Thursday, June 30, 2005

I never was any good at Thursdays

As the Other Half is used to hearing me say on the endless trudge home from the pub on a Friday night, I'm tired (this is usually closely followed by "it's miles" in a whiny voice as I ricochet off someone's garden fence for the fourteenth time). I know, it's my own fault - school night and all that, but I'm a grownup and I like being able to make really dumb decisions that I can regret later even as I'm trying to think of a way to make it someone else's fault. Today was just plain horrible. The data I spent all day collating for the MD is fucked up and I really don't care enough to find out where the problem is and put it right. I was more engrossed this afternoon in idly dreaming of bizarre, exotic, painful deaths that might one day befall my boss, who I hate more than anything in the world (except the Da Vinci Code, of course. And Paul Daniels). He is driving me slowly and relentlessly mental and I want it to stop. I'm suggesting a whip-round - everyone sends me some money and I'll buy a piano and some rope and a counterweight and some very big scissors (or maybe a saw? Ooh, no, hang on, a machete. I've always wanted a machete) and I'll make a piano fall on him and the world will be a happier place. I'm sure even his wife wouldn't mind - he's got a stupid beard and went through a phase of wearing braces on his trousers last year which, as he's so short, made him look like a toddler with reins on. I could rant for hours about what a wanker he is but it wouldn't make any difference as he'll still be a wanker when I'm done. Grrrr.

Small Person went off on a school trip to the beach yesterday - they went on a train and had a fabulous time and it made me ponder the logistics and sanity of taking forty-odd five-year-old children on a day trip. What if they all needed a wee at the same time? What if you lost one? What if three of them decided to hide for three hours and give the teachers a heart attack at the thought that they'd been abducted (this happened on a school trip to Switzerland when I was twelve and was very funny indeed. Although presumably less amusing if you were one of the teachers and your career and personal liberty was on the line.)? Not for me thanks - entertaining one five-year-old child is more than enough for me most of the time. I had to pick her up from the childminder's last night as the Ex was stuck at work. He came to collect her and I had to suffer another fifteen minutes of excruciating boredom as he talked at me about things I have no interest in. The only thing that prevents me from sticking a fork in his eye and setting him on fire is the gleeful jump-up-and-down knowledge that I'm not actually living with him any more and that at some point I get to close the front door and flick him the v's from my kitchen window as he drives off in his shitty car with his shitty music playing. Musical differences are often cited as the reason for a band splitting up, and I believe it can be a fundamental dealbreaker in a relationship too. When the Ex and I first got together I spent a day in his house while he was out at work. After I'd done all the obvious stuff (looked through all his cupboards, read some personal correspondence, checked his bank statements etc) I went through his record collection. The twelve inch picture disc of Samantha Fox's "Touch Me" should have alerted me to the fact that some point he and I would be dividing kitchen equipment and arguing over who got to keep the baby photos. But like a fool I ignored the evidence and we spent the next eight years becoming increasingly bitchy about each other's taste in music. On one memorable evening towards the end of our relationship he locked me out of the bedroom for the night on the basis that I had denounced his Pink Floyd dvd of The Wall as "shit" in front of our friends and put Motorhead on instead. If we went on a long car journey there were three neutral cd's we could listen to, or it was the radio all the way. For eight years. Sweet. So, be warned - if you ever meet someone with Jean Michel Jarre's (I'm ashamed that I even know how to spell that) entire back catalogue on cd please for the love of god don't marry him - he'll turn out to be a dull, possessive, unpleasant human being with a lack of personal hygiene and a persistent nose whistle. And a Land Rover. And some deeply horrible shoes. And a rubbish beard. And skinny chicken legs. And a padlock on his wallet. Probably.

Right, that's enough of that. I'm going to have a competition with myself to see if I can stay awake til Big Brother starts. I bet I win.

Public service announcment

Just so you know, you should never ever go out on a school night for a great big Mexican meal with your GBF and drink loads and loads of wine and then get home and stay up really really late. All that will happen is that you'll wake up late and have to get your Other Half (who will also be hung over due to the stellas he necked while you were out) to iron your top and when you get to work you'll realise you have loads of work to do for the MD and it'll just depress you.

I'll do a proper post later when I'm supposed to be at the gym. Don't tell anyone I'm bunking off.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

What I did on my holidays part 2. And other things

What a top weekend. Me, Small Person and the Other Half have been to the park, swimming and to the beach. A packed day and the Other Half was edging towards the front door at 4pm like a hungry dog heading for a bowl of pedigree chum. Bless.

