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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What message would you like to leave?

Maybe it's just that I've been to too many weddings recently that I am suffering from what I call post-wishes fatigue. Perhaps I am bitter that none of those weddings have been my own, and I am merely jealous. Though if any of you had seen the groom on one occasion, there would be a petition right now outside of parliament to amend the Human Rights Act. Teeth simply should not be like that.

Post-wishes fatigue occurs when you finally get around to phoning in in order to give some money to the happy couple. Despite the fact you actually spent money getting to the wedding, buying drinks at the cash bar, possibly buying a wedding outfit and a disposable camera because you keep forgetting to take your digital one with you, darn it. (Try stapling it to your hand the night before).

Post Wishes Fatigue starts with a simple spoken pleasantry. You hear from a friend or relative that they are to tie the knot. If you are like me (female or gay), you will probably clap your hands together in a happy way and say something like: "Oh how exciting, congratulations, when is it?". If you are not like me (male or an ugly spinster), you will probably say: "Really? Are you expecting a baby.?" But we deal not with the latter, but the former.

Then of course, you spend weeks and weeks talking wedding, planning how to get to wedding, what to wear for wedding, who else is invited, what the bride/groom is wearing, blah blah blah until you know as much about the day as the bride or groom does.

The day of the wedding comes. You write a card out for the happy couple. "Wishing you every happiness in your married lives together" or some such yadda. You greet the happy couple on the day with more congratulations, you look wonderfuls and Thank you so much for inviting mes. Just when you think the smile on your face will crack you find there's a book of condolences to sign. "Dearest Princess of Hearts, you will always be with us. I will never visit Paris again in Spring without thinking of you."
I think I got barred from that wedding reception.

You stare at the book of congrats, probably slightly sozzled by then, and desperately try to think of something witty and beautiful that someone else has not said. You skim-read the other pages, probably dribbling wine and spittle over it, and of course it's all written in fountain pen, but the ink runs out while you try to use it and all you have in your bag or pocket is a chewed-up biro. And it's red. In the light of your pikey shame all you can muster is: "Wishing you all the best for your married lives together" and hoping that it's "lives" and not "life" and wondering whether you wrote that in the card as well. Not that they'd notice anyway, because you could only find half an orange crayon to write on the card with.

Skulking back to your seat, you think you can relax, but NO! Along comes a second uncle twice removed, It could be Uncle Leo, Harry or Jake, you can't remember, although you know it's not uncle Norm, who wasn't really your uncle but he hung around anyway until he disappeared "Up North" and your mum had to explain with a Barbie doll why Uncle Norm no longer visits. "Where exactly did he put the cake? Show me on the barbie... are you sure it was on your head?" Where was I?
Oh, Uncle Leo, or Harry, comes up with a video camera and shoves it into your mug and says: "Send your wishes!"

This reminds me of a funny story recently. Mum and I were in Greece for a wedding and someone came up to us with a video camera. It was late and we were not paying too much attention. He said: "Wishes.... speak wishes." Mum looked flustered for a second, before replying: "I wish I were 29 again."

So you're put on the spot and have to think of something that does not sound banal. The best one I ever heard was at the same Greek wedding where my friend Simon, glass of port in one hand and a fat cigar in the other, waded up to the lens, raised both cigar and wine, said: "Cheers" and walked off. Class.

What else can you say: "Best wishes for the future and all that, blah blah?" There simply is nothing in those old Victorian etiquette books that prepares one for this sort of enforced bonhomie. It's enough to make you eschew all friendships, tear up your phone book and take to yelling "Bah humbug" at random passers by (this works well if you live near a bus stop and can shout it out of the window without anyone seeing you. Hours of fun. Note to self - Get out more. Not to weddings. Staple note to hand so don't forget).

You think you've escaped when you get home. But no, there's the post-wedding "heck I forgot to contribute to their present/honeymoon/cosmetic surgery" moment when you fish around your bag and find the wedding invitation and gift list stuck to it with a piece of old chewing gum. So you ring up. Phew! It's not too late. How much do you want to contribute? ("what's the minimum limit on a credit card?" is not an acceptable answer, I have since discovered.) When all the details are taken, you go to thank the helpful assistant.

but wait....

"What message would you like to leave on the card?"

"There's a CARD?"

"Any message for the couple?"

Slight moment of panic.

