What it’s REALLY like across the pond

I haven’t posted anything for a long time.  Seriously, it’s been over a month!

I’m sure you’re [not] wondering why this is; well….life has been pretty ‘samey’ recently and there hasn’t been anything that has amused or pissed me off in a while.

Over a month actually.

Anyway, the other day I was asked a question that stunned me into silence so much that it inspired me to write this post.  The question I was asked was:

“Is Christmas day in the UK the same as it is in the US?”

I paused for a moment, blinked a few times, and then gave a polite and sensible reply.

Oh, wait, no I didn’t.

I was sarcastic, condescending and there was a lot of finger pointing and laughing. I won’t lie….I was a bit of a cunt about it.

But honestly, who thinks Christmas is on a different day in the UK!?

Anyway, this got me thinking about all the questions and conversations I’ve been in that highlight the misconceptions Americans have about the UK and Europe in general. I have already touched on some of these before, but they just won’t go away….like syphilis or any of the Kardashians1.

So, without further ado:

We all drink Tea in the UK

Actually….no.

Granted, tea IS a big deal in the UK but there are a lot of Brits that don’t like it, opting instead for coffee. We like to call those people ‘traitors’ or ‘weird’. In addition, Americans also don’t realise that we generally drink tea with milk.

“Oh. My. GAWD!  With milk??”

Yes, with milk.

They go on and on (and fucking on) about how much we drink tea in Britain, but have absolutely NO idea about the tea we actually drink.  I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked what flavour tea I drink.

“Fruit?”  No.

“Green?”  Still no.

“Camomile?”2  Nope.

“Earl Grey?”  Erm, some people do.

“So what do y’all drink then?”

Proper (black) tea…in a mug….with milk and sugar; very few people use the clichéd dainty little cup and saucer with the obligatory pinky finger sticking out.  Take note America, a proper mug – sometimes with a crack in it – is the ONLY way to drink tea.

Oooh, I do fancy a cuppa right now.

Geographically confusing delights

English Muffins

In America they have ‘English Muffins’ which, aside from McDonalds, I have never seen in the UK ever.

Yes, I know the flag isn’t the English flag. More on that below….

Yet I get told that we all eat them in England because, well, it has England in the name.  It’s either English muffins or ‘tea and crumpets’.  Sorry to tell you this America, but we don’t all eat crumpets all the time with our tea.  If anything, it would be tea and toast.

Mmmm, tea and hot buttered toast….with either Marmite or a nice bitter marmalade.

But tea and crumpets?  Rarely.

Additionally, whilst I’m on the subject of geographically named sweet treats, they also have something over here called:

German Chocolate Cake

I’ve been to Germany several times and never seen this cake.  Do you want to know why?  Hmm?  Do you?  Well, here is what I found on Wikipedia:

‘German chocolate cake, originally German’s chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake from the United States filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German’

Interesting….considering I’ve been told, categorically, that it DOES come from Germany and I “don’t know what i’m talking about”, so it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that:

a) I’m right, and

b) The people who told me that bullshit, read my blog.

Read it bitches…..read it all!

French Fries

I don’t even want to get started on this one.  Let’s just move on shall we?

French Toast

Nope.  Never seen that in France ANYWHERE.  Toast in France is usually thin and NOT packed to the gills with sugar, butter and death.

Italian Wedding Soup. 

Yep, apparently that’s a thing here too.  I’m half Italian and I’ve been to real Italian weddings and I have NEVER seen this soup. How can this be? 

Oh hello Wikipedia!

Wedding soup or Italian wedding soup is an Italian-American soup consisting of green vegetables and meat. It is popular in the United States, where it is a staple in many Italian restaurants.

Honestly, I’m not sure why this is a) Italian and b) for weddings.  It’s a lovely soup, but at the end of the day it’s still a soup….and soup can be messy.  Adding any type of sloshy food to people in their smartest attire, and one big white dress, is a recipe for disaster (thinly stretched pun intended).

Belgian Waffles

Now THIS one is actually accurate.  This style of waffle IS Belgian; I’ve been to Belgium a lot and they’re exactly the same as the American ones.  Only, this time, the Americans just call them ‘Waffles’; no ‘Belgian’ in there whatsoever.  The ONE time it’s actually correct to name a food after a country and they don’t do it!

I despair, I really do.

