Tuesday, 22 November 2011


In light of my new speeding fine, I am trying to sell all of my things on eBay so I am not completely skint, but unfortunately I don't think people are going to be rushing all at once to buy some old Doc Martens and a used Ricky Martin album, so, if by some measure of good fortune you are not a pauper like me, feel free to buy some of my photographs. I would be extremely grateful.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Arts, Crafts, and Sausage Rolls.

After all the initial feelings of good fortune at getting an extra hour in bed due to the clocks going back, I am now very much starting to detest getting up when it is still pitch black outside. It genuinely takes every ounce of determination I have not to phone in sick every morning because I feel like I've just been born every time I switch my light on. It makes it especially difficult to want to go to work when, after all my efforts, the customers don't even seem to appreciate my being there anyway. Last week, one woman got so angry at me because we didn't have a section in the shop exclusively selling gift cards that she made me take the flowery label from a packet of bulbs she was purchasing and use my creative skills to turn it into a gift card myself. I get paid to sell pork pies, not to involve myself in intricate arts and crafts projects. She was one of those customers that seem to think we are slaves and not assistants, one of my least favourite types. Still, they're not as bad as the customers who think we are somehow similar to primary school teachers or baby sitters - there is nothing I want to hear less at 8am than, "tell the nice lady what you want!", whilst a two-year-old child is shoved in my face and I am expected to decipher whatever mishmash of words comes out of its mouth. By the end of the charade (which, by the way, is usually about twenty minutes later), I am forced to tell the disillusioned parent that, no, it is not clearly obvious that your child was saying 'sausage roll', no, I can not heat it up for you, and no, I am not going to politely ignore the fact that your child is now licking the front of the counter and rubbing the saliva in with his hands.

I feel my lack of maternal feelings is starting to have some serious karmic repercussions. The other day I was forced to give the finger to a highly obnoxious child on the train when his mother wasn't looking (don't hate me, he did it first), and then ten minutes later my dentist informed me that I had to have re-root canal. (When I said that the child did it first, he was actually holding up his index finger, but I could tell from the look in his eyes what he was trying to get at). Another karmic repercussion (of my lack of maternal feelings, I am sure), came in the form of a speeding ticket - on re-root canal day, no less. A £75 fine and a speed awareness course to look forward to - nothing makes you feel quite like a criminal like breaking the law. It's a mark of how many years I have spent in education that my first thought was whether or not I would get a qualification out of the course - it's a long-shot, but I take what I can get at this stage. In an attempt to lessen my exposure to the cruel Gods of karma and make myself known to the generous ones, I have taken to performing random acts of goodwill whenever possible. So far, these have included picking up someones wheelie bin after it had blown over, ringing the roadwork people to tell them their temporary traffic lights had stopped working, and not telling a young girl that her 'AMY <3s JLS' hoodie should be burnt. I eagerly await my lottery win...

This week has seen me regress to my trademark trail of destruction after ripping one of the fridge doors off its hinges at work, thus forcing a sliced meat evacuation process and having to secure the door with copious amounts of sellotape. This is not the first time this has happened - we had a similar incident in first year where a drunken raid of the freezer saw the door somehow end up in my hands and unattached to the rest of its body. It probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had to then scrawl "we're not getting our bond back" across the door in bright green marker pen...

Also, whilst Googling whether or not 'unmaternal' was a word, here is what I found:

Clearly, I am dead inside.

Monday, 7 November 2011

The World Would Be A Better Place If We All Just Wore Pajama Jeans

I have literally no idea what I've done to the font and background of this post and I am not computer savvy enough to fix it... Anyway. Onwards. 

I think everyone needs to sit down before they take in the following piece of information. Are you ready? Pajama jeans. They exist. Jeans that are made from pajamas. PAJAMA. JEANS. If there was ever an article of clothing that encouraged me (not that I need added encouragement) to leave the house in the clothes I have slept in, this would be it. It's like the world wants me to be even lazier than I am at present. If these jeans had existed whilst I was at university, there is very little chance that I would ever have changed my clothing. Ever. This is a whole new take on the entire jeggins revolution and I am not sure how to take it - yet another element of the fashion industry for me to ponder over and wonder how these things exist. Another thing I never really got my head around were clutch bags. Why would someone invent a bag with no handles? Surely it's less of a bag and more just a floppy box that I am 100% likely to lose should I ever take it out of the house. (Not that I ever would use a clutch bag anyway, the only thing I would look less unnatural holding would be a child's hand). 

In other news (not that pajama jeans can really be construed as news, in the fashion world or otherwise), I went to the cinema the other week and, upon seeing the credits, suddenly blurted out, "What kind of name is Buggy Driver?" I then realised that Buggy Driver was his credit name (i.e. job title) and I had been an absolute imbecile. If people didn't name their children things like Mini Driver, these kind of mishaps would not be an issue and I would be able to retain my status. Although, I doubt I have much status left at the cinema after I went last week with Kezia and Chris and had to sit there and try not to attract too much attention as Chris casually applied savlon to... himself after an unfortunate incident in the bathroom. This would not have been such an issue had the lights not come on mid-application, leaving the people in the surrounding seats to witness something truly special...

