Self Employment: a typical day

Hello. This year I’ve made the heady move from employed to self employed, with hilarious consequences. Not really, but that’s what you’re supposed to say. Anyway, I’m now self employed, something I haven’t been since my early twenties. It’s taken a lot of time to adapt to the transition of sitting around doing nothing at work to sitting around doing nothing at home.

The working day for the self employed person doesn’t really have a start or an end. Instead of turning up, doing your job, then going home to do fun things like barbecues and mending, your job manages to be both 24 hours a day, and no hours a day at the same time. To explain what I mean, let me take you through a typical work day for the self employed girl-about-town –

Midnight – 7am: Sleep (technically, but in reality you are dreaming about work)

7am: Up to see the mister off to his proper job, where he is a useful and productive member of society. Five minutes of self doubt and wall kicking follows.

8am: Seven million coffees. Somehow all this coffee fits into half an hour, leaving you with the ability to actually smell time.

8.30am: Go through work from day before, and stuff to do today. Realise the idea you had at 3am was shit, and wasn’t worth waking up for. Hate brain.

9am: Sitting.

10am: Watch the news in case there’s anything you should be writing about.

10.05am: Hate Kay Burley, even if she isn’t on.

10.30am: Email inbox is constantly open but never looked at. This is because you can’t find it among the other 1370 tabs you have open in the interests of “research”.

nervous

11am: Write 8 words. Reward self with a break.

11.45am: Have cigarette on balcony. Worry that everyone walking past thinks you’re a bone idle layabout without a proper job. Worry even more because this is true.

Midday: check Twitter for the 798th time.

follower

12.01pm: Hate Twitter for the 798th time.

12.05pm: Decide messy living room is hindering your ability to work. Move one cup from living room to kitchen. Have a break, as this was exhausting.

12.10pm: Really will do some work in a minute.

1pm: Cook food in a pan while crying.

1.30pm: Fortified by lunch, manage to write 8 more words. Celebrate by playing Tetris.

2.30pm: Find vaguely amusing picture on Google. Favourite it, where it will remain lost among the countless other bookmarks you’re “definitely going to write about in a minute”.

2.35pm: Consider giving it all up to be a lighthouse keeper.

3pm: See that the ‘unread’ number on your email tab is getting bigger by the second. Decide to have a relaxing poo to deal with the stress.

3.10pm: Put immersion heater on for a bath, which will help you think.

3.15pm: Panic.

4pm: Have several brilliant ideas for articles. Put them in a Word document marked IDEAS, never to be opened again.

4.30pm: Find yourself reading Daniel O’ Donnell’s Wikipedia page.

5pm: Open a new blank document. It is now time for serious work.

5.05pm: Cigarette before starting serious work.

5.10pm: Distracted by something you read on Twitter while having cigarette. Spend time reading that instead.

5.30pm:

come_dine_with_me

6pm: Wonder if 16 words is enough for a finished article.

6.05pm: Realise that your several brilliant ideas from earlier have already been done to death.

6.10pm: See an interesting pineapple on tv. Clutching at straws now.

6.30pm: Immersion heater is still on. Kick self in the shins.

7pm: Watch The Simpsons on catchup.

8pm: Manage to somehow cook a meal, clean the living room and write three articles, all at once.

9pm: Tomorrow will be different. I shall clear my desk, then I shall sit at it and not move until my work is done for the day.

9.01pm: Attempt to clear desk. Nowhere else to put barbies. Give up.

9.10pm: Panic (round 2)

10pm: Feel like it’s bedtime. That’s what a proper person would do. No point going to bed because no point getting up early. Want to go to bed anyway because lazy.

11pm: Will go to bed after another hour of Teleshopping.

Midnight: Brain full of ideas. Too tired to get up and write them down. They will be lost in the mists of time.

Advertisements

Favourites on Twitter

This may be a load of crap, but it’s how I feel. And my (made up) therapist (Dr Phil) claims I should express my feelings.

The main reasons people ‘favourite’ tweets –

1. “I use it as a bookmark so I can read it later.”

Hands up who has ever gone back through their favourites, ever. Come on, hands up. No.

2. “I favourite to get the attention of people I like.”

Wrong. Endless favouriting with no other interaction will make you come across as a weird stalker. And it will raise the question ‘Why don’t they like me enough to retweet me?’