I thought that nobody would want to hear about the Mexican extravaganza that was mine and the Other Half's hollybobs, but it seems I was wrong. A massive three people complained so, you asked for it, more of the same. I really don't know where to begin. The Other Half and me are obsessed with other people - how they look, what they do and really how bloody awful they all are. So my memories of Mexico (apart from the ones you REALLY don't want to hear about, especially if you know us), are more to do with the people we saw than anything else. I personally had never spent so much time in close proximity to Americans, and I really struggled with it. They are a nation of terrible dress sense, incomprehensible taste in music, and a propensity to go "HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" at the drop of a hat. Particularly when the house band launched into "Sweet Home Alabama" for the nineteenth time that night. I assume that the southern states are more inclined to head to Mexico for that precious time away from their doublewide trailers and pet crocs - we seemed to be constantly surrounded by good ol' boys and their helplessly drunk companions. The Other Half and I had spent an enjoyable week feeling superior to the whooping, crew cut masses populating the swim-up bar on our side of the resort, until the fateful day when it caught us in its tractor beam and sucked us in for a whole five hours or so. It began innoccuously enough - it was very hot and we decided to head over for a refreshing drink. This was at 11am. I was on the mimosas (posh name for buck's fizz) and the Other Half was sticking resolutely to the watered down lager - which after fifteen or so tends to creep up on you. Apparently. So we were drinking and gossiping away, when a guy who transpired to be John from Denver happened along. His (presumably long-suffering) wife had tasked him with grabbing a couple of margheritas and bringing them back, which to be fair he did. Four hours later. He was ordering two at a time and necking them like it was last orders in a Nottingham nightclub. We covered such diverse subjects as American football (my assertion that it's just rugby for girls didn't go down too well, although he did insist at this point that the Other Half fly to Denver at John and his unsuspecting wife's hospitality to see a game. He was about eight margheritas in....) and working for General Motors, when the conversation took a turn for the 9/11's and I found myself discussing lovely Daddy's boy Dubbya's hard right policies, in a swimming pool, with a large drink in my hand. Weird. Although normally my far left hippy principles would have kicked in and I'd have been dismissing the Texan fruitloop's shortcomings while celebrating the fact that we're not all toast yet, a hitherto undiscovered sense of propriety kicked in and I just nodded and smiled and vowed to apologise to myself later. The American's are still vehemently NOT over the fact that another nation hates them to that extent, and I felt that a drunken argument with a total stranger was probably not the best way to resolve the Anglo-American difference of opinion on that subject. Yay me. Anyway, at this point John's wife appeared poolside, presumably wondering where the last twelve drinks had gone.. when it became apparent that the answer was "down John's throat" she flounced off and, after pledging lifelong friendship, he did the same. The Other Half and I then had a very satisfying bombing competition to the disgust of everone watching, and actually managed to make it through til 2am. There was a two hour hiatus in our room, which involved me insisting for a whole fifteen minutes that nobody should sleep or it would all be lost, and waking up hours later in my bikini and a damp towel to find that it was dark and I was still far too drunk to go for dinner. Nevertheless, a cool (supervised) shower and lots more drinks saved the day. And when we saw John from Denver the next day we were complicit in his strategy of pretending we'd never met, which we hope made his wife happy. It was obvious that he wasn't allowed to play with us any more. Sigh. It's always the same....

Oh bloody hell - you see what's happened. I've spent ages wittering on about one person we met and there's still loads to tell. More of the same soon - and I really do have to talk about the air hostess (scarily precise flight times and some very odd advice about what was permitted during takeoff and landing), and nose-picking man and the red hot chilli peanuts.

That'll teach you.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I get the message.... want to hear more about Mexico. Well, since this afternoon I'm actually working for a living (between eating marshmallows and surfing for a backpiece for the Other Half's next tattoo) you're going to have to be patient. So, over the weekend (probably on Sunday night - like leaving your homework til the last minute) I promise to elaborate further.

Remind me to tell you about the nose picking man, and the thickest trolley dolly in the world. And the pizza-eating "air therapist". And the house band. And Chichen Itza. And our first night home when the Other Half had a most discomfiting dream that I was feeling his balls in front of everyone in the south lobby of our hotel, and didn't know quite what to do about it......

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Takes all sorts

I’d intended to write much more about our holiday, but I’ve decided that listening to other people talk about their holidays is like listening to other people talk about a dream they had – that’s nice, but I wasn’t there. So, added to the fact that I could witter on for days about all the weird and wonderful things that happened I’ve decided to park it. It was the best holiday I’ve ever had and me and the Other Half had a blast so let’s just leave it there, shall we? Good. I thought you’d agree.