"Um... er... best wishes for your married lives (or is it life?) together."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We have ways of making you walk

I hate urban cyclists. I really, really do. They are wretched individuals. They are smug, self-satisfied arses who think they are doing their bit for the planet by pumping sweat and methane into the air for an hour every day. They believe themselves to be better than the rest of us who prefer to use the gym and eat healthily. And I loathe them, despise them with a despite scarcely imaginable.

It's not so much the fact that they are the smuggest people on earth. It's just that normal rules do not apply to them. They believe themselves to be demi-gods, outside the laws of the road, of morality, of basic decency and fashion sense.

Laws of the road

1) Pedestrians have right of way when there's a green man.
Oh! but no! A cyclist does not give a flying fart. A cyclist can just skim out in front of you, swearing profusely at little old ladies who can't get their scottie terriers out of the way in time. This morning I ended up calling out a cyclist who decided that stopping at a red light infringed her basic human rights. I think it was an infringement of my human rights that she wanted to run me over. "Don't the rules of the road apply to you?" I called after her. "F*** off" was what I think she said, but I could not be sure as by then she was mowing down a pregnant woman while beating off a blind man with her fists.

2) Wearing the appropriate gear.
I can tolerate cyclists who make sure they are wearing helmets, reflective bands, etc etc. They are to be taken relatively seriously as they are making an effort. But it's the gimps who think they are above the law. Sour-faced hoodies wriggling in and out in the bus lanes (SLOWLY) while speaking on their mobile phones. Old people with flat caps and leather satchels. Middle-aged women in skirts. Ridiculous middle-class girls with names like Darin or Alexandra who think cycling is the new cool thing to do, so they wear three-quarter length trousers and flip-flops (for crying out loud) and wobble their way along the road (again, SLOWLY). This is exactly what is wrong with our country. 60 years ago, these children of yuppies would have been married off safely at the age of 18 and stay at home out of our way.

But no! Now they have some trite little job in PR or publishing although they probably only scraped through home economics at Uni, and now they make our lives miserable by holding up traffic. I blame Weightwatchers. That alone is responsible for half the posh totty on our roads, as it informs everything they are, although to be honest, all they do in their lives is answer phones, worry about their highlights, drink wine, feel guilty so think they should cycle to work. We are held up because of their lack of personal fulfilment. Get a life and stay off the barely-seen-a-patch-of-mud mountain bikes.
Why do they want to cycle in the bus lane anyway?

3) Cycling in a bus lane.

Simple maths.... 1 bus = 90 people. 1 cycle = 1 slow twazzock
1 bus lane = clear, except for 1 bus full of 90 people, and 1 slow twazzock on a bike
Bus is permitted to go at 50 in the bus lane.
Cyclist is managing 15
Which one will get to work quicker?

The STOAB. Of course. Why? I hear you ask.
Well, the STOAB gets in front of the bus. it slows the bus down. STOAB does not know how to cycle towards the edge of the bus lane, to enable the bus to overtake it. Or perhaps the STOAB does know, but is a freaking friends of the earth, let's hug a baby seal global warming nut who thinks that the 90 people on the bus deserve to die because they're adding to carbon build-up. I'd carbon build up such a cyclist if I met one. I'd rip off his arm, beat him around the head with it until he died, and set fire to him. That should warm the globe up by 1 degree.

Every Single Day there is ONE dumbo cyclist who barely manages the basics of velocipedia and makes me late for work. One day I really am going to snap.


Of course, it's not so bad being on the top of the bus, giving the cyclist the evil eye and hoping that he gets a puncture. But in a car.... is there anything worse than seeing some sweaty, spandex butt shoved up in your face? Unless it's a girl wearing a thong? A damp, pink, tight thong, cutting into her ample folds of flesh, while her hipster jeans are half-way down her butt? The mere sight of this would turn milk.

Why do these people not understand?
1) obey the law
2) cycle properly
3) wear proper clothing
4) nobody wears a thong to exercise.

Well, actually, last night in the gym, three of us regulars were changing away when a newby came in to get showered and changed. She whisked off her brand-new sweatpants and bent down in our faces before we could avert our eyes. All three of us cringed and one took a step back, crying out: "My eyes! My EYES! It burns, I'm blind! Aaaarrrrgggghhh." for the newby was wearing a thong - a thong.... while exercising...

I bet she was on the cycling machine...

Moral of this tale? Always, always wipe the seat before you sit down at the gym....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why am I still single?

I went to Coq d'Argent last night for an industry shin-dig.

