Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I'm 22, And Although My Current Actions May Not Accurately Portray This, I Still Feel That What I Am Doing And Saying Is Appropriate And Probably Highly Entertaining

I'm sure everyone is sick of the snow talk by now given how much we've had this week (for England, anyway - if you're from Russia, we've had what you'd probably call spring), but I'm going to prolong it regardless as I am an avid fan of the white stuff (snow I mean, not... the other white stuff). Never one to let an opportunity pass, I went sledging on Friday morning for the first time since I was roughly 9 years old. I want to say it was an hour and a half of smooth, composed gliding down a magical sheet of glistening white snow, but in actuality it was an hour and a half of me shouting, "Natalie! Look! Look at me - wait, oh shit, NAT - ARGHH!" and then hearing my friend Nat's evil cackle as I go flying headfirst through the air, landing in an ungraceful heap several feet away. Staggering home from work on Friday night in the midst of a snow blizzard resulted in a not dissimilar situation and, at times, very closely resembled a variety of scenes from the Stations of the Cross - The Traffic Lights at the Junction of the Brown Cow Pub: Amy Falls for the Third Time. I battled on through the raging night and eventually made it home to be greeted by the warm and welcoming face of the snowman I had built the previous day, despite my mother's cruel and discouraging remarks about my age.

I think, "For God's sake, Amy, how old are you?" is probably one of my mum's most used phrases. I might just make myself a badge that says, "I'm 22, and although my current actions may not accurately portray this, I still feel that what I am doing and saying is appropriate and probably highly entertaining." She was most disgruntled the other week when we were driving to Lancashire and I said, 15 minutes into the journey, that I needed a wee. I'm not sure how her asking me my age was really relevant to this particular scenario, as surely getting old does not eliminate the need to use the bathroom? Quite the contrary, I've been led to believe. Although, she may actually have been referring to my booing from the back seat every time we drove past a sign saying Lancashire... (Sorry Lancashire people, I've nothing against you really. Apart from the fact that you're from Lancashire. Which is enough reason to dislike you in itself, if we're honest. No, I'm kidding, I'm kidding, I'm not really that shallow...). I feel like, in terms of age, I flit between doing things that are commonplace for someone decidedly younger than myself, for example, building snowmen and playing tricks on my co-workers, and involving myself in activities that are meant for people much, much older, for example, playing Bingo in the pub with my friend Paul. I don't want to admit it, to myself, least of all the internet, but it has got to that stage in my life where winning at Bingo is something that excites me a significant amount. I feel the only saving grace that makes it slightly more acceptable is the knowledge that I spent my winnings solely (the one and only time I won) on alcohol and not spare Bingo markers.

In other news, I was "accidentally" groped at work last week by Other Amy, who I have now taken to affectionately referring to as Preds (short for Sexual Predator, obviously). I'm glad I've finally settled on a name for her - I was ever so slightly concerned when she first started working there that one of us was going to be given an unfortunate prefix to differentiate between the two. It always happens when there's more than one person of the same name in the same place - you know the names I mean - Gay Joe, Ginger Dave, Big Fat Susan. I've been on tenterhooks since Other Amy started, worried that people would start referring to me as Weird Amy or Immature Amy or You-Know-Amy-The-One-That-Always-Makes-Inappropriate-Jokes-And-Once-Dropped-An-Entire-Joint-Of-Ham-On-A-Customer's-Foot, so I'm more than relieved that she has made a name for herself without dragging mine through the mud. Granted, I'm not sure Sexual Predator is really the name she would have chosen for herself given the choice, but fate has its way of controlling these things, and who am I to argue with fate?

Friday, 18 January 2013

An Altar Server? Me? No, You Must Be Thinking Of Someone Else...

