Keeping your poop in a jar*
For those who aren’t in the know (and you should be), they’re a four-piece band of good ol’boys who play country/bluegrass covers of rock songs. In dungarees. Sounds rubbish, is in fact brilliant. After twenty minutes or so (and buoyed up by a marvellous support set from Mary McBride [she did a track on the Gay Cowboy Movie soundtrack, you know]) the place had an air of Southern Baptist Tent Revival, and you can’t say fairer than that on a Wednesday night in East Anglia. Even I managed to enjoy myself, despite the fact that I was a) driving b) tired and c) in a mood so foul that Elton John in a full-fledged hissy-fit would have apologised and backed off. Going to see a band in a small venue requires endless patience and steel toecaps, neither of which were in my possession. After an hour of standing perfectly happily(ish) in a pretty good spot, I felt moved to tap a man on the shoulder and point out that as I am only five foot five and he was six foot four, it wasn’t really fair of him to shoulder through the crowd and stake out a place directly in front of me (so close that my nose was pressing into his jumper, and that is Never Good) so far into the evening. To his credit, he was extremely gentlemanly. Up until the point when his Dad got into a fight in the pit, that is. It was one of those nights – and there was me in the middle of it – stone cold sober, tired and with the thought of a 6am run hanging over me. I think I did rather well, myself. I didn’t join in the fight or anything.
And so to the car park. Which goes something like this:
Pay your ticket fee at the pay station. Repair to car. Bulldoze car out into endless queue of almost-stationary cars attempting to exit multi-storey. Refuse point blank to give any quarter to anyone unlucky to have arrived back at their cars after you and who is now attempting to exit their parking space and join the queue. Rail helplessly at the man in front of you who insists on letting people out. Ask him rhetorically (he can’t hear you, you know. And even if he could, he wouldn’t care) why he can’t grasp the simple logic of the situation – if every car lets another car out, and each car is only moving a car-length at a time, I WILL NEVER GET OUT OF THIS FUCKING CAR PARK AND I HAVE AN EARLY START, DAMN YOU!! Sulk. Inch forward, tortuously. On finally reaching the ground floor where the exit barriers are, become aware that people are stopping at the barrier and then getting out of their cars and going to the pay station. Launch a futile, invective-peppered rant against people who are so stupid that they thought it was better to get themselves back to their car faster and then hold up everyone else who had done it the right way round. Arrive at right-hand ticket barrier. Watch incredulously as man at left-hand barrier exits his car and heads for the pay point, ticket in hand. As the red mist descends, borne of tiredness and frustration, wind your window down and involve your partner in a double-barrelled fusillade of abuse against ridiculous, low-browed halfwit who doesn’t understand the basic premise of a car park. This might sound something like:
Me (incredulous): “What the FUCK are you doing?!!”
OH (five pints of Red Stripe and no tea): “YOU FUCKING COCK! YOU RETARD! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!”
Me (sarcastic, with an edge of violence): “Did you miss the part where you’re supposed to pay for your ticket before you go back to your car? How stupid are you?!”
Man at Pay Station (polite, slightly bewildered): “Everyone will have to do this. We’ve all been in the queue so long the tickets have expired and you’ll have to pay another fifty pee. Look…(gestures at man in front of us failing to get the machine to accept his ticket). Sorry..”
Me: * breaks eye contact, winds window up, orders OH out of the car to pay the extra on the ticket *
Still, live and learn, eh?
* A touching love song with the lyric Keeping your poop in a jar/Until you come back so I don’t forget just what you are/Yeah, I’m keeping your poop in a jar. Best sung en masse, with the crowd waving lighters.