3. “Thanking and/or acknowledging a tweet”

This is fine. I do this all the time. For those people you ‘know’ on Twitter, this is an informal way of saying “I liked your tweet, obviously if I retweeted it none of my followers would know what the hell was going on, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.”

To me, this is the same as the ‘like’ button on Facebook, and should be used accordingly.

4. “So The tweeter will follow me”

Wrong. A tweeter will become very annoyed, very quickly, if they get nothing but favourites from you. This is how that goes:

  • Funny tweet (I think)

  • Favourite

  • No retweet

  • “I have my own reasons for acknowledging this tweet (maybe my chicken god requests that I favourite it), but there’s no way I will share it with my friends, because I don’t really think it’s any good, and my followers will question my sanity for retweeting it.”

Or:

  • Funny tweet

  • Favourite

  • No retweet
  • “I am not retweeting this because if my own tweets aren’t appreciated, then I’m going to make damn sure that yours don’t get credit either. Your tweet made me laugh but I’m not going to make myself look crap next to you.”

Of course, there is another reason why people favourite stuff:

“Your tweets are shit but I feel sorry for you so you get a ‘well done for trying’ ribbon.”

I suspect I fall into this category.

5. “I favourite tweets to steal for later.”

Since most of my tweets actually are shit, I don’t find this relevant, but I thought I’d include it anyway.

Short version –

There’s a time and a place for favouriting, people. What the correct etiquette is, no one knows. Obviously, you know that once you favourite a tweet, no one will ever see it on your timeline, as no one looks through your favourites. Don’t kid yourself. But that doesn’t stop you pissing at least one person off with your star.

Young student woman alone at desk with computer crying desperate suffering cyber mobbing and bullying

As a writer struggling to get readers, a million favourites does nothing for me. Granted, I might just need to up my game and better my tweets. Fair enough. But understand that retweets can brighten a writer’s day more than you’ll ever know. It validates their writing and makes them think that maybe they’re not so worthless after all. Getting more readers? That’s worth its weight in gold (if stuff like that had a weight).

Bottom line – if you habitually favourite my tweets but don’t retweet them, you don’t think I’m very funny. Which gives me piles from stress.

NB – I do favourite – either when it’s someone I know (see above), or when someone is funny, but they’re already going to get 3 billion retweets, so there’s no point doing it.

Having said that, maybe you have your own reasons for favouriting. In which case cool. But when it comes to stuff like this, maybe not bothering is the kindest option.

Sleeping on the sofa

The mister has been ill recently, and to cut a long and boring story short, I’ve been sleeping on the settee for a while. Before you think of the mister as a cruel, heartless Alan Bradley type who has barred me from my own bed, let me assure you that it’s been all I could do to stop him attempting to fold his 6′ 2” frame onto our sofa.

Our sofa (actual size) –

our settee actual size

This has led to a string of bizarre nights spent mostly awake, lying in an unnatural position with my legs above my head. It’s also led to an equally bizarre set of sleep deprived days, where I stumble round forgetting things and muttering to myself in Tesco.

The sleepless nights are a result of being unable to sleep properly in any of the following positions –

fig 1 fig 2 fig 3

Something good has come of this – I’ve started listening to audiobooks. I’ve now ploughed through a lot of the books I’ve been meaning to tackle. However, it’s not an ideal method, because I fall asleep halfway through a chapter, and get confused when I wake up an hour later to find the person speaking has apparently died or emigrated to Australia mid sentence. It’s also unsettling when the reader tries to do an unsuitable accent. I listened to Great Expectations being read by an American, and although he did a sterling job, his impression of an elderly cockney lady did leave something to be desired.

dick van dyke

I’m digressing. My point is let me take you through a typical night’s sleep on the sofa –

10.pm – Time for bed

11.pm – Ok, really time for bed now

11.30pm – One more game of Freecell

freecell

12.01am – Stupid Freecell is fixed so I can’t win. Right, bed.

12.05pm – I need a wee.

12.10pm – I’ll listen to something relaxing while I nod off.

12.15am – I only put my headphones down half an hour ago. THIS IS NOW THEM –

headphones

12.16pm – HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN!

12.45am – Fig. 1

1.30am – I need a wee.

2am – I’m pretty sure my leg doesn’t bend that way.

2.01am – Fig. 2

2.10am – Pretty sure my leg doesn’t bend this way either.

3.am – I’m itching somewhere but I’m fucked if I know where. I’ll just scratch everywhere.

3.37am – Why do I need another goddamn wee? I only had a small milk.

3.45am – Fig. 3

4.30am – Sleep.

NO FISH! Or – The drunkest woman in the world

Sometimes these posts just write themselves. After I got home from work last night, me and the mister decided to walk to McDonalds. All we wanted to do was get our food and go home to watch crappy teleshopping. However, before we could do this, we were required to sit through what can only be described as ‘dinner theatre’.

We stood in the queue for a couple of minutes, waiting for the woman in front to stop flirting with the guy behind the counter who was clearly a friend of hers, before we realised something was amiss. It seemed that the guy behind the counter didn’t know the woman, and was instead fixing that grin to his face with the aid of a stapler, while wishing he could magically make her disappear.

It got good when we started listening to their conversation –

“So… what do you want to order?”

“How many times do I have to tell you – NOT FISH!”

“Ok, not fish. How about you tell me what you would like?”

“NOT FISH! I TOLD YOU!”

“Would you like a burger?”

“LOOK! JUST DO ME SOMETHING WITHOUT FISH! NO FISH!”

This went on for what felt like several months, with neither party making any headway.

Terrifyingly, she started to look round at the other customers, as if hoping we’d back up her assertion of “NO FISH!”.

Eventually the guy behind the counter (who surely deserves a medal for patience and/or bravery) suggested a double cheeseburger. Mad drunk lady did not take kindly to this –

“CHEESE! WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE, SOME KIND OF CHEESE PERSON!?!”

Ok, I guess no cheese then.

By this time, the mister and I were looking at each other, wondering if we’d accidentally taken LSD.

And so the argument raged on. Fish, cheese, fish, cheese, fish, cheese, NO!

Then we discovered she wasn’t even ordering for herself, she was ordering for her friend, who was asleep in a corner. Judging by the state of the friend, she wouldn’t have minded fish or cheese, or cardboard.

By some miracle, the guy behind the counter managed to suggest something mad drunk lady didn’t hate. We didn’t hear what it was, but it cost £4.10.

This is where it started to get insane to the point where the mister and I were tempted to join the friend in the corner, and go to sleep until it was over.

After five minutes of trying to make the guy behind the counter dance with her, she gave up and paid for her meal. Sadly, she attempted to pay for her meal using her friend’s car keys.

I’m not entirely sure how much booze you have to ingest before you start to think car keys are money, but I suspect it’s more than half a shandy.

You might be wondering by this point why we didn’t intervene. Simple – I am a massive coward, and I haven’t confronted a drunk woman since one accused me of being CID and tried to pull my hair. I think the mister would have intervened but I stopped him, citing that I didn’t want to wake up in the morning and find my tyres or face slashed. She was a very robust woman.

robust lady

The friend woke up, staggered to the toilet, then came back and went to sleep in the same seat, completely oblivious to the fact that her car was being offered as payment for a burger.

Mad drunk woman’s argument more or less followed one train of thought –

“ARE YOU TELLING ME THIS IS NOT CURRENCY? COME ON, THIS IS CURRENCY! ARE YOU TELLING ME THIS IS NOT CURRENCY?”

She turned to us. “COME ON, ARE YOU TELLING ME THIS IS NOT CURRENCY?!?”

Lady, I’m not telling you anything, except that perhaps you shouldn’t have had those last seventeen tequilas.

Suddenly, the tv on the wall showing BBC News 24 became fascinating to us. To be honest, we’d have pretended to watch it had it been switched off.

Naturally, the police were called not long after this. The woman, offended at McDonald’s refusal to accept car keys as payment, began to politely suggest that the manager was a “knob” and a “cunt”. As were the people parked outside the drive thru window.

The police turned up surprisingly quickly. Then they casually sauntered in and ordered coffees before apprehending the woman.

The woman’s legal defence? “Hahahahaha, I’m so pissed!!!!”

The friend piped up from her corner – “Me too! Hahahahaha”

The police took mad drunk woman outside for a nice chat, while the friend went back to sleep. At this point, the mister and I had our food, but we also had a dilemma – did we sneak out and walk home while the woman was busy saying “NO FISH!” to the police, or did we wait until they’d bundled her off in the back of their car? We had visions of her following us home, and throwing chips at our window all night.

Eventually we decided to sneak past her and walk home the long way, and the police decided to let mad drunk woman go. On the way home, we saw her and her friend doing karate kicks at each other.

