Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wax dummy

I have aching arms. It's not funny. Over the last three days a nurse called Jenny has been injecting them with all manner of attenuated viruses and wiped-out bacteria, and last night I dreamt that my index fingers had to press small torn bits of cotton wool against my upper arms — if they fall off, my dream-self urged, I shall die. The best thing about vaccinations, it turns out, is the little cardboard booklet. The one the nurse stamps and signs after each needle-puncture. With the date. In biro. I have it here now. It is a magical little health passport. But the pages for rabies, tick-borne encephalitis, Yellow Fever and Meningitis are blank. I have a strong need, now, for them all stamped and signed. I want all the pages filled. I feel vulnerable with only half of them done.
So here's the state of play:

Malarial tablets
Obtained, even though not strictly necessary. Steve's story in this book drove me to it.

Don't even ask. Driving me crazy. There was a theory a while ago that the interweb would make booking complex flights easier. I have disproved it with panache. I have smoked many too many cigarettes today, bitten my fingernails, got wired on caffeine and still I've not managed to work out where or what I'm supposed to be doing or how I'm supposed to do it.

Awaiting instructions.

Visa applications
Under way. Yesterday I sweltered my way to that vacancy of airconditioned melanine that is upstairs at Boots the Chemists and angled myself into a photo booth. I put three pounds fifty pence into the machine, clunk, clunk, clunk, and the ride began. It involved a disembodied female voice with that particular scottish accent known only from newsreaders and automated ticket machines. "Please centre your face in the circle on the screen" she said, and I did just that. And I assumed my most cheerfully inane and vacant expression, and out came the photo at the top of this post, x 4. Click on it! Isn't it the blurriest, most appallingly low-resolution photobooth print imaginable? Nation states use this for identification? Ha ha ha.

I don’t ordinarily look as if I’m made of injection moulded plastic with taxidermy eyes. I’m not altogether sure I look anything like this at all.

I carried these photos home hooting in derision, and while I was scoffing pompously about the lameness of modern passport photography to Xtin, she looked pityingly at me and said “Yes, but they don’t need detail these days. Biometrics." she concluded with a menacing inflection, and I felt all my fingerpads tingling in awe. Computers. Oooo.

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