On my way to the bar, I recognise my friend’s brother sitting by the wall.
Keen to repay his having bought me a drink earlier, I smile at him beckoning towards the bar by way of asking if he’d like another drink.
He stares back at me blankly.
Pretty rude, I think, so to clarify my intent I give a cheeky wink and nodding-back-a-pint gesture.
Blankness turns to incredulity.
Then I realise it’s not my friend’s brother at all.
It’s a stranger.
Embarrassed, I wander up to him:
“Sorry, mate, I thought you were my friend’s brother.”
“You see, I’d only just met them this evening.”
“So when I thought you were him, I was just offering a drink.”
“I thought you fancied me.”
“Sorry no. Just mistaken identity.”
I was getting used to this. At least the ice had been broken.
I laughed as she wrapped up her funny story, but naturally rather than insincerely heartily, and cut in at a natural break in the conversation, not mid-flow.
“Let me get these” I said politely before standing slowly, but purposefully, and ambling calmly to the bar, without tripping over a concealed step, or my untied shoelaces.
The absence of any queue meant I got served immediately, and instantly recalled her requested tipple, without having to ask again, or worse, guess…wrongly.
Whilst the barmaid attended to our drinks, I extracted appropriate change to facilitate swift payment.
Verifying the correct drinks had been served, I checked then pocketed my change and ambled calmly back, again without tripping.
I flashed what I think was a warm and confident – nay, winning – smile: not a losing smile; or a timid, wonky smile; or one revealing spinach or, worse, pork scratchings, or vomit.
It was a textbook date. Without any of the schoolboy errors this overgrown schoolboy had made before.
Until my smugness subsided to horror as I placed her new drink alongside the old, to find it served in a glass approximately double the size the original receptacle.
“Err….they didn’t ask whether you wanted large” I explained, continuing embarrassedly in perhaps unnecessary detail, “I’m not trying to get you pissed. Promise.”
It didn’t matter. The large size glass had set a precedent, as we knocked a few more back during the evening.
Yet I was still surprised at the sheer size of the receptacle provided for her Baileys night-cap.
Presented with what was effectively a vase, big enough to drown a small cat, it struck me this apparent oversight was in fact a carefully orchestrated bar-tending conspiracy.
I pondered whether bar staff determine the size of the receptacle in proportion to the ‘attractiveness gap’ between buyer and receiver: “She’s quite a looker” they’d think, “He’s sure gonna need the 2 litre model.”
I returned carrying the super-size Baileys, and shrugged my shoulders at my pissed datee.
Expansionary and contractionary monetary policy, and their effects on the convergence of currencies
True to my word, appalled at the inane, me-me-me nature of recent posts, I am making a concerted effort to stick to my previous post’s comment box pledge to broaden this blog to tackle global issues. So here goes:
Expansionary and contractionary monetary policies are essentially different sides of the same coin (pun intended).
Each involve increasing or decreasing the money supply (respectively, as their names imply), the big pot that includes cash and cheques, savings accounts, money market funds, small and institutional deposits.
Of these, it is the contractionary policy that has historically been used with its deflationary impact more conducive to converging disparate currencies.
However, as the aborted European convergence experiment of the mid-90s showed, achieving convergence might be a tad more complex than my day-to-day understanding of economics, namely spouting gubbins like “I’ll put that away for a rainy day”, “Spending good money after bad, that is” and “Supply and demand, innit?”.
Thanks for reading. Interesting, huh? I feel much better now.
Tomorrow, Unlucky will be resolving the Middle East crisis in Three Easy Steps.
I pride myself on leading a simple life, but worry sometimes I unnecessarily complicate things for myself.
Nearing a conclusion following this week’s shenanigans:
Having obtained FYCB’s American friend’s id from Tall Bespectacled Friend, my email to her was one of the more difficult I’ve ever drafted, tip-toeing the fine line between offending FYCBAF (achieved by pretending I’d left FYCB’s card at work), sounding desperate (unavoidable), and actually wanting a positive response (read desperate, again). But respond positively she did: not only confirming FYCB’s id (one of my other cards, inevitably) but suggesting I call her directly on her mobile (thus avoiding ‘email tennis’)! Which I did, and which was nice, and a date is now sorted. So all’s well that ends well, except...