(takes a moment to compose himself)

OK…moving on….

Paris is romantic

No it’s not.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it really isn’t. It’s grey, grimy, crap and in French.

It’s basically London with less friendly people…trust me!  The Hollywood held perception is that Paris is all cobble streets and baguettes, with accordion music faintly heard on the breeze, when in reality it’s a bustling city with the sound of constant droning traffic.

Oh, and it smells like toilet.  Not ‘Eau Du Toilette’…….an actual toilet.

Yes, it has the Eiffel Tower and yes the architecture is old and beautiful and it has museums and bridges and stuff, but that’s the case all over Europe.  Paris isn’t special in that respect.  Paris is, for want of a better word, a shithole.

Sorry France.3

London is all cobble streets and fog

I’ve touched on this before, but I’ve been asked this more than a handful of times.  Look at the description of Paris above and you’ve basically got London.  It’s pretty much the same, but not in French.  This is useful for understanding what’s being said about me by waiters and shop staff when I’m being overcharged for their lacklustre service.

The English all say things like ‘Tally ho’ , ‘Pip pip’ and ‘Guv’nor’

This is very true. Also, the French say “Sa·cré bleu!” a lot too, did you know that?

I’ve found that a lot of Americans say “Yee-Haw!!” and “Rootin’ Tootin’!!” all the time.

(rolls eyes until they hurt a bit)

British Food is terrible and bland

This is both wrong AND wrong.  In addition, it’s also wrong.

Firstly, it’s difficult to define ‘British food’ because Britain is actually made up of four countries/nations, each with their own foods and palettes.  I can’t speak for the other three countries, but I can speak for England.

Oh, did I mention that there is no understanding of the difference between England and Britain?  No?  Well, more of that in due course…

Anyway, back to the food.  There’s a belief that British food is bland and tasteless.  Ha ha ha ha WRONG!  Despite being a small(ish) island, Britain is located and influenced by all the European cuisine surrounding it, and it’s an international hub for commerce across the planet….so the food is AMAZING!  In fact there are more options and choices in the UK than I’ve found anywhere else, including the USA.

Aside from the traditional British foods like fish and chips, a full roast dinner, a proper ‘full English’ breakfast etc…we also have Indian, Italian, French, American (yes, we do burgers too), Greek, Turkish, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, African, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Polish, German, Blah, Blah, Blah……basically we have them ALL!

And yes, I meant to put ‘Indian’ in there more than once.  I LOVE Indian food and it has become the UK’s most favourite food!  Seriously, the national dish of the UK is Chicken tikka masala!

Mmmm, Chicken tikka masala….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to mankind.

Wait, no…that’s not right.  Let me try that again….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to drunk revellers outside the taxi rank after a night out on the piss.

No, it’s not a fucking ‘Gyro’

Now THAT’S British! (or Turkish actually)

America’s answer to post piss-up nosh?  McDonald’s.

Oh dear.

Europe is a country

Not only is this a belief (just like Africa), it’s surprising how many people I’ve spoken to who can’t point to Europe on a map, let alone the individual countries it consists of!

Besides, why bother learning about these countries when you can simply visit them at Epcot anyway?

(rolls eyes until they start bleeding slightly)

The UK, Great Britain and England are the same

I can understand why this is confusing, but even after I’ve explained it to one of my American friends, I can still see the lack of understanding behind their eyes.

Then again, it could be the huge doses of sugar and sodium in their diet.

(shrugs)

For clarity, here is a visual breakdown….

It’s like the United States, but with four states, not fifty.

Now, I’m sure this as clear as mud, but allow me to explain.

There are effectively four countries or ‘nations’ at play here.  England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.  The uncoloured area below Northern Ireland is, unsurprisingly, Southern Ireland (or ‘The Republic of Ireland’) and actually forms part of Europe.

Yes, they have Euros as currency.

Confused yet?

Well, the English occasionally refer to themselves as British, but the Scottish, Irish and Welsh don’t…..even though they are.  In the same way that people from Hawaii refuse to call themselves American…..even though they are.

So, when I’m told I have a British accent I do smile to myself as there is no such thing really….unless I include all four accents together:

“I say good sir, the laddie is just a wee bairn, to be sure, so it is boyo isn’t it?”

Hmmm….

