Tab Rates vs. Tab Slates – Week Six

Tab Rates vs. Tab Slates introduces you to ‘danger milk’ and invents a new universal truism.

Bag For Life Catz gyp room Main Court Milk Phoebe Luckhurst Sainsbury's Tab Rates vs. Tab Slates

Danger Milk. I live in a set in Catz Main Court. Yeah, yeah, you know, that’s just how I roll. How I also roll, is without a kitchen or bathroom on my staircase. Not even a mini-fridge for a pint of milk. I know. It’s barbaric. But anyway, I’m not going to let logistics get in the way of a nice cup of tea. Operating under the assumption that in the olden days, people didn’t have fridges and all that stuff, I have developed a game I call ‘danger milk’. Basically, you buy milk and then don’t refrigerate it. Bear with me. Depending on when you open it, it might still be pretty cold and fresh the first time. But leave it a day or two and you are dicing with curdle. Observe it; does the consistency seem a little…thick? Don’t be such a baby. Shake it; is it a little chunky? I dare you. Open it; does it smell a bit funky? Go on, bit of sour milk never really hurt anyone. You can really test the parameters of someone’s commitment to social nicety; meeker friends have come round, batted off the threat of danger milk with an affectedly unconcerned smile whilst wiping a bead of sweat from their brow, and poured their allowance into their steaming mug, only to have it curdle as it makes contact with oxygen. The fact that I relish this is almost certainly indicative of some kind of pathological cavity in my soul. So yeah, come round for tea at mine. Hospitality abounds.

Catalogues of Calamities. I hate those people who turn to you at the bus stop as the number 9 arrives, and with an exasperated exhalation and a conspiratorial rolling of the eyes, remark, ‘you wait ages for one, and then three come along it once!’ They might argue it is one of life’s truisms; I find that this is conveniently closed to rational disproval, and truism or not, their assumed familiarity – and assumed originality – is grating. Furthermore, it sends me into a panic spiral. Am I going to have to sit next to them on the bus? Will this conversation about the regularity of buses have to continue until my destination? However, if you are prone to recourse to trite aphorism, then I think a more universally appealing and applicable maxim would be, ‘you spend ages trying not to fuck up, and when you do, you fuck up repeatedly for the rest of that day’.

I woke up, very late. Convinced I had to be somewhere at 3, I speed-showered, which, when you have the hand-eye co-ordination of a dyspraxic/paraplegic hybrid, constitutes an extreme sport. Suffice it say that trying to wash your hair still holding the razor you had been using to shave your legs may make you appear like you have been in a car accident. Turns out, of course, I didn’t have to be somewhere at 3. I needed to be somewhere at 4. So instead of speed-showering and disfiguring injuries, I could have showered at a normal velocity and emerged unscathed. Undeterred by the initial fuck up, I went to Sainsbury’s. Packing my goods into my Bag for Life, we came to the moment of exchanging cash for said goods. I had forgotten my debit card. ‘Um, uh oh, um, I can’t pay for this.’ ‘Er…what?’ ‘Um [hurriedly removing items from Bag for Life, struggling over a particularly tenacious Options sachet], I, er, well…maybe you should just put these back? Um, yeah, bye.’ Fuck up number two. Attempting to cycle home, I realised my bike was still making its really annoying clicking noise. Frustrated, I started kicking it, like a man who has just found out his wife is shagging their daughter’s geography teacher and – ‘I’m fine, honestly, I’m fine’ – has gone outside to mow the lawn but the lawnmower is proving a little reluctant to start so he ends up kicking it and kicking it until he dissolves on the patio, weeping about why he ever ‘married the slut’. I wasn’t weeping, but I was similarly enthusiastic in kicking the frame of the front wheel. My toe started to feel a bit burny. Examination upon my arrival home yielded a blackened nail that was clinging to the nail bed by a sliver. Fuck up three. You spend ages trying not to fuck up, and when you do, you fuck up repeatedly for the rest of the day. I’ve become one of those people now.

The Universe’s Balance. The universe gave me a packet of M&Ms the other day. I say universe, I mean that I went to the vending machine to buy some sweeties and there was a packet of M&Ms just sitting in the vending drawer. I have documented vending machine jackpot in Rates/Slates before; what is new to me is vending machine deficit, and the very same day into the bargain. It seems that the vending machine giveth, and the vending machine taketh away, for later that day, I went to get a can of Fanta (alright, that day I was entertaining my alter-ego, obese child, and frequent sugary snacks were requisite) and the machine ate my change. Perhaps not a particularly singular incident, but for the fact that I had lorded it over my flatmate back in the set about how the world was smiling on me that day, and wasn’t this great karmic news for my essay, oh, and wow I’m so great. And then the universe stamped on my inflated sense of self-worth. I was so sad, so disproportionately sad considering it was only 60p, because, just as I had taken my freebie as symptomatic of a new divine providence, I took the theft as symptomatic of eternal damnation. In the end, I didn’t do my essay and it’s all because of a can of Fanta.