T H E  A M P  D I A R Y
Cell Out: March 27, 2000

Bravely resisting the temptation of the Mac: the siren of the start-up, the twiddle of the modem, the noise like a shower of gold when a message arrives in your inbox - resisting all these, like Odysseus bound to the mast, you sit down at the table and force yourself to eat breakfast.

You've got a crick in your neck from sleeping with too many pillows and a funny taste in your mouth from what you just did to your boyfriend. The boyfriend brings you a glass of orange juice and you swig it down, swilling it round over your tongue and the inside of your cheeks, imagining it sweeping the other taste away, cutting through it like Fairy washing up liquid through the grease of a Sunday roast. Does orange juice kill them, the little tadpoles, you wonder? Or are they still wiggling around inside your mouth and your stomach? How long do they last, alive?

You pour the tea, its enamel spout dripping onto the table as well as into the cup, and cut a slice of banana bread. It's all you've eaten for a week now, ever since you and the boyfriend both came back from the market bearing bargain carrier bags full of bananas. After you've chewed up the banana bread, you think, will they wiggle through that, too, like worms?

You imagine getting a microscope and putting some of the stuff on it, and then, with a glass pipette, introducing orange juice, tea, and masticated banana bread, and diligently recording the results in your little yellow notebook.

You'd use some pink mouthrinse in your experiment, too. Last week you went to the dentist and even though you cleaned and flossed and mouthwashed before you left, the moment you leant back and opened your mouth you had a flashback to the night before. You suddenly panicked, wondering if the dentist and his assistant could see stray tadpoles stuck to the insides of your cheeks, or on your gums. All you could think of was the moment you could suck down some pink mouthrinse and rinse them away.

You pour some more tea and start to pick the almonds from the top of your slice of banana bread, remembering the story your friend told you. It happened to a science student on her very first day at university. The group's first assigment was to take a swab from the inside of their mouths and examine it under the microscope. Hers showed up an an unfamiliar form. She asked the tutor what it was. The answer formed her nickname for the following 3 years: 'Sperm cell'.

Your boyfriend brings over some more breakfast: a boiled egg. You can't manage it.



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