This is a sign that I give a crap

Yesterday I went to get my hair cut from the same place as before.

Fuck knows why.

Oh wait, convenience…that’s why.

As expected, they pointlessly took my phone number so they could enter my details in their computer, locate my account, print off a sheet of paper, pass it to my stylist so she could read it and confirm the style I wanted.

Yep, much quicker than just asking how I want my hair cut.

Twats.

Anyway, that’s not the reason for today’s post.

Whilst driving home from the barber shop I passed a large plot of undeveloped land.  Well, I say ‘undeveloped land’, but when you consider that we live on the very outskirts of Las Vegas, the words ‘undeveloped land’ actually refers to about a million miles of desert.

This ‘undeveloped land’ had a sign that read:

No Trespassing.
No Dumping.

So I jumped the fence and took a shit.

Ryan Reynolds grin

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Thanksgiving…it’s not British don’t you know?

Today is Thanksgiving.

I’m at work.

“What??”, I hear you cry.

“On Thanksgiving!!??”, you continue.

But let’s be honest here, I’m English; I don’t give a shit about Thanksgiving.

It’s not that I dislike it or anything, but it’s just not something that’s been in my life, like tampons.

It’s there, and I’ve seen it on TV a lot, but that’s for someone else to deal with.

Plus, my side of the family are a little over 5100 miles away in England so we wouldn’t have been together anyway, enjoying a holiday none of us celebrates based on something that never happened in the UK and is entirely America in origin.

You’ll be surprised how many people have asked me if we celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK.

(shakes head sadly at the state of the education system)

It also baffles me why Americans think we celebrate the 4th of July over there too.

I suppose, if they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (Irish) and Halloween (Celtic), why wouldn’t we celebrate Independence Day?  After all, it’s a holiday that commemorates the United States’ independence from the British Empire.

missing you

Sounds a hoot.

In fact, I think I’m supposed to be offended.

But I’m not, because I don’t care.

Tampons.

The only 4th I celebrate is Star Wars day in May.  The nerd in me loves the pun.

To be honest, I seriously believe that no-one here knows why they celebrate the 4th of July, only that it has something to do with Will Smith.

will the fuck

Today at the gym…

There was a guy in the gym tonight who, I would say, is in his early sixties with a shaved head and built like a brick shithouse.

He’s clearly been working out for over half his life which was evident from the fact that he was as wide as he was tall, like an equilateral triangle….but sweatier.

Like most of the meatheads in there he was grunting and groaning with every push or pull of the machines he was using, and quite rightly so; he was lifting some heavy shit.

Anyway, as I was leaving I thought I’d wash my hands because, well, I’ve seen some of the people who touch the machines. Most of them are sweaty, and a lot of them are douchbags. I don’t want any of that on me when I leave, especially douchebag.

So I went to the toilets, washed my hands and as I turned around to dry them, in came the equilateral triangle.

He walked[1] to the urinals, barely wedged himself in the ‘normal human being’ sized space and fumbled with the cord of his gym trousers.

At least, that’s the assumption I’m making here. There’s no way I was going in for a closer look just to give validity to this post.

Once he’d (presumably) undone the cord he let out a grunt similar to those he’d demonstrated when lifting the heavy weights before.

Yeah right.  Don’t flatter yourself mate.

I’ve heard the stories about steroids.

image

[1] It was the awkward walk of someone with three huge pillows under each arm and a protein bar inserted rectally.

I’m a stand up guy when I sit down

I’ve written a lot of entries that have been toilet related.  In fact, if you type the word ‘toilet’ in my search bar you will get an almost endless list of posts.

I clearly need to get a lot of things out.

(smirks smugly to himself)

Today’s log (smirk) is no different, and yet it is; it’s about certain observations and forms of etiquette I’ve noticed when using a toilet cubicle [stall].

Firstly there’s the ‘call to attention’.  This is a customary noise you make to alert any new toilet visitor that you’re already there, sat down, mid performance.

This customary noise usually comes in the form of a cough, a clearing of the throat, a loud sniff or the dropping of a big, heavy turd.

Often, when I’m the new arrival to the toilets this ‘call to attention’ comes in the form of general grunting and groaning, like the cubicle occupant is attempting to shit out a small donkey.  Even after I’ve dropped my dignity and taken a seat, the grunting and groaning continues.

Is their turd coming out sideways?

Imagine your grandfather sitting in a big comfy chair after a huge meal; that’s the sound I can best liken it to.

So anyway, regardless of who came in first or last, the next thing I’d like to comment on is the deafening silence that follows when the coughing, grunting and sniffing has subsided.

I mean, you can literally hear a pin drop, let alone anything else.

This is a level of silence that actually hurts your ears.  It’s quieter than being in church, or so I’ve been told; I don’t tend to hear it over the sound of my burning flesh and the screams of a thousand tortured souls.

Or is that just me?

