I made a quick business trip to Jersey earlier this week, which went well in every possible way. Except for the travel. I lost count of the number of assholes who made the flights unpleasant for other people and spent much of my time with my eyes closed, trying to think happy thoughts.
It’s only a 40min flight from Gatwick to Jersey, but it seemed a lot longer on both legs of the journey. Heading out, I had what appeared to be half the case of Eastenders flying out with me. Cue communication through the medium of shouting and generally mangling the English language.
I was thankful for my headphones and a good podcast. But boarding and unboarding was delayed and made epically tiresome by their inability to a) find their seats, b) sit the fuck down quickly and c) bring the permitted baggage allowance on board.
It was like traveling with a party of 40-something toddlers. With ADHD and Tourette’s. These were the kind of people who use the word “c*nt” as a term of affection for each other.
On the return journey, I spent some time working in the BA Lounge, getting engrossed in writing something to the extent that I almost missed boarding! But actually, I timed it to perfection (by accident), walking to the gate just as boarding was announced and an assemblage of self-entitled Colonel Blimp types waddled to the door. Hoping they’d mentioned something about BA cardholders in the preceding 30 seconds, I walked quickly to the door and neatly cut them off at the pass.
On board, I found my seat and sat down in less than 10 seconds. Fifteen minutes later, we’re still on the ground as various challenged pensioners find it impossible to match the number on their boarding card with the numbers above the seats.
The chump with the seat next to mine dumps his too-large-to-bring-on-board bag in the overhead bin above me, nicely squashing my band new coat in the process. He then tries to climb over me (I’m in the aisle seat) to get to his middle seat. Awkward doesn’t begin to describe this guy. He was like a six-foot Harry Potter lookalike, wearing lots of tweed and carrying a philosophy paperback in the pocket of his coat.
Not that I judge.
He spent the entire journey unsuccessfully trying to balance the litre bottle of water he’d brought on board on the slanting seat-back table in front of him. While yawning every couple of minutes and simultaneously expelling breath that would stop a sewerage treatment plant manager in his tracks. Rancid. Foul.
I had to turn away and face into the aisle.
I could tell the people in front could smell it too, as they kept looking back over the seats. I tried to adopt an expression that said “It wasn’t me, it was this tool next to me”, but I’m not sure I convinced them.
On landing, I hopped on a train into London (I’ll leave out the 7 mile hike from plane to arrivals hall – thanks, Gatwick!) and owing to the rebuild of London Bridge station, had to get a slow train stopping everywhere in Surrey along the way.
As a result, I was party to one of the most hilarious conversations ever overheard on a train. Ever. So it was worth the very many stops between Gatwick and civilisation.
Two women sat in the seats across from me and started to loudly – very loudly – complain about the various people close to them in their lives. They took turns in this game of “You know who I hate?” until one of them mentioned the killer phrase:
“You know me, I only have to look at shit to break it”.
What followed was the tale of how she’d set fire to a friend’s kitchen, totally by accident, by melting butter in the microwave. While it was in the foil packaging. In the microwave. And she was stunned that it didn’t end well for either the microwave or the rest of the kitchen.
Obviously, the butter manufacturer bore the blame. “They should tell you that you can’t put it in the microwave”. She’s the reason there are warning labels on everything these days. Manufacturers probably visualise what someone like her might do with their product and cover their asses with warnings that only someone who’s partially experienced a frontal lobotomy would be tempted to ignore. I could easily picture her trying to dry her own hair in the microwave.
What was most hilarious was her incandescent rage that putting foil in the microwave could have such disastrous consequences. Like someone should have specifically told her not to do this. Of course, she put it on and left it while she did something else in another room (probably sticking forks into toasters or something) and only came back once the flames had spread.
It almost made the time fly by.