The other day, I had breakfast with my mom’s cousin. This super-fun lady is a mere 82 years old and has an energy level that puts me to shame. I just met her, but I lurve her.
She represents the very Irish, very Catholic part of my family. I like to think of them as my very own Knights of Columbus. All about the church, but they know how to party. Oh, and it’s not a matter of if you’ve been to Ireland, but how many times, and did you look up cousin so-and-so.
So, my cousin was especially excited to hear that my brother had lived in Ireland, and that I had visited him with my folks. She wanted to know all the details of Poochie’s life in Galway, and where we had stayed on our visit, and all of it.
I was happy to relive the trip with her. However, I kind of left out the part of our trip that is quite possibly 1 of the worst things to ever happen to me.
See, my brother lived in the attic apartment of a family’s home. He could only stand upright in a few areas of his living space. He had a bedroom, a little kitchenette, and a teensy bathroom with an open shower stall.
To give you an idea of Poochie’s housekeeping skills at this point in his life, I will tell you this: Upon settling in a new land, he purchased the most economic towels he could find so that he could be all domestic and also dry off his lanky frame after bathing. Except, when he got the towels home, he discovered that they were cheap because they were kitchen hand towels.
And then? He just lived with them for a year. Poochie used those hand towels as bath towels for 12 months.
I should also mention that he’s 6’1″. There’s a lot of ground for a poor little hand towel to cover.
So, that gives you an idea of Poochie’s level of domesticity. His attic apartment definitely had a bachelor pad vibe, and he had splurged on a can of Comet to keep things nice. Surfaces that didn’t easily lend themselves to a quick scrubbing with Comet were just allowed to peacefully coexist.
One night, I stayed with Poochie instead of heading back to the bed and breakfast with our parents. My sweet brother took his spinster sister out, partying with his friends at a dance club where the DJ, inexplicably, kept playing “Sweet Home Alabama.” I was submersed in Irish culture.
Poochie’s landlord had loaned him a bare mattress and a comforter that smelled like BO, so that I could sleep over. I viewed it like camping, and a grand adventure. I was also comforted by the knowledge that there was a hot shower waiting for me at the B&B.
I did, however, do some basic girl stuff in Poochie’s tiny, dingy, in-no-way clean bathroom. I brushed my teeth and washed my face. And I dealt with my contacts. Because I never, ever sleep in my lenses. Because I am meticulous about what I put in my eyes.
This was all well and good until the morning after my clubbing / camping adventure. I brushed my teeth again, and washed my face. And then, just as I was putting my contact it, it slipped.
I dropped my contact lens on my brother’s never-been-cleaned bathroom floor.
The floor that I was careful not to walk upon barefoot. The floor that was some sort of linoleum, topped by decades of wax and grime. The floor that didn’t even have a discernible color.
My contact was on this floor.
I scooped it up. I washed it off as best I could. And then, I did the only thing I could do: I put the lens in my eye.
I kind of expected an immediate outbreak of ocular athlete’s foot, or some sort of seizure. I didn’t immediately sprout a tumor, but sometimes these things take time.
I didn’t say anything to Poochie, but later, with my parents, I admitted the horrible tragedy that had befallen me.
My mom looked stricken. “Oh, shit,” she said.
“That’s truly horrible,” said my dad. And he meant it.
And that, dear friends, is the tale of 1 of the worst things ever. We still speak of it in hushed tones, as it’s too terrible to forget or speak of aloud. Obviously.
What’s something horrible to have befallen you?