I can see myself going into my shower, quite happily, whistling. I can also remember that irresistible urge to smoke. The one that comes upon you anywhere, at any time. And you have to obey it.
So I can see myself not offering too much resistance, tying a towel round my waist, grabbing a pink and green tracksuit top straight out of the 80s, the whole outfit completed by a pair of plastic sandals. With the fag already in my mouth, lighter in my hand, ready to roll. With a bit of foam still in my hair. Addictions won’t wait. That’s a real shame… you might be able to avoid certain situations.
Like the one I am in right now: shut on my third-floor balcony, dressed as a sexual pervert from some Eastern European country. Like the cheap version of DSK, a Bois de Boulogne setting reduced to four square metres of concrete. The glass door has slammed shut, there is no handle on the outside, it’s dark, the rain is coming down at an angle and it’s winter. This shower is a cold one. It would be really pathetic to end up frozen in your own home, just a few metres from the sofa, the TV and the heating. With no mobile, alone in the world.
If I ever get out of this, I’m giving up, I swear. If I get out of this, I’ll tell Lisa I love her, that I want to live with her. If I manage to get out of this, I’ll join a gym, I’ll stop sticking loads of adverts in my neighbour’s letter-box, I’ll give to charity, I’ll change my job, I promise to vote in every election, I’ll stop kicking that bloody cat on the stairs, I’ll be friendly to that grumpy woman in the baker’s, I’ll go easy on the porn films and I’ll change my underpants every day.
But right now, all I have is a towel, my trackie top and a morale at rock bottom. As a responsible adult, I begin by panicking and shouting for help. No response. Just a woman on the pavement who hurries away.
My mate who works at the Post Office would tell me to jump and get fully justified time off work. My mate who started his own business would tell me to take a risk. My unemployed mate would tell me to wait for help. I decide to analyse the situation. I must concentrate and mobilise all available resources.
I have at my disposal an empty cup of coffee, a full ash-tray, a lighter and a folding table. I try to think back to what I can remember of Survivor. Not a lot. And MacGyver always had a pen. I don’t have one. More stupidity. Come on, I must use my imagination, take a step back (but not too far) and improvise. An idea comes to me: I could break the cup on the ground and throw the little pieces of porcelain one by one at the window of my sexy neighbour upstairs. Although, if she is there and if she sees me, I will have to accept that all my efforts at seduction will be wiped out at one go. Too bad, these are serious times.
And it was just at the moment when I saw the cup falling to the ground, rolling, nearly stopping but then falling inexorably into space beneath the guardrail that I decided to draw up an emergency plan. I could have swallowed all the fag-ends in the ash-tray to put an end to the whole thing. A tragic Marilyn Monroe-style end, but more Marie-Line at the Cabaret Michou, with no fee and on the edge of the abyss.
Fortunately for me, I had another idea. Why not take the metal legs off the folding table and use them to tap on the shutters of the neighbour underneath? That was inspired. I carried out my new plan with enthusiasm. I leaned over (but not too far) and started to knock. After several attempts, my neighbour finally decided to stick his head out of the window.
When he saw me, his expression hardened and he asked me to stand back a bit so that he couldn’t see under the towel. When he had asked me why I was disturbing him in the middle of the night, why I had damaged his shutter (reminding me that soliciting in the building was forbidden), he added, “Are you the one who kicks my cat?” Shit... I hope he doesn’t know about his letter-box.
I’m going to have to think of a Plan C.