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

Getting it right on 01/01/16

Happy new year everyone!  Welcome to 2016!

It’s at this time of the year that America gets it right.  There are so many occasions where they get it oh so wrong…but not at new year.  No, this is the time they get it oh so right.

In fact, they get it right twelve times a year.

So what am I talking about?  Allow me to go off topic for a change.

There are a lot of things in life that have a natural progression; night follows day,Ernie follows Bert and things that ‘must come down’ follow ‘what goes up’…it’s just the way things are.

A lot of things are incremented based on their size.  Think about it.

  • X-Small / Small / Medium / Large / X-Large.
  • Baby / Child / Teenager / Adult.
  • Second / Minute / Hour.
  • Month / Day / Year.

Er, wait, what?  I’m sorry, did I just say Month / Day / Year?

Sorry, my mistake!  I can’t believe I said that!

What I meant to say was Day / Month / Year….obviously!  I mean, who puts the month before the day?

Oh yeah, America does.

In America, for some reason, they do it arse about face.  Not only do they write their dates in the wrong chronological order, they’re blissfully unaware of it.  In fact, whenever I have this conversation with my newfound American friends they look at me with genuine surprise and say “Really?”.

They have no idea.

When I first moved from England this caused me some confusion.  For example, today’s date in the UK is 02/01/15, but in America that’s considered the 1st of February.

How did this ever become a thing?  Was Yoda teaching in early American schools?

By US logic, 8:30pm should be written as 30:8pm, right?

Actually it should be written as 20:30 (or 30:20), but the 24hr clock (or ‘Military time’ as it’s called over here) seems to confuse most people too.  It’s practically a necessity to use ‘am’ and ‘pm’ to tell the time.

So, for twelve times a year they get it right.  The 1st of January, the 2nd of February, the 3rd of March etc… all read the same way in America as it does in most of the world.

For 12 times a year, correct America gets it.

date_format

 

Are you being followed too?

319.

It’s following me.

I know, I know, I sound a bit crazy…but I’m serious, I see it everywhere.

It all started with the awesome song by Prince called….yep, you guessed it…. ‘319’.

I didn’t think anything of it (except for it being a great track) until I starting noticing the numbers popping up from time to time.

I’d say, “Ha, it’s like the Prince song”, but that was it; just a coincidence.  However, over time I noticed it more and more.

  • Often, when I look at the time it just happens to be 3:19pm.
  • A few times I’ve woken up in the night to pee and when I come back to bed my alarm clock says 3:19am.
  • I once took a walk into town during a late lunch break and wandered into a store that sold household furnishings. As I passed the section that sold clocks I noticed they ALL said 3:19pm (I could’ve walked past or looked up at 3:18pm or 3:20pm, but no)
  • Many times I’ve loaded up a video game from my last save and noticed I’ve had 319 coins, or 319 experience points, or 319 health, or 319 bullets left etc.
  • Usually when I visit the supermarket to pick up something specific like, I don’t know, a roast chicken or a cheese grater; the price will be £3.19. And it will be the ONLY item at that price.
  • Last night I was fast forwarding through an American football game (because I was only interested in the final score) and I needed to pee, so I pressed pause and the game clock was at 3:19.

I remember the time I first told my wife about this oddity. At the time she was still living in America (in Nevada to be precise) so the conversation was over Skype.  I was using my phone because the charger for my laptop had died.  There was a problem with the version of Skype on my phone which meant the video didn’t work so we were forced to speak the old fashioned way with just audio.

Just audio! Can you imagine?

What next? Drums and smoke signals?  Maybe we should just grunt and throw our poo at each other.

Anyway, as I was telling her about this number stalking me I could hear her tone of voice becoming that of someone slowly backing towards the door or reaching for pepper spray. I couldn’t blame her; I know how insane it sounds.

During this conversation I was also looking for my laptop because I needed to find out what the required voltage was so I could buy the correct replacement power cable.  It was then that I noticed the serial number on the back of my laptop.

