hot-brown is a mysterious "drink". We get it free at work, and it comes in industrial drums with "coffee" written on the front next to a Biohazard sign, but we're not sure what it really is other than hot and brown.
After sweeping up the instant hot-brown from the kitchen worktop, leaving an obscene yet hilarious skid mark across the faux-marble top, I made myself some more with fresh granules. Well, I say fresh, in that they hadn't been used before, but that's like referring to fresh granite, or fresh skeletons.
Any attempt the manufacturers of hot-brown try to make it resemble fresh coffee stops after they've coloured it brown.
I'm not complaining though, because it's free, and isn't free the sweetest taste of all?
Yes it is.
Of course, missing my yellow pussy mug with instant hot-brown isn't cause for concern, generally. It's just a bit of clumsiness, some gauche lack of concentration probably whilst gabbing on to some unfortunate colleague about the reduced quality of loo roll we have been forced to endure lately, a topic which isn't suitable for a blog like this, other than to say it has the absorptive properties of Welsh slate. A small spill that could happen to anyone.
But later that day, I did it again.
Now, what are the chances of that happening?
Well, actually about 1:1 because it did happen, which demonstrates the futility of retrospective predictions. Someone ought to mention that to Derren Brown. Or at least his audience.
You may scoff. I often do. But I was genuinely concerned.
You see, it wasn't a simple lack of concentration. I had the spoon over the mug, full to the brim with little, possibly carcinogenic nuggets of eye-opening beverage potential, and as I turned it over, my whole arm jerked a couple of inches to the left, almost like I'd been purposefully jolted.
So, for the second time in one day, I had spooned hot-brown granules all over the work-top, and had to scrape them off again into the sink, where they started to dissolve the stainless steel. So of course this got me worried. Not the dissolving metal bit, because it's always done that, but the fact that my motor skills seemed to have taken a turn for the worse.
What if this was a sign that I was ill? Maybe I'd developed some sort of palsy, or picked up a degenerative tropical parasite that would feed on my nerves whilst liquefying me from the inside out? I had eaten a Pizza Hut buffet just a few days before after all. Or perhaps I was afflicted with a brain tumour that was, even now, expanding to the size of a cheeseburger in my cerebellum.
Mmm . . . cheeseburger.
Cheeseburgers aside, I began to panic. I considered getting an emergency appointment with my GP, but just knew that she would want me to undergo a huge battery of tests and scans, blood samplings, ECGs and EEGs as soon as I had told her what had happened. Then, no doubt, she would lie awake through the night worried that one of her best customers was ill, and be unable to carry out her doctorly duties to her other, almost as deserving patients.
She takes me very seriously, does my GP. Gave me a medic-alert bracelet with "hypochondriac" on it, which was appreciated, as well as a little award for my genuine pseudo-seizures. At least, I think of them as seizures, because "angry twitch whilst parking" doesn't sound as clinically pathological.
I couldn't allow her other patients to suffer because of my affliction so, stoically, I put down the phone, leaving the receptionist shouting "Who's there? I know who you are!" and looked around for a test I could do myself.
There. Four juggling balls on the coffee table.
A perfect test of motor skill and dexterity, is juggling. I picked them up and threw them in a high parabola, letting them come down in two sets of two, spinning gently in the afternoon sun.
They dropped heavily to the floor, two glancing off my face on their way down, one rolling under the Fragrant Chair, which means it will stay there forever because no-one goes near it, let alone sits in it.
I couldn't juggle four balls!
With crystalline clarity brought about by the sudden vivid visualisation of my own mortality, I recalled that I had never been able to juggle four balls, and maybe I ought to try three.
So I did.
This seemed to go okay, and I even tried a trick or two, resulting in the usual flailing and cursing as I missed and scrabbled with my errant and uncontrollable balls.
All normal then.
I then did the ultimate test, and made my self another brew. Tongue out, brow furrowed, sweat beading, chest heaving, I went about rebeveraging my mug, and was rewarded with a steaming, moderately lumpy, slightly fizzing but above all unspilled cup of hot-brown.
So the only explanation I have is that my subconscious, realising I was about to subject myself to my eighth mug of hot-brown in a row, made a desperate effort to spare me the rigours, tinnitus, palpitations and head-music that always accompanies that particular beverage, and caused my arm to jerk away in an attempt to stop me consuming it.
With some willpower and a heroic disregard for my own well-being, I overcame it and forced another four cups down that day, and positively enjoyed the strange vibrating gait I subsequently developed.
Take that subconscious!
It's not talking to me now. Sulky bugger.