And, whilst I’m on the subject of the the UK….here is how the Union Flag came to be:

This is why the flag in the muffin picture earlier was technically incorrect

We celebrate Thanksgiving and 4th July

I can’t begin to tell you how many times i’ve been asked if we celebrate these. Oh, wait….I already have!

And, for the record, we also have Hallowe’en4

However, we do not have the following holidays:

  • Labor Day (should be ‘Labour’, but hey, who am I to judge?)
  • Presidents Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Columbus Day

Take a moment and ask yourselves why this is.  If you can’t answer that question, feel free to ask me about it and see what kind of answer you get.

One of the UK holiday days I miss a lot is Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas Day (still also the 25th December).  In the US a few have started calling it DAXMAS (Day After XMAS), but it’s not an official holiday day and serves no purpose other than…well….it’s the day after Christmas.

For us Brits (all four nations), Boxing Day is another Christmas Day and I love it!

“Why is it called Boxing Day?”

Why thank you for stepping in Wikipedia!

All the presents. All the food. All the booze.

 

1 – It’s a reoccurring joke on here, but seriously….when are these harpies going to fuck off and leave us in peace?

2 – I have NO idea why the USA have added an ‘H’ to this word, considering the way they usually hack letters OUT of words.

3 – Not really.  I hate Paris.

4 – It actually originated in the UK!  You’re welcome.

Fast food and unicorns

This morning on the tube I saw a man eating a McDonalds meal like a man possessed.  Well, I say ‘eating’; it would be more accurate to say ‘pushing his whole face into the burger that was resting on his lap’.

After he’d stop burrowing into his meal like he was bobbing for apples he emerged for air and I couldn’t help but smile; he had a piece of burger stuck to his forehead, just above his right eyebrow.

Hilarious.

But, after it had been sat there for a minute or so, I realised it wasn’t a piece of burger but a skin tag!  This wasn’t your everyday skin tag the size of a rice krispie, no this one was almost an inch long; like a small penis!

I tried to avoid looking at it, but I just…couldn’t…stop.

Every fibre of my being was resisting the urge to do this:

door stop twang

Let’s go visit your grammar

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  To be honest it’s been a hectic couple of months which I will no doubt write about in the coming weeks.

Aren’t you excited?

Anyway, to ease myself back into the habit of writing, I just wanted to share an interaction I had the pleasure of witnessing on the Tube this morning.

There was a couple.  I would say they were mid-to-late twenties and very posh.

How did I know?  Well…

He had immaculately combed back (and yet thinning) hair with glasses and was wearing cufflinks.  Yes, he was one of those people who actually wear cufflinks to work.

She had straight strawberry-brunette hair with enough make-up to choke a rabbit.  You could still see her freckles which gave her that posh ‘England Rose’ look. Her handbag looked stiffer than a Scotsman’s drink.

They were both wearing those long expensive coats you only ever see in magazine adverts worn by good looking people walking and laughing under trees in autumn.

Anyway, as the train filled up I was herded in their direction until I was stood inches away with my back to them.

This, they had decided, was the time to engage in a very posh and plummy conversation.

“I say, what time will you get to work?” she asked him with a voice that emphasised the ‘h’ in ‘what’.

“Not long now”, he replied, lacking any hint of enthusiasm; “I am so frightfully tired”.

“Mmm, yes me too” she said; “I ordered some new contact lenses but I ordered the wrong ones and they’re actually making me tireder”

There was a pause.

I’m sorry; did she just say ‘tireder’?  That can’t be right.  Surely it’s ‘more tired’?

A few seconds passed.

“Do you know; I don’t think tireder is a word” she said, emphasising the ‘h’ in ‘word’.

I smirked.

Neither is ‘twattiest’, I thought to myself, but I think I’m going to use it anyway.

stupider

The stereotype doesn’t match the stereo type

On the London Underground there were two black guys stood not too far away from me, both dressed virtually identically and both with shaved heads.

They weren’t travelling together, yet they had both hit the stereotype perfectly on the head with their choice of attire, hairstyle (or lack of) and the fact they were both sporting red Dr.Dre Beats headphones.

They were both casually bopping their heads to whatever they were listening to.

RnB or Hip Hop probably.

Is that a bit presumptive?

(Well, stereotypes exist for a reason).

We all got off the train and headed for the lift (elevator) to the surface, packed in tighter than a takeaway carton at a buffet.