I was going to have a drink when I got home from work, but for some reason I didn’t fancy one in the end.

The Haunted Condom Chapter 2

“I AM INNA WHOLE MESS OF SHIT!” cried Ora. She sank to the floor, her knees bigger than her boobs. She was sad.

Suddenly, a goast came.

“I am a goast,” said the goast.

FUCK OMG said Ora. And said Clive. You will never guess what happened next?

Omfg Clive and Ora got stabbed by the goast! Then the phone rang.

“You fucking melon!” splurted Ora. Then she was all tough and she shed her pants. But Clive didn’t mind. Clive was sensitive. He liked books. He read them an everything. He was a sensitive bitch. Man. Ora loved him but she was too titted to say to. They both ran after the gopst.

Later, after that thing had happened, Ora was there.

“Do that thing.” said Cilve.

NO! WHAt! I have an important thing to do!” Ora shouted Ora.

“But… but… where have ur legs gone?” sozzled Clive.

Ora tried to stand up but found someone had stolen her legs. She blamed Clive.

“I blame you CLIVE! She said. What are you, the legs police?!”

“Absolutely sorry!” yelled Clive. “It wasn’t me!”

“Ha! I know it was you! If it wasn’t you it was someone else! As soon as I get my legs back and I stand up I am going to make everyone pay! Pay pay pay!!!!!!1!!”

Ora I know whom stole your legs! Cried clive. “It was…… Sergeant O DOWEL!”

to be continued…

Train station insanity

Train stations are odd places. I think they are designed by people who hate humans. I never realised this until I had to make a train journey while my body contained all kinds of pills and medicine (all legal).

pills

This jumble of pills turned my brain into a confused cloud of gas for a few days. I occasionally had to slap my right ear to make the buzzing noise stop, which didn’t help the women at work to think I wasn’t mental. I became even slower at doing things than normal, and I had a tendency to become a bit faint around crowds, bright lights, or loud noises.

My body had become a shrine to side effects. Given this, what I should have been doing for those few days was lying on the settee, staring blankly at Judge Judy and Hoarders. What I actually ended up doing was undertaking a long train journey.

I was travelling back up North to see family, a journey I’d made before with little to no fuss. This time, however, the pills now living in my stomach had held a meeting, and had unanimously decided that I was going to be a shaking, irrational mess for the day.

My train was at 4pm, so naturally I got to the station before it was even 3pm. I have a morbid fear of having to run for trains. This is why I can never watch Sliding Doors without breaking into a light sweat.

Those of you who frequent train stations will know that this meant my train wasn’t even on the departures board yet. That’s how stupidly early I was – even the train hadn’t decided which platform it was going to go to yet. This also meant that, for the next fifty minutes or so, I was going to be Tom Hanks in The Terminal.

The odd thing about Birmingham New Street station is that there are about eight seats, and all the hundreds of people in the waiting bit are meant to share them, or all sit on top of each other or something, I don’t know. It might be something to do with the fact that half of the station is currently a building site, but this doesn’t stop them having acres of slippery white flooring with absolutely nothing on it. They also have a weird card shop, which in my opinion should be replaced with chairs. Or with anything except a card shop.

chairs

The seats they do have are long metal benches, all facing each other. This means that when you are sitting down, you must look at the floor, or at your phone, or in your handbag, but you must NEVER LOOK UP. EVER. If you look up, you will discover that you are sat opposite the train station weirdo. This man will be wearing tracksuit bottoms with smart shoes, and carrying a suspicious Lidl bag that stinks a bit. He will engage you in conversation before stealing your cigarettes. Afterwards, either you will be forced to leave your seat, or he will abruptly run towards Platform 6, even though he hasn’t got a ticket.

Should you be fortunate enough not to be sat opposite the train station weirdo, you will look up and accidentally catch the eye of the normal person sitting opposite you. This will lead the person to think that you fancy them. It doesn’t matter who they are, or who you are. They might be Kriss Akabusi or a little old lady, it doesn’t matter. They will immediately decide you’ve been staring at them for the last hour, so consumed with unspoken lust are you.

If they don’t think you fancy them, they will think the only possible thing that’s worse – that YOU are the train station weirdo. They will shift uneasily in their seat, certain in the knowledge that you are about to start quizzing them about trains to the moon.