The successful search was marred slightly by Scottish Girl’s reply to my email stating I’d serenaded her with a Garth Brooks song: OK, you’re gonna have to paint the scene a little more for me...at what point in the evening did we meet and when did you sing to me cause I sure don't remember being sung to??? I reckon I know who you are but now I’m not so sure...Help me out a little. Assuming I must have liked her enough to accept not one but two cards, I have nonetheless emailed back saying my serenade claim was ‘my little joke’, but reminding her of a genuine topic of our conversation in an effort to claw back some dignity. Whether this pays off, only time will tell.
Meantime, I received an unexpected mobile call from one of the organisers at the event. Speculation this being the organiser I snogged, a call-up for an identity parade, or a humiliating replaying of CCTV footage, were all scuppered when I rang back to find myself invited to focus group research next week. I may overlook my lack of participation in any of the events, and subsequent overcomplicating of following-up contacts from the evening, in giving answers on the evening. But hey, the offer of a couple of beers and twenty English pounds proved just too much to resist.
’Tis a complex web, life.
In a low place
‘You have a message waiting!’ proclaimed the email from the dating site people.
This was excellent news. I’d emailed only a few hours earlier
to check if my contact was indeed the same girl I’d met at the speed-dating night, or if there had been some horrible misunderstanding.
I log on to check my message:
Hey Unlucky, there’s no misunderstanding. Can’t believe I went to the bother of writing the wrong contact address on my cards and picture… gutted!
How unfortunate, I think: she sounds like the girl for me.
Just one thing: I need to reassure myself that she is indeed Fit Young Canadian Bird
I am not stupid.
I hatch a plan: I need to enquire discreetly
by verifying a piece of our conversation that only FYCB and I would know.
I am clever.
During the day, I’d had a flashback of my efforts to impress her of my Canadian knowledge by serenading her a Garth Brooks song.
I am a genius:
Blame it all on my roots
I showed up in boots
And ruined your black tie affair
The last one to know
The last one to show
I was the last one
You thought you'd see there
And I saw the surprise
And the fear in his eyes
When I took his glass of champagne
And I toasted you
Said, honey, we may be through
But you'll never hear me complain
'Cause I've got friends in low places
Where the whiskey drowns
And the beer chases my blues away
And I'll be okay
I'm not big on social graces
Think I'll slip on down to the oasis
Oh, I've got friends in low places.
If words can ever do justice to a moment in time, you’ll already have a tear in your eye. It was a beautiful moment, one during which I am in no doubt whatsoever she was enraptured in complete and utter awe of my mere presence.
I confidently reply to her email reminding her of my impressive serenade.
Thirty-six hours later without a reply, panic sets in. I take the liberty of checking her profile again, which I find she’s updated:
Too busy with work… need a distraction.
Good USP, I think, reading on:
Cheeky Scottish girl seeks…
SCOTTISH?! I am a fucking idiot.
Mortified by the embarrassment of this mistaken identity, I log off and retire to bed early to consider whether there's any possible way to turn this ridiculous situation around with a shred of dignity.
Greetings from Norfolk
It’s good to get out of the City.
As I sit here at JonnyB
’s PC, I can gaze out of his leaded window past his toolshed across his lush garden watching the wind bellow against the trees as the rain pisses down.
It was good to see the Village Pub reopened at last. Far from the red-carpeted olde worlde retreat it was when I last visited, it’s now a contemporary bar with minimalist décor except for the odd chrome fixture and abstract painting.
It was better still to see it play host to one of the waitress’s 18th birthday, proving beyond any doubt that underage drinking is alive and well in rural England.
What was questionable was our decision to indulge ourselves in the Village Pub’s cocktails. Never quite comprehending cocktail menus, I pick what I understand to be a mixture of the most manly ingredients, only to be presented with an unimaginably effeminate drink in a dainty glass. Unnerved by this, we swiftly moved on to the pub’s vast arrays of whiskey instead.
