Running Out of Names
Our baby is now five days overdue and we can’t decide on a name. If we were having a boy the name was long decided and agreed. Hugo Zoltan Hutchins! He would no doubt have been both a comic book character and a wizard. But little Hugo will just have to wait as, unless it’s a boy with a micro penis, all evidence suggests that we are having a girl, and we are more than delighted with this.
“Why don’t we call her Sonia?” my wife suggests. I almost choke on my yogurt, which I’m confident would have been a world first.
I show her a photo of the Eastenders character called Sonia and she gets my point.
“What about Uma?” I ask.
“Are you insane!?” she growls back.
I take this as a maybe.
This game of baby name tennis has been going on for months now, ever since our twelve weeks scan where we discovered that we were most likely going to welcome a little madam in to our world. The drama is also heightened on discovering that you are not allowed to leave the hospital in Hungary until a name is registered! Yikes!
I decide that a run might help with the baby name idea generation. I am also spurred on by the realisation that I may have to take my top off in a hospital in the next few days for some skin to skin action with a new born baby.
It’s midday and I am running around Margit Island like an unconventional English/Welsh gazelle. It’s over thirty degrees celsius and I am the living embodiment for the Noel Coward song, “Mad Dogs and Englishmen”. I am now rather regretting my running decision.
Half way through I spot a leafy little exercise yard and instantly decide that this is a perfect excuse to take a break from my foolhardy run. I study the machines on display and make a calculated decision that the peculiar devise that allows you to swing your legs from side to side is probably the least taxing of all the available machines. After all, what more do you want from exercise than to relax? So on I hop and begin the bizarre routine of swinging my legs from left to right. It’s in the shade and I start to smile as I feel my life-force returning. But then something dreadful happens. Something almost too ghastly to even mention. A man makes his way towards my machine, and as bold as brass, hops on to the section that opposes me and begins to swing his legs about. He is facing me, our noses are centimetres from one another. His breath is caressing my skin. I am horrified by this brazen display of disregard for the unwritten rules of personal space encroachment. But not unlike Theresa May, I resist the urge to immediately trigger Article 50, as being British, the last thing I want this random chap to know is that I feel uncomfortably by his unbelievably close presence. So, with my heart composing it's own hardcore drum n' bass 'tune', and with every fibre of my being secretly screaming “What the fuck are you doing you scoundrel!?”, I try and play it cool. This begins with a nonchalant scratch of my shoulder with my chin. It provides me with the perfect excuse to move my face in to a safe zone. But I immediately realise that this is only a momentary respite as I can only scratch my shoulder with my scratching chin for so long without appearing to have descended in to madness.
I need a new 'face safety' strategy. In a eureka moment it comes to me! I will study the ground for a while as though it is as fascinating as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel! But it’s no use. I can’t continue to look at the ground for more than fifteen seconds for fear that this stranger will suspect that I am looking uncomfortable, and as a Brit, it is in my DNA that I must do all that I can to avoid this shame. I reluctantly decide that there’s only one thing for it. I brace myself and then slowly, calmly and assuredly look straight ahead, in to the eyes of my aggressor. Our eyes meet and it is horrible. If we both extend our lips we could probably kiss. And in this bloodcurdling moment I’m now afraid that this is what he has in mind, so I quickly glance at my wedding ring in the vain hope that his eyes will follow. But they do not. This bushwhacker is made of sterner stuff and will not be fooled by ‘sleight of eye’ tricks. I want to grab him by the ears, shake him and forcefully say “I don’t know what you’re used to around these neck of the woods you cretin, but in Britain we respect each others personal space!” But it’s no use. This man is a shameless bastard, plus I don’t know the Hungarian for “neck of the woods”. Or “cretin”. Or any of the rest of it. So I look at the ground again.
Eventually, after what seems like an eternity, but was probably actually less than thirty seconds I decide enough is enough. You have won sir. You have won! I hop off the machine whilst whistling, trying to act as nonchalant as possible and involuntarily break in to a peculiar display of lunges to help me appear so. I don’t think it worked. I then run away as fast as my tired legs and shaken mind will carry me, a mentally broken Brit in a land full of foreign, personal space invading madness.
About a hundred metres down the road I spot a little stall, selling beer. I decide to stop. I remember that all of the world’s greatest ideas are generated in a pub.