Luckily, none of this happened to me, because I was sensible and kept my head in my handbag. Once I had finished sitting down, I went for a wee. As I was coming out of the toilet, I heard the ending of an announcement about my train.

What about my train? What had happened to my train? Where the fuck was my train? I needed that train to move me around! Oh no, what do?

What? What? What?

I saw an information guy, and was about to approach him when my brain decided to have two thoughts –

  1. What if it’s not a train guy, what if it’s just a guy in a blue jumper?

  2. What if the announcement was only that the train was arriving, and I ran over to the guy panicking over a train that was arriving on time?

  3. Any combination of 1 and 2.

I considered my options, then decided not to bother the mysterious blue jumper guy. I checked the board – there didn’t seem to be any problems, so I would just go down to the platform. If my train was broken or wrong, I would just get the next one. No big deal.

Unfortunately, my chemical addled brain didn’t see it this way, and I had a nervous lump in my throat as I went down the escalator. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the down escalator wasn’t working, but the up escalator was. I don’t know how physics works, but it looked like the people on the up escalator were travelling at about four times the speed of us going down, possibly causing time to break.

Against all odds I made my train, and it was the right train, so that was a relief. However, my mad worrying didn’t stop once I was on the train. Once the train was moving, I had the following four worries –

  1. Is the guy opposite me looking at his laptop or staring at me? If staring at me, why? Have I got dinner down me again? Have I started talking to myself? More importantly, why do I think I’m more interesting than the film he’s clearly watching on his laptop?

  2. I booked an aisle seat; the window seat next to me was currently empty. Then the drinks trolley pulled up, blocking the aisle. What if the person who’s booked the seat next to mine turns up now? I’ll have to move to let them in, but I won’t be able to move because of the drinks trolley. Somehow, everyone will blame me for this.

  3. If I have a wee and time it wrong, as in I’m still weeing when the train reaches a station, the toilet door might somehow open automatically, causing me to flash my ‘Pajina’ at nonplussed commuters.

  4. I happened to catch the eye of an Asian man while I was looking around the train. Now he thinks I’m staring a him because he’s Asian, and that I’m a massive racist. I spent the next five minutes deliberately looking everywhere but at him, in an exaggerated manner, hoping he would realise I was just looking around.

Amazingly, I made it to my destination without exploding or having a nervous breakdown. Then I did it all again, only the other way round. The journey back was a bit better because I’d drunk twelve cups of coffee before travelling. I know that’s a lot of coffee, but it was free and you could help yourself, so, you know.

That’s kind of it really. This story doesn’t have a big dramatic ending, but it does have a moral – travelling by train can be a bit stressy, if you’re me and you’re weird and you’ve had lots of medication.

The end.

thomas me

The Haunted Condom Chapter 1

It was a dark and stormy night, The sun was just setting over Docaster. Doncaster. The way his eyes twitched made hard boiled lady detective Ora Plorer purr.

“Purr.”

She purred. Then she did a sex, right on the bed. Luckily, hard boiled detective Clive Broom was asleep.

The next day, Ora and Clive woke up; it was morning, and the sun was goggling at them from behind the sky. “MORNING YOU FUCKERS” it said lazily.

“OMFG” said Ora, waking up with no bra on. “That guy got murdered! It is up to us to find out whom did it!”

“Jesus!” said Clive, her lover, who had worked with her for ten years previously at the secret lab that neither of them ever talked about, then Ora said they should just be friends, so they were, but Clive never let go of the hope they would somehow have sex again. “Fuck!”

“Shut up!” asked Ora, as she sat up with her bra off. Her boobs swang free like melons on a melon

tree that was full of melons. ”

“Oh baby I love yer,” asked Clive in his Southern accent. “I dont’s care about no murder. Now ride me you eagle eyed piece of shit!”

They had sex passionately, humping each other’s bodies as if they were Super 6 meat from Lidl.

“OMG!” cried Clive.

“Yes.” Said Ora.

Then they both remembered they had a murder to do. They both had a murder to solve. So they put on their best clothes and ran away.

Later on…

“Oh fuck” shouted Ora. She had found a dead guy and he was dead. Ora never did it so that’s ok. Suddenly she was horny.

“OMG I’m horny” she cummed.

“SARGEANT!” cried Sargeant O Dowel.

Sargent O Dowel was a hard boiled army man, He was big and. Ora bumped into him one day, and all of a sudden she saw him and she was in love with him.

