Well here I am again, the same position I was in the first semester only slightly drunk and in tremendous pain due to an ulcer the size of east Texas on my gums. Once again I must write something to be analysed, poked, prodded and secretly violated by my fellow aspiring writers and peers in the heady academic haze of university. Once again I am lacking any sort of muse or inspiration to write anything worthwhile or meaningful and thus once again I am going to ramble about something that happened to me the previous week and plonk the words “dear diary” at the start to make it seem a bit more professional. This is a formula that has somehow worked surprisingly well in my time at university so far to the point that it is actually quite disturbing. I offered up similarly styled pieces about 3 weeks in a row in the hope that someone would call me out on it and ask me to actually write something for once but no one seemed to be overly bothered, leaving me to conclude that I had somehow entered some sort of weird parallel dimension where people are content to read the same shit over and over out of a crippling fear of change (cough). But I fear I am going into a rant that can be used at a later date, so let me tell you one of those rambling stories that I hate telling so much, like some sort of freakish version of Ronnie Corbet only with a pair of stilts and a history of anorexia.
It all occurred on the Friday evening of last week; I had been cordially invited to a friend’s birthday party in Ealing (just too totally cement my posh git stereotype) which would assuredly contain the opportunity for laughs, larks and the excuse to kill around 7000 brain cells. I was wearing my finest ‘piss up’ clothes which involved blue jeans, black shirt and tie with a navy suit jacket that makes me look like a sort of dandy cross between the Count of Monte Christoe and Postman Pat, so you can imagine that I was dressed for any eventuality that could befall me. I was also armed with a bottle of rum in one inside jacket pocket and a bottle of ale in the other as apparently London transport takes some issue with those who openly drink on the tube for fear that they turn into mindless vomit strewn zombies the moment they see a bottle opener.
But as I was waiting patiently for the twice delayed train to show its guilty face I began to notice a man shuffling nervously around the far end of the platform. I wasn’t exactly sure if what I could see on his face was tears or just more sweat but being a thoroughly well rounded and kind individual (if a bit cynical) I concluded that I would approach him to see what was the matter, thinking that if he was a bomber then I could always yell a rude word at him before being blown to smithereens.
He didn’t seem to notice my approach at first which I considered a bonus as I was getting some funny looks for breaking the unwritten law of being anti-social on the tube (and for looking so utterly ridiculous). He did eventually notice me though and despite his obviously anguished state did his best to uphold general decorum and ignore me completely, which I found quite comforting in a ‘thank god the bully is busy feeding that other boy ants instead of me’ kind of way.
Of course one needs a good opening line in these situations or the whole conversation is rendered hopeless, so I mustered up the most comforting words that any man in my position would have managed. “Umm....you alright?” Yes! Florence Nightingale is my bitch! “W-what?” His response wasn’t exactly the ‘yes’ that I had hoped for but I remained optimistic, “well, you just look a bit sad really.” Another move in our little chess game ensured that he would stay interested, “I-I, could be better to be honest” he countered, his voice shaking with the effort of keeping the streams on his face from becoming floods. “Oh? What’s wrong?” I was dying inside; this sad little squirt was now going to pour his heart out to me just because I had asked him to. “Well I was going jump when the train came but I don’t think it’s going to get here.”
I admit that one threw me a little bit, well I say threw me, it hurled me balls first into a lamp post before stamping on my face a few times. Why couldn’t he have just said that he was a terrorist? “Oh...” I said, at a loss as to what else to say, “Umm. Why exactly?” He paused to breathe for a moment, the dams in his tear ducts straining slightly harder under the weight they held, “she doesn’t want to get back together”. Now I was panicking slightly, this bloke must have been about fifteen years older than me, making any possible personal experiences I could reference oddly quaint and any possible advice I could offer secondary to his own.
“Well umm. This is a bit extreme isn’t it?” Even as it came out I realised how utterly clueless and dim it must sound but I had started down this bloody stupid road and I was going to continue down it. “Not for me,” he replied simply. I was really rather terrified now, starting to realise how out of my depth I was and cursing the part of my brain that thought how nice it would be to talk to this sad and desperate man. “I suppose not...but err...I really rather you didn’t you know...” it was the best I could do and I knew full well that it wouldn’t be good enough. It was like if instead of yelling about freedom in Braveheart, Mel Gibson decided to witter on about how the English once stole a pint of milk from his brother in law. With that in mind there was only one other thing I could think of to do, a plan I knew I would have to initiate fairly soon as the wind was whipping up and the rats were scurrying out of the tunnel, indicating that the guilty train had finally found a window in its schedule to be this poor sods suicide aid.
“I’m sorry,” he said sorrowfully, full on crying now. “But it’s no good what-“
Now, it is important to note that I had no idea what to do and that I clearly wasn’t helping. I was a fish out of water and the sheer misery of the situation had robbed my brain of any sort of persuasive influence it ever had. So before he could finish his sentence, I took the only other route I could see and gave him a sharp, polite knee to the bollocks. He inevitably crumbled and I dutifully sat on him whilst yelling for help. The help came and took us both into custody, he owned up to trying to ruin everyone else’s schedule and I owned up to having a sizeable amount of booze with me. I got a small fine and he got arrested (bizarrely).
But every story must have a moral apparently, so mine would be these. For all those of you who see yourself as some sort of fantastic word smith, a master of linguistic properties who can talk your dog into crapping in the toilet. You are not. You are not some sort of oracle who can word mass murder into an effective compromise. No matter how much you value your own intelligence and talent, at some stage it will all fade into the moment when you’re actually tested in any significant way as mine was. You can only hope to slightly distract, to entertain, to occasionally provoke a small thought on an unknown topic. Secondly, if you are suicidal, stick your head in the oven like everyone else and stop ruining everyone else’s day you selfish bastard.
Any feedback on this one would be greatly appreciated. :)