Considerably disorientated. I'm now in a new job and living in a new home in a strange northern town where it rains like the days before The Great Flood. Absent from the blogosphere for a two weeks (building an ark in my garden). I've been missed, right? My soul screams for validation, my self-worth has dropped lower than a rudeboy's crotch. Actually that's a lie, the break was rather nice. But Mr Condescending has been pestering me daily, can't live without my posts apparently. I told him to stop badgering me but he persisted. To make matters worse Rubbish rang me up last night and screamed down the phone, said he'd turdbomb my doorstep if I didn't get my act together. Kids huh?! Told him I'd retaliate by putting laxative in his cider, but I really can't be bothered to go to Wales so...
The old man sat on the top desk of the bus. He was staring straight ahead, a pair of thick-lensed black-rimmed glasses clung to his face. For the record I don't condone the stealing of old men's glasses. Seriously, why go through all that effort when they are unlikely to fetch you anything on eBay? Besides, old men cause enough trouble in the world when they can see clearly. The last thing any of us need is millions of pensioners stumbling around without their glasses. The world would descend rapidly into bedlam. Pensioners would be seen dragging squirrels about on leads, stuffing cats into letterboxes and waiting outside the pub on Thursday mornings while moaning that the "post office" isn't open. Come to think about it, stuffing some cats into Rubbish's letter box would be pretty damn funny. Or putting a squirrel in his cider.
Take the following situation. In our new street rubbish collection takes place on a Friday. During the week our bins stay in the garden to the rear of the house. The garden is surrounded by a high two-metre fence and accessible either from our back door or from the garden gate, which is also two-metres high and double-locked from the inside. One of the locks is half-way down the gate, i.e. only reachable if you are one of those astronomically tall men from China that occasionally make the news and use their long arms to reach down the throats of dolphins. Last Friday morning my wife asked me to take the bins out. I went into the garden and to my surprise the bins were not there. I went round to the front and there they were, sitting smugly on the pavement, chatting amongst themselves no doubt. The only plausible explanation is that at the crack of dawn an elderly neighbour had broken in and dragged them out front.
Now there are two possibilities here. Either this (uncharacteristically athletic) pensioner vaulted the two-metre fence or they managed to unlock the garden gate using a fishhook on a piece of string. Can you imagine the mayhem if this pensioner was without their glasses? I'd probably be woken at 5am as I am dragged outside with a fishhook through my nose. (This Friday I'm going to get up crazily early and find out how they get in). But anyway...
Danny pressed the buzzer, got up from his seat and started to walk up the aisle. It was cold and wet outside, the bus was packed. He moved slowly, his steps small and determined, carefully keeping his balance as the bus lurched about in a deliberate attempt to send him into the lap of an unsuspecting granny. With each step he grasped the handrails on back of the seats each side of him, he would not be defeated and no grannies would be squashed. Nothing could have prepared him for what happened next.
The middle finger of his right hand hooked under the bridge of an old man's glasses. In a single movement he gracefully lifted the glasses off the old man's face and launched them into the air. They sailed over the next five seats, all of which were occupied, their path a beautiful parabolic spectacle (haha, two weeks absent and my wit is still as sharp as a blunt razor). They cleared the passengers and clattered down the stairwell. The speed and trajectory - unimaginably perfect in every way - would have made the Roman army's lead trebuchet operative sick with jealousy.
The old man whipped his hands up to his eyes. "Someone's stolen my glasses," he howled. One moment he had been quietly looking forward to Coronation Street, the next moment his glasses had been whipped from his face.
Funniest moment of his life, Danny tells me. I may have to try this next time I'm on a bus. With a bit of luck I could make a few quid on eBay.
Friends, Romans, sweethearts, gimp-grandchildren and cider drinkers, I'm not here today, I'm over at Calling People Names. I'm gong to be a bit absent this week - spent the last four days moving house and I start a new job today. But I'll be back next week. Don't miss me too much...
"This is fucking boring," he said, sounding thoroughly fed up, "kiss chase, why don't we have a game of kiss chase?"
Sitting beside me was a famous wine columnist. I won't name-drop, but only because I cannot remember her name. You would expect that we were having an intelligent, cultured and mind-numbingly boring conversation about wine, journalism and Chateau Magdelaine. Truth is we were distracted by the Jacob's Creek boys to our right.
One thin, the other fat, proportionally identical to Laurel and Hardy, two strangers who had met at the station. They each had a bottle of wine, in front of them an array of discarded Fosters cans. Hardy seemed a pleasant chap, sitting there quietly, quiet and sleepy. Laurel was wired and extremely rowdy, one of those types who, when inebriated, will badger anyone and everyone around them in a relentless attempt to be the most irritating donkey on the planet. He looked very similar to the freaky guy in Something About Mary, the one with hives.
With Hardy falling asleep, Laurel turned to the seat behind him where a spectacled gentleman was sleeping peacefully. He shook the gentleman and woke him up, "where are you going?" he asked. "York? I get off after that," he said and then in delicious irony, "don't worry, if you're still asleep when we get to York I'll wake you up."
"I get this train every few weeks," I heard him say, "drink my arse off every time." Could have fooled me. A lady came by selling tickets. "This whole service is great and you, my dear, are a darling." A passenger squeezed past on their way to the toilet. "He just wanted to rub past you," said Laurel, "the perv," before waxing philosophical in drunken optimism.
"The worst things in life are train fares. The best things in life are everything else." To be fair, there is a lot of truth in that statement, although it is incorrect. The worst things in life are public toilets.
As the ticket ladies moved up the carriage he turned back to Spectacles behind him, waking him rudely. "What do you do for a living?" he asked, before launching into a monologue. Did I say monologue? Soliloquy would be more accurate. Laurel spoke at great length, uninterrupted except for when he interrupted himself, speaking vaguely in Spectacles' direction, but certainly not to him. Spectacles sat there nodding gently, the colour draining from his face. My companion turned to me, "he needs nothing more than a good slap," she said. So I got up and...
Laurel's language got progressively worse (for which I apologise) as he ranted against bankers, doctors and pretty much anyone who earned more than him, "so far up their fucking arseholes," he raved. It wouldn't have been a good time for my companion to let on that she spends her time travelling across Europe, visiting the odd château and drinking expensive wine.
We arrived at York and Spectacles escaped with an exhausted expression draped over his face. The poor chap looked like a man whose soul had slowly been sucked out through a straw. "Listen mate, " said Laurel, placing his hand on the poor chap's shoulder, "Ah fuckin' hope all goes well for ya fella." If Spectacles hoped for anything it was that Laurel slipped on the kitchen floor when he got home and died in a freak teaspoon incident.
And that's when he suggested playing kiss chase. I thought for a moment that Laurel could in actual fact be Rubbish, but then remembered that Rubbish only drinks apple juice. From miniature kiddie cartons I suspect.
"Why don't we have a game of kiss chase? There are plenty of girls around," he said, bubbling with enthusiasm. He winked at a blond further up the carriage. "She's alright," he said, "and her, and her, but that one's asleep so she can't play," and as if to explain the sleeping beauty's exclusion from the game, "it wouldn't be fair" he said kindly.
He stood there leaning by the door, propped up in a suave, arrogant manner. You could tell he had practised the pose, it smacked of hours spent in front of the mirror. He lounged about with exquisite precision. Collar wide open, the obligatory medallion, less buttons fastened than Simon Cowell on a forgetful day. Grey curly chest hair on the attack, a health and safety risk if you ask me. Man dies strangled by chest hair, the headlines would read.
An ageing swinger, 60s I'd guess, dressed like only an ageing swinger would. Dressed like no ageing swinger should. Casanova, to give him a name, was notably overweight. A blue frilly shirt was taut over his tub and tucked into smart tight jeans with a huge-buckled belt. The buckle sat there silently in iridescent glory, glinting wickedly, aggressively pursuing world domination. I feared for my life. Suede jacket and oh-so-pointy brown leather shoes completed the look.
Lingering, lounging, languishing I mean, he scoured the carriage, scoping I suspect, eyeing up potential conquests, a man who thought he was eternally young. I noticed he was flying low, low and wide I might add, his flies a redoubtable gaping hole. Did I indicate this to him?