Would life be better as a toothbrush?

Share
Related Topics

Sitting on my friend's sofa, drinking wine a couple of weeks ago. "Don't you sometimes wish," said my friend, her dog's head nestled happily on her knees as she gently frotted her stuffed rabbit (the dog, not my friend), "that you could just be a nice person's dog? That you didn't have to worry about being the nice person, but you could just rely on them being there to look after you? And not worry about them judging you if wanted to frot your teddy in public?"

Well, that's just life, isn't it?

But yes, I see the appeal. Specifically though, a nice person's dog. The woman in the adverts who inhales deeply on the meaty Iams chunks before putting them in the bowl with your name on, rather than the woman who walks round Kentish Town shouting, "Hurry UP and do a shit, will you?" to a hound that looks so shamefaced it is practically human.

"Of course," I replied. "I spent most of my teenage years wishing I was a toothbrush. I know just what you mean."

Let me explain. Sometimes you don't want to be human; others you don't even want to be animate. Sometimes you don't want to be aware that you exist, let alone always mentally working on an emo soundtrack to your quotidian.

"But if you were a toothbrush, you'd have to climb into someone's vile mouth twice a day – possibly more," she replied, acknowledging other people's hygienic foibles with a nod and a swig of wine, "and jump around for five minutes. Maybe even 10." Another swig.

That's just life too, isn't it?

I'm writing this in Milan – I'm here to look at the fashions, but don't worry: I won't go on about them just now. Milan is a city that makes me want to be a toothbrush more than ever, even after living for a decade without feeling the need to sprout bristles and keep my arms flat by my sides all the time.

Is it possible to just not be able to "do" a place? I think so. I am crap at Milan. The whole city would laugh at me, if I weren't beneath its notice. The last time I was here, I got on the train, went to the wrong airport and didn't even notice until I had completed the hour-long journey.

"I need to go to the airport!" I shouted as I ran across the car park to the taxi rank. "But you are at the airport!" laughed the taxi driver, knowing immediately – perhaps before he had even clapped eyes on me – exactly what I meant. He just wanted me to have to explain it, to prove that I was crap at Milan. I just wanted to stave both our heads in with the handle of my executive wheelie suitcase.

After an hour's drive at speeds so illegal my hair looked like Doc Brown's from Back to the Future, he eventually stove my head in for me and charged me £150. This is the price of being crap at Milan.

The other thing about not really "getting" a place is that you feel constantly anxious, as if you're putting a foot wrong at every possible moment. Except every time you shuffle a bit or trip over your own feet, a man driving past laughs at you because your ineptitude precludes you from his blanket interest in shagging all of womankind.

Women in Milan are a different breed. I'm actually a bit worried about them. They are very, very thin. In a city where I have just been served pasta with a side-salad of bread, when the waiter asked me if I wanted pudding, I wondered if he was taking the mick. These women must be starving, with their little legs like arms, encased in designer denim. For one thing, there's nothing else to eat in Milan apart from carbs, so being thin here must be like Jesus's time in the desert. And for another, I've been so toothbrush-y and anxious today that I've eaten four brioche rolls, a croissant, two cereal bars, five Kinder Buenos (a local delicacy, I believe) and the snacks which came free with my beer. Which was a huge basket of crisps and some kind of low-fi pizza.

It's especially galling because everyone I speak to about Milan says how wonderful it is, thereby reinforcing the fact that I'm rubbish at doing it. It was the same with Istanbul, where I tried to visit the Blue Mosque but got dropped off in a back alley next to some bins, before someone reversed into me – I had to shout at them that their bumper was pushing my legs in a direction that they don't naturally bend toward.

Just before I sat down to write this, I knocked my toothbrush off the side of the basin and it fell headfirst into the loo. As I fished it out, I bashed the bristles on the rim of the seat and it spun in a gymnastic arc, before landing in the neighbouring bidet.

But I suppose that's just like life too, isn't it? Maybe being rubbish in Milan is OK. Maybe I don't want to be a toothbrush right now after all. Maybe I'll just go and buy a new one.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing & Commnunications Executive, London

£30000 - £34000 per annum: Charter Selection: This highly successful organisat...

C# .NET Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript HTML, CSS) Finance

£60000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Develo...

MI Analyst-Reporting-Bank-Edinburgh-£260/day

£230 - £260 per day + competitive: Orgtel: MI Analyst-Reporting-Bank-Edinburgh...

Junior Database developer (SQL, T-SQL, Excel, SSRS, Crystal rep

£25000 - £30000 per annum + bonus+benefits+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: The Hitch on Americans, literature, liberal intervention and language

John Rentoul
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on the country's Independence Day in New Delhi, India  

With Modi talking tough and Sharif weak, the India-Pakistan love-in could never last

Andrew Buncombe
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment