Perhaps it’s because I’ve finally started venturing out of the house after a bout of dengue (that’ll please all the folk who sent me black magic curses) or perhaps it’s just because living in a small town you are eventually, by the law of statistics, bound to have run-ins with the people you have blogged about or been in conflict with, but this week has been all about facing my demons, quite literally.
Witness: last Friday at school to pick up Alula I ran into the man who just the week before had told me all about his vasectomy in great detail while I was queuing to buy tomatoes. This would have been embarrassing enough because now every time I see him I just see testes split open like pomegranates (I know that’s not how they do it but I have a writerly imagination), but as it was I had then written a blog post all about it. What if he had read it? With burning cheeks I ran and tried to hide behind my sunglasses. Epic Fail. I can’t keep writing blog posts I told myself sternly and assuming people won’t read them. Not after my last post went viral and was read by 20,000 people or thereabouts.
I haven’t been able to go anywhere since then without people saying ‘oh are you the person who wrote that post about leaving Bali?’ I keep forgetting that people actually read my posts. I am so used to thinking of my writing as being a bit like a NASA broadcast into deep space. I must learn to censor before hitting publish…but maybe not quite yet.
Yesterday, pulling into our drive, blissed out from the beach, I see this girl (a girlfriend of an acquaintance we let stay in our house while they were between places) and slam on the brakes. This girl had some kind of psychotic melt down in our house about six months ago, smashed all our belongings, called me a whore, screamed and bellowed like a cow in labour for hours terrifying Alula and then told John to ‘fuck off and die looser (sic)’ when he suggested politely that it was time for her to leave.
I tried to be compassionate. Clearly she’s messed up. Call me what you like (I’ve heard way worse), but spell loser looser and I’ve got an issue with you. And let’s not even talk about the vase. I loved that vase.
She turned and saw me getting out the car and gave me this evil glare. It took a lot of will power (OK, and a stern talking to from John) to walk into the house without saying a word. I reminded myself that people like her are a gift from the writing gods and that one day I will use her and the looser anecdote in a book (and in the meantime blog about her and use the looser anecdote). I will probably kill her off too. That made me feel better. But I did also have this strange compunction to draw chalk markings outside the house to ward off evil.
So where was I? Oh yes, Becky and I were sitting in our favourite writing spot (and coffee spot) trying to work and were constantly being interrupted by the booming voices of girls in yoga outfits talking about a) how much cocaine they snorted last night (hello DEATH PENALTY you idiot. Also, um, doesn’t snorting cocaine undo the effects of all those downward dogs?) b) how they are like totally healing their auras c) how moringa powder is the answer to like everything.
I turned around in the cafe and realised that the Priestess of the Goddess Gaia (self-professed) was sitting beside me. The same lady who drove me up the wall with her screaming tantric sound healing sessions. The same lady who told me she wouldn’t turn the volume down as she was ‘serving the community.’ The same lady whose house I threw jicama at in a fit of frustration.
I looked back at Becky. It’s her! I hissed. The priestess who I threw jicama at! Out of reflex I glanced across the table for something that I could throw in case she started up with the chanting. After a few minutes she got up and scampered out. I like to think it was because she knew I was there and was embarrassed and didn’t want to get hit in the head with some flying cutlery, and not because she’d finished her Kombucha.
It is becoming clearer and clearer to me however that this town is way too small for someone with a mouth so big.