Sunday, 30 November 2014

I don't believe it...

I'm in grave danger of becoming a female parody of Victor Meldrew. This probably won't come as a shock to anyone that knows me.

Take, well, everything. I know it's a London thing to be exasperated by:

  • People stopping before the barriers on the underground
  • People stopping after the barriers on the underground
  • People that have to search their voluminous bags as it hadn't occurred to that they'd need their Oyster/Contactless/paper ticket before going through said barriers or getting on a bus.
  • People that stand and carefully read the line signs whilst blocking the crossover at Oxford Circus
  • Oxford Circus
  • Those that walk at less than 4MPH and insist that it's okay to stop and take pictures with no warning
  • Or better still with no warning and of their friends thus doubling the blockage
  • Let's face it: everything
But I'm becoming increasingly exasperated anyway, mostly about general rudeness, lack of consideration and generally acting as if only they are important in this increasingly crowded world. And then there's the really stupid things; becoming irritated by being told what to do.

Or even my recent exasperation that owing to me being mid changing of details I now have to try and prove that I exist so that I can add a legitimate vote to a future Tower Hamlets election. Mind you I was also exasperated by the fact that the FINAL DEMAND that told me I MUST do this by the 20th arrived... On the 22nd.


At least I've not started on service in shops, bars and restaurants.

Honestly I'm now considering no longer tweeting anything as somebody always comes back with some helpful advice that only they could have thought of. But here's the thing, well two things, firstly in a few words I have not conveyed everything about any given situation I am merely expressing my exasperation about whatever it is. Secondly, I'm actually quite clever contrary to my portrayed image of a PhDitz airhead that spends most of her time worrying about broken nails and... Well just broken nails.

But it's not just Twitter. Being told what to do in such a way that implies that a) I couldn't possibly know or b) what I do know is wrong. 

So yes, I can work this stuff out and I almost always have a plan B. Laptop dies? Use my tablet. Or phone. Internet goes off? Switch connection and tether from my phone, or dig out a dongle. Trains delayed? Find something to occupy myself. Totally screwed? Find a plan B. Pen runs out of ink? Use another pen. Or a pencil.

I do this day in, day out. Most days it at least involves mentally re-routing through the underground network without once looking at a map or changing my pace. It's what I do.

Pretty much me.
So a blurt of exasperation is just that and more often than not I will turn it in to a general screech in the direction of an aspect of modern living. And then I feel better.

As some of you know I will happily get in to an argument about something that has aggrieved me, but I don't want to keep doing this. It's bad enough that I find myself mentally mimicking Mr Meldrew but saying it outloud is making me sound like a cantankerous middle-aged harridan.


More importantly I'm finding myself snapping some response that drips with the rancid gooeyness of bitter sarcasm. And I don't like this, it's certainly not what I'd planned to write about this morning. Unfortunately I am not sure how best to turn this around without simply disconnect me from the source of whatever it is that is causing the feeling to fester.

Watch this space.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Do you fancy trying them?

So this evening I decided to meet up with a friend for a natter and a quick drink. Or two. The location was carefully set as Tottenham Court Road as owing to me, a pair of wellies and a few thousand poppies I'm currently hobbling around W1 at 0.9 times the speed of a particularly clueless tourist.

Not a sight one wants to see.

Anyway, we agreed to meet by Tottenham Court Road as it sort of made sense and did rather avoid the tenth circle of Hell that Dante sensibly excluded from Divina Commedia: Oxford Circus.

Except I'd forgotten that arranging to meet anyone at TCR is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack that's strapped to a racing car in a tornado. Just with more tourists about. At least the hoardings were down outside the Dominion Theatre.

Two large gins in the Plough on Museum Street later we were walking back to TCR and vaguely ignored a young lady that was handing out something or other outside the Starbucks on New Oxford Street. My companion had to pop in to deal with a call of nature so we bid each other farewell and I continued on my way.

At this point the young lady again tried to offer me whatever the free sample was. I peered closely but owing to being frightfully middle aged I couldn't actually read what it said, so she told me: Condoms.

