I owe you a post about this weekend at Unawatuna and another about Galle. I swear I’m going to write them up and they will be full of lush tropical beaches and quaint, weather-beaten Portuguese* UNESCO-protected monuments.

But in a bid to get back on the wagon, I was going to write you a crappy post about my crappy cooking. But cooking really isn’t my strongest point. You know what my strongest point is? Stories about how nuts I am.

This Sunday night I got back from my weekend at the beach, and immediately adopted my favourite position: sprawled over the couch with my laptop. I noticed I was being bitten by some pesky insect, but that’s what happens outside of Siberia; winged exoskeletal life-forms hunt you down and suck your blood.

Monday the bites were invisible, but itchy. Monday evening I went to see the quite excellent latest Batman film, and it mostly distracted me from how itchy all these bites were. Monday night I woke up at 3am after a couple of hours of sleep, consumed with how itchy my entire body had become, despite there not being a single visible mark on me (other than where my nails had scratched me). At this point, I spiraled into a cycle of insanity, convinced that those pigeons on the balcony had filled my air-conditioning unit with birdmites and that my house was now infected and I would never, ever sleep again.

I covered myself in: Voltaren Gel (anti-inflammatory!) – Advantan (steroid cream!) – CK free aftershave (alcohol!) – Burt’s Bug Relief (duh). I took a sleeping pill (because of the following association: sleeping pills make you sleep and so does diphenhydramine hydrochloride and that’s an antihistamine so maybe this random sleeping pill will also make me stop itching and not make me crazier at all!). Then I got paranoid that I was imagining things because there still wasn’t a single mark on me, so I got out an eyeliner and circled all the places that itched.

When I go mental it gets messy

Around 4am I read some more about birdmites on the internets, and began to really lose my shit. I got up. I stripped the bed. I did FOUR. LOADS. OF. LAUNDRY, which I then tied up, damp, in plastic bags, because if I put anything out to dry OMG THE BIRDMITES WILL GET IN THERE. I started tossing bleach around willy-nilly.

At 6am I texted my boss some feverish appeal for protection against these evil pigeons and he advised me to get to a doctor ASAP. He didn’t actually say a psychiatric doctor, but it’s probably what he was thinking. I texted back begging him to get someone to TAKE OUT THE PIGEONS THEY ARE KILLING ME. Bless him, he did.

At 8am I realised I wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry thanks to that pill and lack of sleep kicking in. I found a clean sheet in my cupboard, and wrapped myself in it before huddling on the bare mattress like the loony I am.

Eventually around 2pm someone turned up with a clipboard and two barefooted boys, to deal with the pigeons. I was hoping they would come armed with at least some form of extermination device, but they just poked the pigeons with a broom and then swept up the mess from my balcony. I watched from the safety of my couch, gesticulating wildly whenever they tried to bring anything into the house. NO, NO, NO PIGEON-MATTER IN MY PRECIOUS HOUSE IT WILL KILL ME. I’m sure they thought I was totally normal.

Then I went to the dermatologist as recommended by my friend Vijay. The dermatologist told me it was an allergy, and prescribed me lots of pills and lotions and sent me on my way. I still am pretty itchy actually, but knowing it’s an allergy has made it a little easier. I suspect the couch is a culprit. Maybe the pigeons sit on it when I’m not around.

ANYWAY. Today I was well domestic and decided to use my kitchen for something other than toast.

Nicest kitchen I’ve had in a long time

I was inspired by the recipe on the back of a bag of rice, but couldn’t get hold of all ANY of the spices it listed. I made do with a “biryani masala” spice mix instead. I don’t think I did a great job of it, it started out looking a bit… meh…

and ended up tasting very bland. The only saving factor was the curd mixed in with it. Curd tastes a teensy bit like crème fraîche. Or maybe plain yoghurt. Or maybe mine was a bit off. Dunno — it definitely improved the taste of this dull, dull food I made. There’s seconds and thirds left over if that appeals to anyone… But hey. I did something other than work and waste time on the internet today!

*Yes, Portuguese. They follow me to every island I visit.


2 thoughts on “i.o.u.

  1. i definitely had this problem on a few hot despair-filled nights in taiwan. you almost fall asleep, but things are itching and burning and biting and maybe even crawling–until you turn on the lights. then there’s nothing, and you decide to sit up until you are so tired nothing could keep you from falling asleep and all that happens is you fall asleep at 5am when it gets a little cooler, and wake up at 7am when the political trucks roll by.

    • Totally! those nights are the worst, and that is what I thought it was at first. This allergy is refusing to budge though — I am honestly wondering if I’m allergic to my couch? WHAT A NIGHTMARE!


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