July 30, 2004
Just hideously and horrifically bored. Boredy, boredy, bored.
Work is so quiet at the moment. My phone rang two hours ago. It was the wrong number! I offered to do someone else’s work. It took me five minutes. I’ve even agreed to go out to lunch with the office misogynist next week, you know, just to liven things up.
Clearly, things are bad.
I’m trying to be constructive though, looking for evening classes so that I can make moves towards the career change I’ve long been considering. I’ve been researching various grouting techniques on the Internet so that I can finish off my kitchen floor tomorrow. I’m planning the work that’s needed on my roof and thinking of ways to raise the cash to pay for it (selling an organ on the internet, smuggling illegal immigrants into Kent out of spite for Middle England, taking all my empty bottles back to the supermarket to collect the deposit… what? They don’t do that anymore?). I’m investigating the possibility of consolidating my debts into my mortgage. I’m trying to borrow someone’s strimmer so that I can sort out my Triffid-like garden. All of this stuff is “constructive”, is “helping me to grow as a person” and “will all be worth it in the long run”, but Sweet Jesus Christ Our Bearded Lord, it’s just all so unutterably dull, dull, and dull!
“But hang on a minute Jonesey”, I hear you all cry. “Let’s just get life into a little bit of perspective shall we! At least you have a house! At least you have a job. At least you’ve got food. At least you’ve got the wherewithal to fight your way out of tight spots. You’re luckier than many!”
I know, I know. I just wish I were in a shaded beer garden with my mates rather than trapped indoors staring at this LCD screen.
July 29, 2004
My mate Trigger (of tiling my kitchen floor fame) has a six-year-old sister who for the purposes of this blog I’ll call Apple. Actually no I won’t, because that is one of the most ridiculous names ever given to a child!!! Shame on you Chris and Gwyneth! I’ll call her Cotton Socks instead.
I agreed to watch over Cotton Socks so that Trigger could train with the football team, my back being too sore to take part at the moment. Cotton Socks and I sat down by the kit bags while the training session got underway. We talked about what she’d been up to at school, we talked about the exercises the team were doing and we played “It”, or at least Cotton Socks’ version of “It” which means that the rules can change at any point.
“I’m home! I'm home! Anything yellow is home, so you can’t get me!” she squeeled as I caught up with her.
“But I thought anything blue was home.”
“It’s yellow now. I changed it.”
Suddenly she stopped, head cocked to one side, and stared at me intently.
“Jonesey, why are you wearing glasses?”
“So I can see better.”
"Because otherwise I can't see as well."
“But you don’t usually wear glasses.”
“No, but I drove over and I always wear my glasses when I drive.”
“Take 'em off a minute.” She lunged for my face.
“Okay.” I said ducking out of the way. I took them off.
She nodded as if confirming a suspicion. “Yeah, you look better without them.”
“Thanks darling...I think.”
A little later, exhausted from running around, Cotton Socks was sat on my knee telling me a story about dinosaurs and bridges.
“…and the dinosaur king walked over the bridge. The End.”
“That’s a lovely story.”
She smiled shyly.
“I love you.”
“I love you too darling.”
She turned round, planted me a huge kiss and then gave me a cuddle.
Bless her little cotton socks.
July 28, 2004
Milking the Duct
I think it’s fair to say that I’ve got a fair amount on my plate at the moment:
- There’s the fact that I’ve got to somehow find £3.5K to fix the roof of my flat.
- There’s the fact that I can’t actually live in it because it is devoid of a kitchen and bathroom
- There’s the fact that work is a big steaming pile of shit.
- There’s the fact that The Old Girl is making funny noises again.
- There’s the fact I’ve done my back in so I can’t play footie for a few weeks (one of my major stress releases)
- There’s the fact I still don’t have a bankcard after that fucker cloned it.
- And then there are a few significant other things that I don’t want to mention here, things that are taxing my brain no end and just adding to the stress.
So you can imagine just how fucking pleased I was to wake up yesterday morning to find that I was growing and extra head just under my ear lobe. Yes, dear readers. An extra head!
It started out quite small and I thought “glands, that’s all”. But then I ate something and it felt like I’d just stuffed my mouth full of fizzy cola bottles. You know that feeling when all your taste buds go insane and the corners of your mouth start spasming?
“Odd,” I thought, “considering I’m only eating toast”.
