Spelling it out really doesn’t help me.

I haven’t really put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – recently and this is due to two simple factors:

  1. I have recently started a new job at the company I work for and have therefore been preoccupied with not fucking it up.
  2. I procrastinate more than (note – come back and add example here)

This isn’t to say I haven’t been making notes of life events; I have.  It’s just a case of sitting my arse down and actually writing something.

The irony is, I actually started drafting this post…got sidetracked…and in the meantime posted something else entirely.  Well, now I’ve decided to sit down and at least attempt to finish this entry.

To manage your expectations, this isn’t a big amusing moment in my life, but more of a mini-rant about a gripe that I never realised was a gripe until it began rearing its ugly gripey head.

And this isn’t the only gripe.  To be honest, there are a few small issues here in America that I simply wasn’t prepared for.  For example, America doesn’t seem to have a word for ‘peckish’.

I’m sorry….what?

I used it in a sentence the other day at work and was met with lot of blank faces.

No word for peckish?  Really?

That evening I went home and asked my wife if there was an American word for ‘peckish’ and all she could come up with was ‘a little bit hungry?’.  This astounds me in a nation that is known for being in a constant state of graze.

Saying ‘I could eat’ isn’t quite the same.

Also, another unexpected gripe is the fact that most people I’ve met can’t read the 24hr clock (or ‘Military Time’ as they call it here).  I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve seen them deducting 12 on their fingers and quitely mouthing the words.

“So, 17:00 is…(counting on fingers, under breath) 16:00, 15:00, 14:00, 13:00, 12:00, 11:00, 10:00, 09:00, 08:00, 07:00, 06:00, 5:00.  it’s 5pm, right?”

Amazing.

Admittedly I do remember struggling with this myself, when I was SEVEN.

Anyway, back to the case in point.

I speak to a lot of Americans on a daily basis at work and, more often than not, I need to take their email address.  This isn’t anything out of the unusual, except for the way they read out their email address.  It simply baffles me.

Me – “What’s your email address?”

Them – “D as in Dog, A as in Apple, V as in, erm, Van, E as in Everyday, S as in Sam, M as in, erm, Mary, I as in Insulin, T as in Tommy, H as in Happy”

 

Small pause.

 

Me – Sorry, you said that so quickly, so it was D for Delta, A for Alpha…”

Them – “No, A like Apple”.

Me – “What’s the diff….er, I mean, can you repeat it for me?”

Them – “D as in Dog, A as in Ask, V as in Vanessa, E as in Egg, S as in Sam, M as in Mary, I as in, erm, (Inbred? Idiot? Imbecile?) Illinois, T as in Tree, H as in Hello”

 

(Usually always completely different words from the first attempt).

 

Another pause.

 

Me – “So, ‘DaveSmith’ then?”

Them – “Yes”

Me – “Ok….?”

 

There usually follows an unnecessary pause while the customer assumes I magically know their email domain name.

 

Me – “And the rest of it?”

Them – “What?”

Me – “Davesmith…..at?

 

Longer pause whilst they try and understand that I’m not a fucking mind reader.

 

Them – “@gmail”

You’ll notice the lack of “.com”.  In the US, if they don’t say ‘.org’ or ‘.net’, then it’s an assumed ‘.com’.

This has caused me no end of problems when I give out my email as I still use my ‘.co.uk’ address.  This usually takes some explaining and is met with a blank, open mouthed stare.

Drool optional.

So this is my issue, why don’t the majority of Americans actually say their email as it’s written?  I could understand if it’s something like 15t8f725d54it4@blah.com, but it rarely is.

It’s usually something that can be read out like ‘davesmith’, ‘rockdude’ or something laughably awkward like ‘sexxychick’ or ‘hotmama’.

These last two are particularly interesting when you can hear little kids in the background.

Seriously love, have a different email address when you’re shopping; your poor husband must hate calling on your behalf and being asked for it.

At least I understand why HE prefers to spell it out rather than say it.

I was talking to my wife about this and she said a customer had given her “K for Knife”.  What next;  ‘P for Pneumonia’ or ‘J for Juan’?

Sometimes I try and help them out and they disagree with my suggestion.

Them – “P as in, erm…P as in….”

Me – “P for Peter?”

Them – “No, P as in….erm, Psalm!”

double facepalm

F as in Facepalm

You may have noticed, from the examples I’ve given, there appears to be no grasp of the phonetic alphabet here; at least the official one.

How do I know this?  Because it confuses the shit out of them when I use it.

For the uninitiated, the phonetic alphabet is:

A – Alpha
B – Bravo
C – Charlie
D – Delta
E – Echo
F – Foxtrot
G – Golf
H – Hotel
I – India
J – Juliet
K – Kilo
L – Lima
M – Mike
N – November
O – Oscar
P – Papa
Q – Quebec
R – Romeo
S – Sierra
T – Tango
U – Uniform
V – Victor
W – Whiskey
X – X-ray
Y – Yankee
Z – Zulu

Admittedly, I have spoken to a few people who have used the phonetic alphabet correctly and I’ve openly commended them for it.  It’s a nice refreshing change from the random selection of words I’ve heard.

Mind you, there are a few unofficial phonetics that seem to have become the standard, even thought they’re not.

These are:

B – Boy
M – Mary
N – Nancy
D – Dog

I hear these every time.

And yet, oddly, they don’t use C for Cat.

Hmm.

I have a C word they can use.

types of cat

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An alarming tale…about bloody time!

I have two alarm clocks.

Aside from being a notorious snoozer, there is a sane reason behind this.

In the past I have overslept and been very late for work due to random power cuts in the night; resetting my alarm clock and leaving it entirely redundant by disabling the very important functions of ‘alarm’ and ‘clock’.

Is there anything worse than waking up and being taunted by the L.E.D. display flashing the time that has elapsed since the power cut occurred?

(Flash) Ha ha, I was reset 2 hours and 12 minutes ago!

(Flash) Ha ha, I was reset 2 hours and 13 minutes ago!

(Flash) Ha ha, I was reset 2 hours and 14 minutes ago!

(Flash) Ha ha, I was reset 2 hours and 15 minutes ago!

Yeah, cheers.

Now how do I set the time on this bastard again?

To combat this power cut issue I bought a battery powered digital alarm clock as a backup, although I couldn’t completely replace my alarm clock in case the batteries in my new one died in the night; creating the same problem I was desperately trying to remedy.

So I kept both.

I surmised that the chances of a power cut happening on the exact same night as the batteries dying were very slim.

Then again, this is ME we’re talking about.

Oh wait, hang on; I have my phone alarm too.  Dammit.  Ok, let me start again…

I have three alarm clocks.

Aside from being a notorious snoozer, there is a sane reason behind this.

I usually set the alarms on the two clocks slightly offset from each other so they don’t both go off at the same time. I figured I was more likely to wake up if there was a constant abuse of sound from which I couldn’t recover. However, I soon discovered that I now just hit two snooze buttons instead of one; and I’ve become quite good at it, with ninja like precision.

Pa-chow!!  >click<

However, for some reason my phone does a better job at waking me up than both my clocks do.  This might have something to do with the overly complicated process of snoozing it by sliding an icon across the screen in a particular direction whilst holding it upright and singing the national anthem of Hungary or something.  By the time I’m done snoozing the little shit I’m wide awake and angry.

As a result I’ve kept my two alarm clocks as they act as a ‘heads up’ that my phone will be waking me up soon.  They’re like the appetizers before the main course or the shit warm up act at a show.  Plus, I get a massive sense of satisfaction from pressing snooze on my clocks and then nuzzling back into my pillow.

Except for this morning.  This morning was an epic fail.

Let me tell you why.

My alarm clocks had been set thus:

  • Mains powered alarm clock – 6:00am
  • Battery powered alarm clock – 6:04am
  • Phone alarm clock – 6:15am

As we had to be out of the house no later than 6:45am.

I woke up shortly after 6am due to the usual ear piercingly harsh beeping from my alarm clock.  Well, I say ‘beeping’, but it’s more like a “BLAARGP! BLAARGP! BLAARGP!” as if someone was fisting Wall-E with a goat.

I suppose that’s the point.

I reached out and pressed the snooze button, ready to nuzzle back down when I realised it wasn’t snoozing at all, and now neither was I.

“BLAARGP! BLAARGP! Baa!(Eh?) BLAARGP!”

I reached out again and pressed snooze.  Nothing.

“BLAARGP! BLAARGP! BLAARGP!”

Ok, what the hell is going on?  I lifted my head (getting serious now) and looked at this mutinous little turd as he Blaargp’d over and over, no matter how much I pressed the snooze button.

Pa-chow!!  >click<

Pa-chow!!  >click<

Pa-chow!!  >click< >click< >click<

It was at this point I flicked the button to actually turn the alarm off.  This is the button feared by severe snoozers like me as it can often result in days being lost, sometimes weeks.

Nothing.  The sound of mechanical goat love continued.

“BLAARGP! BLAARGP! BLAARGP!”

My wife had woken at this point and sleepily asked, “What’s going on??”.

“I honestly don’t know!  I can’t turn my alarm off! This has never happened before!”, I paused a moment before having a brainwave “Wait, I know what to do!”

I reached down and smugly unplugged the clock.  Ha!

The alarm was still going!

“What the fuck?  How is tha….oh, wait, it’s the wrong alarm clock.”

My wife laughed; mockingly.

I plugged the clock back in, snoozed the Blaargping offender and laid back down to nuzzle into my pillow.

“What time is it?” I heard from behind me.

I lifted my head again, ignoring the flashing L.E.D. that was saying ‘Ha ha, I was reset 2 minutes ago!’ and fumbled for the offender.

“6:11am.”

“What? It can’t be!”

“It is.”

“Are you sure??”

I checked again as it was possible I’d misread it.  After all, I was tired, I had eye bogeys, I wasn’t wearing my glasses, it was dark and I was checking the time on the offending clock using the light from my mobile phone’s screen.

