The other night I did a very childish thing. I fell out of bed. Before you start laughing, let me explain the circumstances, because it wasn't that simple. It all began when I woke up with a blocked nose. This is a frequent occurrence and I keep a Vicks inhaler on the bedside table just in case. (What happened to good old Vick who Mum rubbed on our chests when we were little? When and why did he acquire that unmemorable 's?)
In pitch darkness, without glasses - without even having my eyes open, in fact, there being no point as it was pitch dark, etc. - I groped for the inhaler. Pat, pat went my hand on the wooden surface, like a blind man's stick. There's my glass of water, thought I; good job I didn't knock it over. That's the clock. The inhaler must be somewhere to the right of the lamp, but between the clock and the water glass. Here! Got it!
I grabbed the small cylinder, shoved it up my left nostril and promptly coated the inside of my nose with waxy slime. It was my lip salve, not the Vicks inhaler. Same length, same girth, wrong orifice. Damn!
I put it back on the table and started blindly patting again and, lo! My fingers encountered something that just had to be the Vicks, as there was nothing else vaguely cylindrical for yards, anything aimed at a different orifice being safely hidden away in a drawer. And larger, too, of course. Though perhaps Eskimos...? No, don't go there. Though nasal sex is one way not to get your bits dropping off through frostbite.
As my fumbling fingers were transferring the Vicks stick to my nose, they caught against the lamp and I dropped the Vicks. I heard it land on the floor. Now, tapping the bedside table is one thing. It's just about bed height and I hardly need to raise my arm. Tapping about on the floor is another matter entirely. First, I tried a tentative probe behind the table and quickly withdrew my fingers with a shudder, having encountered several years' worth of spiderwebs. Had it fallen in thee tissue box? No. Had it rolled amongst the untidy heap of books, magazines, eyeshade, slippers and cold hot water bottle that was on the rub beside the bed? Yea, though I scrabbled and scratted like a dog seeking its bone, the result was zero.
I could only draw one conclusion. The damn thing was under the bed. Down went the fingers, stretch went the arm, tangle, bundle, thud went the bedclothes and me. I landed in a sausage roll of duvet and heavy, furry throw and hit the carpet on my knees, laughing. Well, wouldn't you? Falling of bed was something I hadn't done since I was about three. Now I really, truly know that I have reached my second childhood.
And yes, I finally found my Vicks. I got back to sleep okay, too. A miracle!
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