Anyway... Within the past fortnight I have both graduated from university, genuinely pondered whether it was spelled 'univercity', had an internal debate about 'spelt' and 'spelled', and stolen my dad's car to drive to Sheffield and see a band in a sporadic act of post-adolescent rebellion. (Ok, I didn't steal it in any way, but sometimes events have to be somewhat embellished for dramatic value. I'm aware that the dramatic value of this story has now been significantly decreased due to my explanation, but there's not much I can do about that now). Driving all the way to Sheffield (I threw in 'all the way' just to make sure everyone knows that Sheffield is quite far from my house) wouldn't be that big a risk had I driven on the motorway before, but I hadn't, and therefore was somewhat terrified. If you've ever seen the 90s film Clueless, you'll remember this scene when they end up driving on the freeway and, in my head, this is exactly what was going to happen. I think part of my fear stemmed from the fact that I'd spent the previous day trying to jump start the car at work having left the lights on for 6 hours and drained the battery... At the time, I was in the middle of a 12 hour shift and overheard my boss saying that I had 'saved the day' by staying for so long. I don't think he'd be as happy with me if he knew that I'd taken an hour and a half lunch break and taken four of his staff with me whilst trying to push a ten tonne Renaulx Scenic through the customer carpark. After the hard part was over and we'd pushed it to the top of a country lane (I say 'we', I basically just held on to the window and pretended to look tired), we sat one of the greenhouse boys in the front, crossed our fingers, and heaved it Cool Runnings style down the lane. As I watched my dad's car plummet away from me forever, I realised I would probably never be trusted with anything ever again, and my fear was only heightened when the car failed to 'bump start' and we were now five members of staff (plus one that came to watch) and a car at the bottom of a hill with no chance of getting back up. After a bit of debating about towing it back up with hill with a JCB, we managed to get hold of a willing man with some jump leads and get everything going again. I didn't want to correct my new saviour when he was sympathetic about cold winter mornings and old batteries (I decided he would be less so if he knew I'd left my lights on like a dickhead), so I just gave him a knowing nod and thanked him for his help. 

Getting into trouble with my parents is something I never quite grew out of, as was proved by last week's fake-blood-and-cream-carpet mishap in my mother's living room. Hallowe'en always seems to be surrounded by misfortune in my experience - last year I got ridiculously drunk and ended up with green facepaint all over my bedroom (something my landlord was not very happy about), and I will always remember the year I discovered that the word 'pumpkin' had a second 'p' in it. I always just thought it was 'pumkin', which, now I have seen it written down, seems ridiculous. Anyway, I did manage to get most of the blood out before my mother returned by using a clever little housewife trick I learnt the last time this happened. (It happens fairly regularly, if I am entirely honest). Even so, I still got my comeuppance as half an hour later I spilt an entire bottle of fake blood on the crotch of my jeans - sometimes, God just lets these things happen to me, and I don't know why. Thankfully, nothing horrendously embarrassing or socially undesirable happened at my graduation last week, which actually left me with a slight feeling of unease. Well, I say nothing embarrassing happened, I think walking around the city centre in a stupid hat and an equally stupid gown is pretty much up there on the scale. I think my nervousness was eased somewhat when I realised that the guy sat next to me was drunk and therefore the chance that he would at least stumble and take the heat off me was increased. His name was Martin and we spent most of the ceremony either planning what to do if one of us fell or humming the Blackadder theme tune after finding out that our guest speaker was the guy who played Baldrick. He made a hilarious speech (Baldrick, not Martin), had a banana prop (which promptly broke), and then topped it all off by making a sex joke. In a cathedral. The look of shock on the faces of the unsuspecting and (until then) proud grandparents sat in the aisle opposite me definitely heightened my enjoyment of the day. The only not-so-fabulous element of graduation day was the fact that I'd chipped (and subsequently eaten) one of my bottom teeth about three days earlier. Thankfully, my photo was already ruined by my I-feel-so-awkward fake smile and my unpolished (much to my mother's dismay) boots, so looking a little white trash was somewhat expected. 

Speaking of white trash, I spent a few days last week in Northern Ireland and realised whilst there that a 4-star hotel is a place that I do not fit comfortably into. (I should have realised this when the guy at the car rental place said, 'no baby seats required?' and I thought, 'well, if there's one going spare...'). I was actually starting to think that the whole 4-star rating of the hotel was a bit of a lie as all the lights in our corridor were faulty. It wasn't until we'd been there for two days that I realised they were actually on sensors. Very sophisticated indeed. The journey home, however, was less so, as I got stopped and searched at Belfast airport. Given that it was only a short trip, I had taken everything in my hand luggage, an idea that seems somewhat less practical when an airport official is sifting through three days worth of dirty clothing. In all fairness to her, she did try and make small talk about the Giant's Causeway as she separated my knickers and socks, but she became decidedly less friendly when I came out with, 'oh look, the rest of my family have also been seized...' Three sections down Kezia was stood around looking shady as someone rifled through her bag whilst my mother was trying in vain to fit all kinds of lotions and potions into just one plastic bag, which led me to wonder whether she actually had a face underneath it all. Meanwhile, my auntie Sue stood at the side, avoiding eye contact and doing a crossword, pretending that she was neither related to, nor travelling with, the family from Bradford holding everybody up. 

After all this 'out of work' activity that has been flying around my usually mundane life, it was actually nice to settle back in and spend some good quality time earning money and taking the piss. I especially enjoyed this week's chicken-oven fiasco which resulted in a mixture of smoke and steam emitting from the machine and pouring over the deli area. As it happens, Celine Dion's Power of Love was playing over the radio at the time, and, despite the slight smell of cremated bird, I think the smoke did excellent justice to dry ice and I had an excellent time pretending be on Stars In Their Eyes and leaping out of the counter every now and then crying, 'Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be...!' In-store entertainment at its best. Given my previous reputation, I should probably exercise more caution when it comes to my behaviour at work, but I just never seem to learn. What I have learnt this week, however, is that the work appropriate response to the question, 'have you ever seen the Rocky films?' is not, 'no, but I can demonstrate', and then smacking your colleague in the face. Who knew? (Probably most people, actually).