Instead I feel compelled to talk about possibly the most disturbing fly-on-the-wall TV show I’ve ever seen. Traffic Cops on Tuesday night had me wincing with horror, and not quite sure whose side I was on. To set the scene, a patrol car had been called to a layby off a B road somewhere up north, with reports that a man had been seen lying drunk in the road, and had then climbed into the cab of a parked lorry. When the officers showed up, it was established with the help of witnesses that the driver had come wobbling up the road from a nearby pub, got into his cab, got out again, lain in the road for a bit, presumably got bored and got back in the cab. So, being upstanding citizens they immediately called the rozzers, fearing that a drink-driving offence was about to be committed. All well and good so far, and fairly straightforward for the police to deal with – get the guy out of his lorry, take the keys off him and book him. Except this is where it all sort of spiralled off into the sort of telly that has you simultaneously hiding your eyes while peeking through your fingers as you stare, transfixed with disbelief, as someone’s life spectacularly implodes on your telly. When the nice policemen opened the cab door, they were greeted with the sight of a man (who despite the blurred-out face looked to be in his thirties) in the drivers seat, wearing a t-shirt, a pair of black tights and high heeled boots (at this point I’m such a girl that I’m thinking to myself “ooh, black tights and brown boots. That just doesn’t go – what was he thinking??”, before realising that anything in a size twelve with a stiletto heel is probably acceptable if you have a bit of cross-dressing lined up – I’m sure the range isn’t exactly expansive). To be fair the guy was so drunk that it probably didn’t seem that bad at the time – I mean, it’s not like being filmed by the BBC getting caught having a furtive wank in a northern layby, wearing your best 30-deniers and some shoes you found in the Save the Children shop is necessarily THAT bad, is it? He just sort of stoically sat it out for a bit, until it became clear that a) the coppers wanted him out of the cab NOW and b) they weren’t about to let him put his trousers on first. At this point I began to find the whole thing very uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable enough to change channels, obviously. I mean, this had already happened, right? And it’s not like I could make any difference to this bloke’s downfall by doing the decent thing and not being witness to his shame. Besides which, I was dying to see what sort of pants he had on. So anyway, a Mexican standoff developed, with the police ordering the driver out of the cab, and the driver holding his trousers and asking for a couple of minutes. All the while, the coppers are shining a torch in his face, a camera crew is standing behind them, and presumably the girls who had called the police in the first place had subsequently texted everyone in their phonebooks to invite them down to watch. This is where my dilemma arises – it turned out that “lying in the road” was a giggly euphemism for “wanking in the road”, and therefore this man was also charged and convicted of indecent assault. So, I feel a bit weird for having sympathy for someone who, wherever on the scale they fall, is a sex offender. On the other hand, two points. Firstly, I think the police officers acted unprofessionally and were revelling in the fact that this guy’s embarrassment was being witnessed by not only themselves, but the watching bystanders and potentially a very wide audience when the programme was broadcast, and this was the reason for not allowing him to get his trolleys on before getting out of the lorry. Secondly – although it’s very very weird, think about how fucked up you have to be to get so drunk that you can’t think of a better way to conclude the evening than to crack one out in public, wearing tights, and to then find yourself confronted with the police and a camera crew capturing your shame. I’m sure we’ve all woken up with the fear on numerous occasions – how must it be to wake up with your head pounding and a tongue like a lolly stick, and have to piece together the previous evenings events thus: “blimey, what on earth did I do last night? And where the hell am I? I remember being in the pub…..hang on, this is a police cell…….and I’ve got tights on, despite the fact that I’m called Colin……..oh bloody hell, I didn’t did I??” In a horrible sort of way it’s funny, of course it is. Nothing better than a lorry driver in tights to put your own problems in perspective and all that, but I wonder if he had a wife and kids, and how they must have felt – not only to find out what had happened, but to then have it broadcast across the nation (there was a long shot of the lorry cab and although the name etc was obscured I’m sure the livery would be recognisable to local people)? Bruh.

Oh, and it was a silver thong. Apparently.

Monday, June 20, 2005

What I did on my holidays

Sitting here now typing this the whole Mexico holiday thing seems like a distant dream. It’s quite scary how quickly and easily real life takes over on returning – by the time I got to work on Friday it was as if it had happened to somebody else. Friday was a day of breathtaking dullness, punctuated intermittently by yet another colleague happening by to see if me and the Other Half had got engaged while we were away (as an office romance we appear to be public property as far as the progress of our relationship goes). Ten different people checked out my left hand, winked and said “ooh, no proposal then”, including my boss. I wouldn’t mind, but a) both of us are still married to other people (me and the Other Half that is, me and my boss also are but his marital status really isn’t so important to me. He’s short and balding but pretends he isn’t either, and laughs VERY LOUDLY at least three times a day in order that people are awed by his full and frankly wacky life, although it generally simply causes people to look up briefly from their desks, mutter “wanker” darkly to themselves and carry on surfing the jobs pages) and b) if it keeps up the Other Half may well suspect that I’ve been sobbing into my pillow every night at the complete absence of a ring from Elizabeth Duke and a heartfelt invitation to wash his pants and have perfunctory sex on a Wednesday night for the rest of my life. Not that I have anything against marriage proposals of course. I mean, in principle, I’m sure being taken out for dinner in a classy yet popular restaurant during the busy evening period, accepting a massive square-cut solitaire after a moving assurance that the rest of my life will pass in a blur of adoration and expensive shoes, and being toasted in vintage Veuve-Cliquot while other diners sigh enviously and wish they were me is a lovely lovely thing – I’d just prefer not to finish the evening with the sentence “I suppose I’ll have to tell my husband then”.

