Rehab – Day Two
I rolled a cigarette for a pregnant woman today. L—-; she’s about to pop, that’s how pregnant she is. I didn’t even think about it as she asked to try my brand of tobacco. Smoking is the least of her – and all of our – problems. Everyone smokes. The Russians spend almost all of their time huddled together in the ‘smoking conservatory’, speaking Russian in low tones. I would normally say “nattering away”, but that doesn’t sit right with the Slavic accent.
Today began with the morning round, during which the mystery of the urine-filled bottle in one of the Russians’ cupboards. It was taken as a horse’s head in bed kind of insult. My money is on the intense B–. He’s a German, 30-odd and extremely opinionated. He’s started what I can only describe as a charm offensive on me. Yesterday he wanted me to speak English with him, today he asked me into his room (which looks a lot more cosy than mine as he had the forethought to bring his own bed linen) in order to translate the Beatles’ Let it be. He talks a lot about himself, his family, his attitude to Entgiftung. He is, it has to be said, fairly handsome in a sort of abstractly French way; a bit too oily smooth for my liking. He has a French girlfriend who is much younger than him.
The other highlight of my day was going shopping with the blonde lady – another name I can’t remember – who did my ‘induction’. Shopping for other people is always a nightmare. Shopping for junkies in rehab is double so fraught. There is an older lady here, I—–, who is an alcoholic and also seems to be suffering from mental health problems. She asked me for a lemon and one packet of Tempos, but seemed entirely mystified when I produced said goods – turned out she had envisioned lemonade and a huge box of tissues. Sorry, I——, that I read what you wrote down on paper instead of reading your mind.
The other Einkauf drama was the postage pack, which a Russian named A— had given me 20 Euros for, which I left on the counter, which was promptly – as we were told on our return trip to rescue said postage pack – stolen by the next person in the queue. So now, despite not having a penny to my name and a dwindling supply of tobacco, I also have a 20 Euro debt to a Russian who has threatened (I hope jokingly) to kill me! Oh, the pitfalls of being an addict!
One of the things that I find difficult here is eating. I am – of course – the only vegetarian. The cook has been informed, but I am not sure how many veggie dishes the stout German farm Frau has up her sleeve. At the weekend, the patients are responsible for cooking; this weekend is the turn of Al—, a quite amusing fellow with whom I also share the Duck/Hen/Geese duties with. He did very kindly seek out some veggie burgers and veggie chicken nuggets, but I can safely say I have never experienced veggie burgers and pasta as a combination before. Not that the effort he went to wasn’t appreciated. My appetite is also not very good as I keep thinking about all the people who have breathed over or handled the various options and the varying degree of cleanliness of the cutlery and plates. That’s probably a good thing as I have been stuffing my face with sweets for the past month. As always, just substituting one addiction for another.