It settled back down after a while, and I got on with my morning.
At lunchtime I met an old colleage and ordered me up a massive plate of bangers and mash. But the strangest thing happened. The minute I thought about food that weird sensation in my mouth returned and when I started to actually eat, the lump swelled up to the size of a golf ball.
“What the fuck is happening to your head?” asked my lunch companion.
“Absolutely no fucking idea,” I replied.
“If I were you, mate, I’d take yourself down the hospital.”
And so I did, to the minor injuries unit, and they packed me straight off to the emergency dental unit.
Do you know how much I hate dentists? I ain’t so keen on heights either, so you can imagine my sheer terror as I emerged onto the 25th floor of Guy’s Hospital Tower into a room filled with dentist bay after dentist bay. This was obviously the lecture hall for dental students, but to me it looked like something out of Brave New World. There were about 50 all together and the nurse settled me into one of them.
“Enjoy the view, the dentist won’t be long.”
Ten minutes and a substantial panic attack later the dentist arrived and began her examination.
She sent me down for an x-ray and then when I came back up she had a colleague with her.
“Now, this is an interesting case. I sent her for an x-ray as a precaution but I don’t think she really needed one.”
Oh, thanks… an hour and a half of my life wasted for absolutely nothing.
“What I think she has is an infected saliva duct. Unusual in someone so young.”
“Really? Did you try and milk the duct?”
“Well, I thought it would be best to try and get the inflammation down first. Then we can check to see if there’s a stone. Milking the duct could cause further damage. Incidentally, recent research suggests that perhaps the swelling occurs before the stone develops. Until now it was always thought to be the other way round!”
I’m still fucking here you know! And your fingers are still in my mouth! And yes, I am in fucking pain!
“Really, how fascinating. So, what are you going to do?”
“Well, I thought I’d put her on a course of antibiotics and get her back in if the swelling doesn’t go down. Really, it’s very unusual in someone so young.”
Glad she thinks I’m young. I feel about a hundred and fifty right now.
Milking the duct??? Eeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!
July 27, 2004
The wine, the school friends and the wardrobe
Our soon to be flatmate (an old school friend of Junior's) was round last night to cook some seriously good dal and to help us erect two rooms worth of flat pack furniture. I say she was helping “us” but in reality she was helping my sister. For the first time in known history I have done my back in and am struggling with the whole “standing up and sitting down” thing, let alone the “move lots of furniture around” thing.
After dinner, during which Jez and Dutchie finished off a bottle of wine between them, they persuaded me to have a hot bath and a lie down (on my nice new bed) while they pressed on with the business of putting together the triple wardrobe for Dutchie’s room. I, obviously fairly reluctantly and with much disappointment at not being able to help, agreed and sank into the hot bubbles with my book. Ah, me!
As fascinating and interesting as my book about the Sahara was, I soon found myself engrossed in the concentrated and highly focussed exchange between these two budding DIY experts.
Dutchie: Right, the instructions look easy enough.
Jez: Yeah, the bedside table was a doddle. I reckon we’ll be just fine.
Fast forward ten minutes.
Jez: Where do you think this goes?
Dutchie: What bit?
Jez: This bobbley bit.
Dutchie. Let’s see. Hmmmm. What about here?
Jez. Erm, let’s see. Yes, that’s right because then that bit will do this and that long bit of plastic will do that and then the drawer will slide on like this.
Dutchie (enthusiastically): Yeah and this bit over here would sit over that bit there and then the hinges will fasten here and we’ll have to hang the doors like this so that they open like that!
Jez (triumphantly): Exactly!
I eventually hoisted myself out of the bath and wandered into Dutchie’s room to see how they were getting on.
Jonesey: How’s it going?
Jez (confidently): Fine. Look: we’ve got this flush with that and all we need to do is this and we’re on to stage four!
Dutchie (excitedly): Yeah, it’s not anywhere near as hard as you’d think it is.
Jez (proudly): AND… we found a better way to do it than it said in the instruction manual.
Jonesey (alarmed): A better way than the instruction manual?
Dutchie (off-handedly): Yeah. That bit was WAY too complicated so we just put this here, that there, screwed this to that and bingo!
Jonesey (tentatively): Hmmm. Maybe the instruction manual meant it to be put up in the way it says, you know… because it was designed that way. Just thinking aloud.