No visit to friends is truly complete without a traditional singalong if a piano is present. And so, empowered by our potent mix of wine, ale and spirits, penning our Kirstie-Allsop tribute song, ‘Knocking (Down The Walls (Of My Heart))’ was not enough for our furtively creative minds. Through the early hours we created ‘Relocation: The Musical’, a twisted tale of hope, greed, desperation, betrayal, and ultimate disappointment.
I think the Short Tonies next door will be pleased to see us return to the City.
The search continues...
Thanks all for your constructive, if conflicting, advice on my weekend’s dilemma
Despite this, temptation was too great to resist, so I took matters into my own hands.
Thinking laterally, on my feet, using my napper, I, armed with scant information and a hazy memory, embark on tracking FYCB down on the dating site myself.
I select criteria Sex: Female (good start); Event: London, September (logical enough); Age: between 25 and 30 (reasonable guess).... then click ‘Search’.
Hey presto! Within minutes (page four of search results, I recall) my webstalkin’ efforts pay off:
For I locate an id containing the same two syllables as that on my two cards, but in reverse order.
I check the profile: Female, 26 years old, works in banking.
Fits the bill, I think, so fire off an email to check she is indeed one and the same...
These are the days
The first day of my week off hasn’t exactly panned out as planned.
I hoped I’d have a bit of a lie-in, get a few chores done, do some shopping, catch a friend for lunch, watch a film then have a nap before heading out for the evening.
With benefit of hindsight, perhaps reporting a mildly irritating interference problem to BT had been a mistake. Because since then, the entire line had been down. As I tried to explain to BT Delhi, when they phoned to explain everything was working.
So an engineer had been booked for this ‘morning’. Morning, for any sensible person, might run from 9 til noon, not the 7am to 2pm typical for most large, inflexible corporations. Typically, having got up stupidly early, he arrived at a sane 11am.
Bringing his expert training to the fore, he tracked the line using his hi-tech bleepy device from my flat, down the stairs, through the bank below, finally into their basement. Within half-hour it was evident the fault was affecting the bank too, and by lunchtime our engineer was waist-deep in a manhole halfway down the street. From a minor problem affecting just me, this problem was fast spreading to the whole neighbourhood.
Meanwhile, I used my houseboundness to get some chores out the way, and catch up on the four months of financial paperwork I’d let build up. And providing myself occasional relief with successive visits to the local electrical shop attempting to order replacement handles for my Zanussi fridge/freezer. After only a couple of hours ascertaining the right model and part numbers, I handed over £26 – roughly double what the whole appliance is worth - for the privilege. Following this, popping out to buy a CD printing kit felt like a trip to the seaside.
The line outage was generally inconvenient, preventing me from pissing about online. But specifically hampered my progressing Operation Track Down FYCB
. The engineer had only just admitted the fault was near my flat, its exact location blurred by his hi-tech bleepy device running low on battery power. So only just now back online, I've gotta rush out for a date with Louise Wener
now, so update will have to wait til tomorrow.
Managed to blag me and Tall Bespectacled Friend free tickets to a big speed-dating event off a client who was sponsoring.
Dating, as they say, is a numbers game. So report from the evening follows:
Firstly, didn’t actually do
the speed-dating, unless you count gate-crashing past the queue with a babe to an unoccupied table, only to find her too hammered and vain (Her: “I’m just here to laugh at everyone else.” Me: “Well, at least they’re giving it a try.”) so leaving her alone to her arrogant, self-absorbed, vacuous world.
But, proudly, actually remembered to give 3 of my ‘dating cards’ out.
And found 6 in my pocket in the morning (so that’s 3-up):
One from an elderly woman. (32 years old my arse!)
Two from the same girl.
One: fit young Canadian bird.
Two: one of the event organisers.
Checking pictures on the dating website in the morning made for some grim viewing.
Problem: cannot locate FYCB on the site, fairly sure it's her two cards I've got.