If you've been a regular follower of my blog since I started writing it, if you know me well in real life, or if you have met me on at least one occasion, then you will know that one of my favourite things to do in life is embarrass people. I've always known that one day this will come back to bite me in the arse, but I have continued to do it, year upon year, hoping and praying that karma does not catch up with me. Alas, karma has obviously been doing its research and has finally taken what it rightfully owns - my reputation. I was at work the other day, being told off once again because apparently doing the wedding march to the fridge is not "going as fast as I can", when the mother of a girl I used to go to primary school with saw me working behind the counter and came over for a chat.
"Oh, hiiii!" she cried joyously (can't blame her for that - who wouldn't be excited about seeing me?), "didn't you used to go to school with my child?"
"I did, yes," I replied, with slightly less enthusiasm, because, despite how happy I may or may not be to see her, I was still at work.
"Gosh, I haven't seen you in years! I think the last time I saw you, you were serving on the altar at St. William's church!"          ...           Why? Of all the things she could have remembered about me in primary school, why did she select that particular memory as the one she was going to shout out to all my work colleagues and destroy any and all street credit? Does she not know I have a reputation to uphold here? There are a multitude of scenarios she could have chosen from that depict me (accurately) as a child enveloped in coolness, but she decides to go with the one thing that makes me look disgustingly angelic? I think there's a lesson in this for all of us here...

Whilst we're on the subject of being embarrassed, I got trapped in a bathroom recently whilst I was having dinner at my mum's friend Alun's house. If he'd had an emergency cord like a Waterstones bathroom (remember that incident?), then I would have been able to pull it and alert the rest of the dining party to my distress. As it is, Alun is in possession of no such thing, so when I discovered that the door was jammed and I was stranded in a bathroom with no windows (therefore no other way for me to get out or care packages to be sent in), I became increasingly concerned that I would be in there forever and began having visions of myself growing old, living only off foods that were slim enough to be slid under the door (slices of ham, crackers, lasagna pasta sheets etc.) and drinking toilet water for hydration. Eventually, my good friends Alun and Bella heard my anguished cries and came hastily (though a little too nonchalantly, in my opinion) to my aid. After several forceful shoulder barges from Alun, and a few hopeful, maybe-this-time-it-will-work rattles of the door knob, it became evident that I was going to be imprisoned for quite some time. My vision had become blurred with hunger and I no longer had any concept of day and night. A small part of me was genuinely quite concerned that upon my release I might forget all social norms and, with my feral instincts kicking in, accidentally eat Alun and Bella. Alun eventually managed to kick the door down (with what I imagine was a very manly, very impressive high kick) and free me from the confines of my porcelain cell, net at the ready in case I turned nasty. My transition back into mainstream society was smoother than expected and after a while I was back at the table, happily drinking all the free wine and eating cheese. The only tell-tale signs of my time in captivity consisted of a small U-bend tattoo on my left bicep and finding Alun's beard and ponytail a lot more alluring than usual, which I can only assume is a symptom of Stockholm Syndrome and is completely beyond my control.

Alun, the hero himself, is part of my Thursday evening pub gang, which consists of various fifty-somethings (I'm told they're the new twenty-somethings) who are actually my mum's friends but who I have adopted as my own as they more often than not buy me a pint, are the masters of bad joke telling, and are generally more entertaining than the people I should be going to the pub with. (This is partially because nobody my age can afford the pub as we spent all our money getting degrees and now we work in supermarkets). I was particularly entertained this week when one of my mum's friends, let's call her... Chanet... told us all how she had just been swimming with her husband, let's call him... Jim... and realised at the swimming baths (i.e. too late) that she had failed to bring along the correct swimming attire. Rather than waste precious exercising time by turning back and going home to collect it, she instead resorted to swimming in a vest and her husband's underpants. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate that this happened? If there are a better and more badass group of pub people than this in the world, then I would sincerely like to meet them, take them swimming, and make them swim in their husbands underpants.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

"My Father Was Stabbed to Death by the Owner of a Bichon Frise!" "We've All Been There... I'm Sending You My Leaflet."