Jez (laughing light-heartedly): Yeah, and we’ll get to the end and realise we’ve done something wrong and that the whole thing won’t work and we’ll have to start again.
Dutchie (hysterically): Wouldn’t that be funny.
Jez: Anyway, I’m bored now. Let’s just put this bit there, fasten that and carry on tomorrow.
Dutchie: Yeah, I need a fag anyway.
To be fair, Jez put up a bedside table and a chest of drawers for my bedroom yesterday. They’re still standing proud today. Maybe she’s one step ahead of the flat pack game. Maybe she should hire herself out as a writer of instruction manuals, you know, in between acting jobs. Or maybe we should wait and see how they get on with stages four, five, six and seven.
I will keep you posted.
July 26, 2004
Close Encounter of the Threatening Kind
After a big family meal on Saturday night, Jones Junior and myself sneaked out of the house for a crafty fag. We opted for the riverbank with its lovely views of Tower Bridge and the London skyline. Once our cigarettes were lit we picked up our idle chatter where we left off. It was the easy talk of two people who know each other inside out. In fact at times neither of us said a word.
I was enjoying this quick ten minutes alone with my sister after an intense family occasion. The night was lovely and warm, the views were amazing and the water was having a soothing affect on both of us.
Our tranquillity was broken when we were approached by the most enormous middle-aged man I have ever seen… with a Doberman!!! A fucking Dober-fucking-man!!! (At this point I refer you to my post below entitled “Feel the Fucking Fear). This guy was the size of Geoff Capes, only much, much bigger and his orc-dog was built like a brick shit house. At first I didn’t think much of him, assuming he was just out for a walk and had decided to take in the view for a while. But he made a beeline for us and when he reached our spot he let his Doberman off the lead. Immediately the beast bounded over and came and stood still next to me. The man smiled.
“Hello,” he said as he stood there looking at us.
“I’m very scared of dogs,” I replied rigidly. My sister edged closer to me.
“It’s not really a dog,” he said, waving his arm dismissively. My sister edged closer still. It clearly was a dog and this man was clearly a little strange. “You look like two intelligent women.”
“Yes, we are,” replied my sister.
"Easy," I thought. This giant of a man had all the hallmarks of a nutter and his next line proved my suspicion right.
“So, do you have any questions?”
“I’m sorry?” I replied, somewhat taken aback.
“I mean, you must have questions, right? You don’t know everything. About life and stuff. Go ahead and ask.” My sister edged closer again. I was eyeing the dog carefully, his slavering jaw being but inches from my hand.
“Actually, my sister and I were just trying to relax by the river, you know…” my voice trailed, hoping he’d take the hint. What I really wanted to say was “fuck off you weirdo and take your devil-dog with you”, but I didn’t think that that would be wise.
“Do you guys live round here?” he asked.
“Over there,” I said, gesturing in the opposite direction of our house. I turned pointedly to my sister in an attempt to end the encounter. “So, what was that you were saying about mum?”
“You don’t have any questions?” he asked again.
“No,” I replied abruptly, staring at him firmly.
“Okay, okay,” he said, taking the hint at last. “I’ll just move myself upshore, shall I?”
Clearly pissed off that we’d been rude, he marched away. Jez and I stubbed out our fags and practically ran home.
Some men just don’t get it, do they? He turned out to be a harmless lonely old nutter who just wanted to chat to someone. That’s fine, I understand that. But at what point did he, a six foot five bloke, think that approaching two women who are minding their own business by the river at close to midnight, WITH a Doberman that he unleashed, despite one of them saying she was scared of dogs, just at what point did he think that that would be okay? What did he expect us to do? Invite him back for Horlicks?
He probably left feeling very sad, lonely and rejected.
We left feeling scared, angry, and reminded of our vulnerability.
July 23, 2004
It's all about finding the balance.
July 21, 2004
I have a fear of big dogs. Not all big dogs. Labradors, Retrievers, Sheepdogs, Setters and all those happy, cheerful ones are fine. Perhaps I’m a little uneasy at first but I’m not terrified. The big, nasty looking ones, like Dobermans, Alsatians, Pittbulls and Rottweillers, well they scare the living shit out of me.
I haven’t always had this phobia. I think I’m pretty fearless on the whole, too fearless in fact. But I remember the very second it all changed. I bear the mental scars to this day.
