In my own house no less. Imprisoned. Locked in.
I set off to do the weekend turnaround on the bus. Nice sleepy journey up. Arrived in Málaga just after 1pm. Plenty of time to catch the 1.30 bus to the village.
But no! What was that long queue doing there for tickets? There must have been 20 or 30 people. Naturally, most of them were booking tickets for a few hours hence, or even in a few days time.
There was a ticket machine, for which you needed a debit/credit card. I watched a few people fail to achieve any success from it and decided not to risk a captured card. I stood in the queue wondering why they didn’t have a window for immediate departures.
Behind me were two people wanting the same route and the same time of bus. We all missed our bus because of the crazy queue. I went to one of the bus station bars to drown my sorrows with a small cerveza, San Miguel, 1.20€. I didn’t buy any food as I had been overly stuffed the last time.
When the bus arrived, I joined the queue. The passengers in front and behind me paid in cash on the bus. Not for them the stupidity of joining a queue at the ticket office.
I’d thought about risking that, but I’ve tried it before and been told ‘No, go and buy your ticket from the ticket office.’ He probably didn’t like foreigners. And if I’d done that and got sent back to the ticket office I would probably have missed the next bus as well.
Did I have half an hour to spare? Yes. But why can’t there be a consistent policy? Local journey passengers can pay on the bus, or queue here for immediate departures?
Arriving home, my neighbour immediately came out to greet me. We discussed the progress of my broad beans, the weather, all the usual.
He told me there hadn’t been much rain, but the front door was sticking a bit at the bottom so I needed to kick it.
Um. The last time I did that, I kicked off the paint and was not the most popular woman on earth with Painting Partner. I gave it a gentle nudge and it opened.
About 3am I woke up in a panic. I wouldn’t be able to open the front door to get out. It would be stuck. I couldn’t get out of the window, those nice fancy rejas – window grilles to prevent burglars – prevent an occupant escaping as well as unwanted visitors entering, and the other door out from the patio into the street was playing up with the lock not wanting to work. I couldn’t risk leaving the house unlocked.
I spent most of the night awake fretting about that, and going through various scenarios.
1) Call Jose when he woke up on Sunday morning and ask him to push the front door.
2) Risk trying the patio door lock – and risk the security of the property.
3) Consider climbing over the patio wall, say 12 foot high and a steep drop down.
The only good thing I could focus on was that I had some bread in the freezer, and some left-over food in there too, some tins of sweetcorn, lots of rice, pasta, lentils, beans, and a couple of courgettes, one egg, and some garlic in the fridge. Oh and lots and lots of olives.
I figured I could make it until the weekend when I would be rescued by Partner (who had work commitments).
Meanwhile in panic mode, I decided to text him. At 3.45am. No answer :(
Eventually he got in touch around 8am telling me to open the lock, stick in a credit type card to stop the lock shutting and pull on the bottom of the door (there is a gap). Well that was worse than useless. No way could I get anywhere with my feeble grip. And the card fell out too.
Fuck it. I grabbed the top of the door, which was free, and yanked. I nearly fell on the floor when the door opened.
But next problem. Would I be able to shut it? Well, the short answer is yes I did. OK, not the first time, because I had left one of the bolts open so that I didn’t get locked out (unlikely given the sticking on the bottom, but still, best to keep to a routine). Once I’d closed the bolt, it slammed with a resounding bang.
My neighbour was watching of course. I duly reported that I had turned off the water, he watched me locking the door, and then asked if I had locked everything securely inside. What a sweety. I really couldn’t ask for better neighbours.
I walked out of the gate and looked back up the street in case he was watching me off, he was. I gave him a wave.
The return journey was uneventful apart from the fact I spent 40 minutes at the bus stop when buses normally arrive at least every 30 mins. And the bus from Málaga to La Linea was full of crazy people who insisted on pulling curtains to hide from the sun.
They didn’t just pull the curtain for their seat, they decided to pull it back into mine. I moved seat. I liked to see where I am travelling and I like the sun.
Some women got on in Marbella. ‘Can you pull your curtain please?’ said one of them in not very good Spanish.
‘Non.’ I said. And just to make it clear, I added ‘No quiero.’ I don’t want. The bus was more than half empty. If you don’t like it, fuck off and sit in another seat, sensibly on the other side of the bus where there is less bright sunlight. And what was even more annoying was that every time the bus changed direction, all these curtain twitchers kept pulling them backwards and forwards. Serious cases of OCD.
The bus driver put on the air-conditioning. In December! According to the temperature sign in the bus it was 22 degrees. I put my Goretex back on. It was freezing with the air-con.
By the time we got to La Linea, the weather had changed anyway, grey and damp. No-one had their curtain pulled across.
The air-con was off and I was roasted! Why do people have to change things all the time? There is no need to pull curtains and hide from the sun in December. There is no need to put on the air-conditioning. Just take off your coat.
It was of course, bitterly cold (well, relatively) when I got off the bus and headed for the frontier. Nasty cold damp wind. I trudged slowly up Main Street, and fell into the flat, where a delicious casserole was waiting for me. I just love men who cook (future post on Clouds about that one).
Then we both went to sleep. Neither of us had slept since 3/4am when I had woken up in a fit of panic and texted him. He’d read the text but not replied thinking I was asleep. As if!! So we’d both spent half the night worrying about something that didn’t happen. That’s old age for you.