This silence is counterproductive to the task in hand when all you want to do is push out some bum rope, especially as it’s likely you’re in the most echo efficient room in the building.

It’s almost a battle of wills to see who will set free the first fart, or something decidedly more sinister.

This is exacerbated if you have a bad stomach and want to let loose the fizzy beast within.

Personally, I reach around (easy now) and flush the toilet in time with each contraction; evacuating my bowels in perfect time with the masking sounds of the flush.

And while I’m on the subject of masking sounds, it’s a huge frustration of mine when people don’t use the hand dryer KNOWING their fellow man is attempting to curl one out – with sweaty brow and trembling knees – a few feet away.  Instead they opt for a paper towel or trouser wipe.

Give me some cover noise mate, come on.

I’d do it for you.

cover me

Now, I don’t know about you, but I had an epiphany the other day whilst sat on the loo.  I was sitting there, spending a little too long on Facebook and creating those infamous red thigh marks…

red thigh

…when I heard the guy in the neighbouring cubicle stop grunting and groaning and reach for the toilet paper.

In the library-like silence I could heard the rumble of the roll as he pulled at the paper, followed by the soft but definable snap of the paper.

It then occurred to me that the rustling that followed wasn’t him practicing Origami, it was the actual act of wiping his arse.  I could literally hear him smearing poo from his balloon knot.  And what made it worse was that he kept going, returning to the loo roll two or three times for back up.

Now I think about it, the word ‘wipe’ should be replaced with ‘vigorously scrub’.

Now, whenever I hear the rumble of the toilet roll, I know I’m about to hear a guy cleaning out his chocolate tea-towel holder with wads of tissue paper a foot and a half away from me.

I want to hum or sing to drown out the noise, but I feel that would just make the hole[1] situation worse.

Once you’ve had this epiphany and heard that noise, you can’t un-hear it.

You’re welcome.

But all of this pales into comparison to my last observation and experience.

This one has resulted in three words of advice.  Three simple words that will ensure you are not mentally scarred for the rest of your days.

When you’re next sat on the toilet, pay close attention to the floor.

Is it shiny?

Has it been buffed to a mirror-like perfection?

If the answer is yes, and someone joins the cubicle next to you, remember these three little words.

Don’t look down.

my eyes

[1] Not a typo

It’s all a matter of choice.

Yesterday, during a drive from Las Vegas to Riverside California, my wife and I stopped at the famous Peggy Sue’s diner for lunch.

We took a seat, ordered a couple of drinks,and perused the laminated menu full of 50’s puns and references to see what took our fancy.  Soon enough the waitress came over in her 50’s diner uniform and asked us what we wanted to eat.

Mine was easy; I wanted a cheeseburger.

When my wife ordered it highlighted another big difference between the USA and the UK.

Below is an almost exact word-for-word account of the conversation my wife had whilst ordering her meal.

Waitress – “What would you like?”

My Wife – “Steak and eggs”

Waitress – “How do you want your steak?”

My Wife – “Medium”

Waitress – “How do you want your eggs?”

My Wife – “Scrambled”

Waitress – “Do you want hash browns?”

My Wife – “Yes”

Waitress – “Toast, biscuits and gravy or English muffin?”

My Wife – “Toast”

Waitress – “White, wheat or sour dough?”

My Wife – “Sour dough”

If that had been in the UK, the conversation would’ve gone something like this:

Waitress – “What would you like?”

My Wife – “Steak and eggs”

Waitress – “OK”

America 1, England 0.

too many choices

America – will you ever be able to cut it?

OK, here’s an experience that a) happened about an hour ago, and b) I was not expecting.

Let’s start with some exposition…

Today I have friends coming into Vegas from the UK and, amongst my girly squeals of delight because they’re bringing Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate with them, I thought I should look at least half presentable for when we see them.  After all, they’re the first visitors we’ve had since we moved to Vegas almost three months ago.

I had a few things on my ‘to do’ list this morning to prepare for their arrival.  These included: Go to the gym, get petrol (gas), wash the car and get a haircut.

So I went to the gym, filled the tank (of my car; I don’t actually drive a tank…although if I did, my last post would’ve been a little less ‘ranty’ and a lot more ‘splatty’), took the car through a car wash (and vacuumed it out with the FREE vacuum cleaners they provided.  Yeah I’m looking at you, Britain) and headed to the barber shop to get the ol’ noggin [1] sorted out.

I found a place called ‘Great Clips’ which, to be honest, I thought may have been a film editing company.  I still wasn’t sure until I got close to the front door.

I entered and was immediately greeted by pretty much all the stylists.  You’ve got to love America for that.

Now for some more exposition…

In an English barber shop you walk in, maybe nod and say hi to one or two of the stylists (if they look up) and take a seat.  When one of the stylists has finished with a customer, they come over to the sitting area and say ‘who’s next?’.  At this point there are slightly confused and awkward looks amongst guys pointing at each other and saying “I think it was him” because no-one is entirely sure who was next.  That said, if someone, who came in after you, tries to jump in front they are quickly and politely stabbed to death with the closest scissors available.

