Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Bob's Your Carbuncle

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. And I mean, let me describe myself physically. I'm sure you've got a grasp of my self-deprecating, perpertually cynical, self-pitying personality. I'm about to paint painfully accurate pen-picture of Yours Truly.
Brace yourselves.
The Boyfriend tentatively describes me as being "of medium build" which I have naturally translated as morbidly obese. I have an abnormally large forehead. I, like many others I am sure, spent a large part of my existence over-plucking my eyebrows. I also have a tongue that requires more room than my prominent eye-teeth are willing to supply, which results in a lispy, sibilant quality to my speech. In short, I spit a lot when I talk, a tendency I literally cannot control. 
To add to all this horror, I have to contend with a propensity for acne breakouts that actual doctors have likened to the carbuncles on the bottom of boats.
It's something to do with my ridiculously inefficient immune system. My body, along with all its other shortcomings, is seriously lacking in iron. Couple that with growing up with Da Mudder's charred Sunday roast beef dinners, and the inevitable distaste for red meat that followed, I grew up a pale, sunken-eyed, boil-ridden girl. 
When I was fourteen and on the precipice of puberty with all the wonderful side-effects that accompany that exciting transition, I got my first carbuncle.
 It hung off the side of my face like an aching weight, a veritable mass of green and yellow pus, immovable and unsusceptible to every single acne-fighting cream, gel and soap bar that is known to man. The thing had its own orbit and I don't think one person looked me in the eye for the entire year I had to haul it around the school corridors.
I was subjected to abundant laser treatments and poultices before my very expensive and very useless dermatologist finally stumbled across an antibiotic that banished the boil for good. 
The dermatologist in question was left with a healthy college-fund for her son and a clap on the back for cracking a difficult case. I was left with slight scarring on the left hand side of my nose and an esteem-level firmly rooted in the soles of my feet. 
Anyway, years passed and the carbuncle never surfaced again, and I - eventually - was again able to look at my reflection in the mirror while washing those prominent teeth I was telling you about. 
And then I moved to Melbourne and after leaving my shitty job with Boss and Sappy, I got another shitty job with Mr. Delhi. To be fair, it was one of the only jobs I've had over here where everything was above board, pay-wise. 
I also genuinely liked Mr. Delhi, and adored my colleague - let's call her the Punjabi Princess - who was also from India and one of the nicest, most diligent and humble human beings I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  
And while The Boyfriend and I waited to hear whether we were going to get sponsored for the second time, and while things rapidly deteriorated at home with the new housemates Todd and Copper, and while in the throes of nicotine withdrawals,  a carbuncle pushed its way back into my life. Specifically, on to my chin. 
It was my third week at the greasy spoon and I was sporting a spot on my chin that had South African poachers sniffing the air in incomprehensible, innate desire. I was staring at the ground. I had asked the Punjabi Princess to serve as many customers as possible so as to avoid the questionable looks and open-mouthed gasps. I had been expertly manoeuvring my face to the right to obscure the worst of the rhino-esque horn protruding from my face. I was secretly pleased with my coping mechanism.
But Mr. Delhi was a very blunt and... vocal individual. When he rocked up to check on proceedings at the cafe, he could not help but wildly point at the offensive sore.
 I nodded, smiled empathetically. 
"Hoho...yes.... A spot, yes... Yes,yes, I do know it's there... Hideous, yes... Hoho.... Yes, I should stay off the beer... Hoho."
Inside, I was repeatedly stabbing him in the eye with the serrated knife I held in my hand. But I kept it together and hid my despair admirably. I didn't even have a smoke that evening.
I felt very adult. 
However, after the third consecutive morning that he greeted me with the same exclamation of disgust, I had a compete mental breakdown. 
I cried. 
I cannot believe I cried. 
I usually save my tears for when I know I'm losing an argument with The Boyfriend. It was a mortifying display of emotion. 
Mr. Delhi blustered profuse apologies. I accepted, snottily and gracefully. 
I decide I had to go to the doctors that afternoon. I got off work early, and waited almost two hours before the receptionist let me in to see the man with the prescription pad. I babbled my complaints and demanded some antibiotics. To my complete surprise, he gave me a years worth of pretty pills and sent me on my way. I'd finally found something I liked about Australia - its lackadaisical practitioners of medicine.
I had my hand on the door handle when he asked me if I'd been doing anything differently in my life lately. I thought about it for a few minutes. I then puffed out my chest a little and proudly announced the nine days I'd gone without a fag. To which he replied - and I kid you not here - "Ah, yes. That can cause skin breakouts. Your body is reacting to the sudden lack of nicotine. You probably shouldn't have gone cold turkey. Maybe cut down slowly."
Strike that previous statement. I'd found something I loved about Australia. 

1 comment: