Thursday, 30 April 2009

I will kill you

My alarm went off at 5:45am as usual. The window was open, seagulls were squawking and rigging was tinkle-tankling. I looked out of the window, it was a beautiful Spring morning. Crisp air, clear blue sky, a slight breeze. Sunlight dazzled on the water, combining wonderfully with the boats' reflections. A family of swans swam gracefully about the quay. Time for my coffee, should I go for Australia Skyberry or Sumatra Lingtong? Cafetiere or stovepot? Small things like these are the secret to a happy and successful life.

My wife stirred. "If that alarm clock goes off again I will kill you," she said.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

My Dignity Was Traumatised

Monday morning was all going swimmingly. Not that I was swimming, or even particularly enjoying work - it was completely crazy that morning - but I was busy and fully occupied, and on a Monday that's a good thing.

And then I needed a wee, and my zip jammed. Not a problem, I thought. In these situations you can always "go over the top".

30 minutes later the zipper completely died. A humdinger of a crisis. I did what any man would have done. I rummaged around in my drawer to find some paper-clips and attempted to rectify the situation. My attempts were futile, I'd have had more chance of crossing the Atlantic in a paper cup than of successfully fastening my flies with some paper-clips.

I decided to hold out until lunch, then I could nip out and buy some safety pins. Tell you what, it's torture to have to walk round a busy open-plan office knowing that you're flying low. I reasoned that by walking really fast, no-one would get a chance to notice. I also found by walking while barely moving my legs I could just about hold my flies together by sheer will power. It completely spoilt my walk. I was basically shuffling around at high speed, almost gliding.

Over lunch I bought a pack of safety pins. For the rest of the day my dignity was preserved entirely by two expertly-fastened safety pins. My Dignity, on the other hand, felt traumatised by their proximity. Especially when I had to run for a train.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The Battle For the Rear-Facing Seat (part 3)

Well, I was right. My adversary is now getting to the station at least fifteen minutes earlier just to get his favourite seat. If you haven't been following this adventure then you may want to read parts one and two.

My readers had provided some hilarious suggestions which I chose to ignore, but here are a few of the funnies:

BloggerCowguy said...Fake vomit dropped in the other choice seat would be nirvana...

jpooh said...You now need to enlist the help of your fellow commuters, and ALL of you take ALL of the rear-facing window seats.

chris hale said...Perhaps you should engage him in conversation, thus: Hello. Will you be my friend? I haven't got any friends. I had one once, but then I had to put him under the ground. They made me do it.'

Sassy Britches said...To make it extremely well-played, you must give him a Doc-Holiday-at-the-O.K.-Corral-type of wink. Now THAT I would pay to see.

Scope said...Commuters are such creatures of habit. I used to ride a long distance commuter train, and would get pissed if someone was in "my seat." (My manager is so bad, having her seat taken ruins her day.)

Instead of the seat war, I suggest doing the more infernal and totally against the rules thing: talk at him.

Not "talk to him" like you are actually engaging in conversation, but make general comments to him that are mindless and insipid. Make him choose. His seat, or quiet.

Yeah, I'm evil.

Oh, and pinching one off while sitting next to him would be perfect. "Jostled a little one out of me there, old boy. Sorry 'bout that."

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...I suggest winking, smirking, and handing him your phone number, preferably while wearing a pink dress shirt. He'll probably change jobs so he doesn't have to ride that train any longer.

Cameron said...Take a little satisfaction is knowing that you've forced him to alter his schedule by 15 minutes. You may have skipped coffee once, but he's going to have to hurry up for the rest of his days, knowing that if he is lax, even a little, you will pounce.

Mr London Street said...
1. Turn up 20 minutes early.
2. Put chewing gum on "the seat".
3. Leave train.
4. Get on train 10 minutes later.
5. Convincingly feign disappointment that he has yet again nicked "your" seat.
6. Feel smug all the way to work.

In the end I ignored all of these. My plan was to lure him into a place of complacently by letting him have his seat unchallenged yesterday, then today I would pounce. My train gets into the station fifteen minutes before our connecting train and sure enough, as I alighted from my first train I could see the fella, anxiously waiting on the other platform. Goodness knows how long he had been there. I kept my distance. He kept looking furtively up and down the platform. When the train arrived he scurried to his usual seat. I calmly waited a few more minutes before getting on and nonchalantly strolling past without so much as a glance in his direction.

The plan worked. This morning he was complacent. I was on the platform long before him, waiting in his exact spot. Literally as our train pulled in he materialised and scampered down the platform. I was waiting right at the "about to open" train door along with a crowd of other passengers.

[wait for it]

As the doors opened he barged in front of us, literally elbowing his way through the crowd and forcing himself onto the train and taking his seat. I suppose I could have grabbed him by the coat and held him back, but (contrary to popular belief and general public opinion) I am a gentleman, so I let him take his precious seat. I think, after all that I will let his keep his seat. Captain Dumbass will no doubt lambaste me for being a sissy, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.

On a different note, Psuedo has kindly nominated me for this fantastic Zombie Chicken Award. It comes with the description:

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all..."

I had a tough time picking only 5, but didn't want to list a million, so I've picked five bloggers that are simply exceptional. My definition of exceptional in this case is this. They make me buzz when I see a new post from them in my blog list, I feel excited to go read and comment and want to rush to their place RIGHT NOW DAMMIT. Am I the only one who gets a buzz with these guys? I don't know if these five are the types to necessarily put the award up, or pass it on, but seeing as it is such a damn fine one I thought it worth a try. Here are my five:

C.B. Jones
Mr. London Street

If you choose to ignore the award then that's fine by me, but take it as a compliment, your blog is a beauty.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Galumphing Donkeys (by the way I'm not a misanthrope)

In case you're kicking your little legs about with excitement, desperate to read the next chapter in the incomparable saga "battle for the rear-facing seat", there'll be more of that soon. But in the meantime...

The train was packed. To be fair the train is always packed. But this time it was heaving. I was in the twelfth (and rear) carriage. I always sit in that carriage on the way home. Not because of some obsessive-compulsive tick, but because for no apparent reason it tends to have the most free seats (yes I have slowly tested each and every of the twelve carriages, and no I'm not a monomaniac on the subject of personal space).

Anyway, the train has twelve carriages, and I was in the one at the back. Some of the stations on route have tiny platforms which are only long enough for four carriages. Each evening on the way home the following happens:

1) Every 2 minutes an automated announcement is broadcast. It says "Passengers for stations X,Y and Z need to be in the front four carriages as these stations have very short platforms."

2) A bunch of half-wits in the twelfth carriage completely ignore the two-minutely broadcast for their entire journey. Just as the train pulls in to their short-platformed station they curse, panic, and attempt to run through eight crowded carriages in the remaining twenty seconds before the train stops.

3) The motley group of commuters in the twelfth carriage enjoy a sweet piece of camaraderie, snickering, laughing and deriding. Not that we take any joy from the misfortune of half-wits. None whatsoever.

On this particular occasion a smooching couple were in the same seating area as myself and four others. Every two minutes the broadcast came over the intercom.

"Passengers for stations X,Y and Z need to be in the front four carriages as these stations have very short platforms."

After about half an hour the train pulled into station X. The smooching couple jumped with a start, swore so violently that even a chav would have covered his ears, grabbed their bags and stampeded down the aisle.

The girl next to me snickered. "They've not a chance in Hell," said the man opposite. I didn't say anything, I was too busy tapping away on my Blackberry trying to catch up on ol' blogroll. It's a tough life being a blogger.

As we watched them charge into the distance, galumphing down the aisle like a pair of crazy donkeys, the man tripped and went sprawling to the ground. We could see him on the floor, writhing and kicking, tangled in bags, struggling to get free and apparently still believing he could get up and run through eight more carriages.

Carriage twelve erupted in laughter. Full, raucous, hearty laughter. It was a precious, precious moment. I, of course, took no joy from his misfortune.

In my defence, and to preempt any accusations of misanthropy, I would have been the first to help him if he had been hurt!

P.P.S. Many thanks to Comedy Goddess and Sassy Britches who both gave me this award. I'm going to give it to two bloggers whom I have only recently discovered. To be fair, they discovered me.

1) Girl Interrupted, a brilliant writer who always makes me laugh. The first post I read of hers was "The True Version" of Snow White
, a post so classy that I had to read it twice. Make sure you pay her a visit.

2) Harmony, another talented writer who has also done me the honour of slowly (well, quite quickly really) working through my back-catalogue. Her recent "had to be there" post is absolutely sublime.

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Battle For the Rear-Facing Seat (part 2)

[You'll have had to have read yesterday's post to get this]

It didn't quite happen like the picture suggests (and please, don't hold back in your praise of my phenomenal artistic talent). I sacrificed my precious coffee in order to get down to the platform early. Now that is dedication for you. I am normally on the platform a good five minutes before my adversary. Sometimes the train is already there, in which case I'm typically in the carriage five minutes before him. This morning the train was already there. In theory I would have been there ten minutes before him. Ample time to settle myself in his seat, patiently waiting for him to rush on and then meander away like a diffident sheep.

[wait for it]

He was already in his seat. The rear-facing window seat that he holds so close to his heart. He looked pretty settled, coffee on the table, bag on the rack above his head. I don't like to brag, but I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of commuting body language, a true authority on the subject. I reckon by his settled appearance he had been there at least five minutes.

He had got on the train close to fifteen minutes earlier than normal in order to claim his seat. He looked up at me as I got on the train. A smug smile adorned his face. An expression of seamless, triumphant victory. Defeated. It was a genuine feast for the eye, he had got there fifteen minutes early! I, on the other hand, had skipped my caffeine fix and was left with the damp disappointment of failed chicanery.

I'll let him keep the seat.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Messing with minds is the secret to a happy and successful life

Walking down the platform I spotted my adversary, standing in his usual place. I'm speaking of the protocol violator that chose to sit directly opposite me the other week, ignoring thousands of other free seating areas. Now I know why he did that. Every morning we get on the same carriage and he always sits in the same seat, facing away from the direction of travel and taking a keen interest in anything the commuters around him do. He'll read their papers, scrutinise the covers of their books, watch them tap away on their laptops, gaze lustfully at their mobile phones.

This guy really irritates me, I've seen him every day for the last few weeks, and I've had enough. This morning I decided to get in the next carriage so that I wouldn't have to put up with him, even though it is not in the perfect position for my stop (i.e. when the train stops the doors are not directly aligned with the platform exit). I simply had to take decisive action. Witnessing him daily inflicting misery on his fellow commuters is slowly driving me mad. Proper mad, not Jord mad.

For some reason our train stopped a carriage-length further up the platform than normal. This meant our usual carriage was directly in front of me, and my adversary had to scurry up the platform. A light bulb dinged above my head, a beautiful thought came to me, angelic voices in my head sang songs of unalloyed celebration. I would steal his seat. He deserved it. It would be a crime not to pounce on this perfect opportunity, mess with the mind of this heinous villain and inject some excitement into my monotonous commute. I did have some doubts, it could go horribly wrong, what if he flung his coffee at me in a caffeinated parabola of destruction? Imagine the headlines.

"Train rage strikes again, man douses fellow commuter in coffee".

Ignoring the doubts I stole his seat. He rushed into the seating area seconds later. He looked at me sitting smugly in his seat, blinked and looked again. He had the dejected expression of a child that was expecting a mountain bike for Christmas, but had instead received an extra-large knitted jumper adorned with a reindeer. He wandered reluctantly into the next seating area and sat in the equivalent seat - this guy loves his backward-facing window seat and he found a seat that was as identical to his usual one as possible. I could feel his glare penetrating my skull.

When I got of the train I stole a glance in his direction. I couldn't resist. He glared at me menacingly. A look like that could kill a thousand cats. Tomorrow I'm going to get down the platform early and steal his seat again. The fight is on.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

RTT : Don't come here unless you are crazy as a mouse that thinks he is Long John Silver

Unless you're as crazy as a mouse that thinks he is Long John Silver, you really shouldn't be here. In fact you should leave now. If you are as crazy as a man who bounces down the street on a pogo stick thinking he is a golden goose and yelling "the goat cometh!", then this is exactly the right place for you. Let me just say that I had some really crazy random content to post, so I've decided to justify my rampant insanity by posting it under the excuse of 'Random Tuesday Thoughts'.

When I was young and foolish, me and my adolescent cronies had a number of bizarre and insane little stories, sketches and scenes that, well, that speaks volumes for our puerile minds, and probably explains a lot. Anyway, two friends, Steve and Mike, used to tell the "Jord story", which is a crazy dialogue between two characters which (bizarrely) are both called Jord. Possibly there is only one Jord, who is a schizophrenic.

Anyway, I played football with the lads on Saturday and Steve was there, so I got him to tell the Jord story once again. And I recorded it for you all to hear. If for some reason you can't hear the thing (it was a bit fiddly to get it in a post), then please forgive my incomparable ineptitude. Oh, and you may need to pump the volume up to hear it properly!

If this is the last straw, and you decide to never come here again, then I'll set Jord on you.

Monday, 20 April 2009

The Goth-Businessman Hybrid

There is a man a few tables away that has caught my attention. He is a flagrant violation of fashion, a delicate fusion of goth and businessman. Did I say delicate? When I say goth I mean the type of goth that is borderline punk rocker., not that I'm any expert in goth classification. His hair is a bizarre blow dried mop, half bouffant, half lemming, half Boris Johnson. Maybe I should have used thirds.

He is clad in a smart black suit, black shirt and black tie, relaxing in the lethargy of a lunchtime pint, apparently oblivious to the seismic upheaval going on in my mind. Stoical, a vacant face, eyes masked by huge dark sunglasses (you're indoors you idiot), he carries a dignified air but also looks little uncomfortable, probably because his clothes are SO DAMN TIGHT!

A stick insect would have struggled to fit into those trousers, his shirt is so stretched he nearly poked a passing diner in the eye with a nipple, his tie is so thin that a spider would have used it in his web, the knot of his tie is the size of a stunted pea, his shoes are so pointed that a jester would have mocked them.

I'd better stop, he's looking this way suspiciously and appears to be muttering, probably along the lines of I wish that damn knigget with a laptop would stop scrutinising me. He's not one of you guys is he?

Friday, 17 April 2009

I didn't wet myself (honest)

The day started brightly, a gorgeous Spring morning and I was in high spirits, probably because it is Friday. I thoroughly enjoyed my walk to the station. The sun was shining, the tide was high, the fishing boats were on their way out and the light was reflecting of the water in spectacular fashion. It would have been a photo moment if the cheap batteries I had bought from a newsagent hadn't died after barely 5 photos.

Dressed in my favourite white shirt, which had been expertly ironed by my wife (bless her little cotton socks), I was feeling rather dapper, debonair even. I love going to work feeling smart and professional, as opposed to looking like the cat dragged me in after finding me floundering in a muddy ditch.

Rather ironically I was chuckling to myself about Mr London Street's hilarious milk on crotch incident, which reminded me of my own toothpaste on crotch incident which occurred fairly recently.

I picked up a coffee from Cafe Nero on the way in. Sitting in the office I was just finishing the coffee, neck craned right back, when the stupid plastic lid popped right off. Time slowed right down, I heard the pop, a gurgle, and the rushing sound of coffee, the sound of doom if you like. It spilt all down my crisp white shirt, and in a feat of deadly marksmanship completely drenched my crotch.

I've spent the rest of the morning looking like a cat found me floundering in a muddy ditch, dragged me in, and then watched me piss myself.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Riled : Sagacity My Love, My Fair One, Where Are You?

As a rule I don't write about the news. This is because the moment I think of the word news my brain is immediately crushed with images of a desultory group of corrupt politicians, drunk nano-celebrities, jobless bankers, bivouacked activists and benefit thieves prancing about to tinny mobile phone music in a terrifying nightmarish eternity. But today I'll break my rule.

As you all know I'm not easily riled, very rarely does anything bother me, unless you count the majority of things my fellow humans do each day, old men jumping the bar queue and claiming they were first, people that dither at ATMs, anyone that has a 24 ring tone, but sometimes things really rile me.

Sonia Crabb (33) and her boyfriend Tony Junge (31), conned farmer David Cooper (51) in despicable fashion. My first assumption is that in order to do this they strapped their moral compasses and consciences to one of North Korea's failed rockets. My second assumption is that they flushed their copy of "How not to ruin someone's God-given life" down the toilet.

Sonia took advantage of Cooper's vulnerability, leading him on romantically with intent to exploit, and soon afterwards Crabb and Junge moved into Cooper's farmhouse, forcing Cooper to live in squalid conditions in a 'disused tack room', whatever that is.

They extracted from him £116,000 pounds in cash, spent £170,000 of his assets, forced him to transfer his house and land into their name, and lived in disgusting luxury while pushing him into a degrading existence.

Cooper died from diabetes, but was so malnourished when he died that he had symptoms of scurvy.

Crabb and Junge have now been jailed. You would think, given the fact that they conned him, fleeced him, forced him to live in degrading conditions and brought about his untimely death, that they would be given strict sentences.