Back to the story.

So I smile and say hi back to the stylists and turn around to take a seat.  At this point a lady came over to the desk and said “Hi, have you been here before?”

“No” I said, a little unsure why that mattered.

“Ok” she replied in a voice coated in vanilla syrup, “that’s fine, if you would like to fill this in”.

Note that this wasn’t a question.  She was telling me to fill in a slip of paper she’d slid across the counter with a pen.

This slip asked for the following information: Name, telephone number, address, zip code, Whether I was an Adult, Child or Senior (which is still an adult, isn’t it?) and the ages of my children.

I filled in my name and my zip code and then stopped.  What was I doing?  What is this?  I’m here for a haircut, aren’t I?  Is this so they can send me videos of my hair being cut, hence the name ‘Great Clips’?

The woman came back with her sugary smile and, me being me, I had to ask.

Me – “Sorry, I’m a bit confused here, why am I filling in all this information?  I only need a haircut.  I’m not unwittingly signing up for a credit card or something am I?”.

Her – “Ha ha, no it’s so we can send you coupons in the future, and the telephone number is so we can bring up your profile”.

Me – “My profile?”

Her – “Yes.  It’s so we have a record of how you like to have your hair styled and if you decide to use one of the many other Great Clips in the city they will be able to bring up your details too”.

Me – “Oh, so you’re a chain?  Right, gotcha.”

I said this in a tone that said “oh, right, well that makes sense then, of COURSE you can have all my personal and private details so that you’re better equipped to cut the hairs on my head!”….but more sincere than you’ve probably just read it.

After all, I didn’t want to appear defensive, despite this being a weird fucking practice for a haircut

She took the completed slip from me, still smiling, and started entering my details on her computer.

I took a seat and watched her type far more than the information I’d entered on the slip.  About 15 seconds went by and she said “OK, ready?”.

What was the point in suggesting I take a seat?

Anyway, I followed smiling Susan (or whatever her name was) to her chair and took a seat.

She smiled at me (or at least I think it was a new smile, it’s possible it was the same smile she’d been wearing since I arrived) and asked me how i’d like my hair.  I couldn’t help but grin because the next time they’ll probably ask for my telephone number so they can enter it into a computer and then look up the information I’d imparted to her in the last 5 seconds.

Grade two back and sides, and a bit shorter and choppier on top.

No technology, no slips of paper.  Just common sense.

She then put a strip of white tissue paper around my neck before fastening the usual black cape over it.

In fact, I looked like this.

bib

There was suddenly an elephant in the room.

Me – “I look like a priest”

Her – “What?”

Me – “I said, I look like a priest”

She stopped, looked at me in the mirror and then laughed.

Her – “Ha ha ha, yes I suppose you do!”

Seriously, you’ve NEVER made that connection?  Has no-one EVER made that connection before?

I’m not religious man (let alone a priest), but I was praying her hair cutting skills were better than, well, everything else about her so far.

And then we were off.

What followed was 15 minutes of company encouraged smalltalk, including (but not limited to): “How’s your day going today?”, :How long have you been in the US?” (at least she didn’t think I was fucking Australian), “So what do you do?” and my personal favourite “I would love to visit England but I haven’t had the chance yet”.

No shit?  Really?  Wow.

Also, I’ve noticed that over here the stylists seem scared to touch your head, either with their hands or the clippers.  Is it just me?  Do I have a greasy or gross head?  When I’ve had my hair cut in the past the stylist would actually press the clippers against my head, like you’re supposed to.  Here I barely felt them.

My ‘grade two back and sides’ is more like a range of grades from two to four.

Are they worried I’ll sue for physical abuse?  Will I have to stand up in court and show a jury ‘where on the teddy bear’ the stylist touched me?

Probably.

(rolls eyes)

Anyway, after we were finally done and she’d cut my hair from a distance of eight feet, my substandard haircut and I stood up, paid (with tip….which I still don’t really know the etiquette for) and left.

On the drive home I couldn’t help but wonder, what would happen if I wanted to change up my hair style in the future?  Would I be allowed to?  If I didn’t say anything, would they just go ahead and cut it like last time?

Also, do they store every different style I have in their computer forever?

Surely none of this is as efficient or accurate as asking the customer when they’re IN THE FUCKING CHAIR?

I can’t help but worry that my profile might get mixed up with a 65 year old lady with a blue rinse and a double crown; that’ll make for an interesting look!

So there you have it.  The haircut she’s given me is now what I can now expect at ‘one of the many other Great Clips in the city’ from now on.

After all, it’s on my profile now.

Yay.

bad hair

[1] Slang for head.  Not to be mistaken with the words ‘nosh off'[2] or ‘blozza'[3]

[2] Slang for blow job

[3] See [2]