1) Ask Tall Bespectacled Friend to email FYCB’s American mate for FYCB's id, risking minor loss of dignity, and potentially upsetting American Mate if TBF does not exercise sufficient tact.
2) Ask client to contact organisers to search for FYCB based on the scant information I hold, risking major loss of dignity/loss of client, and potential disaster if their contact is the same event organiser I snogged.
3) Leave it, it's not worth it.
Shouldn't be aloud
The bus sounded a continual rumble as it pulled up at the traffic lights. Passengers chatted and babies cried for attention. The constant stream of traffic rattled past.
And yet on top of this noise one voice could clearly be heard.
This in itself would not be unusual if it were not for the fact it was being emitted from a pedestrian, distanced by some ten feet of London smog from my bus.
Speaking into his supposed ‘hands-free’ mobile kit, yet using his hand to place the microphone right up against his cake-hole.
If I could clearly make out his conversation amid all this noise, I imagine his caller is still suffering from acute tinnitus.
Some people just love the sound of their own voices. Tosser.
SAVE THE PONIES
10am, my mobile phone rings. I can’t answer it, because I’m tied up on the work landline discussing an Important Direct Marketing Campaign.
Conversation over, I check the voice message left, which is calm and polite:
“Mrs Bayliss, Halfords Vetinary Clinic here, phoning to check if you want the two ponies inoculated. Please call us as soon as you can.”
This was bad, I thought. I’m not Mrs Bayliss. I don’t think it’s divulging too much of my identity to reveal I’m a man. And sound like a man. And have a man’s name. And a penis.
All first three three clues of which on my phone’s greeting seemed to bypass the vet calling Mrs Bayliss (the fourth could probably be inferred from the first three).
This was very bad, I thought. Never mind Mrs Bayliss, what’s going to happen to Mrs Bayliss’s ponies? The vet didn’t leave his number.
Calm down, I tell myself. Deep breaths. Think logically.
I check my received call numbers: Damn it! Number withheld.
I return to my work, but find my concentration keeps wandering onto Mrs Bayliss’s ponies.
Half-hour later, my mobile bleeps again, this time without ringing.
Another voice message, this time more agitated and curt: “Mrs Bayliss, Halfords again, calling about the ponies. And the inoculation. Call us urgently.”
Damn it. Number withheld again. How the hell can I evaluate multi-channel response rates whilst Mrs Bayliss’s ponies are in such a precarious position?
Another half-hour, another message, this time stern, commanding and not a little indignant: “MRS BAYLISS! HALFORDS. WE KEEP RINGING YOU. YOUR PONIES? INNOCULATION? HONESTLY.”
The vet hasn't called again. So, if anyone knows Mrs Bayliss, or her ponies, PLEASE HELP - PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON - PLEASE CALL YOUR VET. Thank you.
So near yet so far
My ticket for tonight’s game
having through some stupendously atrocious disorganisation been inadvertently posted to my friend’s house whilst he was away on holiday, I waited in vain for a response to my pleading email.
Volvo, being as his name implies a man of simple tastes, never really got used to mobile phone technology. As recently as last year, whenever it rang or bleeped, a bewildered look would descend on his face.
So it was somewhat of a surprise to see him grappling with one of those new-fangled Blueberry devices on our recent trip to Slovenia. At least once an hour, he’d log in to check up on whatever emails he’d received from the fast-paced world of indemnity re-insurance.
Yet this object of ridicule was my one sole hope for getting his ticket.
“VOLVO! YOUR HELP URGENTLY REQUIRED!!!” exclaimed my email, striving to stand-out from his hordes of claims, counterclaims and counter-counterclaims. “Knew you'd be checking up on your Newberry. TSF tells me my place at the match is in jeopardy cos the ticket is still in your house: can anyone pick it up?”
Silence… until – hallelujah! – Saturday evening, Volvo replies: “Sorry, I’ve only just checked my Dangleberry. My father-in-law has a key and is moving the post. Could your folks pick it up from them?”
A plan was hatched and Volvo emailed to confirm: “The wheels are in motion. The in-laws will go round to ours and hunt down the ticket in the next hour. If your folks call them at about 6.30 then they can make sure they have got the ticket before they go round.”
