My wife has been thinking.
“Honey.” she says. “I’ve been thinking.”
“You know what having a baby reminds me of?”
I lie there motionless, eyes closed and mouth open, a bit of dribble slopping out of the side of my mouth. A sexier image, you will surely not hear of today.
“Like travelling on the 6:30am Ryanair flight to London whilst looking after a crack addict, EVERYDAY!” she replies. “You’re standing in a Ryanair queue before the sun comes up. You’re so tired that it feels as though your skin is about to fall off your body, and all the while, someone with manic eyes is pawing at you, pleadingly”
I nod at my wise wife. She’s hit the nail on the head. I’ve been trying to put my finger on the feeling for a few weeks now, but I think this tiny, female, milk providing soothsayer has nailed it.
“All we need now is for some bastard to turn up at our front door selling scratch cards!” she adds.
I think what my wife’s analogy is alluding to is that we are constantly tired and our baby appears to be going through cold turkey every two to three hours. She wakes up in a blind panic. She’s frantic! She’s desperate! Only one thing will quench this furious desire. That thing being a nipple spurting milk. I haven’t tried my wife’s milk, but by the reaction of her one, sole customer, that’s some good shit she’s peddling!
A thought hits me. Maybe my wife should open a milk bar, like the one in A Clockwork Orange! It would surely go down like a house on fire in Shoreditch. They’d be arriving on their penny farthings and queuing around the block to sample, what I have no doubt, is seriously addictive stuff. But then I start to worry that my wife’s lactation process won’t be able to keep up with her customer’s demand. I‘m also worrying that there will be complaints to Watchdog that she is dealing a new, legal drug. What would its street name be? ‘White Candy’ maybe. We might need to buy a camper van and head out in to the desert to replenish our ‘White Candy’ stocks. It sounds like a lot of work. I decide that I don’t want that stress for my wife. It’s at this moment in time that I start to realise that I'm suffering from delirium, brought on by sleep deprivation.
To be fair to our little girl, she does actually sleep through the night like a fleshy little log. The problem is, we don’t. The reason being that Mila often makes a choking sound during the night that suggests that she can’t breath. Concerned by this, we speak to the doctor and he assures us that it’s quite common. Basically she can’t yet swallow properly so either milk, mucus or both often gets stuck in her throat.
We are momentarily relieved until he adds, “You should keep an eye on her though as there is a chance that she can suffocate in her sleep.”
Great. That’s sleeping off the menu for the foreseeable future then.
But anyway, today I am getting a temporary reprieve from our ‘White Candy' loving, wheezy little human cub. I have been given a green card by my kindly wife and I intend to use it wisely. I’ve now been in Budapest for more than two months, but I’m yet to visit one of the city's amazing thermal spas. Today is the day where I rectify this.
A couple of hours later and I’m entering a sauna at Budapest’s ostentatious Gellert Spa. The sweltering heat hits me and I feel a tad feint, but I decide to battle on. In the sauna is one other gentleman. An elderly Hungarian man in tiny speedos that are struggling to contain his low hanging testicles. I sit down and he smiles at me.
“Jó napot! (Good Day)” he beams, seemingly delighted to have some sweaty company.
“Jó napot.” I reply.
“Hogy van? (How are you?)” he enthusiastically asks.
“Jó köszönöm. (Good thanks)” I reply.
The elderly gent obviously detects an accent as his next word is "Deutsche?”
“Nem. Angol (No, English)” I reply.
“I speak a little English”, he says.
I smile back before asking “How are you?”
This was my mistake, for this man does not realise that if a Brit says “How are you?” he doesn’t actually give a rat's ass how you are. It’s just a turn of phrase. It’s akin to saying “Hi”. If anyone replies with anything other than the stock answer of “Good”, we assume that they are insane and proceed to panic. Apparently however, if someone asks the same question to a Hungarian, it is an invitation for them to tell you their life story, as the man then launches in to a gargantuan monologue about the last few years of his life.
He explains that he has just retired, but that he’s not enjoying it and that he wishes he was still working. He’s struggling to cope with so much free time. He then begins to tell me about his family. His daughter is recently divorced and it’s causing the family much anguish. He then elaborates on this subject, by divulging minutia about his daughter’s marriage and why, exactly, it broke down. But I’m no longer listening. I’m close to death. It’s nearly one hundred degrees celsius in this hell hole of a room and my life is flashing before my eyes. I’m discovering that living off minimal sleep for two weeks is not a good pairing for a room that’s so hot that it would melt Frodo’s ring. I want to get out! I need to get out! But I’m British! To simply get up and leave halfway through this man’s story might seem rude. I’m trying to assess my options. Do I get up and leave halfway through this man’s story, or simply give up and collapse, here on the smouldering floor. If I get up and leave now, obviously I will need to leave the city for fear of bumping in to this man again. I mean, he might give me a disapproving look! Alternatively, if I collapse on to the floor, the spa will probably need to find a spatula to scoop me back up off it.
I eventually decide that social embarrassment is probably slightly more appealing than potential death, and I’m about to leg it, when the door opens and another elderly gent in x-rated speedos enters. The two men’s eyes meet and they begin to converse. I see my window of opportunity and leave the sauna. I can feel my blood simmering and now know what it must feel like to be a live lobster in a pot of boiling water, whilst an older lobster with low hanging testicles tells you a sob story.
All of a sudden, an early morning Ryan Air flight with a crack addict doesn’t seem so bad.