You would think, given the fact that they violated his 'right to life' (article 2 Human Rights Act), subjected him to 'inhuman treatment' (article 3) and essentially 'slavery' (article 4), took away his 'right to liberty' (article 5) and all sorts of 'freedoms', that they would, perhaps, get life sentences. Given the sheer quantity of money they extorted from him you would think that that alone would be enough for some serious jail time.

You would think that any self-respecting judge with even a sub-average IQ, and even on a bad day when there was not enough milk in the fridge for his Cheerios and he had accidentally washed his balding pate with Listerine instead of shampoo, would pass a sentence that put them in for some proper time in the cooler. Right? You would think.

So how much time will this miserable pair of dweebs serve?

Crabb and Junge were jailed for 27 and 24 months respectively. I'll do the maths. That's two years for conning, fleecing and exploiting someone, contributing significantly towards their death and living in unearned luxury while their victim languishes in squalor, eventually dying malnourished and alone.

Does this rile you? I'd probably be sentenced for a longer term if I was caught shoplifting tweezers from Boots.

Knowing our justice system they'll probably be released in under 3 minutes for good behaviour.

[sources The Times, Metro and Daily Mail]

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Lobster Incident

Today I have the pleasure of announcing the second round of our exciting triangular guestival. I'm posting over at Show My Face, Cate is posting at More Mindless Rambling, and Blognut is posting here. Our task was to tell our own version of "The Lobster Incident". When you're done here head over to More Mindless Rambling and Show My Face. And now, I bring you Blognut...

So here I am guest-posting at Mo’s, ‘cause… well… he’s letting me and it seemed like a good idea to defend myself. See… we’ve got this incident to explain and I know that Mo’s version will be all, “it’s not my fault,” and Cate’s version of the story will be all, “well, it’s not my fault, either,” and the truth is that it was both their faults and I’m completely innocent in this story. So here’s what REALLY happened:

The Lobster Incident

I’ll never learn, will I? All my life I’ve heard, “There are some people that you can dress up, but you shouldn’t take them out.” Admittedly, that comment was directed at me most of the time, but its meaning never really sunk in… until dinner with Mo and Cate.

I was psyched. I didn’t even care where we went for dinner; I was just excited to go. Mo wanted lobster, and by ‘wanted’ I mean ‘would accept nothing less.’ Cate just wanted gin, and well, you know she brought her own, right? She also pulled along one of those old-lady-wheeled-shopping-cart things, stacked with little plastic storage bins from Target. I don’t know what was in there, but it rattled like pills and she was keeping an eye on that cart as though it contained the NOC list from Mission Impossible.

When we arrived at the restaurant, Mo slipped the host $20 to get us in without a reservation. Now I’m pretty sure that the restaurant had severe reservations to seating the three of us anywhere, but the $20 did the trick. We got ourselves a table right near the kitchen and there was plenty of room for Cate’s cart so it all worked well.

After waiting an eternity, a waitress finally came over to take our order. Now I admit, I may have inadvertently upset her, but it wasn’t my fault. This poor thing looked like she had fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. My horrified gasp was out before I could do anything about it. I covered it up with a fake choking incident, and I think she may have bought it. Mo’s reaction was a bit more transparent. He threw holy water on her and said something in Latin. (I ask you, was that nice?) And Cate, well, you know Cate. She looked at the waitress, then looked at me, then looked at the waitress, then looked at me again. When she finally found her words, she said the unthinkable. “Am I so drunk that I don’t remember punching her in the face?” The mood was set.

We ordered drinks; I had water, Mo and Cate split a barrel of wine. What? I didn’t drink! (Shut up! It’s MY story.) We ordered food; I asked for a salad, Mo asked for a family of lobsters, and Cate pulled a frozen entrée out of one of her plastic bins and asked the waitress to microwave it for her. That last request got us our first visit from the restaurant’s manager. He insisted that if Cate wanted a microwave TV dinner, she could eat at home. I was so proud of Cate for not punching him in the face as she calmly slurred that she has severe allergies, is on conflicting medications, and could only eat certain foods or she gets ‘irregular.’ After some negotiating, a virtual trip through Cate’s large intestine, and another one of Mo’s $20 bills, it was agreed that she could eat her own food.

