Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas.

I have developed a worrying fascination with the tramps that occupy the city that I work/spend most of my time in.

The thing that sparked it off was a brief incident in a subway in Sunderland when a gentleman of the street wondered if I could ‘spare’ him a few pounds in order to top-up his mobile phone.


I ask you. Where did he charge it?

Don’t even ask me about the absurd script I began writing for a pilot episode of a television show entitled ‘HoboCop’. The central character had amazing investigative skills based on his experience of rummaging through bins and astounding observational and surveillance techniques – no-one pays any attention to a tramp. He hid lock-picks in his beard. The young ‘maverick cop’ type he teamed-up with had a long-lost father and everything – could it be HoboCop himself? I actually gave this some thought.


The other morning I walk to my office past the sleeping homeless person who makes his night-time abode in a sheltered area across the street from my staff entrance. As ever I am irrationally narked about the fact that he is enjoying a lie-in when I have to be at work. Upon reflection one presumes that if he did have a job to go to he would be up by now. And would have somewhere to live.

Another tramp approaches him. Wearing a Santa hat.

Honestly. Where did he get that?

They have a chat about something or other. Private investigation techniques probably.

I pause outside the door to my office to finish my cigarette. Professional Wendy is there, doing the same.

Professional Wendy: Morning.

Me: Fuck off will you.

Some silence. I’m not a morning person.

PW: Did you see that tramp?

He is 'used to me' and doesn't realise that I am 'not joking'.

Me: [sigh] Which one?

PW: Santa.

Me: Yes. But I don’t actually think it was Santa.

PW: How do you know?

Me: Christ. Are you still stoned?

PW: Think about it. He's UNEMPLOYED three-hundred-and-sixty-four days of the year. And the ONE day he works he doesn’t get PAID FOR! That COULD BE HIM!

We both stare at the strangely jolly gentleman with the white beard spreading a bit of goodwill with his fellow homeless folk whilst wearing his Santa hat.

Me: Mmm. So far as I know he doesn’t have kids. It’s not like he’d get Housing Benefit. Not on his income. Or Family Tax credit. He must me on his bones.

PW: [Very excited] Oh my God! That's why he always insists upon sherry! THE TRAMPS FUCKING LOVE THEIR FORTIFIED WINE! THEY LIVE OFF IT! IT ALL MAKES SENSE!

Me: Lay off the green. See you later.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Decide Never to Leave the House.

I’ve often been told that I can change the atmosphere in a room just by walking in to it – the manner in which people tell me this suggests to me that I rarely change it for the better – but this is just ridiculous.

I’m sitting on a bench in a barber-shop (not a hairdressers) waiting to have my hair cut; a necessary evil I have yet to find any way of avoiding.

The barber and his lady colleague are having quite the chuckle, loudly joking with each other and their respective customers. The barber himself is shouting at passers-by on the street asking if they still believe in Santa Claus, his colleague is singing to the unbearably up-beat music blaring from the stereo.

It seems this will be more of a chore than usual.

I’m in no mood for spontaneous jollity with strangers, especially whilst being touched in a ridiculously over-familiar manner by someone I’ve not even met.

The lady barber is – without consent – giving her young customer a bizarre mullet-type thing clipped around the edges that makes the boy resemble a foolish badger. I am hoping her colleague is finished first.

My God they’re loud. These really are a couple of happy cunts.

She finishes off, gives the boy a lollipop and announces that she is off to get a coffee. Thank Christ.

In a moment or two the barber is also finished with his customer and cheerily bids him farewell. I take my seat. There is now only the two of us in the shop. The compact disc in the stereo comes to an end. It suddenly seems very quiet.

Barber: [Needlessly jovial] So! What’s it to be.

I give my standard ‘amusing’ response that if he were to make my hair longer and untidier that would be ideal.

Barber: HAHAHAHAHA! Just a bit of a tidy-up then!

Me: Please.

He starts snipping away. I pretend I am somewhere else.

Barber: So! [Here it comes, I think.] All ready for Christmas then?

I’m going to have to embark on a short period of fake cheerfulness with this fool aren’t I? I really haven’t the energy.

Me: No. I haven’t done a thing. I’ve been moving house this week so I’ve had other things on my mind.

Idiot. IDIOT, I think to myself. You’ve just given him some PERSONAL INFORMATION! He’s fucking got you now. It’s going to be ‘amusing house-move anecdotes’ a-go-go from now on you prick.

He pauses for a minute and looks at me in the mirror.

Barber: [Quiet now] Yeah. I know what you mean. Had a lot on my mind myself this week.

He silently snips away some more, with a troubled expression on his face.

Barber: It’s been the worst week of my life to be honest. My wife had a miscarriage.

It’s silent for some time.

Me: [Helpfully] Oh.

Barber: It was early on but …. Our first you know. I was all excited about being a Dad, just getting my head round it when ….. Don’t suppose you ever really get over …. you know.

Me: [Still helpful] Mmm.

I suppose I could have come up with something supportive, some learnt experience that I could have passed-on but really, I’ve come for a haircut and on top of that he’s really making a meal of trimming the hair on and in my ears – something no-one has yet been insensitive enough to do. He’ll be offering to dye my grey pubes next.

Having wordlessly completed his task, I settle-up with this gentleman.

It is for many an unpleasant time of year and he’s obviously not had the best of it anyway.

I give him a tip of fifty pence.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Accidentally Do Something Nice and Live to Regret It.

“Alright Tired? Going for a drink after work tonight?”