The headphone twins both adopted the stereotypical swagger of someone with one leg shorter than the other, holding up their jeans with one hand and showing us too much underwear.

Like all lifts (elevators), it was deathly silent as we ascended, despite there being approximately 25 people in there.  It was at this point I realised I could hear music coming from one of our ‘gangstas’.

In the silence I could make out what he was listening to.

Shirley Bassey.

will the fuck

Punctuation station

Every morning I see this sign on the door to the control room at London Victoria underground station

image

Obviously this room is out of bounds to commuters.

But this sign also suggests the same applies to station staff and contractors.

So, who CAN enter this room? 

Maybe only those people capable of using punctuation.

When intelligence goes backward

As we all know, doctors and ambulances tend to have ‘Doctor’ or ‘Ambulance’ written on the bonnet (hood) of their vehicles in reverse. This is for 2 reasons.

  1. So some people can make complete twats of themselves by mistakenly mocking the vehicles for putting the stickers on backwards.
  2. So the car in front can read it in their rear view mirror and get the fuck out of the way (in case the siren and flashing lights weren’t enough).

Well, this morning whilst walking to work through central London, I saw a small van attempting to adopt the same principle whilst advertising its plumbing and cleaning services.

I say ‘attempting’; it looked a little something like this:

bob plumb reverse

How was that supposed to be effective?

For starters, the van looked like this:

small-van

It wasn’t tall enough to be read through the rear window in stationary traffic anyway. Plus, the text was so small it was virtually impossible to read unless your rear window was a huge magnifying glass.

Now THAT would scare the shit out of anyone driving behind you.

“Honey, the children in that car in front are huge!”

This got me thinking.

Assuming you COULD read the writing on the van behind you, and assuming you DID need a plumber AND a cleaner simultaneously, who the fuck has a pen and paper at the ready to take down all those details whilst driving?

Gnitsuahxe si elpoep emos fo ytidiputs eht.

Commuting is a blast

This morning, as my wife and I squeezed onto the London Underground train, we got separated into different parts of the carriage.  My wife ended up halfway down the carriage whereas I ended up near the door literally face to face with a tall blonde girl.

She wasn’t un-pretty (I’m assuming; she was hidden behind some heavily applied make-up) and was stood there not making eye contact with anyone as she pouted and posed among the newspapers and armpits.

In my single days I may have given her a second look, but since meeting my wife every one else comes a distant second. Although cheesy, this is absolutely true and has nothing to do with the fact my wife was:

a) five feet away and
b) reads my blog.

Anyway (moving on swiftly), the train began to pull out of the station and a gentle breeze came through the open window in the door between the carriages.  The girl took this opportunity to turn her head to face the window so the wind rushed through her hair as she continued to pose and pout.

It was like watching a Michael Jackson video.

She was loving it.

However, as the train picked up speed, the breeze became everything but gentle.  After a few seconds it had reached Hurricane proportions and her pouting was quickly replaced with her squinting eyes and flapping lips like a dog with its head out of a car window at 70 miles per hour.

More amusingly was her hair violently whipping and slapping her in the face, sticking to her make-up and going in her mouth.

“Hwaarrgh!” *Cough cough* “Gaaaak!”

Attractive.

After a couple of minutes the train slowed down for the next station and she finally managed to compose herself, pulling fistfuls of hair from her throat and gagging.  As she did this she looked at me and smiled with embarrassment.

“That didn’t go as you expected it to eh?” I said, looking at the make-up that had now slid back to her ears.

“Not really” she wheezed, “I was actually worried for anyone behind me getting hit with my hair!”

“It’s ok” I said, “I think the guy behind you enjoyed it”.

She laughed awkwardly.

“Shame it wasn’t in slow motion.” I continued.

“Like a shampoo advert”, she laughed.

Erm, no.

It was more like a ferret being hit in the face with a tumbleweed.

wind face

Are we becoming a nation of idiots?

In the past I used to believe that America was home to some of the dumbest people on the planet.  After all, they have no clue about anything outside America and their grasp of sarcasm and humour (or ‘humor’) is as tight as a slut’s vagina.

But after meeting my wife, who is from Las Vegas, I’ve had a lot more exposure to them (Americans, not sluts’ vaginas) and I’ve come to realise that this belief isn’t true.  I mean, it’s true of a lot of Americans, but it’s not fair to tar them all with the same brush.