As I had already been ill, and had taken co-codamol a few hours earlier, I got drunk quickly, At one point I was holding a Merlot in one hand and a Champagne in the other, telling everyone in a very posh totty voice: "Oh I love a balanced diet" - finding myself so funny that I went round telling the joke over and over and laughing at it each time. Yes, I am that sad.

Cute? That should have been the end of it. But because I had flirted with a waiter earlier, he kept refilling my champers glass until I ended up falling quickly into imbecility.

I told a work colleague that if he stopped smoking and became a christian, I would do him for a tenner.

I cuddled a former employee of mine and said: "Darling, I am an urban cougar and you're on my list of fresh meat." (apparently)

I got chatted up by a handsome journo from The Sun, but all I could muster in reply by then was: "How did you break your nose? Did you play rugby?" and that was the end of that brief romance.

I then started to speak French drunkenly the entire evening, to the French waiters, to my French friend, in fact - to everyone. Eventually I stopped when one of the waiters that I was holding onto (because the floor was moving), said: "I am Portuguese."
I then tried to speak Portuguese to him.
I don't speak Portuguese at all.
He brought me some water.

Refreshed slightly, I started onto the dancefloor and staggered and reeled like an utter moron, kissed a girl - it was her fault, she basically stuck her face into mine when I was intending to air-kiss her goodbye. Deciding it was time to run far far away.... I rushed to the toilets... and vomited into my handbag in the loos at Coq d'Argent.

I had gone ostensibly for a pee, and a nice sit-down. I put my handbag on the floor next to the toilet.

Sitting there I felt a sudden surge of projectile vomit, and turned around quickly - well, I slumped randomly so I was facing the wrong way for the first hurl. It was then that I thought - in for a penny, in for a pound, and continued to blow chunks in that general direction as lifting myself up from the position I had fallen into was too hard.

Half of the champagne-fuelled spew was bouncing off the walls, running all over the floor around my knees and knickers, which were around my ankles as I had been in mid-pee when the chunder train pulled into the station. So I am kneeling in my own vom and piss in one of the poshest restaurants in the UK, shouting for huey over my bag and coat sleeve.

To cap it all, when I had sprayed myself all over with perfume to mask the smell, I fell out of the restaurant like a stinking drunken twat, managing to find my way down in the lifts, and then vommed in the street while a pr lady held my hair back off my face. She even took me home while I sobbed in her taxi saying Im Sooo sorrrrrreeeee all the way home.

I am so classy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Useless trivia

Did you know that the Berlin wall was 26.5 miles long?
Or that polar bears were left handed?
Or that allurophobia was fear of cats?
Or that chewing ginger cures motion sickness?

Do not be afraid - I am not turning into a walking mine of useless information - at least not yet. But in the past three days, such maxims and factoids have been spurting forth from my lips like mini-arrows of smug knowingness.

It's not really my fault; I played Trivial Pursuit last sunday with a friend, a game which seemed to go on for ever as I waited for a darn piece of yellow pie. It went on so long we started to get the same questions over and over again. At first I hoped he had not noticed, but it soon became obvious that what we had embarked on was not a friendly meeting of like minds, but a bitter bout of revision. I've not revised for anything for nine years. Now suddenly I was being TESTED on what I'd learnt and not what I knew. And most of the questions were useless facts. Except one.

According to Arabian legend, which creature was the result of an assignation between a lioness and a monkey aboard Noah's Ark?

Now there's something you don't hear every day. According to Islamic tradition, Noah's Ark was a hotbed of animal lust, cross-breeding and inter-special fornication. Forget what the humans were doing; these animals were indulging in their own form of horizontal jogging, producing hybrids that became the modern-day domestic and wild creatures we know and love today. Darwin would be doing the proverbial 360 at the suggestion that Natural Selection was simply a result of animals being bored and shagging each other.

This led me down other, darker, paths than simply winning the game (of course I won). It started me thinking - what if our friendly furry friends were all the result of some 40-day bestial orgy going on while Noah and his family were eating their dinner upstairs, innocently wondering when the rain would stop?

Take the Sloth. What is that all about? Surely that's a gorilla and a dog, right? And an aardvark? Nellie the elephant and a crocodile - he sure packed her trunk. Pandas mating with hedgehogs to produce badgers...

"Hellooo baby... You have the prettiest black eyes I've ever seen."
"Why you charmer! Ow! Your prickles are sticking into me."
"That's no prickle, princess."

The mere fact my head is warping its way along this train of thought worries me immensely. If this is what playing board games does to a person, then there should be Mental Health warnings on the box.

By the way, the answer to the question was, of course a Cat.