It’s not an odd question given that it is a Friday afternoon and a few of my colleagues and I regularly gather for drinks after work at the unbearably swanky bar next to our building.

What is odd is that a man I barely know is asking it of me. Perhaps he is just making conversation.

Me: Expect so.

Shaved Chimpanzee: See you there then.

I imagine this to mean that he is meeting his own acquaintances there and that perhaps we will – literally – ‘see’ each other.

But no. He tips up and joins my actual friends and me without knowing any of us and believes himself to be ‘one of the boys’. He has ‘invited himself’. That is ‘against the rules’. You wait to be asked. This went on for three weeks. And I hate him. We all hate him.

How can I even begin to describe the extent of the unbearable nature of this gentleman? To assume you are ‘mates’ with people you don’t know and invite yourself out with them is a bit ‘off’, but forgivable if you are a half-way bearable human being. But he isn’t.

He’s a boor. And a bore.

Again, you could forgive the fact that he is a human slouch, that his absurdly-shaped head does not suit the buzz-cut, especially when he has so much stubble (which is not of the ‘designer’ variety but of the ‘homeless’ type) that it makes his head look a bit ‘upside down’ and that he genuinely believes that dress trousers, brown BROWN shoes and a white shirt that resembles something his Mam would have bought him for school topped with a FUCKING white and gold NYLON ANORAK is suitable attire for the workplace.

But not the boorishness.

There is a special category of ‘stupid’ for people like this. The man has an opinion on every conversation, whether or not the conversation includes him. And insists upon giving it from some imagined lofty height as if gifting us with wisdom from his imaginary ivory tower whether anyone is interested in hearing it or not.

He is the genuis-type who will inform us that the Middle-East situation is 'all about oil' as if we would all shit ourselves with surprise and suddenly understand the world because of that when actually it is down to such complicated religious, tribal, cultural, economic and political factors that NO-ONE in the western world will ever fully understand it.

Don't even get me started on the al-qaeda who apparently live across the road from his bed-sit.

Unaware that actually he is THICK AS SHIT and everyone is so embarrassed by the nonsense spilling from his foolish hole of a mouth that they dare not say anything at all for fear of making him feel small. Which gives him the impression that he has silenced everyone with his massive intellect.

He is beyond ‘stupid’. There are individuals in the world who are non-too-bright and are aware of it. I know a few. They are unassuming, work hard, probably earn much more than me and are fantastic fathers to their children and are great fun to be around.

This individual however is SO stupid HE DOESN’T EVEN REALISE HOW DENSE HE IS. He’s so mentally retarded he THINKS HE IS ACTUALLY QUITE FUCKING CLEVER.

I would like to murder him. Not because of the above – although that is a perfectly good reason - but because he has insinuated himself into my small, selectively-chosen social group and most of us are too nice to tell him to Fuck Off.

The Friday Before Last:

I’m outside said swanky bar having a cigarette with Uncannily Similar and the Fucking New Kid.

Uncannily Similar has one difference from me in that he always takes the new recruits under his wing. Hence the presence of Fucking New Kid, which I tolerate.

Shaved Chimp ambles out, grazing his knuckles on the ground as he walks.

Realizing that he is getting no conversation from either Uncannily Similar or myself, he turns to Fucking New Kid, who is in his early twenties, is probably tweaking from having his first proper job and has worked in our dauntingly large building for three days.

Shaved Chimp: [Unwarranted superior smirk] So what is it with you young fellas anyway? Don’t you realize your hair makes you look a bit gay?

The hair on Fucking New Kid’s head is more than an inch long and he seems to have made some effort to make it look as though he has not just got out of bed. He may as well be George Micheal as far as this cunt is concerned.

Do not misunderstand me. I have no special love for the Fucking New Kid. He’s ‘new’ and that bothers me – I don’t like people I don’t know. But this is out of order. And I’ve had more of the Chimp than I can bear anyway. I have a tipping point.

The following exchange is based on hazy memory and eyewitness reports.

Me: Chimp. Yeah. You. Can’t be many mirrors in YOUR house.

Chimp: Eh…What?


Chimp: Err…

At this point I am told that I am almost nose-to-nose with the man. I remember losing my peripheral vision and my heart pounding quite a lot.

Chimp: Well…..I think it’s a waste. Em. Ur. You know. I don’t make an effort for WORK.


He steps back and goes inside. I finish my cigarette. Uncannily Similar silently shakes my hand.

When we return to our Goodfellas-style reserved table we find that the dreadful baboon is wordlessly necking his pint of idiot juice and leaves without another syllable. Never to return.

This Friday afternoon.

Blonde Colleague squints at me after hearing this silly story from Uncannily.

BC: [With a mixture of confusion and surprise] Eh? You did a nice thing?

Me: No. I told a prick to fuck off because no-one else would.

BC: No. You stood up for the Fucking New Kid. You stuck up for him.

Me: Shit. SHIT. You’re right. That’s EXACTLY WHAT HE’LL THINK. Bollocks.BOLLOCKS.

BC: Hahahahahah. He’s your friend now!

She’s wrong, I think to myself. It’s fine.

I go for a walk down a random corridor to clear my thoughts. By astonishing coincidence Fucking New Kid is coming my way.

FNK: Alright Tired? Going for a drink after work tonight?

Me: Expect so.

See you there then.

And so it transpires that the weak of will, the hangers-on, the people that no-one really want but who are half-way smart enough to make you feel bad for them never really go away – like Energy, they just change form.

I don't know what I'm going to have to do to get rid of this fucker.
Go to newer posts