Since my wife came to England I’ve started seeing the country through her eyes and cracks are beginning to form.  I’m slowly noticing that we are a lot more flawed as a nation than I realised, or cared to admit.  It’s like peeking behind the curtain at a magic show to see levers, pulleys and a white rabbit taking a colossal dump into a top hat.

England is also home to some of the dumbest people on the planet.

Case in point:

Last night, on the London Underground, my wife and I got off the train at Victoria station and shuffled with the masses towards the two upward escalators leading to the surface.  There were two guys in front of us and as we approached the escalators, one of the guys took the left escalator and the other took the right.

Neither of us paid any attention until one of the guys started talking to the other.  With a distance of around six feet between them and the combined noise of the escalator and the throng of chatting commuters, I should say one started shouting to the other.

Guy 1 – “So what happened next?”

Guy 2 – “What?”

Guy 1 – “I SAID, WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?”

Guy 2 – “Oh, right. Well she decided she was going to work Saturday instead”

Guy 1 – “She was going to what?”

Guy 2 – “PARDON?”

Guy 1 – “SHE WAS GOING TO WHAT?”

Guy 2 – “WORK SATURDAY INSTEAD!”

Guy 1 – “AH, I THOUGHT SHE MIGHT”

Guy 2 – “WHAT?”

I couldn’t believe it.  These two guys were together!  It wasn’t that busy in the station which meant they weren’t herded accidentally onto separate escalators; they’d CHOSEN to do that.

I looked back at my wife who was staring at them in disbelief.  She looked back at me, rolled her eyes and mouthed the words “Why the fuck?”

As we reached the top of the escalator my wife shared her thoughts with me.

For fuck’s sake England!

When an American living here rants about the sheer stupidity of people around her, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

england fail

Train’d Monkeys

Over the years I’ve noticed a few habits adopted by the idiots I’m forced to endure every day on the trains (or ‘commuters’ as they’re better known).  A lot of these habits have become such commonplace that I usually can’t be bothered to blog about them, or I simply forget.

However, this morning there were three happening all at once and my Punch-O-Meter’s needle was twitching in the red zone.

Punchometer

See?

Dangerously close.

So I’m taking time out to vent about these habits that leave me craving the sweet sound of knuckles on face.

 

1. The Multitasker

This is the person who, whilst having a conversation with someone else on the train, is also reading their phone or tablet.  Even though they’re (thankfully) not talking to me, it’s still really rude and they don’t make any attempt to hide it.

checking texts

It’s bad enough that they’re flapping their jaws while I’m trying to sleep or watch a movie, but to be doing it and not remaining committed to the conversation they’re having is like getting a drum kit for your birthday and then playing it out of rhythm, like Yugoslavian Jazz. 

If you’re going to annoy me at least have the decency to do it properly.

 

2. Casual Viewers

I’m a bit of a viewing Nazi when it comes to TV and movies.  If you’ve made a decision to sit down and watch something, then sit the fuck down and watch it. There are certain things you should never do, especially when I’m in the vicinity.

These include:

  • Talking to me.
  • Talking to someone else.
  • Talking at all.
  • Using your phone (for ANYTHING!).
  • Leaving the room without pausing it (at home obviously)
  • Eating and paying more attention to your food than the screen

The woman sat next to me on the train this morning was watching some boring shit on her tablet, but was also moronically scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed on her phone.  I use the word ‘watching’ loosely as she didn’t actually look up from her phone for almost the entire journey into London, which was an hour.

I thought about all the money spent hiring writers, producers, directors (first and second unit), actors, extras and production staff, plus all the time taken perfecting every line of every draft of the script to keep the plot engaging, every camera angle to capture the subtle nuances of the actors’ performances, the scouting for locations, the permissions needed to shoot in these locations, the time spent in principle photography, all the post production, the special effects, music, overdubs, Foley dubs, the editing process to keep the right pace, the test audiences to ensure it will satisfy the masses and bring in the bucks, the premieres, the red carpets, the press junkets; all of this wasted on some bint ‘liking’ a picture of a kitten.

It really grinds on me.  Can you tell?

