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A week is a long time…

As islanders, we yearn for a glimpse of the sea, for the sound of surf and its salty smell. We want to know that on a bad day, we can just drive up and look at the waves and everything will be fine.As islanders, we yearn for a glimpse of the sea, for the sound of surf and its salty smell. We want to know that on a bad day, we can just drive up and look at the waves and everything will be fine.

You know how politicians, every Sunday, meet up in some każin or other, and then give a speech going over their major events of the week? I thought, well, there’s an idea: why not do the same here?

So, before you start reading my own summary of this week that was, prepare a te fit-tazza, sit on one of them metal chairs and pretend you’re in a club’s crowded hall. Then, occasionally, lower the paper and give out a loud clap.

Dear Maltese and Gozitan brothers and sisters, this was my week:

Monday: the 3€ shoes

I live in Paola. Paola is riddled with two kinds of shops: lingerie outlets, selling, specifically, red underwear; and shoe shops, selling, specifically, tower-heeled shoes. A friend of mine calls Paola Malta’s daytime red light district.

When driving, I spot a shop window selling multitude of pairs for three euros. How can that be? The plastic stacked in the high platform and the heels would at least cost double that? This is a matter for investigation.

Are these shoes appropriate for the well-being of the Maltese women? I go in. The salesgirl is wearing a shimmery tracksuit and 10-inch flashy heels with bows and sparkles on the sides.

With three euros in hand, I point to her feet: “I want a pair like those.” I resolve I’d wear them for a whole week, from dusk till dawn, to see how long they would last. I am positive the heel would give in after a couple of hours.

For two days, I totter around the house in these trans, made-in-China shoes. I prepare the school lunch, I type my stories, I go for my racetrack walk, I wait for the school van in pyjamas – everything in heels. By day two, my feet are done in; but the shoes stay intact. Cheap stuff can last long then. Here’s a bargain: I’m giving them out for free – e-mail if you want them.

Tuesday: tears

By sheer serendipity, I come across an article about tears in The New Yorker. What are tears like? Well, the answer lies in The Topography of Tears, the work of a Los Angeles-based photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher. Do tears of joy look the same as ones of woe, or ones from chopping onions? No they don’t.

We know this because Fisher explores 100 tears emitted during a range of emotional states and physical reactions. Using a microscope with an attached digital camera, she captures the composition of tears enclosed in glass slides, magnifies them and blows the result up in photos. I spend the day looking at them, amazed at the little differences in each tear.

Paola is riddled with two kinds of shops: lingerie outlets, selling, specifically, red underwear; and shoe shops, selling, specifically, tower-heeled shoes

Wednesday: the Rotary Phone

I click on a You Tube video for children aged five to 13, who have no idea what a rotary telephone is. They are bewildered at the sight of the old-fashioned phone. When the interviewer shows them how it works, they all giggle in amusement. “That’s going to take a long time,” says one nine-year-old. I felt so, so old.

My daughter is next to me as I watch this. When I say that was what a telephone looked like when I was her age, she gives me a pitiful look, pats my shoulder and says: “Miskina mamà, don’t worry.” Then, because of my deprived childhood, she stops playing with my iPhone and hands it back to me.

Thursday: man and the sea

The harbour sea is choppy and greyish and while lunching with a friend of mine in Ta’ Xbiex, the seagulls keep gliding past in the sky, at times almost standing absolutely still in mid-air. We talk about the sea and how much we miss it whenever we’re abroad and how claustrophobic we feel whenever we’re living hours away from it.

I think, as Maltese, the sea subconsciously gives us a sense of extended space: it’s our getaway, our link to the rest of the world. Friends of mine living on the continent consider the sea as a wall, a physical and mental block. But we, because we’re islanders, we’re always yearning for a glimpse of it, for the sound of surf and its salty smell. We want to know that on a bad day, we can just drive up and look at the waves and everything will be fine.

Friday: The revenge of the tiny bum

Academics claim that they found a small association between height and intelligence “such as that people who are taller tend to be smarter”, said Riccardo Marioni from Edinburgh University Institute of Genetics. Remember that other ‘study’ which said that the smaller the bum, erm, the smaller the brain? Finally I can stop bemoaning my arse: my height has taken revenge.

Saturday: the happy week ahead

I’m thinking, it’s St Patrick’s Day tomorrow, St Joseph’s on Wednesday and the first day of spring on Friday: what a glorious week to come. I’ll be too chillaxed for another wrap-up this week, good thing I am not a politician.

[email protected]
Twitter: @KrisChetcuti

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