What, shouted Ora

“Ora, I have a big massive job for you…” cried Sergeant O Dowel. I have a leek on my roof and its dripping all over the bastard place. I think Clive did it. You know, Clive?

“I never know no Clive, you leave him alone you fuckre!” shouted Ora. Then she kicked Sergeant O Dowel in the balls and ran away. BUT WHERE DID SHE RAN TO????

Pissed shopping and my bread fetish

My boyfriend has a list of supermarket related things he hates –

  1. People who block the aisles with their trolleys.

  2. People who block the aisles with their seventeen screaming children.

  3. People who block the aisles with their vast arses.

  4. Adverts for biscuits/yoghurt/pizza that say ‘find us in the biscuit/yoghurt/pizza aisle!’ As if we were going to look for biscuits in the tampon aisle.

  5. The staff member whose only job is to make you walk three miles to the one empty checkout, threatening you with death if you dare unpack your stuff on the almost empty conveyor belt right in front of you.

  6. People shopping too slowly, rather than in some Supermarket Sweep inspired frenzy of sprint panic buying.

  7. People.

I’m generally pretty good when it comes to not doing the above things, but I can’t help stumbling when it comes to number 6. Left to my own devices, I’m an incredibly slow shopper. I like to dawdle and browse, rather than act like the supermarket is on fire and I only have five seconds to fill my trolley before we all die.

My ability to dawdle increases when I’ve had a drink or two. Have you ever been to the supermarket pissed? It’s fun. Of course, it stops being fun if you’re hammered to the point of marching up to the manager, demanding to know why they don’t sell Pyramints anymore, blaming the manager for the fact that they stopped selling them in the late 80s, and finally slapping the manager for “sassing” you. But if you go after a glass of wine or two, it can be fun. Just be sure to go with my boyfriend, so he can push the trolley and drive you home afterwards.

pyramint

The main thing that changes when I shop pissed is that everything suddenly becomes interesting. I’m happy to stand browsing the sanitary towels for half an hour, wondering to myself (possibly out loud) why I’ve never stopped to compare absorbencies and wing sizes before.

If it wasn’t for my boyfriend keeping me focused I’d stroll around the supermarket for hours, just in case I’d missed something fascinating, like a new type of lemon. This habit reaches its peak when I get to the bread aisle. Seriously, once I get to the bread aisle, you might as well just go book yourself into the creche and while away the hours playing with piss stained Lego while you wait for me.

Alex – I did say for you to do this, but you wouldn’t listen, so it’s your own fault. I don’t care that our Tesco doesn’t have a creche. Go look at tools, or weapons, or whatever it is men look at.

Back to the plot. When I get to the bread aisle I am like a woman transfixed. I like bread. I mean I really like bread. My best things to eat are, in no particular order –

  1. Bread

  2. Bread based products (sandwiches, muffins etc)

  3. Double cream

  4. Prawn cocktail

  5. Food

I’m very picky with my bread. If I wasn’t a writer (and I’m not) I would be a bread tester. The only problem with that would be that approximately one loaf in 364 million would make it past my eagle eyes.

My bread has to be soft. It has to be so soft that you could cut it with a cloud, or with a strand of hair from a baby’s head. It has to pass the ‘squeeze test’ – I have to be able to squeeze the loaf with the minimum of effort, and it has to be so squashy that I end up squeezing my own fist. My ideal bread would be so squashy that it would actually double back through spacetime and end up existing a week last Tuesday.

Because of these high standards, I stand there in the bread aisle for about three hours, and check every loaf of bread to see how squashy it is. I must point out that I’m not one of these weirdos who leaves a trail of misshapen loaves in my wake – all I do is give it a bit of a poke.

bread

The other day I found my dream loaf – the one that extends back through spacetime on account of its softness. I don’t mind admitting that I made something approaching sex noises, and I absent-mindedly hugged the loaf in triumph. This was a bad thing for two reasons –

  1. I thought my boyfriend was behind me but he was nowhere to be seen. I’d forgotten he was off looking at man things.

  2. Instead of my boyfriend, there was a strange man stood next to me.

The man gave me what can only be described as an odd look. Perhaps I’d put him off his bap shopping. I didn’t care, because I had found the world’s best loaf of bread.

Then I did what any rational person would have done in my situation – I ran away. Somehow, I think it would have been worse to try to explain things to the strange man. What would I have said? I’d probably just have turned to him and said “I really like bread.” That would have led him to wonder exactly what I was going to be doing with the bread once I got it home. I didn’t want him to think I was a bread pervert. I mean, he already thought that by this point, but attempting to explain would probably have made things worse.