Despite Volvo’s military-like planning through his Cranberry, the father-in-law searched here and there, high and low, but alas could not find that damned elusive ticket.
Some things just aren't meant to be. So I watched the match on telly instead. Volvo will doubtless find the wasted ticket within a minute of arriving back from holiday.
Lost and found
I got back to my flat just as day was breaking, and checked my mobile phone:
4 messages, 13 missed calls.
Where were they?! I’d forewarned them, seven hours previously, that I wasn’t carrying my mobile. Back to Tall Stuttering Friend’s girlfriend’s London pad was the only feasible alternative, with Fred living 40 miles and Bank Boy 70 miles away.
“Unlucky, where are you? We’re outside your flat. Where are you?!” (I was still on the dancefloor, blissfully unaware anyone had left.)
3.00am, Bank Boy:
“Unlucky, where are you? I’m outside your flat. Where are you?!” (I was waiting by the cloakroom. Like we’d agreed. Also seven hours previously.)
3.15am, Fred, Bank Boy and TSF:
“Unlucky, where the fuck are you? We’ve found each other. It’s fuckin’ cold. Where the fuck are you?!” (I was waiting outside the club. Searching the local kebab houses. Likewise feeling the cold.)
3.30am, Fred, Bank Boy and TSF:
“Unlucky, we've found the 24-hour bagel bar. Where the fuckety fuck are you???!!!” (I was in a cab, having aborted my search.)
Before I get a chance to call from my flat, Fred rings again, and within minutes all three are filing back sheepishly into the warmth of my lounge.
“Sorry” apologised Fred, “We’re a bit pissed. Nice bagels, though.”
You can’t always choose your friends.
It was all supposed to be so simple.
I had the pleasure of attending a handful of Arsenal games earlier this year, after season ticket holder Mad Bobby went inexplicably AWOL.
Supportive of my conversion to ‘New Laddism’, my friends invited myself and Tall Stuttering Friend to share the spare ticket this season.
This made sense. I’d enjoyed the games, but was wary that a full-price ticket, plus pre- and post-match socialising, and a couple of European trips thrown in for good measure, would be approaching 10% of my salary: football truly a religion. But with TSF having family commitments every other weekend, sharing a ticket would be fairly easy, not to mention be easier on the wallet.
So, after missing the first home match having double-booked, I was very excited to be invited to next Tuesday’s Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven in my good friend Volvo’s absence. M booked the tickets and emails ensued getting everyone fevered up for the match. Anticipation rose. Until TSF queried where Volvo’s ticket was.
“It’s being posted to Volvo’s house.” came the reply.
Volvo had just gone on holiday.
So, as things stand, Plan A: I’m waiting to hear back from the texts and emails I’ve sent Volvo, wherever he might be in the world.
Plan B is to manufacture an elongated grabbing device to nab the tickets through Volvo’s letterbox.
Plan C? Well there isn’t a Plan C, really. Other than ask for your collective will, dear readers, that this ticket somehow finds its way into my hands before next Tuesday.
Proceed with caution
With an instinctive compulsiveness for order, I admit erring towards the slightly cautious.
So, not one for getting caught short on household consumables, I keep a ready supply of essential items.
“One in hand!” my ex used to sarcastically mock me as I smugly replaced a depleted item from our reserve stocks. Mock me
, I tell you.
But we were never home to running out of bog roll. Some day, she’ll miss this.
What scares me is seeing my own caution extrapolated to the Nth degree in my parents.
Take milk, for example: being avid tea drinkers – a prerequisite for ‘British Pensioner’ status – continual storing of sufficient milk is commendable.
But I fail to comprehend the mild panic that erupts whenever milk falls below their minimum threshold which seems to be seventeen pints
. I thought such over-prudent stockpiling fell out of fashion after the Cold War.
Similar caution also becomes evident during other aspects of their lives, such as the short drive back to the rail station:
“Oh dear” complained my dad, as he slowed for the oncoming traffic behind the string of cars parked outside their local Methodist Church.