Then, when she’d stopped mindlessly scrolling through the pointless crap on her newsfeed and sucked in her drool, she then spent ages rewinding what she had been ‘watching’ in an attempt to find the part where she’d tuned out.  To be honest, I don’t think this woman was ever fully tuned in.

text movie

And finally,

 

3. The Aisle Sitter

This one has always confused me. 

It’s the idiot who gets on the train, sits in an aisle seat and leaves the window seat vacant.

Why?

aisle prick

Inevitably someone else will get on and want to sit down, so rather than simply (and sensibly) moving over to the window, they make a big performance of stopping what they’re doing (sometimes tutting and sighing in the process) and awkwardly standing up in the aisle (stopping other people from getting past) to allow the new arrival access to the seat by the window.

This is time consuming and makes absolutely no sense.  It’s a commuter train which means this happens EVERY day, and EVERY day they do the same thing.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  Same dickheads, same thing; every day.

If they don’t want to be disturbed, then sit by the window, or find a seat next to someone who already has.

These are supposed to be intelligent people, right?  I mean, they’re wearing suits and stuff.

I’m reminded of a quote from Tim Minchin:

“We’re just fucking monkeys in shoes”

monkey platform

Near Miss

This morning, whilst walking to the office, my wife and I saw a man cross the road in front of a cyclist.

To be honest, he had plenty of time to cross the road before she reached him, but I think he knew she was coming and had decided to walk so painfully slow that the cyclist had to swerve, barely missing him.

Although it could never be proved, we all knew he was trying to demonstrate it was his right of way (which it wasn’t); forcing her to slow down (which she didn’t).

As she whizzed by he looked up and shouted “Fuck off!”

Without hesitation she replied “Charming!”

London…the friendliest city in the world.

Bike Near Miss

Pretty vacant

Today my wife and I visited a home furnishings store in central London during our lunch break. It was one of those pretentious places where the mass-produced merchandise is carefully designed to look hand-made.

It seems to me that these places hire staff based on their looks because it appears their collective IQ doesn’t even come close to the price of one of their crappy little ‘hand painted’ ceramic egg cups (£4).

But at least they’re, like, so pretty.

Anyway, my wife and I were looking for matching towel and toilet roll holders for a bathroom we are currently redecorating. We were wandering around the store looking for the bathroom stuff, lost among the rugs and curtains in various shades of coffee, vanilla, caramel, mocha, cinnamon and cappuccino.

Suddenly I really fancied a Starbucks.

Our aimless wandering hadn’t gone unnoticed because a sales ‘assistant’ approached us with a massive, vacant smile.

“Can I help you with anything?”, she asked like she’d been practicing it from a prompt card.

(Yes I’ll have a large cinnamon cappuccino please).

“Yes please”, I replied, “I’m looking for your bathroom accessories”

She stood there for a moment; still smiling vacantly. It was clear she had either not heard or not understood me and, from her broken English, I was going with the latter.

“The what?” she said; her smile staying perfectly locked in place.

“Your bathroom accessories”, I replied, again.

There was another noticeable pause before her eyes lit up like she’d just seen a preview of a new season of The Kardashians.

“Ah, yes! Follow me”, she said and started to walk across the showroom.

Cool.

We walked past bedroom stuff, lounge stuff, kitchen stuff, dining stuff (all of which had me craving a double mocha latte) until we reached the corner of the showroom where she pointed down a corridor.

“Just down there sir” she said, still smiling.

“Thank you”, I said as she left.

My wife and I looked at each other and sniggered.

The stupid twat had taken us to the toilets.

vacant toilet

Rubik’s Tube

This guy was stood in front of me on the London Underground this morning.

Wearing a Rubik’s Cube T-shirt whilst completing a Rubik’s Cube one handed.

I couldn’t decide whether to ridicule or respect him. Could I do both?

It’s a puzzle.

image

A sign that things are rubbing me up the wrong way

Today, whilst exiting a burrito shop during our lunch break, my wife and I saw a massage parlour with a sign outside offering a “Walk-in back rub”.

Considering the shop was in a pedestrianised road with no vehicle access, I did wonder exactly how else they expected us to enter the palour without, well, walking in.

I suppose we could draw numbered chalk squares in front of their door and hopscotch in, but that just seems a bit extreme.

Plus, I’d left my chalk in my other coat.

This got me thinking.