While we waited an eternity for the food to arrive, we sang pirate songs at full voice. At the next table were 6 fighter pilots (in flight suits!) who joined in our fun, and the liquor flowed. (I stuck to my water.) (Stop it! I will not tolerate your insolence while I’m telling my story.) Several times the manager came over and asked us to keep it down or we would have to leave, but Mo was never going to leave that restaurant without his lobster.

This brings me to the lobster incident itself…

When the meal was brought to the table, the waitress dropped one of the lobsters in Mo’s lap. Somehow the fates conspired for one of the lobster’s claws to clamp down on the poor fella’s junk. Mo jumped up from the table, knocking Cate’s microwave entrée to the floor, and sending my salad flying through the air. Mo was a sight to behold! Here he was standing there, slightly drunk, howling in pain, with a lobster clamped to his crotch.

The manager came running over to the table to find out about the commotion and all he saw was Cate holding onto that lobster attached to Mo in a kinky sort of way, and Mo yelling, “Get it off, get it off!” While I tried to calmly explain the situation to the manager, Mo decided there was no hope and took his trousers off in the middle of the restaurant. I’m guessing it was laundry day at Mo’s house, or the guy just likes free-ballin’, but you know he was missing his undergarments, right?

Horrified diners began to point, women cried, most of the men looked on with disgust, and the fighter pilots cheered. Apparently that was all the manager could take because he wrapped Mo in a tablecloth and pushed all three of us out the door, throwing Cate’s cart out behind us.

Needless to say, we won’t be going back there. Needless to say, we wouldn’t even be allowed to walk by the place. Needless to say, Mo went home in a tablecloth toga with no pants and isn’t allowed to have dinner with Cate or me ever again.

Needless to say, none of this was my fault.

Monday, 13 April 2009

I Was NOT Wiggling

It was 3AM. We were in the twin room. My wife was in dreamland a few feet away, I was propped up on about seventeen pillows, snuffling like a pig. Nine hours on the road had done nothing for my cold. Knowing how irritating it can be sharing a room with a snuffling pig, squirming constantly to get comfortable, I had spent the past five hours diligently keeping still.

A cockerel crowed. At 3AM for goodness' sake. I could have done with a gun. My eyes wandered lazily around the room, the only possible weapon was my electric toothbrush. I could teach that half-wit cockerel a valuable lesson with an electric toothbrush.

Vroom, vroom, vroom!


Vroom, vroom, vroom! Wuhahahahaha...

Unfortunately the damn thing was probably half a mile away. Uncomfortable, I shifted my position slightly.

"Stop wiggling, wiggling," snapped my wife, who was asleep and swears she doesn't remember this.

"What did you say?" I asked, knowing full well what she said but playing along.

"Wiggling!" she replied vehemently.

For the record I wasn't wiggling, and I certainly wasn't wiggling, at the very most I had conducted a half-wriggle.

I ignored her and focused on the cockerel. Maybe I could conjure up some flying tarpaulin (see last post), or better still a pack of wolves. Or even better, a motley croud of cruel children, armed with electric toothbrushes and peashooters.

Vroom, vroom, vroom! Pop! Thwack!


Wuhahahaha. I would make a great wizard.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Suicide Pact

I'm sitting in a service station somewhere in the Midlands, guzzling Dr Pepper and coffee in a what can only be a suicide pact. If you read about a man whose bladder burst while driving up the M1 you know where to send the flowers.

My emotions are mixed. On the one hand the traffic is horrendous, I'm fighting an awful cold, and my car overheated on the M25. On the other hand, my mind is filled with delight and sweet aromas. Once again natural justice is following me wherever I go.

I was in the fast lane, travelling fast. Not too fast, mind, I was just within the limit. The car behind me was really irritating me. I could not go any faster, the car in front of me would not permit it, yet this lunatic was right up my backside. It is entirely possible that the driver was literally brainless, that a zombie had sucked it out through a straw while she was asleep last night. Or maybe she slipped on the kitchen floor this morning, jamming a teaspoon through her skull and into her brain. I'm not being nasty, I think I did see the glint of a teaspoon handle in my rear view mirror. One thing is certain, to drive that recklessly something was clearly wrong with her brain.

Anyway, she was pushing right up behind me so I gave in and her past, deciding to focus my anger on the zombie, or the teaspoon.

Out of nowhere a huge piece of tarpaulin hit her car and wrapped itself round one of her wing mirrors. Fortunately she kept control of the car, but I watched her pull over onto the hard shoulder to remove the tarpaulin.

