I’m walking here!

Today on Oxford street in London I saw a man get beeped at by a black cab driver as he crossed a side road.  The traffic lights had changed before the guy had finished crossing and the cabbie wanted to ensure the man knew it.

Believe me, from his two fingered salute I’m pretty sure he knew it.

Without uttering a word, these two strangers had engaged in the following conversation…

Cabbie – “Come on mate, I haven’t got all day here. The lights have changed and I need to turn left into that street, but you’re causing me to delay that turn by a further 4 seconds.  So i’m going to beep my horn at you unnecessarily just so you and those around you are alerted to the fact that you’re taking too long!”

Man – “Fuck off”

I love London. I really, really do(n’t).

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Knucklehead

This morning on the tube I noticed a young girl wearing one of those rings that covers two fingers like a fashionable knuckle duster.

This piece of weaponised jewellery was gold.  Well, I say ‘gold’…it was gold coloured plastic in the shape of the word ‘Bad’.

And it really was.

bad double ring

The accidental pervert

The London Underground is a busy place at rush hour; crammed full of people from every walk of life and in every shape, size and colour.

A few days ago I was on the platform at London Victoria underground station awaiting the next sardine tin to arrive and whisk us away.  It was the usual scenario of pushing and squashing to get prime position on the platform for the opening doors.  The train pulled alongside the platform, the doors opened and we all started to habitually scowl at the people getting off the train. 

A scowl that basically says, ‘hurry the fuck up’.

Once the dead weight had alighted the train, the slow motion pushing and shoving began, only to be met with the one fucking twat who still hasn’t disembarked the train. 

Why does this happen?  Who the fuck forgets to get off the train? 

It’s likely they suddenly realised this was their stop (at the last minute) because they were too caught up playing Candy (fucking) Crush.

They are, in fact, complete idiots.

This late, sloth-like exodus by these morons usually reignites the scowl, with a subtle hint of eye rolling and a lot of quiet sighing as we’re forced to slowly move back onto the platform from the much coveted metal flooring of the train.  Today was no exception.

Ok, are they out?

Are we sure?

Good.

Puuuuuuuush…..!!!

The slow motion mosh pit resumed and bodies were crushed together like a man’s junk in 80s jeans.  It was nuts to butts as we managed to squeeze the last person on, leaving no room to slide a credit card between us.  There were armpits in the face and lumps and bumps pressed against lumps and bumps.

But frankly, I didn’t care.  I was on the train.  So fuck the rest of you.  Ha! 

I freed one of my hands and reached up to grab a rail in anticipation of the train moving.

At this moment a guy managed to somehow shoehorn himself onto the train before the doors closed, causing a domino effect of squashing that resulted in a woman pressing right up against me. 

Now, this isn’t unusual on the underground by any means, but on this occasion she’d managed to effortlessly wedge my other hand against my thigh……with her bum. 

It’s worth mentioning that I hadn’t actually noticed at first; fighting to keep my footing and stay upright as the train pulled away.  To be honest, if I’d let go of the rail I still wouldn’t have fallen over as there wasn’t space to move.  I reckon I could’ve lifted both feet off the ground and still stayed in place, although I may have sunk down like I was in quicksand and I would’ve had a face full of bum.

The train had started to shake and jerk around like it usually does, which is when I realised that I had a bum rubbing left and right against the back of my hand.  This would’ve been tolerable if she’d been a 21 year old model, but not if she was a 55 year old geography teacher.

But i’m a happily married man, so I use the word ‘tolerable’ loosely.

(Ahem)

Anyway, I could clearly make out the bum cleft on each pass of her buttocks across my hand.  I could make out the shape and density of each cheek as it swayed left, then right, then left; over and over again like she was Miley Cyrus and I was Robin Thicke. 

The certainty I had of being able to pick out the subtle distinctions in the shape of her bum left me realising the cold, unnerving truth; this granny was either wearing a thong…or nothing.

(Shudder)

I was also very aware that my hand was so wedged in that I would’ve had to pull really hard to remove it, alerting her to the fact that it was my hand and not some random bag or something.  Also, considering it had been wedged in there at least 45 seconds at this point, I would’ve been considered a bit of a pervert for not moving it sooner. 

That would’ve resulted in an entirely different type of scowl.

So I could do nothing but stand there for the next two minutes, copping a feel against my will, with very distinguishable buttocks rubbing seductively against me by an unattractive old woman who had no idea she was doing it.

I washed my hands a lot when I got to work.

squashed ass

Commuting is the pits

Body odour on the London underground should be punishable by death.

Or a bath.

As soon as the acrid stench filled my nose (and those of the other sardines packed in the tin with me), the very attractive, tall blonde to my left looked at me and I suddenly realised she may think the niff is coming from me.

Don’t get me wrong here…I’m a happily married man, but that doesn’t mean I’m content with this woman thinking I smell like an armpit.

And it was a STRONG smell; the type that had been fermenting for a long, long time.

So I did what anyone would do in a situation like this, I held my fist under my nose in a theatrical attempt to indicate it WASN’T me.  Basically I was miming “Pheeeuw! What is that noxious smell? It’s clearly not me as I’m attempting to mask it.  See, I’m very obviously attempting to mask it with my fist and the inside of my jacket, so it’s obviously not me!”

Everyone was shiftily looking around trying to figure out who the culprit was, like some kind of silent game of Cluedo. 

Luckily, whenever the train started moving it wafted the fetid stink through the carriage like a stagnant curry fart under a disturbed duvet.

I think it was Professor Pong, on the tube, with the empty can of deodorant. 

Or the blonde.

Tube Stench

Toys, taxis and tourettes

I’ve just been for a wander in London, mostly to get out of the office for some fresh air and to stretch my legs.

My travels took me to ‘Forbidden Planet’; a Mecca to geeks up and down the country, selling all sorts of film, gaming and comic memorabilia. 

I passed a couple with their young son who was holding a life size replica of the portal gun from Aperture Laboratories, made famous by the game ‘Portal’.  Awesome!

As I got nearer I heard the dad telling the boy that he couldn’t have it.  This is fair enough, but the kid was already holding it in his arms.  At least tell the boy BEFORE you’ve watched him carefully pick it up off the shelf and hold it lovingly in his arms like a puppy, you turd.  

He pleaded with his dad, but the answer was no.

“How about a foam sword son?”

“How about you suck my hairless balls dad?”

I mooched around the shop for a bit, dribbling over Star Wars stuff, before heading back out into the rain. 

As I got to Tottenham Court road I saw a woman in a suit hail a taxi from the kerb.  She threw her arm up like an enthusiastic pupil answering a classroom question and the cab pulled over sharply.  She hop, skipped and jumped the deepening puddles towards the taxi door only to stop, turn back and shout “for fucks sake!” at the top of her lungs.

This turned a few heads.

It seems three Chinese students had beaten her to the taxi, and as it sped off she angrily attempted to hail another one.  This time she looked less like a pupil and more like a Nazi.

To top all this off I saw a skinny little man with a massive beard waiting to cross the road; shouting and arguing with the traffic lights, the pavement and the corner of the pub.  Despite it being one of the busiest cities in the world, there didn’t seem to be anyone else needing to cross the road at that moment. 

Weird.

Phlegm fatale

On the London Underground this morning I was watching a woman sat down, meticulously adjusting her hair in a small hand-held mirror.

This little bit back there; this bit brought forward etc… 

She was being very thorough and at one stage appeared to be struggling to get one part of her hair to go where she wanted it to.  This may be because the train was being jostled left and right vigorously, but it’s likely because gravity actually exists.

Suddenly she stopped and looked up, like a deer hearing a twig snap in the quiet wood or that realisation that you’ve probably left the iron on at home.  She was motionless, looking directly forward with intent and concern at no-one in particular.

“Atchoo!!”

She sneezed into her hand.  The hand she then re-applied to her hair.

I always thought sneezes were unpredictable and unintentional, but her (now ‘gravity defying’) hair would suggest otherwise.

snot hair gel

A sign of irony

There’s a pub on a street corner between the office and the station that always has people spilling out onto the pavement.

Often literally.

Today as I walked by there was a large freestanding sign outside the pub with the words:

‘Can all customers outside the pub please avoid obstructing the pavement’

The sign was chained to a lamp post on the corner of both streets, right in the middle of both pavements.

I had to walk into the road to get around  it.

Obviously.

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Catch me if you can

I saw something this evening that was both amusing and adorable.

Let me start with a question…

If you saw an article of clothing fall out of a stranger’s rucksack as they walked by and they hadn’t noticed,  would you pick it up and run after them?

I think most people would.

I would.

Well that’s exactly what I saw happen this evening as I was walking to the tube station. Only, on this occasion the stranger was a London jogger.

For the uninitiated, a London jogger tends to be quicker than a regular jogger. This evolution of speed has adapted itself over the years so the LJ can nimbly negotiate the cruel and unrelenting London traffic (and the types of dawdling twats you only get on the pavements of this fine city) like Lycra clad urban ninjas.

So anyway,  this jogger ran by and something fell out of her rucksack onto the floor.  The LJ hadn’t noticed and continued running.

A woman bent down, picked up the scarf type item and called out to the LJ,  but she couldn’t hear through the music she was listening to on her headphones.

“This will be interesting”, I thought.

I slowed down, naturally.

The woman then decided to run after the LJ waving this article of clothing as if somehow the flapping of material would create enough breeze to alert the runner.

It didn’t.

I looked away briefly to cross the road as I didn’t want to get hit by a car (I’m no urban ninja) and when I looked back she was still running after the LJ, a further 50 metres up the street!  You’ve got to respect her resilience!

She finally caught up with the runner,  handed her the scarf (or whatever it was) and then proceeded to bend over and pant like a knackered dog.  The LJ was rubbing her back and saying what looked like “are you ok?”

It’s moments like these that lift my spirits; not only because it’s funny,  but because it renews my faith in people.

That is until I encounter the inevitable pricks on the tube.

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Tough birds

The pigeons in London are a law unto themselves; a real force to be reckoned with

I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve seen them divebombing hapless pedestrians.  I can’t decide if they just don’t see us, don’t like us, or if they’re out to humiliate us by forcing us to duck violently whilst dousing ourselves and the surrounding area in Starbucks coffee.