Anyway, hollybobs. For a couple of bitter old bitches like me and the Other Half it was an absolute peach of a holiday. We spent a fortnight in complete luxury, openly laughing at other people’s shortcomings. Marvellous. We completely alienated every other British person there (thankfully only a few, but relentlessly set on befriending anyone with an accent east of New York) by variously running away whenever we saw them, being curt to the point of downright bloody rude if approached, and having endless noisy sex for a whole fortnight (if the couple from room 1904 weren’t such miserable fuckers I’d be apologising at this point but frankly they deserved it). We had to endure an hour and a half minibus ride into Cancun (think Blackpool on a Friday night only less classy) with these people, for an evening excursion to the “rep show” which was so excruciatingly bad that I can’t bring myself to describe it any more deeply than two salient facts – the Other Half will no longer be able to look at Tina Turner without shuddering, and they had to give an old man from the audience a pink wig and let him join in so that he didn’t kill us all and then celebrate by killing us all again. Apart from all the whining middle aged people (more of them in a minute) there was a young couple who were so utterly bereft of personality or backbone that it made me want to bring back National Service, and I'm a proper hippy. The girl was so thick that when we passed a restaurant called Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Shack she was convinced that it had been there for years and was the inspiration for and therefore written into the film rather than a being a gimmicky restaurant which came off the back of the film. Her main argument was that “there were lots of real-life things in that film, weren’t there?”. Give me strength. Our least favourite couple were a particularly unpleasant husband and wife combo – he was the sweatiest man I’ve ever encountered, and she had a voice that made you want to clutch your head and make a high-pitched keening noise until it stopped. The husband was one of those people who at the slightest provocation will make a very unfunny remark and mug, wink and leer at anyone in the vicinity in order to involve them. He almost came with delight when the baggage carousel broke down at the airport on the way home, but by then most people were wise to him and simply looked the other way. He did get stung for excess baggage at Cancun airport, probably due to the sheer volume of hotel property they’d stolen (he was mopping his sweaty neck with a nicked towel all the way from the hotel to the airport), which pleased us immeasurably.

I could spout on and on and on for hours, maybe even days about how many horrifically dressed Americans we saw, but anyone who’s ever been anywhere that Americans go on holiday will be fully appraised of that already. The girth of their waistbands was matched only by the height of their hair (and that was just the men. Oho. I thank you), and they all, male and female, had spectacularly horrible shoes. There’s so much more to tell, so I think I’m going to have to do this in instalments. Ooh, it’s worse than a slide show, isn’t it.

And I didn’t even have to look at a dolphin, let alone fondle one. Hurrah for overpriced excursions……

Friday, June 17, 2005

My brain hurts

First day back at work today and I'm sure this jet lag is never going away - have cleared 350 emails, caught up on the BBC news website and been to a prizegiving at Small Person's school (where she was presented with a certificate for "drawing a train in the style of Turner". How very odd), so just a little tiny post to say I'll post something substantial over the weekend. We're off to see Green Day at the Milton Keynes Bowl tomorrow, so here's to yet another day sitting in the sun drinking beer.......

I need a holiday.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Postcards from Paradise

Don't ask me why I'm taking time out from hollybobs to post this - I'll only tell you that it's cos I want to brag, gloat and generally lord it over you about the fabulous time we're having. The hotel is just plain incredible, the location is stunning, food and service are out of this world. It's gloriously hot, the cocktails are free, and the people-watching is quite the funniest I've seen anywhere. The place is rammed with Americans, who seem as a race to be the most unselfconscious people I've ever witnessed. The nightly entertainment in the Andromeda Disco (and yes, it's everything that the name suggests) is our favourite thing - last night brought us the unrivalled spectacle of a wedding party from Alabama doing their respective things on the dancefloor. I'll elaborate on all of this when we get back as I'd rather spend work time on it than holiday.......only 9 more days of luxury and pampering to go - how can a girl stand it. Oh, and the tans are coming along nicely - the Other Half is a fabulous shade of traffic-light red and I've got a very shiny nose. How terribly British.

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