TL;DR – I really like bread. The end.

Stand-off with the leaflet guy

I’ve just had an unpleasant experience with a man in the supermarket. It left me with the feeling that perhaps the supermarket isn’t so super after all.

Here’s what happened – I was given a leaflet by a man. Notice how I use the passive ‘I was given’ rather than the more robust ‘I took’. This is deliberate, as I had absolutely no say in the matter.

However, that wasn’t the bad thing. I’ll get to the bad thing in a minute.

I often stop and take leaflets from people who are paid to stand there for hours on end and give them out. I did a similar job for a while at university, so I feel a kind of solidarity with them. Most of the time the leaflet is of no interest to me. Actually, all the time. Round here, leaflets tend to be one of the following –

  1. Misspelt pizza menus

  2. Adverts for those weird places that want to buy all the clothes you own for 50p

  3. ‘Have you found Jesus? I have. He’s a nice bloke. What fun we have together.’

2014-09-29 16.41.46-1

Nevertheless, I think it’s a nice thing to do. It means the honest ones have one less leaflet to get rid of.

I also put money into charity boxes when I pass them, although there is one exception to this. One time I’d just bought some cigarettes. I used my card, because I had absolutely no cash. Zero. Not even one p. I was approaching the exit to Tesco when I was accosted by a large woman who smelled of dogs –

“RSPCA/dogs’ home/donkey sanctuary/whatever?”

“Sorry, I don’t have any change.”

“Oh yeah?” she sneered. “And how much did those cigarettes just cost you?”

I haven’t looked into it, but I’m fairly sure it was within my consumer rights to punch the fat cow.

Speaking of fat, that brings me on nicely to the bad thing that happened.

I must make it clear at this point that I didn’t just stroll past and casually pluck a leaflet out of the guy’s hand. I had my headphones in, and was carrying shopping, and just wanted to get past and mind my own business.

Sadly, that was not to be. The leaflet guy came and practically stood on me, so I had no choice but to acknowledge his presence.

Tip – when I’m listening to Scott Walker on my headphones, it means I’m in a bad mood. Leave me alone. Still, I don’t suppose I can really blame the guy for not knowing that.

“Can I interest you in this?” I assume that was what he said, since I hadn’t yet had chance to remove my headphones.

“Oh, ok yeah.” I took a leaflet and tried to get past him, but the sociopathic fool had decided to engage me in conversation, despite that fact that I still had my sodding headphones in. What, did he think I was just wearing them to look cool?

Sometimes I’m more polite than I should be, so instead of telling him to get the fuck out of my way, I took my headphones off and looked down at my leaflet.

The leaflet was for a sodding gym membership.

If I’m no good at anything else, I’m good at being paranoid. In fact, here’s a handy phrasebook for if you ever meet me –

You look nice” – You normally look like crap, so I am pointing out this exception to the rule.

That’s interesting” – That’s mental.

That was nice but I’m full now” – You can’t cook.

Referring to me as ‘that lady’ – I am old and have a baggy face.

Naturally I began to wonder why the leaflet guy had targeted me, of all the people in Tesco. I came to the obvious conclusion that he thought I was fat.

I have no idea if I’m fat or not; it isn’t really something I think about. Usually I’m too busy watching Rainbow and playing Guess Who to worry about it. But I do like my food, so I suppose I’m never going to be skinny. I’m a size 12-14 in every shop except Primark where, due to their ridiculous sizing system, I’m probably a size 28.

But I am a bit wobbly, and I’m now at the age where I can accept that.

This all changed when I encountered leaflet guy. Clearly, he’d seen me across a crowded supermarket, and had decided I was the person most in need of his discounted gym membership. Out of all the huge, lard buying people in Tesco today, I was the one who stood out.

My first instinct was to karate kick him and run away, but for some reason I didn’t do that.

I guess I didn’t look horrified enough, because leaflet guy deemed it acceptable to carry on this one sided conversation from hell –

“So, what do you do at the moment for your fitness?”

Once I’d made sense of his Dr Seuss inspired question, I considered my answer. I could have said “Well, sometimes I get too pissed to eat, and I do very energetic things that are none of your business. Apart from that, I mostly eat ice cream and lard, and pray that I somehow keep fitting into my jeans.”

