Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fugitive Motel 

The other week Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader, helpfully suggested I could improve my profile within the company by getting out of the office a bit more.
Never one to make a fuss or recognise a black hole until I’m being sucked through it feet first and so rapidly that I can no longer feel my face, I’ve lately found myself in a spirit sapping series of motorway service stations, lunching with coach tripping power pensioners, and attempting to distinguish myself from other less cool executives by making a point of not wearing pieces of Bluetooth technology about my person, conspicuously or otherwise.

I’ve tossed and turned in a harrowing succession of noisily ventilated motels - cigarette holes for every lost soul to give up the ghost in this place - and every now and then I’ve performed odds and sods of bits of work, some of which have been humiliatingly beneath me, others discouragingly way over yonder in the minor key.

When you’re alone in a strange town, you occasionally find yourself doing things and thinking thoughts you wouldn’t have had if you were safely ensconced within the four walls of your own home. Ahem:

1. If you jump up and down in a descending lift, why do you never bang your head on the ceiling? I don’t know the answer, and it’s not for want of trying. It isn’t that Girlfriend expressly forbids me from this kind of experimentation at home, rather that the opportunity never arises, what with us still having stairs.

2. Asking for a table for one. Wondering if there could be some kind of formula for calculating a person’s “Would you eat alone in this restaurant?” threshold. I’ve known people who would rather go hungry than dine on their own.
One ploy if you feel self-conscious about dining alone is, of course, to laugh so loudly into your Penguin Classic that people think you’re either insane or just one of those dudes who can have a swell time whatever the circumstances.
At all costs, avoid pretending to talk to somebody on your mobile. Nobody buys it. Writing lots of stuff in a notebook is better and might even result in improved service. Never offer to do the washing up.

3. Giving a handful of small change to a dog-on-a-string homeless guy who is busy on his Palm Pilot. Then asking yourself “Excuse me? Who’s blogging about whom in this relationship?” Wondering if it’s too late to go back and ask for a VAT receipt. Or exchange URLs.

4. Running up eight flights of stairs two steps at a time to see how soon you become breathless. Good for when they’ve asked you to stop using the lifts. Pretending to be Bruce Willis in Die Hard optional.

5. Trying to make up jokes.
Two nuns walk into a bar. The barman says to the first nun, “Good evening Sister. What can I get you?” She replies indignantly, “Nothing for me. I don’t drink. I’m fine as I am, thank you.”
“Very well, Sister,” says the barman. He turns to the second nun and says, “Good evening Sister. And what will you be having?” The second nun tells him that she doesn’t drink either and that she doesn’t need anything from him, thank you all the same.
They sit at the bar in silence for about ten minutes when a third nun walks into the bar and pulls up a stool. She has a ruddy complexion and wild bloodshot eyes. She looks like she could use a bath, and her clothes stink of fags and booze.
She lights up a cigarette, then orders a pint of Guinness and whisky chaser from the barman, downs them rapidly, orders the same again, downs them, and orders the same again.
The first two nuns look on dismay.
The third nun wipes her cigarette ash onto the floor with a beer and puke stained sleeve, belches loudly, then wanders off “to take a leak.”
When she’s out of earshot, the first two nuns look at each other and say, “Filthy habit.”

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