“Calm down,” I attempted, vainly, “there’s only six cars”. It wasn’t Piccadilly Circus. (It was Perry Street.)
“Oh dear…” he continued, regardless, awaiting the third 4x4 to pass before gingerly pulling out to overtake “…we’ve got to get you to the station on time.”
“It’s ok,” I reassured, again in vain, “we’ve still got fifteen minutes”. (The journey takes less than five, even with my dad driving.)
The handful of vehicles passed, the street returning to its tranquil, empty norm, and we made it to the station in ample time.
I caught my train, and rested back safe in the knowledge that when I last checked their fridge it contained twenty pints of milk.
Have you met Ms Jones?
If you haven't, you should.
Not merely cos I'm blog-sitting with others over at Bridget Who?
this week. But to amuse yourself through her musings on topics as diverse as DIY
, Ben Cohen
, gormless twats
, Albanian carpenters
and the word 'cunt'
First time here? Welcome! Take a lucky dip into a bit of background
, first dates
, work experience
, shag bingo
and young Brazilian divorcees
Friday night dilemma
Sun’s shining, summer ain’t quite over, which is it to be? :-
1. Go with my instinct for another Friday night in (plenty on telly tonight), early to bed for a productive Saturday.
2. Catch a Canadian band I’ve heard good things about in Camden.
3. Arrange to meet some mates in town, and get so pissed I fall out of my shoes.
Over to you.
, the Chinese colleague this week tendered her resignation after the Irish newly-appointed MD together with the South African IT manager (allegedly) discovered she had been filtering confidential company information back to the Dutch ex-MD on the (false) promise of future financial reward thereby through her naivety potentially jeopardising her working visa all whilst aforementioned Dutch ex-MD was also (allegedly) attempting to poach the soon-to-retire-anyway Indian Financial Director.
Things just get better, don’t they?
Turn up for the books
Of course, there’s a positive flip-side to yesterday’s moribund post. I’ve gone beyond my resolution to kick-start my social life. And have made many new, good, true and valued friends.
It’s always an unknown prospect being a relative stranger within a new group.
Thankfully my good friend doubled-up as a polite host, graciously introducing me to each person in turn.
Several hours in, I’d put names to most faces. I’d been making my way round the group, chatting to each individually. I felt I was mingling well. I felt accepted. I wasn’t such a stranger any more.
Among the latecomers to the group was a nice-looking brunette. She carried a sassy sexiness, for sure, but was way out of my league, I thought. She also had an unidentifiable unattainability – a sense of je ne sais quoi
, no less – which I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but this just made her more intriguing still. I realised I’d be punching well above my weight, but was ready for the starting bell. Just as soon as I get a chance to speak to her. Any minute now, any minute…
But I was still being introduced to other people. I enjoy talking, and listening. So spent time with each to learn about them, tell them about me, break some ice, have a laugh. Socialise. And every so often, I’d discreetly check out the elusive brunette. I’ll say hi to her in a minute, I thought. In just a minute.
Before long, she suddenly got up. She was leaving. Early. With her friend. Rudeness!
“She seemed nice”, I grumbled to my host, as we waved them on their way.
“She is” she replied, “I used to live with her.”
“No, no, I mean: she seems nice
.” I explained, gesturing in such a way as to leave no doubt what I meant (as people do where I come from, at least).
“She said you’re cute.”
Why in Gordon Ramsey’s name didn’t you say so earlier
“You do know she’s a lesbian, don’t you?”
How would I have known?! There’d been no stereotypical lesbian signs. I almost spluttered my beer onto her from shock.
Brushing this obviously significant divulgence aside, she summised the unattainable brunette’s history: Failed relationships, denial of sexuality, happiness found with the girl she’d just left with.
Typical. Absolutely bloody typical.
But none of this actually mattered. Being labelled “cute” is rare enough. Being labelled “cute” by a lesbian was, for me, a first.
Should I meet her again, I’d say hi sooner. And resist any thoughts whatsoever as to whether this woman is for turning.