Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Wardrobe Sandwiches

In the mid 90s I regularly got myself into a situation in which I had a pile of rotten sandwiches at the top of my wardrobe.

From 1984 when I first went to school until 1996 when I left, I was a packed lunch kid. From what I remember my lunches always included a sandwich filled with pate and cucumber or cheese of some sort or possibly wafer thin ham with a chutney. I'm not sure if anything changed about the sandwiches themselves but it was at about the age of fourteen that they stopped having any appeal for me.

Other people's sandwiches were on white bread while mine were on wholemeal, which is what I thought was the problem but in retrospect I don't think it was. There was something about the way in which they were prepared and transported which was making them soggy. Had they always been that way? I don't know, but they were now and gradually I stopped eating them.

I started to buy chips from the canteen. I had some pocket money, a paper round for a while and at one stage I joint ran an illegal business copying music tapes called Sorted Tunes. In a pre Spotify world they all brought in enough cash flow to afford the 40p or so it cost for chips.

I didn't want my mother to know I wasn't eating the sandwiches though. That would cause a conflict in which I'd have to insult her sandwich making skills. Seeing as I couldn't articulate what was wrong with them, I did what anyone would do - I put the uneaten sandwiches in my bag, took them home and then hid them at the top of my wardrobe.

Why did I do that? Hard to say. Wouldn't it have made more sense to dispose of them before I got home? Certainly. Why didn't I do that then? Listen, it was a heady time - Blur vs Oasis, Tony Blair was on the rise, everybody was drinking a lot of Sunny Delight - no one was thinking straight. 

All teenage boys' bedrooms smell bad. Not all of them smell of rotting sandwiches but a bad smell is a bad smell and teenage boys have a high tolerence for it. How bad did it get before I realised I needed to address the problem? I couldn't give you a number. It could have been a week. It might have been three months.

I do know that there was certainly some time between the smell making me identify that I should do something about the rotting sandwiches in my wardrobe and me actually doing something about the rotting sandwiches in my wardrobe. Like an adult might lie in bed worrying about an unpaid bill I stressed about the sandwiches. My worry was that if I took the sandwiches downstairs and put them in the bin they might be discovered. Rather than take that risk I did what any sane person would do - I opened my bedroom window and threw the sandwiches (still in clingfilm) to the bottom of our front garden. Now at least the problem was outside.

Over the course of a couple of years I repeated this situation a number of times. Take sandwiches home, put them in top of wardrobe, allow worry to increase in tandem with decay, throw sandwiches to the bottom of the garden, stress about sandwiches being discovered at the bottom of the garden - repeat.

I honestly don't remember if I was ever discovered. There certainly wasn't a big confrontation - not one that has stuck in my mind anyway. Perhaps my parents thought it best not to challenge someone clearly in the midst of madness.

This story, I think, gives an insight into my deeply flawed psyche and that is why, in the interests of the nation, I have decided to withraw my candidacy for Prime Minister.

No comments:

Post a Comment