What if I’m drunk? Would they refuse to accept ‘stagger-in’ customers? Mind you, that’s probably for the best; i’d fall asleep, fart and promptly vomit on their floor. Then every customer would be a ‘slide-in’.

And what if we danced in? Would they shun those of us who choose to Merengue through their door (cha cha cha)? Dancers need back rubs too.

What about wheelchair users, clowns on unicycles, or those on horseback?

And what if I’d tripped on a paving stone and accidentally stumbled through the door and into their parlour? One could argue that I’d ‘tripped in’, but what if they hadn’t actually seen the trip and only saw the moment where i’d regained my balance? Would I be obliged to purchase a back rub?

After the baby sized burrito we’d just eaten they could market them as a ‘walk-in burping’.

As we strolled away, I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of adding a ‘g’ to their sign.

A ‘walking back rub’ would be perfect, as time was running out and we needed to get back to work.

ministry of silly walks

Common sense gets the shaft.

This morning at Goodge Street Underground station I heard the following announcement:

“Ladies and Gentlemen; please be aware that lift number four is currently out of service while we perform essential routine maintenance”.

Fair enough.

There are no escalators at Goodge Street station but there are four lifts*, so we’d either use one of the three remaining lifts or take the spiral stairs to the surface; all 136 of them.

Fuck.  That.

But the announcement didn’t stop there (although I wish it had); “Please use the remaining lifts one to three, or take the spiral stairs”.

Oh my god I am so thankful they told us that otherwise we could’ve been stuck down there for days.

state the obvious

*Or ‘elevators’ to our American brethren who may be confused**

**At the word ‘lift’.

Cats and dogs and apes

During our lunch break at work today, my wife and I took advantage of the relatively nice day (a.k.a. “fuck me it’s not raining”) and took a leisurely stroll to the British Museum.

As a lunch break has a limited duration, we managed to walk in, say “ooh, it makes you think doesn’t it?” to a couple of exhibits, marvel (and get annoyed) at the amount of students and tourists there were and (attempt to) walk back out again.

We were in there 10 minutes, at the most.

As we exited the building into the big stone porch area we could see it was raining heavily.  The most appropriate English idiom I can think of is: It was absolutely fucking pissing it down.

With both of us clever enough not to wear coats that had hoods, we decided it might be best to wait inside the large porch area until the rain either stopped or at least subsided enough for us to venture into it without the need for scuba gear or a kayak.

It seemed we weren’t the only people who had decided to stand in the dry, but I can assure you we were the only people I was the only person getting hit in the face with child umbrellas and doused with excess water from umbrellas being shaken off by the neanderthals arriving at the museum.

Maybe they’re visiting family.

My favourite moment was hearing the large oak doors open behind us, followed by a short pause, and then a voice that implied inbreeding was alive and well in our nation.

“Is it still raining?”

No mate, the floor is bubbling and splashy like that because it’s covered in 7-Up and we’re all stood here waiting for straws.  Now pull your trousers up, dust off your knuckles and get back in your exhibit!

follwed by monkeys

By now 20 minutes had passed and rivers had started forming.  Time and patience were running out, so we decided to start the swim back to the office.

Along the way I joked that it would be typical if the rain stopped mere metres from the office.

It did.

My wife laughed.

Seeing Red

I had trouble walking through London Victoria station this morning due to some idiot in front of me pulling a big red holdall on wheels.

Slowly.

I tried as hard as possible to pass him, but he blocked me at every attempt; zigzagging like a shark swimming through an ocean of directionless pillocks….sorry, pollocks.

Is it wrong that I wanted to punch him out of the way?

He was a menace, nearly taking out my legs and those of others around me.  He was oblivious to the carnage he was leaving in his wake.

It might also explain why his bag was red; stained with the shin blood of the capital’s masses.

Eventually I managed to get past him and felt the same sense of freedom as overtaking a tractor on a narrow country road.  I had the urge to run through the station, flailing my arms in the air screaming “Yes! Yes!  I’m free!!”, but I decided against it as I wasn’t entirely convinced my wife would join in.

Although she IS American, so there was a chance.

Still, I wasn’t going to chance it and frankly I was just too tired.

The excitement and energy of passing the holdall hauling halfwit meant I really didn’t have the strength to do anything but place one foot in front of the other.

Anyway, we traversed the concourse and headed towards the underground station, joining the throng of people shoving themselves through the entrance.