Ah, the sweet joy of natural justice.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Dead Dog

So anyway, I'm just back from the pub. Not drunk, mind you, as you can tell by my customary eloquence, just, well, just marginally merry from a couple of beers and a few hours of meaningless conversation.

The reason I'm shovelling drivel down your throat at 23:53 GMT is that this story warrants it. It happened to my mate's wife's girlfriend. So it's not as if it happened to the cousin of the man who lives next to the girl who walks the dog of the brother of my sister's hairdresser's hamster is it?

So my mate's wife's girlfriend had a dog. It was a large dog. I don't remember the breed but it was well advanced in age and had been slowly dying for the last year. Anyway, the poor thing passed away and this girl arranged to take the dead dog to her vet for disposal. I don't know anything about dog disposal, so I'm just gonna take this at face value. The vet was going to dispose of it, doing whatever vets do with dead dogs.

It being a large corpse, this girl was umming and arring about how to transport it across London to the vet's place. She ruled out using a bin liner, the last thing she wanted was the bag to rip and the dead dog to sprawl out into a busy street. That would not help her aspiring modelling career would it? In the end she opted for a sturdy holdall.

She reached the bottom of a staircase in the underground. A smartly dressed handsome young hunk approached her. "Need a hand with that?" he asked. She willingly obliged. The dog, dead as a dodo, was exceptionally heavy.

Halfway up the stairs the dashing young man turned to her. "My gosh this is heavy," he exclaimed, "what the hell is this?"

She panicked. The truth felt ugly. A pretty young girl dragging the rotting corpse of an old dog through London. "It's my boyfriend's DJ equipment," she lied.

When they reached the top of the stairs the man sprinted away, dragging his "loot" away and (I imagine) calculating the tidy profit he would make from it.

I like to imagine the look on his face as inspected his "loot" in the safety of his apartment. The profound state of dejection of a man who thought he was about to make a swift buck, but instead found himself in possession of a dead dog.

Monday, 6 April 2009

The Mentor at the Bank

With the current financial crisis and the recent G20 summit, where world leaders met to *cough cough* waste money being photographed in a pitiful spin exercise agree how to save the world (don't they need to save the cheerleader first?), I'm reminded of a prank I pulled with a friend at university. The link is pretty tenuous - the prank was at a bank.

At the time my friend, Ray, who later became my best man and one of my daughter's godparents, tended to wear a long, black, Matrix (leather) coat. One day we were on campus and I needed to go to the bank to extend my overdraft. Ray had a great idea. We would go in together and he would pretend to be my 'guide' or 'mentor'. Whenever I was asked a question I was to look up at him, and he would nod to indicate that I should proceed. It seemed terribly funny at the time.

We were called forward to the desk of one of the 'personal bankers', an austere lady with a giant blond bouffant and pearl earrings. She reminded me of one of my primary school teachers. "Please take a seat," she said. I took a seat and Ray stood rigidly behind my left shoulder.

"How may I help you?" she asked.

I looked up at Ray, who nodded cautiously. "I'd like to extend my overdraft," I said. She asked for my debit card. Once again I looked up at Ray. He paused for a second, as if weighing up the situation, and then nodded again. I handed over my debit card.

The lady stiffened and peered at me over her spectacles. She glanced up at Ray, and then back at me. The bouffant grew visibly larger, the pearl earrings winked in unison, a terrifying stoniness came into her grey eyes. Had I listened hard I expect I would have heard a dog barking in the distance.

"Who," she said, "is THAT?"

I looked up at Ray. A sense of acute discomfort came over me, maybe this wasn't such a great idea after all. Ray had the appearance of a Neo who was wetting himself with fear. He nodded again, a little reluctantly.

"This is my mentor," I said, employing my very best poker face.

"Well," she said, as if scolding a pair of naughty kindergartners, " either your 'mentor' leaves RIGHT NOW, or I call the police."

I turned to Ray. Once standing proud and upright, he was now drooping like a wet sock. "You wait outside," I said. He regained his composure and strode out Neo-like while I sorted out my overdraft.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Dirty Tissue That Broke My Spirit

I know you are fed up of the same old same old. One grumpy twenty-something-going-on-ninety-something tirelessly recounting commuting stories. One long drawn out moan. Well tough. The things I have to put up with.