I thought I misheard her.

After all, I'm 47; I tend not to get offered condoms on the street any more. Well, if the truth be known I never was offered any and definitely not by very attractive young ladies. But I digress. After I burst out laughing a bizarre exchange occurred which lead to her deciding it might be best if I have more than one and I went on my way, still giggling as, if the truth be known, she was too.

Within 5 yards a man started talking to me, he was, unsurprisingly perhaps, interested in the conversation and cackling that had just occurred. Being amused and gin merry I proceeded to explain that I'd just been given condoms with the hope that I'd get lucky and need them over the weekend.

Unlikely, I must to clean my oven and sort the pan cupboard.

I laughed along with me at the insanity of the suggestion before kindly making a suggestion that went something like this:

Him: so, err, do you fancy trying them out now
Me: I'm not sure I follow
Him: you know, we could go somewhere quiet.
Me: *     *
Him: yeah, it'd be fun, so do you fancy it...

Now let me think...

I'm pretty sure that no about covers it. And then some.

For added entertainment the conversation continued along those lines for what felt like an eternity before I wished him a good evening and disappeared down the stairs of Tottenham Court Road station with the plan that if he followed I was going to attach myself to the nearest PCSO, BTP or TFL staff member that happened to be there.

So what is that? At what point does your innate politeness kick in and make sure that instead of you telling somebody to leave in no uncertain terms you keep on banging the polite drum knowing that you'll only use any serious sanctions if things get out of hand.

On the plus side at least it wasn't like when I was coming back from the WI group thing and was semi-accosted in Oxford Circus whilst being less merry and more actually quite drunk. On the plus side I did get away with pushing the blokes involved away before making a run for it.

Anyway, it's left me once more feeling slightly perturbed but I'm sure I'll get over it. In the meantime I've some prophylactics that won't get used if anyone needs some which, according to the girl that gave me them, are the closest thing to wearing nothing.

She was wearing an awful lot so I'm not sure she really meant it...

Friday, 21 November 2014

It's a disgrace...

I've heard a couple of women muttering "it's a disgrace" so many times this evening it's actually a miracle I didn't push them off the train. Well it's not as then I might have lost my seat.

And that would never do.

I knew something was up when I got to Kings Cross by the skin of my teeth and then waited. As the train filled to overflowing I told the boy that I was as ever grateful that I was in First Class and had a seat. Without, that is, somebody sticking their elbows in my side or leering at my cleavage.

I was also glad I followed my usual habit of getting the train before the one I had to get as the delay meant there would be no wait at Cambridge for my connection.

It was perfectly timed, I alighted, sauntered up to the last AMT outlet, the one by the waiting room that I'm endlessly berating the train company about, picked up my customary tea and shortbread before finally waltzing straight on to the newly arrived chuffa train and took my favourite seat.



I knew we'd be delayed as the following train wouldn't make the connection unless they waited. It mattered not; I had tea. And shortbread.

Sure enough the hoardes arrived. And kept arriving. And then arrived some more.


I lost count of the of First Class ticket holders that stuck their head through the door before stalking off. Mrs ItsADisgrace made it all clear when she proclaimed loudly that:

I booked a reserved First Class seat. It's a disgrace, there should be enough seats. Etc.

She mentioned this a few times. But here's the thing: she clearly didn't have reserved seating on this train as doesn't have it. In the First Class compartment there are seven seats. Seven. She'd obviously been heading to Norwich from Liverpool Street on the Intercity where there are, I think, two coaches dedicated to First. It might be more.

Not seven seats.

At this point I sighed, put in my ear phones and ignored the droning complaints about this itsy bitsy little branch train.

Even Jesus would have struggled to seat the five thousand.

I never cease to be amazed by the way people can blissfully ignore the reality of a situation and instead bang on in such a way to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they are quite stupid.

Anyway, it was a first for me, I've never seen people sitting on the floor of First before but, if truth be told, it was still more civilised than the hell beyond the automatic doors.