It was something like HP759187564-319.

I was actually mid conversation about this number and there it was, as clear as day. I felt like Hurley in ‘Lost’.

(Oh, and by the way, Nevada is home to State Route 319).

600px-nevada_319_svg

Is it just me or do others have this weird thing with numbers?

Am I seeing it because I want to see it?

I mean, I work in travel, so should I be concerned about this?

a319 plane

Surely others see 319 everywhere too, but they just don’t pay attention to it because, well, they have a life?  I see lots of numbers every day but that doesn’t mean they’re stalking me.

Am I going crazy?

Should I be taking medication?

tramadol-hydrochloride

Earlier this year I decided to have 319 incorporated into an existing tattoo I have on my shoulder.

When I told my tattooist and long term friend about it he was understanding (at least that’s what he said from the doorway whilst holding pepper spray).  I recall going home later that day and then something happened with 319 that made him say “Bloody hell, you’re right!”, but annoyingly I can’t remember what it was!

He was a bit freaked out.

Anyway, here is what it looks like.

319 tattoo arm

I actually had it done on March the 19th (3/19) at 3:19pm exactly.  Of course!

So why am I telling you about this now?

Well, this is my 319th post.

Seemed fitting.

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

Forrest Grump….

Clip clop clip clop clip clop CLIP CLOP CLIP CLOP CLIPCLOPCLIPCLOP!

That’s the sound of ME running for the train like a deranged donkey; bag and brolly flailing in my wake as I slalom shuffling commuters like a survivor in a zombie apocalypse.  I think I took out some kid with my bag, but its hard to tell…I mean this blood and snot could’ve come from anywhere, right? Right??  And whose tooth is this?

Anyway…

Why am I so late?  Well let me tell you.

I drove to the station this morning in the realisation that my monthly travel card had expired and I needed another one.  At least, I was hoping the police would believe that when I have to explain how I achieved the 13 minute drive in 7.

But that aside…

I then power minced from the car to the station.  I can’t call it a power walk, because it was that kind of walk that’s a little faster than a power walk; it’s almost a run, but not.  It’s what the professional walkers do.  Hmm, maybe I’ll rewrite this paragraph.

I walked to the station like a toned Olympic athlete, and prided myself on getting there super early so I had time to get my ticket.

Queue.

Massive queue.

Shit.

So I took my place at the back of this miserable and unmoving conga line.  And as I’m stood there among the zombies, I could hear the requests from the shufflers at the front who had made it to the coveted ticket window.  Amongst the genuine requests for tickets, I also heard this little gem; “Can I have a ticket for tomorrow please?”

What??  Are you effing KIDDING me??  You’re not even travelling today?

There was also this little delight; “How much is it to Croydon?”.  Normal enough, except this penis wasn’t even buying a ticket…he just wanted to know the price!

Of course, none of this was done in stasis; the clock was still ticking and it was getting incredibly close to my train pulling in.  One woman in front of me must’ve been in the same situation as she kept huffing, puffing and sighing heavily whilst constantly looking at her watch.

Reminds me of sex with my ex.

So I finally make it to the sacred fenestrated wall and I’m done in under 20 seconds. People behind me are clapping and cheering; one woman is crying; someone gives me their baby to kiss.  It was emotional.

Ok, that didn’t actually happen, but we all thought it.

I turn on my heel and bolt for the platform barrier, which is where I began this tale.

I literally run all the way up the slope, onto the platform, straight onto the train (as the door closes right behind me) and into a seat.  What a great feeling; made even better by seeing a woman do the same behind me, but she was too late; stopped by Mr Jobsworth on the platform.

I’m not great at lip reading, but I think she just said “you can’t! You’re far, king sheet and can’t!”  Dunno what that means.

Her snot nosed kid didn’t look impressed.  It might be because he had a nose bleed, and he seemed to be missing a tooth.