When I got on my train home today there was only one seating area unoccupied. Following protocol (of course) I chose not to invade the space of others and commandeered the free area, despite the fact that the table was covered with trash. It was as if the entire Von Trapp family had been there, with an enormous entourage, and scoffed a feast of cheap travel food before leaving the remains in one collective act of (G20?) defiance.

I was knackered. A week of crazy long days at work. Getting home late then working in the evenings. Busted my back playing football. Creme egg prices going through the roof. And now the aftermath of a Von Trapp family scoff-up.

An old man burst onto the train. He was one of those people that, when they get on the train, you shudder inside and think no, not here, not opposite me, pleeeeeeeeeeeease. He was out of breath and crashing about with a huge rucksack, one of those spatially unaware people that simply should not be allowed to carry bags of any form.

He stumbled into the seat opposite me and knocked half the trash onto my lap.

"Thanks for that," I said politely. I wasn't in the mood for some random miscreant to knock half-eaten Von Trapp chicken legs onto my lap. Maybe that was overly harsh of me, I felt a little awkward when he apologised. I chose to ignore him, the trash and my now skanky trousers, and quietly read my paper.

A few minutes later the old man took off his coat. A grubby, well-used tissue dropped out of the sleeve and landed on my lap. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was the dirty tissue that broke my spirit. I got up and scurried away, thinking of the hot bath and beer that I would have when I got home.

Hot baths and beer, just a few of my favourite things.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Hypothetical Hell Day

Today I have the pleasure of announcing an exciting triangular guestival. I'm posting over at More Mindless Rambling, blognut is posting at Show My Face, and Cate is posting here. Our task, which we chose to accept, was to post on our hypothetical hell day. When you're done here head over to More Mindless Rambling and Show My Face. And now, I bring you Cate...

It's me, Cate, taking over Mo's blog today. Our agreed-upon topic? Hypothetical Hell Day. For him, it could be that allowing me to run amok on his blog would be part of his day from hell but it's too late for that now! I mean, I kind of like it over here. I think I'll stay awhile!

For me, Hell Day would likely fall on a Wednesday. Most Wednesdays, I'm able to work from home. This means I am able to sleep in until about 7:59am. But on Hell Day, I would not be working from home for some reason, which already puts me in a foul mood. My husband, Joe, would not realize this, allowing me to snooze for far too long.

Nothing starts my day off on the wrong foot like rushing to make it to work on time. And I do mean "on time" - my boss is quite unforgiving with the 8 o'clock sharp thing.

On this particularly awful day, something would undoubtedly make me late despite driving 80+ mph (Google tells me this is 128.75+ kw/h for those of you on Mo's side of the universe). I'm guessing it would be a school bus in my path, stopping every 20 feet to pick up the little children who are so delicate that mommy had to drive them the half a block from their house to the corner because they can't wait in the cold. Which now means mommy has to help them from the car, hugs and kisses, do you have your lunch?, have a nice day before putting them on the bus. Ugh. When I was a pretty pretty princess, I had to walk to school, uphill both ways, in the snow!

Once at work, the boss would eat my face for arriving at 8:02 without calling. Yeah, I'll "work" an extra two minutes at lunch. Since there's rarely any work to be done, "work" is only differentiated from "lunch" by whether or not the door is pulled shut while I read blogs. Bossman would then proceed to visit my office every forty minutes or so to rant and rave about something I have no control over or interest in. My boss IS the drama llama.

By the time quitting time rolls around (at exactly 5:00 pm, of course), a stress migraine would be in full-blown marching band mode. Just for kicks, cue the heavy rain and idiot drivers for the commute home. The best part of hell day is realizing I'm in my garage, no idea how I got there, and crawling upstairs to bed for a nap until Joe shows up.

After slicing my finger or burning my hand, Joe will seize control of dinner, which is just as well because I'm not going to want to eat it anyway. And it's safer for everyone involved. Migraines + fire + sharp objects = trips to the emergency room. We learned that lesson the hard way.

The evening would end with me being too stubborn to go to bed early, instead watching television until President Bush (what, I know he's not President anymore but NOTHING is more hellish to me than that!) interrupts Lost to proclaim victory over his sweatpants. Mission accomplished for sure!

And that's about all I would be able to take. At that point, I'd finally succomb to the evil of Hell Day and retreat into bed. Rather than curling up next to me for a snuggle and purr, the cat would attack my feet, causing one final increase to my blood pressure and head throbbing before I give in to the medication and passing out.
As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!