“6:11am, see?” I said, showing her the clock this time.

“You’re kidding! How is that possible? Shit!”

My wife was up and out of bed like a shot; the sound of “Shit shit shit” following her out of the bedroom, along the hallway and disappearing behind the bathroom door.

I was starting to wake up a little at this point, so I decided to set the correct time on my recently reset clock to match that of the offender.  I then reached for my phone and checked the live online rail services to make sure our train was running on time this morning.  I love rushing around to get to the station only to find the train is cancelled so we can spend 27 minutes on a cold frosty platform waiting for the next one instead of spending that time all warm and cosy in bed.

The train hadn’t been cancelled and was running on time.

Damn.

This was when I noticed something weird; the website wasn’t showing our train despite the fact it was due to leave in 45 minutes.  In fact, it was only showing trains up to 6:30am, including ones that should’ve left half an hour ago, presented in future tense.  That was when I noticed that the time wasn’t 6:11am; it was 5:11am.

Oh shit.

Shit shit shit.

I bolted out of bed and rushed to the bathroom, but I was too late; I could hear the sound of the shower behind the door.  I gingerly stepped inside.

“Baby?” I said lightheartedly, hoping to set the mood for the conversation.

“What?” she curtly replied, setting the actual mood for the conversation.

“You’re not going to believe this”, I continued, rolling my eyes and chuckling slightly as if she should find the following piece of news ironically funny in some way.

“What is it?” she replied, not picking up on any of that whatsoever.

“It’s actually 5:11am.”

“I hate you.”

Fair enough.

I closed the door, went back to the bedroom and got back into bed.  It was then that that thought dawned on me; if it wasn’t 6am yet, why did the alarm clock go off?  I looked at the offender and it did indeed say 6:17am.

What the…?

The clocks don’t go forward for another 3 weeks or so.

I checked my phone; 5:17am.

I got out of bed and checked my watch; 5:17am.

I even went downstairs and checked both the kitchen and lounge clocks; both 5:18am (it took me a minute to get down there)

So why was my battery operated alarm clock an hour fast?  It couldn’t be a mechanical fault with the hands or something because both clocks are digital.  It must have been changed; but by who?

Also, it’s a bitch to change the time on the battery powered clock, so it couldn’t have been done by accident.

Hmm.

And yet, despite being awake a full hour earlier than we were supposed to be, we still left the house late and had to rush for the train.

groundhog day bill murray smashes alarm clock

You snooze you lose.

This morning I did that rare thing of waking up a whole minute before my alarm went off. This instantly sent a rush of mixed feelings through me.

On one hand I’m as chuffed as chips that my body clock is so cool it can tell when I’m supposed to be getting up. If it had a voice it would casually lean over to me and smugly say “who needs a clock when I’m this good?”, but it can’t…so I’ll shut up.

On the other hand I’m deprived of that gorgeous sensation when you realise you’ve got hours left of sleep and can snuggle back into your warm pillow and rejoin your old maths teacher and her pet unicorn, Alan, as they try and navigate through your old school (which looks suspiciously like your place of work) en route to finding the washing machine that will finally clean the chicken you’re hoping to cook for dinner when Michael Jackson comes to visit.

(Dreams; they make no sense. They’re daft and ridiculous, and yet we don’t question or challenge them, despite most if us being intelligent and rationally minded individuals. No, instead we just blindly go with it. A lot like watching TOWIE really).

So I was a bit annoyed laying there in bed looking at my alarm clock as I knew that going back to sleep wasn’t an option. In 60 seconds or less I was about to be ripped from ‘Operation Chickenwash’ by some twat on the radio trying to be funny.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. (This minute is taking longer than usual)

And there it was. The loud and unfunny drivel from some mindless fool blaring out of my clock radio to remind me I had another exciting day in the office before the weekend.

I reach over, fumble a bit and -click-

The snooze button.

Aaaaaaaah, that’s better. See you in 9 minutes sucker.

By the way, why is it 9 minutes? Why not 10…or 8? I think it originated in Germany:

Klaus – “It is time to get up out of ze bed Hans”
Hans – “But I vant to sleep longer”
Klaus – “Ok, shall I vake you in a few minutes?”
Hans – “Nein”

I could be wrong of course…

But that said, I am the king of the snooze button, the lord of lazy, the duke of…well you get what I mean. At weekends I’ve been known to snooze for up to 4 hours. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. If only I could put a snooze button on people…that would be nice. Maybe I’ll have the word ‘snooze’ tattooed on my knuckles. At least I’ll get 9 minutes peace.

I then start doing that thing where I tell myself when I’m going to get up. It’s usually on one of the 5 minute intervals; for example…I’ll get up at quarter past. But then I accidentally snooze till 16 minutes past. Do I get straight up as promised? Do I fuck! Now I tell myself I’m going to get up at 20 past. But then the song on the radio is one of my favourites, so I’ll get up AFTER its finished and captain twat is back. Oh, but by then it’s 22 minutes past. Ok, I’ll get up at half past.

I was late leaving the house today.