When I first moved to London I took a job as a Park Keeper. I loved and hated that job. I loved the physical aspect of the work and I relished being outdoors despite it being the depths of winter. But I hated clearing away piles and piles and piles of autumn leaves, I hated the sneering, right wing rednecks I worked with who thought a woman wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. But what I hated most of all were the fluorescent yellow waterproof trousers and jacket I had to wear in bad weather.
We’re talking a major eyesore here. The jacket was one of those standard padded yellow affairs with white reflective strips that builders, workmen, engineers and policemen wear alike. The trousers were plastic, yellow and a hundred sizes too big. I stood out a mile, a huge, rustling, fluorescent yellow blob on the green landscape of life.
One afternoon I was minding my own business tidying up a small park area. It was pissing it down and so I had reluctantly pulled on my dazzling waterproofs. I was pruning the flowerbeds, mowing the grass, that sort of thing, and had just stooped down to pick up a piece of litter when a red rubber ball landed about twenty centimetres from me. I stood up and turned in the direction it had come from. My heart froze and my bowels loosened.
Chasing the ball and bearing towards me at high speed was the hugest most ferocious looking Rottweiller I have ever seen. I mean he was fucking enormous, a lean, muscular fighting machine bristling with aggression.
The beast came to a stop half a metre to the other side of the ball and I became acutely aware of my position. There I was, hindered by my waterproofs, threatening the dog’s toy. The dog had no muzzle and seemingly no owner to keep him under control.
Crouching low, he looked at me. A deep growl resonated from his chest. My bowels loosened further. I looked away (I’d heard you were supposed to do that) but he continued to growl. I stepped back and he flinched. My bowels loosened again. He continued to stare straight at me, becoming more and more agitated, growling louder and louder. The yellow glare was certainly not working in my favour.
To be honest, I think I nearly fainted. My legs were about to give way on me, my throat was dry and my eyes were probably the size of saucers. All of a sudden I heard a voice.
“'ere boy, 'ere boy. Where are ya?”
From around the corner came a young South London geezer in his mid-twenties. He caught sight of his dog and began a slow amble towards us.
“Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up” I thought to myself. I willed him to speed up as the growling turned to threatening barking.
I gave way to panic and terror.
“Come and get your dog!” I screamed. “Please. Come and get your dog away from me.”
“S’alright darling, he won’t ‘urt ya!” he shouted over to me.
“Please! Please come and get him. Please!” I started to cry, my bottom lip wobbling all over the place.
The barking grew louder and more savage with the sound of my voice. After what seemed like a hundred million years the bloke finally reached us, grabbed hold of the dog’s collar and bent down to pick up the ball.
“Jesus Christ what’s up with you?” he asked as he saw the state I was in.
“Your dog… your dog’s growling at me. He was going to attack me…” my voice petered away.
“You’re ‘avin a larf intya? Fackin’ wouldn’t ‘urt a fly this one, would ya Charlie?” and he turned round dragging the dog away with him.
“You wimmin,” he threw back over his shoulder, “Scared of fackin’ anything intya?”
Bastard geezer! Bastard dog!
July 20, 2004
To the cock-sucking motherfucker who cloned my card and spent £650 on petrol in Leighton over the last 4 weeks.
Do you have absolutely no fucking respect for those people who work hard to make their money? Do you really think that you deserve free fucking cash? Do you think it makes you big? Clever? No, because you are a fucking cunt of the highest fucking order.
Do you not take into account all the shit things people have to put up with on a daily basis? Do you think it’s fair to heap yet more shite on them just so that you don’t have to get off your pathetic arse to work for your living?
Thank you for adding to my fucking load you sorry heap of shit! Do me a favour and climb out of my fucking gene pool! I have nothing in common with you!
July 19, 2004
Well Turned Out
Most of the time I get up, shower, pull on a pair of black trousers or jeans, pull on a top, jump into my pumas, tie my hair back and go to work. I don’t think I look bad. I actually think I look quite nice in a slightly scruffy kind of way.
This morning I showered, moisturised, selected a skirt, tried it on with a couple of tops, selected the right top, blow dried my hair, applied face powder, mascara and lipstick, put on my new skimpy sandals and made my way into work.
I do look nice. I look like I’ve taken more care. People have commented. The only thing is I’m not sure I can be bothered to do that everyday. I’d have to get up earlier for starters... I was half an hour late.
July 18, 2004
She woke in the night, curled around her damp pillow.
"When will it happen?" she asked the dark.
"When it's meant to be," the dark replied.
"But why must I wait so long?"
"Because when it comes, it will be greater than anything you have ever imagined."
And she turned over as the dark drew her into a deep and comforting sleep.
July 16, 2004
Tired and Emotional.
There are days when you just feel like telling people to fuck off because everyone’s being a bit of a fucker and everything just seems to be a little bit fucked. On days like these I think it’s only right and fair to remove oneself from society until the phase has passed.
And that is exactly what I plan to do until about 2pm tomorrow. This evening I shall go swimming, buy lots of nice food, lie on my sofa and watch a couple of films. The swimming will deal with the anger and frustration, the food (largely chocolate based) should sort out the hormones, the sofa will ease my tired body and the films should take my mind off life’s little irritations.
My movies of choice in these situations are two excellent Jimmy Stewart classics: It’s a Wonderful Life (the first line of this review is "Yes, this movie can prevent you from committing suicide. Yes it can. It has such a power") and Harvey. I’ve seen these films time and again and they never fail to restore me to my happy and positive self. Tonight, though, I fancy something new and am therefore asking you all to recommend the film that makes you feel good about life. I’ll then pick a couple and see if i can rent them out tonight.
Over to you my popsies:
July 15, 2004
I wanted to smack her head in. I really did. There I was in M&S with a bar of chocolate in my hand. I found a short queue and stood behind the lady in question. She turned to me, smiled and turned away.
So far, so nothing, right? Wrong! The thing is she had quite a lot of stuff and I only had a chocolate bar. I kept waving it discreetly in front of her so she’d get the hint. I even had the right money, which I made a big show of counting out.
Did she let me go in front of her to carry out a five second transaction? No she fucking didn’t.
July 14, 2004
Well, it had been a lovely couple of days. The wedding itself had passed off without a hitch (well, except for the bride and groom, who did indeed get hitched) and the subsequent two days of festivities had taken their toll. I was tired but in a good way.
I pulled into Bordeau and dropped my mate off at the station. I waved as she vanished into the crowd before beginning the final leg of my journey.
I pulled away, narrowly missing a bus, a taxi and a bicycle, all of which appeared from behind a bread van parked half on the curb. By the time I’d reached the first traffic light I knew there was a problem. Every time I pressed the accelerator the whole car shook like a shitting dog. Not good. Not good at all. I pulled over, got out and made a bit of a show of looking under and around the car in a knowing way. Satisfied that I was none the wiser I got back in and pulled away again. Good, good! The car was behaving itself.
I found my way onto the motorway and was thinking how much nicer it was to drive my parent’s 4x4 than my own ancient polo when suddenly the car started shaking again, only this time I was cruising at a comfortable 130kph in the fast lane. My heart jumped into my mouth as I grappled to keep control of the steering wheel. Somehow I made it to the hard shoulder in one piece and it was some time before I stopped swearing.
All was not lost, as Dad had signed up to some big rescue service called Europe Assistance. The premise of this company is that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, if you get into trouble anywhere in Europe they will come to your aid. And so I called them only to find that the only place they couldn’t come to my aid was on French motorways. “These are deemed to be private property”, the good lady explained.
She told me I needed to get towed by the motorway rescue service and once the car and I were delivered to a mechanic they would take over from there. So I wandered up the hard shoulder to one of those orange rescue telephones, pressed the button and was informed that someone would be along in 25 minutes or so. I wandered back to the car cursing the fact that I’d stopped smoking. I climbed over the safety barrier and sat on the grassy, hilly verge to wait.
I’m happy to inform you that my predicament served at the very least to alleviate the boredom of some twenty or so French lorry drivers, each of whom pressed their horn as they sped past. I wasn’t sure whether this was in sympathy or in mockery. More likely it was because I was wearing a little pink top and shorts. Perverts!
I called my mum, which I regretted almost immediately. She span off into a frenzied panic that could only be alleviated by rushing round to the neighbour’s for a cup of tea. I let her go off on one. It was simpler that way.
Eventually I spotted a pick up truck and out stepped Jean Francois to my rescue. He checked the car out and after some head scratching he agreed with me that it was indeed fucked. I asked him what was wrong. He just shrugged.
The car safely hoisted onto his truck, Jean Francois then helped me into the cab. Instinctively I searched for the seatbelt. There was none. Oh well, c’est la vie. I braced myself as we sped up the hard shoulder for what seemed like an eternity before we’d gathered enough speed to join the motorway. It was then a twenty-minute drive to his garage where I was greeted by his wife with a cup of coffee and a fag (oh come on, I’m only human).
He took the car out for a spin and came back pale and withdrawn. It seems he found it to be un-drivable and he told me he wouldn’t be able to fix it then and there. And so I decided to call Europe Assistance in the hope that they would find a way to get the car to my parents and me to the airport in time for my flight.
But nothing is ever that simple is it? Four hours later I was still sat in Jean Francois’ garage on my third fag and fourth coffee. To say I was tense is an understatement. I was stranded in a little village called Saint-Loubes where everyone apart from Jean Francois and his wife were on holiday. I went off in search of food and the only place open was a hairdresser’s called Hair Loubes. This did make me chuckle a little, but only a little. I walked back to the garage and called Europe Assistance for the twelfth time. I’d resigned myself to having missed the flight. I just wanted to get to my parent's place.
They told me they’d managed to get me a hire car and they were sending a taxi to take me to it. What about the car? That will have to stay in Saint Loubes until further notice.
An hour later, Pierre Yves pulled up in his little taxi. He smiled at me, threw my suitcase in the back and off we set. We arrived in Bordeau half an hour later at exactly the place where I’d dropped my friend off. The irony was not lost on me.
It took Pierre Yves twenty minutes of random driving before he could admit to me that he didn’t know where he was going. We pulled into a taxi rank so that he could consult his colleagues, but it seems he couldn’t do this without first enquiring about their health, their wives, their children and arranging a big piss up on the Friday.
He climbed back in, smiled at me again and found his way to Budget Car Hire. I was so relieved to have finally made it there that you could imagine my slight shock when I realised that they had absolutely no idea who I was.
A half hour phone call to Europe Hindrance and the car hire company released a car to me. We did the usual checks, I got in started her up and put her in gear...only I’d been driving an automatic all weekend and so I put the car in gear without pressing down on the clutch.
What a fucking god almighty noise that makes eh!!! The guy looked horrified but I wheel span out of there, ran a red light and found the motorway as soon as I could.
I have to say that my little Clio did indeed have a lot of Va Va Voooom about it. They’re feisty little things and it packed a nice little stereo. I tuned in to Europe 2, a rather average station that stood out in a sea of shit music. They even played Coldplay. Oooooh.
By the time I left the motorway to get to my parent’s I was much calmer. I found my way through most of the little country roads enjoying a lovely sunset, but I took a wrong turn and soon I started to recognise very little indeed.
Usually my pride would have prevented me from calling for help but I had very little of that left. So a phonecall was made, the neighbour’s son was dispatched to find me and eventually I pulled into the driveway ten hours after I’d set off.
Mum had a cold beer waiting for me. “One won’t be enough,” I said. She pointed to a crate by the fridge.
July 08, 2004
Ooh La La
I'm off to a wedding in france for the weekend. I'm looking forward to it. I even bought myself a new dress, a yellow fifties number. I thought I'd pick up some new shoes too. The whole outfit looks quite nice.
That is except for the fuck off huge astro burn scar i have down my left shin. Damn those slide tackles.
Such a classy chick..
July 07, 2004
I’ve just been shopping for a bikini. I decided against it though and bought a one-piece instead. The more of me covered up in front of an entire wedding party the better.
I was in a well-known high street store checking out its bikini display when I noticed a bloke wandering around in an awkward manner staring wildly at various items of swimwear. Talk about a fish out of water. I browsed for a while and turned to see him sidling up to me.
“Ahm, er, excuse me. Sorry to bother you. I’ve been sent out to buy a bikini and, well, ahem, I have no idea what to do. Can you help me?”
“Well, I know she’s a size twelve but, you know, erm, how exactly does that relate to, well, bikini tops?”
“Right I see. It kind of depends on her bra size. Do you know it?”
“Oh, well she didn’t give me that information you see. Oh dear. What shall I do?”
He looked around in what seemed like a fairly futile manner, gathering more stress with each gaze. I was wondering what he was looking for until his eyes wandered down to my chest.
“Well, she’s about the same size as you I would guess, you know.” He nodded towards my bosoms before turning a deep shade of crimson.
“Ah, I see. In that case try this.”
“Oh, thank you. I hope you didn’t think I was staring at your chest.”
“It’s just that, well I needed some sort of frame of reference.”
“It really is okay.”
“You see I don’t do this often. Buy bikinis I mean. Or stare at women’s chests.”
“Don’t worry about it. Really.”
“I should stop now shouldn’t I?”
“Thank you. Really, thank you, and I hope you’re not offended.”
“Not at all.”
July 06, 2004
Sometimes, when work gets a little difficult and stress sits on my shoulders like a dead German Shepherd I take myself off to the local Starbucks for a cup of soothing Tchai Tea, sit on the sofa and lose myself in a book. After yesterday’s sad news at the office I decided to do just that and was looking forward to an hour of escapism with The Full Cupboard of Life, a feel good affair that makes you go, ahhhhhhh!
I strolled up the road feeling the stress ebbing away and wandered up to the counter.
Ms Jones: Hello. Can I have a Grande cup of Tchai please? But not the Tchai you make with milk, just the Tchai tea with hot water.
Starbucks Manager: To have in or to take away?
Ms Jones: To have in, thanks.
So the manager turned around and I saw him start to make the wrong thing. You see, Starbucks have an alternative Tchai kind of drink where they squirt some Tchai paste in a cup and fill it with hot milk. I just wanted a plain old tea bag in hot water. He was about to start putting the milk in when I interrupted him.
Ms Jones: Excuse me, sorry, but can I just have the Tchai tea bag with hot water. That’s the one I want. Sorry.
The manager gave me a look much like one someone would give if you had just stood on small child’s sandcastle. He turned around, reached for a tea bag but then seemed to change his mind. He turned back to face me with a thunderous face.
Manager: Can I ask you just exactly what you expected when you asked for that drink, eh?
Somewhat taken aback I couldn’t speak for a few seconds. But his remark went down with me as a well as a shit sandwich would with the queen and within moments I could feel the blood rushing in my ears. It’s fair to say that I was reaching boiling point, even if my tea most certainly wasn’t.
Ms Jones: I’m sorry? Don’t talk to me in that way. Don’t be aggressive with me. I’m just pointing out that you’re making the wrong drink.
Manager: Aggressive??? I’M NOT BEING AGGRESSIVE. I’m just asking you what you expect if you order the wrong drink.
Ms Jones: Look mate, I come in here about twice a week and order that drink from you and you always make the right one. This time you made the wrong one and I just told you and now you’re being rude and aggressive.
Enter the good-looking assistant manager who appeared with a look of grave concern on his face. In an effort to diffuse the situation he wandered over, slapped the cretinous manager on his back and smiled at me.
Good-looking assistant manager: Don’t mind him. He’s Portuguese and he’s just sour that they lost yesterday.
But this was to no avail. The damage had been done and just as the manager was pouring hot water over the tea bags, anger got the better of me.
Ms Jones: (eyes stinging) You know what? I came here to relax and now I’m really, REALLY fucked off. Your attitude is just shit. I don’t want your fucking tea now so you can take it and shove it up your sorry, second place, Portuguese arse.
This is before I gave up smoking. Doesn’t bode well, does it?
July 05, 2004
The sheer pointlessness of smoking just dawned on me as I went out to buy some cigarettes to make me feel better because somebody died!!!
All support greatly appreciated. The worst bit will be down the pub.
Ms Jones - ex smoker.
Oh and Jez, you can have those fags I left on the telly.
It doesn’t seem right to blog about anything amusing today. We’ve just been sent a note telling us that one of our colleagues passed away at his desk on Friday evening. I hardly knew the man but I do know that he was one of the nice ones.
It just goes to show that you shouldn’t take anyone or anything for granted.
July 02, 2004
Communication in the office environment is paramount. Without it where would we be? Email has revolutionised the way we communicate with each other. It has speeded up and facilitated the exchange of ideas and information. But at what cost to actual human interaction of the very real kind, you know when one person opens his mouth and emits sound waves that are detected by another person’s eardrum and decoded by the brain?
Yesterday a colleague asked me to send an email for him as he was taking the day off. I sent it to the addresses he gave me, I attached the document he needed to send and I copied him in so he’d know it had been sent. He just got back to his desk and emailed me one word:
He sits next to me. If I stretch my arm out I can touch him. Am I the only one who thinks that that is completely and utterly ridiculous?
