Monday, May 19, 2008


I like to think that I'm fine with blood. I mean, other people's blood is fine when it's coming out, but when it's my claret that's leaking, I'm not the happiest of bunnies.
I was alright with me bleeding when I was little, which seeing as for a few years I suffered from some pretty nasty nose bleeds that would start for no apparent reason and stop about half an hour later, was prolly a good thing.
Side tracking from the main story a little, on one occasion it was rather fun* as I was at school and about to sit through one of the most boring and most dreaded lesson, Religious Education. I had nothing against R.E as a lesson, but the harridan teacher who taught the class was one of the meanest, horrible, and bullying type and most of the class dreaded her lessons.
For this particular one we were informed we were to watch a video of something or other. It was a hot summer's afternoon and to be sat in a classroom with the curtains pulled closed was awful beyond belief.
To my delight however, I recognized the familiar swelly feeling in my nose which was sure enough followed a minute or so later by a steady flow of the red stuff. I raised my hand (we were not to call out on threat of detention) but was told my the teacher that I was to wait until the end of the lesson unless it was an emergency.
I tried to explain that I was leaking and was told to go and sit at her desk and not disturb the class for the duration of the lesson. As I was used to having nose bleeds and didn't consider them an emergency, I did as she had ordered me to do.
I will never forget the look of sheer horror on her face when she un-drew the curtains at the end of the lesson and saw the state of her desk.
Anyway, this story has nothing more to do with noses, but ears.

I was about thirteen years old when I first thought about getting my ears pierced, or rather (and I thought this prudent) getting one ear done and seeing how it went, as I'd asked my mother about it and she warned me that her, her sister and mother had all had their ears pierced at the same time, and all three of them suffered very nasty reactions which resulted in infected and rather green earlobes.
I bore her warning in mind and one day got a friend of mine to pierce my left ear with the old ice cube/cork/red hot needle method.
Other than having a slight reaction to the cheap earring which I quickly replaced with a proper gold one, it went fine and I had no problems other than my dad seeing it and screaming that 'No daughter of his was going to walk around with a hole in her head'.
After half an hour of shouting during which I pointed out that the queen had her ears pierced (my dad said that was different as she had to wear the crown jewels) any my mum taking my side and calling my dad about 100 years out of date and that all my friends had had them done years ago, all was fine, and after about six months I thought about getting the right one done as well.
This time, a friend of mine who had also had one ear pierced and I trundled to Carnaby Street where for £1.50 each, a chap with a gun did one ear each while we waited**
Again, all was fine, no nasty reactions, not a hint of infection and as I had a real gold earring from the start, everything was tickety-boo and healed up within a week.
My mother was impressed and admitted that she really had wanted her ears done, but the previous experience had put her right off.
Anyhoo, a few more years passed and on my mother's birthday a friend bought her some really lovely tiny gold and pearl earrings. Of course she couldn't wear them, but I cajoled her and offered to go with her to a proper place to get them done, and as an extra pressie I'd pay for her.
A moth or so later we pootled up town and found a place in an Oxford Street department store where she had both ears done, and all went fine with no hint of anything green or painful whatsoever.
I was impressed by the way they'd done the piercing and as I'd been thinking about getting a couple more holes put in, the next summer found me in the same place with my ears with me, and ready to have the second lot of piercings done.
By this time however, my fear of needles had set in and I tried to settle my nerves with a tot of vodka before going in.
Another important thing to mention at this time in the story, is that over the years, although I'm still fine with other people losing vital fluids, if I get so much as paper cut I can get woozy. It happened after an incident with a slicing machine at a place I was working in that didn't have a safety guard. It's a tale best left for another day, but I can assure you I have a good reason for preferring my blood to stay inside me whenever possible.
But back to the tale in hand, as the needles were in a place where I couldn't see them, I was fine, and was very happy indeed until I heard the beautician say 'Oops'.
Now I don't know about you, but in my experience, people saying things like 'oops' is never a Good Thing. Normally it is the opposite of Good, so I asked her what the problem was.
'Oh nothing at all!' she assured me cheerfully, it was just that my right ear was bleeding a little bit, which didn't normally happen after a piercing.
I asked her what I should do and with a smile she tightened up the earring and told me to keep dabbing at it if it bled anymore, and to loosen the stud after about an hour as it would definitely have stopped by then.
And so I handed over my money and stepped out into the throng and bustle of Oxford Street.
I decided the best thing to do was to find somewhere quiet, so armed with a book I found sanctuary in a pub for a while in order to settle my nerves and so.
After a while I checked the time and realized that I really had to start wending my way home, and so I trotted off to the nearest bus stop and leapt on the first number 7 to Paddington.
It really was a glorious early summer's day and all around folk were wearing short sleeves and floaty stuff. I was wearing a rather sweet white gypsy top, and I couldn't help noticing that the chap next to me was wearing a very short sleeved white shirt. The reason I noticed was that his muscles were bulging through it, and I tried to keep engrossed in the book as the bus wombled Paddington bound.
It was then I remembered the beauticians advice and checked the time.
An hour and fifteen minutes had past, so I dabbed at my ear to check for any leaks.
To my joy there were none, so I loosened the butterfly clasp.


Big. Mistake.

The next few minutes were like something out of a Tarantino film as my right ear lobe pumped out claret at what seemed like a rate of a pint a second. Obviously it was nowhere near that much, else I wouldn't have been around to tell the tale, but needless to say I was covered in it and so was the poor bloke next to me.
I gave a yelp of shock and dismay which made a couple of bradies turn round only to see me looking like Carrie and the poor bloke looking rather very shocked.
Sadly, this vision caused one of the old dears to up-chuck her lunch onto the lap of the person next to her, who then joined in by adding his breakfast to the pile, which set a family of four small children to vomit copiously on each other and as many passengers as they possibly could.
It was at that point the bus conductor came up the stairs asking for tickets, only to be met by a herd of panic stricken, and partly vomit splattered passengers trying to go down the stairs to get off PDQ.
As the chap next to me and myself were stuck in out seats I tried to smile and apologize to him and said that I'd pay for the shirt to be cleaned, but he said 'Don't worry, let's just try and get off the bus, shall we?'
So trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, we left the bus.
very luckily we were still by the tat shops, so he relented and let me buy him a cheapo t-shirt as long as he could buy me a drink in the nearest pub where we could also clean up.
I still think that if our first meeting hadn't been spoilt by copious amounts of vomit and blood, it may well have been the start of something rather fun.
Ah well, such is life.

*For me it was anyway. Don't know what the teacher thought.
**I still laugh when I see those signs.