I suspect it’s the latter.

In fact I was the victim of an attempted flying faceplant yesterday mid conversation, but I saw the little shit coming and simply moved my head slightly to the right to avoid a faceful of beak and feathers.  This caused my friend to smirk loudly at my expense, but I simply looked at her, raised an eyebrow, smiled and coolly said “I saw him coming”. 

What I really wanted to say was “Fucking hell did you see how close that was?? I nearly swallowed the little git!!”

This got me thinking.  Pigeons are relatively resourceful birds with a modicum of intelligence and bags of attitude. They strut around the city ON THE GROUND to taunt us with the fact that they COULD fly but instead choose not to; bobbing their heads like a cockney who’s ‘lookin’ to start sumfink’.

There’s always food lying around in London and there are plenty of spattered statues that will agree these bastards eat very well, so maybe, just maybe they try to relieve the tedium by daring and double daring each other.

They probably sit there with a mate on a windowsill, people-watching.  Their conversation may go a little something like this…

Brian – “See that bloke down there?”
Cyril – “Where?”
Brian – “Down there”
Cyril – “What, the twat on the bike?”
Brian – “No, that one down there taking a photo of his wife and son”
Cyril – “Oh yeah.”
Brian – “I dare you to take his head off him just as he takes the photo”
Cyril – “Nah, I’m knackered. I’ve just spent twenty minutes flicking that piece of crust up in the air over and over again”
Brian – “Go on”
Cyril – “No”
Brian – “I double dare you”
Cyril – “Well in that case I’ll take his bloody head off”
Brian – “Go on then”
Cyril – “Ready?”
Brian – “Ready”

He swoops at the man’s head, full on, without stopping.

The man shrieks, ducks and drops his camera.  A passer-by laughs, then shuffles off unapologetically.  His wife and son go over to check he’s ok.

“That’s my boy!!” shouts Brian from his perch, “he folded like a cheap suit!”

“I think he shit himself!”, Cyril shouts back, laughing.

Brian breaks into a football style chant, “Who’s the wanker, who’s the wanker, who’s the wanker on the floor?  Who’s the wanker on the floor?”

They both laugh.  Cyril flies back up and joins his buddy on the perch.

“Now, about that twat on the bike”

Walk on the wild(ish) side?

I’ve just been out for a lunchtime walk into London town.  This was for 2 reasons really; firstly to get some fresh air and secondly to peruse the shops for any January Sales bargains….despite the fact it’s still December.

As I trotted along the street I approached a police car sat by the kerb with its engine running.  I quickly adopted my ‘I’m not up to anything suspicious so please don’t look at me’ walk.

And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.  We all have one.  We usually adopt it when walking through the ‘Nothing To Declare’ customs channel at the airport.

Anyway, as I get closer to the car the bright reflection of the sky on the windscreen subsides and I can see that the car is empty.  That’s right, I’m stood next to an empty police car idling by the kerb…with no sign of a police officer anywhere.

With this in mind, can someone please explain to me the sudden and overwhelming urge I had to get in the driver’s seat and drive off?

What the hell?

I’m a pretty law abiding citizen with a modicum of common sense, so I know that the moment I get into this car the owners will come running and most likely arrest me; yet I still found it incredibly hard to just walk by! 

Moreover, as I walked away I played this scenario over and over in my head and do you know what I concluded?  If it had been a private car I wouldn’t have even considered getting in and driving off.

What is wrong with me?

Fate? Or futile?

This morning my journey into work started with a delayed bus that got me to the station later than I’d hoped. I still managed to catch my intended train, but I had to run…which in work attire first thing in the morning, when my limbs are creaky and cold, tends to resemble a newborn deer; gangly and awkward.

Having made my train and rewarding myself with a mental high five I settled down into an empty seat and looked forward to my nap. This morning’s nap would be exceptionally enjoyable as I was on an earlier train today and I knew I didn’t have a mentally insane power walk the other end.

Half way into the journey the driver announced, whilst sat at a station, that there was a technical difficulty with the doors and we wouldn’t be going anywhere for at least 20 minutes.

Great.

So I settled into a nice deep sleep, which resulted in snorting myself awake when the driver’s voice came over the tannoy again (see previous blog entry: ‘Wakey Wakey’)

I finally made it into London, 2 minutes before I need to be at work; 20 minutes away.

Time to be Bambi again.

And the delays didn’t stop there.

I got stopped by two people whose Oyster cards wouldn’t let them through the barrier, a woman who kept stopping with her suitcase without warning, a train that was held in the station for 3 minutes (which equates to 3hrs overground) due to a stop signal, a guy on the escalator who was more preoccupied with his kindle than walking up the escalator (he got a sharp jab in the ribs for his efforts), and an elevator that finally moved after the doors opened and closed 6 times.

What is it with doors today??

So all in all, quite a prolonged commute into work. Perfect for a Monday.

I can only hope that fate had a plan and, by delaying me, ensured I avoided being hit by a car, mugged, shot, blown up or (worst of all) being stopped by charity people with dreadlocks and clipboards.