I wanted to write something about my friends today. You see, the good ship Jonesy has been sailing though some turbulent seas recently. Don’t worry; we’re not talking about a massive tornado that’s pulling me up and under. It’s more like lots of fairly minor storms one after the other without much of a let up – everyone has to weather them from time to time. But not once have I ever stopped smiling really. Sure, it’s been an arse at times and I’ve felt glum and exhausted, but when you have friends like I have you can pretty much cope with anything.
Last night I was out in the pub with my oldest friend Bob (she’s commented here on occasion). Yesterday was a little bit of an arse really and so meeting up with her for a beer (or four as it turned out) was exactly what I needed. We chatted about everything, her stuff, my stuff and we managed to put things into perspective for each other. We also laughed a lot, which is one of the best remedies for nearly everything.
And then there’s another mate, who I’ll call Trigger here, who has been on the end of the phone for me whenever I’ve needed to let off steam. Patient and supportive, she’s been a bit of a rock recently. She’s also been helping me tile my kitchen floor for which I will be eternally grateful.
And what about my sister? She really is as fun and lovely as she comes across on her blog and while I miss living in my flat, there is no one else who I’d rather squat with.
But today is a sad day because my two closest male friends are departing to coach footie in the States for six months. These guys are like brothers to me and they will leave a big gap behind them, not just for me, but for a lot of us. It’s their leaving drinks tonight and I sense it will be an emotional affair.
Friends. You just can’t beat ‘em can you?
July 01, 2004
What a difference a decade makes
In 1995 I went to Glastonbury for the first time. The trip was organised by the university and cost sixty quid, a small fortune for impoverished students like ourselves. We travelled down by coach, a journey that took about eight hours. We didn’t care though; this was the first time for all of us and we couldn’t wait to get there.
We were three in a two-man tent cramped up together, nestled between our rucksacks. But hey, we weren’t planning on sleeping much anyway. We’d heard that saying: “if you remember Glastonbury, you weren’t there” and we had every intention of living it. Come on, we were only nineteen.
And we did. It’s fair to say that we spent four days off our faces. We were like kids in a sweetshop: hash cakes, spliffs, speed, mushrooms, etc all washed down with lager. I really don’t remember much at all. Only a couple of things have stayed with me: I calmed my mate down when she thought Jesus was following her everywhere. It took some time to make her realise that it was just lots of different bearded men (there are many of those at Glastonbury) dotted around the place. Another friend kept seeing chickens and other farm yard animals. I remember helping her to feed them. I danced for hours and hours at the jazz stage to the likes of Galliano. I wandered around until daylight and caught some sleep in the sunshine whenever I could.
On the coach back we came down gently while listening to the cricket that the driver insisted on playing on the radio. We weren’t impressed with his choice of station, but the gentle pace of the game had a soothing, soporific affect that calmed our wired bodies. I slept for a week when I got back
Oh how times have changed. Almost a decade later and I’m travelling down by car with a mobile phone in my pocket having taken a few days off from a fairly respectable job. We pitch camp and find we’ve all brought our own tent. Sharing? God no! Personal space? Paramount! Not only that, but someone has bought a gazebo which we erect in the middle of the camp to shelter us from the elements. A special rug appears that is waterproof on one side and comfy on the other. Nearly all of us have sun cream, I’ve brought a little radio and someone else has brought a gas stove and three bottles of mulled wine. Oh, and did I mention the artificial logs from Sainsbury’s that burn for 3 hours?
Once we’ve set up our camp and roped it off (I mean how fucking unfriendly “London” is that?) we settle in, crack open the lagers, skin up and start doing the Guardian crossword. One of the girls browses the job section. I read my book. Someone approaches our tents. “Es, trips, speed, mushrooms?” We look up at him and look at each other. A collective decision is made with no words needed. “Er, no thanks. We’re fine.”
That night, after a horrible drive, lots of sunshine, the football, the beers and the spliffs, I reach new heights of a different kind of ecstasy when I crawl into my tent, lay my weary body down on my double felt lined inflatable mattress, lay my heavy head on my fluffy pillow and pull my feathery sleeping bag that opens into a duvet over my cold body. Heaven.
By day three most of us had succombed and bought a chair. One of the guys summed it up perfectly as he placed his can of lager in the little cup holder built into the arm. “Can you tell we’re reaching our thirties?”