Monday, 20 May 2013

Are you stalking me?

Dear Josh

I can't help noticing that you're in Russia. I was there (well, I was in St Petersburg) last week - gorgeous isn't it?1 (PS: Dude, stop moving so fast, you're already in Helsinki! I liked it there - I got my birthday earrings from a silversmith in the market. Looks like paper, made of silver, so pretty... Only wish I could afford the matching necklace!)

Initially I thought this trip to my holiday destination was a nice coincidence.  Now, as I look over your plans for the next few days a darker suspicion is creeping over me. I was in Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Estonia over the last few weeks and now you are heading to each (possibly not all, but let's pretend) of those places too, before you stop in my home country.

This is a delicate question, and one that I'm hesitant to ask but: Are you stalking me?

If so, you should know that although I am flattered, I have been on a modern day plague ship for two weeks and I am therefore a walking biological weapon right now.

We had barely been sailing for two days before it was announced that one of the passengers had reported gastroenteritis to the ship's doctor. From that day forth, everything on the ship was doused with disinfectant twice daily until we had gone a full week with no contagion. Everywhere you went you were squirted with alcohol (not the good kind), not one person was allowed to make their own tea (can you imagine, 800 Brits not allowed to make a cup of tea? If it wasn't for our other national pastime (queuing) I think there may have been a riot!) and God help you if you sneezed.

Fortunately the Baltics chose that week to be situated somewhere in the Pacific so we had clear skies2, glorious sunsets and most importantly, balmy waters. I can get horrifically sea sick and so the slightest wave would have been enough to see me spending my holiday in medical quarters - probably undergoing treatment by people in hazmat suits - for fear I was contagious.

Due to the prompt and regular disinfecting activities the ship remained epidemic free. Sadly, it meant my immune system went on holiday too. My return to our blessed shores has been heralded by... wait, that's not dramatic enough.

Imagine if you will an ephemeral form reclining upon a sun lounger casually sipping at a cocktail. The book it was reading has fallen to the floor and the sun has beaten said form into a dozing state3. As I (in the real world) disembark at Tilbury, leaving the sanctuary of the super-clean ship, a cloud appears on the horizon and soon drifts over the sun. The ephemeral form is disturbed. The cloud has brought a breeze with it and the chill awakens our hero. Unaware of the impending doom, the figure rolls their head casually, seeking a warm spot. The breezes strengthens, the chill intensifies, the cloud thickens and a faint buzz is heard. Our hero jolts to an alert state - it recognizes this situation. The cloud shifts nearer and is now identifiable as a billion mosquitoes and all of them are charging our hero.

In response, the ephemeral form defends itself through a myriad of techniques. A heat blast repels the first swathe of attackers, then an ongoing stream of mucus is produced to prevent the forerunners from getting a good grip. Every so often our hero contracts and produces a concussive wave of force that drives many of the invading army out of reach.

Translation: although there is nothing wrong with me, my immune system is taking no chances and I am coughing, sneezing, snotting and Louis Armstronging for all I'm worth4.

It's enough to put off any stalker. Am I right?

On the other hand, you may find that kind of thing appealing. After spending my youth watching Kirk mate with the most unlikely aliens, I'm very open minded. In that case: don't come near me on the off-chance I am contagious. Aside from all other considerations your fan base does not want you to be Louis Armstrong and I do not want them to contemplate lynching me for disrupting your tour schedule.

Incidentally, I was reminded of something while I was on board that is very important (in terms of keeping my well publicized crush under control). I met a chap who was reading Wodehouse and after a brief discussion of the great man this chap offered to set me up with his son. That's an effect I have on parents quite frequently (well, those parents whose children are of age). Do your best to stand between your parents and I as I have no idea how to control this superpower and that sort of encouragement would only cause disastrous amounts of trouble. I don't think it's strong enough to cross oceans, so as long as they are content to remain in the States you should be safe. However, if they decide to holiday, it's all on you to keep them out of my sphere of influence.

Alicia

1 I didn't have the appropriate visa to explore alone and stayed with my tour guide (I'm a good girl in many ways) which meant it was probable a lot of the realities of living there were hidden away but it doesn't take much to see there must be a lot of very desperate people there. So much is being invested in the tourist trade, but tourists are repeatedly warned against pickpockets and thieves, meaning a significant percentage of the normal people don't feel they can earn an honest living and will risk driving tourists away rather than give up the quick fix.
2 I've broken out in some heavy freckling as a result (I try not to tan)
3 As an ephemeral form it can, of course, snooze and booze simultaneously
4 Would you believe that someone as moderate, even banal, as I am could have such an unnecessarily dramatic immune system?