I should have said that. I really wish I’d said that.

Instead, I said the most pathetic thing known to man –

“Erm (10 minute pause) erm… I don’t know. I have to go now.”

And I ran away.

This conversation and its implications went round my head all the way home –

Why did he pick on me?

Am I fat?

Should I be wearing some kind of tent rather than jeans?

Right that’s it, I’m not having anything to eat today.

But we’re having belly pork!

Ok, I’m just having tea.

What a dick.

Who knows why he picked on me? Perhaps I just look approachable. A man did come up to me a few months ago, at 7.30 in the morning, and asked me if I thought man could get to the moon.

I’m going to go with the approachable explanation, because it means I can have belly pork tonight.

Success

Look at that word. There are a lot of esses in it. There are no esses in my name, so maybe that doesn’t bode well for me.

Of course, it might not work that way. It probably doesn’t work that way, otherwise every murderer would be called Mike or Malcolm. I think.

My point is that I probably shouldn’t let the lack of esses in my name stop me being ambitious. I would like to be successful one day. Maybe to some people I already am, but I keep moving the goalposts for myself –

  • You’re not a proper writer if no one ever reads your stuff.

  • You’re not a proper writer if no one ever says they like your stuff.

  • You’re not a proper writer if only your friends say they like your stuff.

  • You’re not a proper writer if your writing isn’t published somewhere, even if it’s only your own crappy blog

  • You’re not a proper writer because that weird old woman in the comments says you’re not.

  • You’re not a proper writer unless someone who isn’t you wants to publish your stuff.

  • You’re not a proper writer unless your article gets X amount of likes.

And so it goes on. One day I’ll say to myself ‘You’re not a proper writer unless you’ve been to the moon, and written a story about the moon, and President Obama has liked it on Facebook.’

Put like this, it’s all pretty meaningless. It’s good to set yourself goals, but it’s not so helpful if they immediately become obsolete once you achieve them.

Today’s goal is just going to be ‘finish this blog post’.

That ‘esses’ thing looks totally wrong. It looks like a mangled name. That’s it, it looks like a girl’s name written by someone who can’t spell. A bit like when someone writes ‘Jhon’ instead of ‘John’. I should go back and change it. But what do I change it to? Everything sounds wrong. Let’s see –

‘There are a lot of Ss in that word’. No. Sounds like I’m hissing at you.

‘There are a lot of S’s in that word’. Grocer’s apostrophe. I’ve just used a grocer’s apostrophe, and must now hit myself in the face with my own laptop.

I’ve Googled it but I can’t get a straight answer. According to some sources, ‘S’s’ is acceptable, but it still looks wrong, so I don’t regret hitting myself. What I do regret is starting to write this bloody thing in the first place.

I might have a cup of tea.

10 minutes later – I’ve had a cup of tea, and the ‘esses/Ss/S’s’ thing is still there, laughing at me.

Maybe ‘esses’ sounds too much like ‘Esso’, and it’s too distracting because it keeps reminding me of Tiger Tokens. Was it Tiger Tokens at Esso, or was it Green Shield Stamps?

I need to sort this out. Right now, the only thing that will make me successful is being able to sort this bloody S thing out.

I could always use another word. Triumph? Prosperity? Accomplishment?

No. Bollocks to it. I’d have the same problem with any of these words, because I don’t know how to pluralise letters, because I suck.

Maybe what I should do is give up writing and go work in a shop, then I wouldn’t have to deal with this problem. Mind you, I couldn’t work in a shop that sold letters, because then I’d still have the same problem. Imagine if a customer came in and asked for a bunch of… a load of… imagine if he ordered ‘S x 17’? That’s still shit, but it gets my point across.

That rules out car number plate shops, places that sell those fancy door letters and numbers, or any shop that requires any kind of writing stuff down, just in case.

I hate this, I’m not having fun. I can’t write this, and now I’ve discovered that I can’t even go work in a shop. My only option is to go work on a sex line, but with my Yorkshire accent and my tendency to talk about tea, the customer would think they were listening to an audio version of Emmerdale, and they’d probably want their money back.

Sod it, I’m just going to write about something where this problem doesn’t come up. I’m just going to post a list of vaguely funny pictures, and write ‘LOL’ underneath them.

No, I’m not even going to do that, I’m just going to sit here and do nothing.

This is why I will never be successful.

51289