Why do I attract weirdos?

October 17, 2006

Even the simple act of purchasing a round of drinks can these days descend into farce. Whilst at the bar last night, I fell foul of the caprices of a French barman. A rough transcript follows.

Me: 3 San Miguels please.
Barman: You are English?
Me: Yes. You must get a lot of that round here [We were in Westminster at the time].
Barman: I am French. Remember 1815?
Me: Yes – it was about 3 hours ago. We were in the Livery.
Barman: No, idiot. The year.
Me: Oh. Battle of Waterloo?
Barman: Yes. You bastards.
Me: Where in France are you from?
Barman: Normandy.
Me: How much do I owe you?
Barman: Ten sixty six.

Had I been sober at the time, I would have noticed that £10.66 is not a multiple of 3. And a bit steep for 3 pints.


Cards on the table straight away: I’ve got big clumpy feet, and sometimes struggle to walk in a straight line, instead preferring to maintain a veneer of forward momentum while jagging off at otherwise unthought-of angles.

It should be borne in mind, though, that I am not always entirely at fault, in the event of bumping into someone during the rush hour walk in to work. Sometimes someone will bump into me. Not having a persecution complex (ahem), I realise that someone has just bumped into me by accident. In most cases, it is fair to assume that this accidental bump does therefore not represent the culmination of the person having schemed all day long about a way just to annoy me. Thus, a cheery nod to recognise their apology is usually enough to set both protagonists straight. Job done, game over. Everyone can get back to what they’re doing.

However, some people are clearly so very very important that if I bump into them on a crowded pavement, this obvious personal attack by me is met with the consternation which it deserves. In such cases, where my apology is offered and rejected, the only option available to me is the infliction of displeasure upon the bumpee, typically through the medium of sarcasm. Such an instance occurred earlier this week, when I collided head-on with a terribly important-seeming businesslady. A brief summary of the concominant conversation is presented below.

Me: Sorry about that.
Terribly important-seeming businesslady: WHY DIDN’T YOU LOOK WHERE YOU WERE GOING?
M: Pardon?
M: And I assume that you were looking where you were going?
M: Then can I ask why you chose to walk into me?

The terribly important-seeming businesslady barged past me in an obviously flustered state, and walked off muttering to herself. I continued my walk to the station with a cheery smile on my face and a spring in my step. Mushy 1, Life 0.

The quality if my life is constantly being degraded by the actions of others who deliberately target me as the outlet of their spite and misanthropy. A brief list would include c2c, the Eclipse Project, the Anglo-Croat Goodwill Committee, people who insist on walking with their umbrellas up and stabbing me in the face with them even when it’s not raining, and Isaac Newton. Each of these disparate groups have set out with no truck other than to make me miserable. Now, it seems that they are joined in this dispicable crusade by the RFU.

One vote, and this will signal the end of rugby union as we know it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Scrummaging is not the most dangerous part of the game. Tackling is. However, if you remove scrummaging and tackling from the game, why not remove those dangerous pointy ends from the ball, and make it spherical. From there, you can get rid of those high posts which could easily fall down in a breeze. And why not stop the possibility of finger injuries by only allowing the ball to be kicked.

Rugby is a magnificent game — and scrummaging the best bit of it — because it’s a contact sport; one of the unfortunate corollaries of which being that you can get injured. Currently, I am. I pulled a muscle in my back in a scrummage 2 weeks ago. It’s still sore as hell, and my house still carries the faint odour of Deep Heat. Everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Even the fridge. Would I have it any other way? No.* I did this playing the sport I love, and on the pitch with 14 of my closest friends in the world.

Come January 1, if this rule is enforced, the Mushyphobia endemic in today’s society will be complete. Why play rugby any more when the good bit is legislated out of existence, and all that is left is rucking, mauling, and the lineout?

* Except for the Deep Heat smell. That’s starting to grate a bit, if I’m honest.

There’s a pretty good chance I never was. But there were times when — in the right light, and with just the right amount of self-delusion — I could convince myself that I was a member of the urban cognoscenti. I do — after all — have white headphones. I hear they’re all the rage.

The shuffle mode on a iPod is a wonderful thing. There are times when I feel it knows what mood I’m in, and tries to help out.  If I’m a bit down on the train in to work, it will pick me up, dust me down, give me a pat on the back, and suddenly everything’s okay again.

But there are also times it opts for the plain out-and-out mockery . Yesterday, who found himself warbling through aforementioned headphones? Kenny Rogers. Kenny Rogers! How in the name of all that is holy did that end up on there? I know for a fact that I’m the only person who marshals my iTunes, so at some point I must have put it on there myself. I may have been having a bit of a Big Lebowski moment, but still. I thought it was a mere stumble in my casual stroll through coolness.

But then my iPod followed it with this. Gah! Who sets out to poison my auditory wellbeing with this tripe? All I know is that whoever it is, is by no means cool.  And therefore cannot be me. I hope.