It is almost two weeks into the New Year and I cannot be the only person who feels that it is too far in for it to still be appropriate to say, 'happy new year' to everyone you see, but customers at work are still firing it at me every opportunity they get in an obvious attempt to hang on to some of the festive cheer, so I suppose I'll jump on the bandwagon, too. Happy New Year to you, my loyal readership! Especially to you, Russia, as I can see from my blog statistics that I have been very popular over there recently for reasons I cannot fathom. Maybe I am extra witty and entertaining in Russia? Or maybe I have a group of Russian stalkers who sit obsessively at their computer and refresh my blog? Or maybe it's just one Russian blogger, inside a Russian blogger, inside a Russian blogger... Either way, I am definitely feeling and appreciating the love from you guys, Russia, so keep it up. I can only hope that you all didn't let your overdrafts rage out of control thinking that the world was going to to end like I did and are now spending the first month of 2013 paying off all the cider you drank over Christmas, staying in on a Saturday night and watching the Top 20 Amazing Power Ballads of All Time instead of going to the pub. (Celine Dion came in at number one, naturally, as she is the queen of power ballads, but Bohemian Rhapsody came in at number ten! Since when was Bohemian Rhapsody a power ballad?! Someone, somewhere, is being paid to do a job that I was made for and they are not doing it well.)

I have decided against making any New Year's resolutions this year as my past efforts have been perfunctory at best and instead of setting myself goals that I will either a) forget, b) immediately break, or c) are so obscure that there is no chance of them being broken, I am going to set myself some realistic challenges. They are as follows:

  •  limit the amount of inappropriate jokes I make at work to two an hour
  • when someone says, "would you like to see a picture of my new grandson?" I will either politely decline or look at the photo and feign happiness. I will not respond with, "oh, golly gosh! Please! There is just nothing that enthrals me more than seeing pictures of babies I don't know!"
  • I will not spend Saturday nights watching Top 20 Amazing Power Ballads of All Time, and especially will not justify it by telling myself, "I'm just waiting until Celine makes an appearance, and then it's going straight off", because I know that I will either a) watch the entire thing regardless of where abouts Celine appears, or b) turn it off after Celine has appeared and spend the rest of the evening listening to her chart topping album Let's Talk About Love. (Obviously, this is just guesswork, as I have never actually sat in at the weekend and listened to Celine Dion's albums... consecutively... in English and in French...).
Anyway. Forget that.

Along with the sudden surge of Russian fans, my blog statistics have also informed me this week that someone searched 'I feel stupid because I can't write' into Google and it took them to my blog... I was initially offended, but when I searched it myself, it wasn't my blog that came up but instead a variety of different articles about how to improve ones self-esteem. (I read them anyway - you can never feel too good about yourself, can you?). It reminded me of the sort of thing someone would write into the Dear Deidre problem pages in The Sun - a paper I would never actually spend my money on but always read anyway because it is always on the table in the canteen at work. Reading The Sun is usually my favourite part of the working day, the main reason being there is a story about murderer on at least every third page and it has some of the greatest front page headlines I have ever seen. Friday's was a particularly good one - a massive, bright red headline reading: 'Sicko Shaved My Shih-Tzu!', underneath which was a photograph of said Shih-Tzu (a before and after photo, showing with and without fur) with its eyes blacked out. Really. The paper had blacked out the dog's eyes, just in case someone recognised it and started hounding it for autographs in the street. I'm excited for Monday's headlines already - it will probably be about a woman stabbing a man to death after he attacked her Bichon Frise or something. And then there will be a letter in the Dear Deidre section from the daughter of the victim telling the tale of how traumatised she is because her father has been stabbed to death by the owner of a Bichon Frise, a scenario for which Deirdre will naturally have a leaflet for, as she has for everything. Honestly, I'm not joking, if you've ever read Dear Deidre (and I'm not saying you have to stand up and admit it - you can just nod silently to yourself if you prefer), then you will know what I'm talking about. Someone will write in with some obscure problem (say, for example, their father has been attacked by the owner of a Bichon Frise), and Deidre will write back, "I know this is a very difficult time for you, we've all been there, and you are obviously feeling sad, alone and angry. Maybe you could talk to a counsellor? I'm sending you my leaflet on People Whose Relatives Have Been Attacked By Owners of Bichon Frises, do let me know how you get on!" The amount of times I have been tempted to write in just for the privilege of receiving a leaflet is verging on ridiculous. I think the only thing to do now is actually write in, so if anyone has any suggestions of hypothetical problems I could have, then feel free to e-mail in your ideas. (Don't use the Bichon Frise idea - not only is it now on the internet for everyone to see, but I also already sent it in and Deidre didn't rise to it. Bitch.).