As we joined the back of the crowd, there in front of me was the big red holdall on wheels.

How the fuck?

I looked behind me in case there was another big bag bearing bell-end, but only saw a trail of hobbling commuters; limping and clutching their shins.

I turned back in disbelief and it was then that I noticed the writing on his bag:

‘London Fire Brigade – Keeping London Safe’

(clenches fist)

punch a shark

Cycle-path-ic tendencies

While walking to the office this morning, after the nightmare train journey into London, I heard a distinct “Fucking idiot!” from the other side of the busy road.

Of course my attention was drawn to it straight away and I saw the aftermath of a man who had clearly stepped out in front of a cyclist without looking.

The cyclist was stood there with his bike between his legs; front wheel on the floor and the back wheel up behind his back.  It was clear he’d slammed on the brakes causing the bike to stop suddenly, and him a little less suddenly.

He’d then obviously performed that awkward stumbling forward like a man with 50lb testicles which had resulted in the bike riding up behind him.

The man who had stepped out in front of him had chosen to continue walking; ignoring the chaos and carnage he’d left behind.

The cyclist loudly shouted something at him as he walked away, but I didn’t hear much of what he said due to the noise of the traffic.  I did pick out the words ‘prick’ and ‘fucking’, so I suspect it wasn’t, “please be careful when stepping out into the road, I’d hate for you to be injured”.

The cyclist hopped back onto his bike and cycled away, turning a corner out of view.

The man was going the same way as me, but on the other side of the road and before long we came to another junction in the road.  It was at this point the cyclist came out from the side road, pulled up next to him and made SURE the man had clearly understood what a “complete fucking prick” he was.

He didn’t argue it.

He would’ve lost.

bike rage

“London Bridge is failing Dan, failing Dan, failing Dan….”

London Victoria underground station was closed tonight due to ‘someone being taken ill’.

Bollocks.

There’s no way someone said “I think I’ve got the flu coming on” and they shouted “Stop everything!”

I suspect it’s a more subtle version of “someone being liquidated by a train”.

If it’s not I can assure you that I, and about a thousand people frantically redirecting to other stations to escape the city like a frantic piss out of a pair of leaky rubber pants, will be hoping they feel better long enough to fall under the next train that’s “not stopping at Victoria”

It was utter bedlam tonight with agitated commuters strutting around directionless looking for an alternative way of getting home, and failing.

I made my way to London Bridge station as I knew I could get home from there and stood waiting for my platform to be announced.

It’s always been platform 5 whenever I’ve travelled from this station so I went through the barrier into the station, up the escalator and waited patiently by the platform entrance.

And waited.

And waited.

It was 6 minutes until my train was due to leave and the platform still hadn’t been announced.

And then….

‘Platform 9’

What??

Where the fuck is platform 9?? There’s only platforms 1 to 6!

Cock!!

I ran down the escalator, back through the barriers, out of the station and saw there was another entrance which had platforms 7 and up.

Grrr!

There is nothing more infuriating than the possibility I was going to miss my train despite having been there for ages!

And, true to form, all the commuters had been switched to ‘slow, ambling, zombie fuckwad mode’; making my run that much more varied with slaloming, hurdles, chicanes, twists, turns and twats at every step.

I bolted through the masses, up the escalator, through the barriers to the platforms and ran (a concept unfamiliar to the cretins around me) down the platform alongside the train.

Ideally I wanted to be at the front of the train, but it was about to leave so I boarded halfway down and continued my journey inside.

It was at this point that some suited prick boarded the train at the next doorway and cut in front of me, only to then stand still.

Oops, my mistake, he WAS walking but at a speed which I could be forgiven for mistaking as ‘stationary’.

In fact, ‘Mr Stop’ here was so piss-achingly slow, I got off the train, walked down the platform and boarded ahead of him (on the same carriage) so I could continue at a pace that actually involved putting one foot in front of the other.

No sooner had I traversed another carriage than a woman did the exact same thing and cut in front of me; moving at sloth-like speed while she decided where to sit on this virtually empty train.

It amazes me how these people function day to day.

I sat down and took out my phone to begin writing this blog entry.

It took around 40 minutes to write (as autocorrect can be a bitch) and, as I sat thinking about how I could end it, I looked up and saw Mr Stop finally taking his seat.

Perfect.

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