Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Field Trips

For people who know me personally, and for those of you who have been so inclined to follow me on Twitter et al., you could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that most (if not all) of my past life events are marred with memories of awful experiences. And you’d be right. But the unrivalled champion in this sea of visits-to-A&E, tripping-up-in-public and finding-testicular-lumps is the utter light-headed horror of school field trips.

Now, I’m twenty one years old and the last time I went on a field trip was most likely eight years ago. Don’t, however, let this make you think that there still aren’t copious nights where I lie in bed unable to sleep, staring at my ceiling and shrinking into my duvet at the slightest remembrance of being stood in a marshy field, having to take notes concerning the direction of flow of a nearby stream whilst straining to look jolly cheerful about the whole experience lest I be picked on by the squat bastard that was the geography teacher, just to let him have his fix of crushing someone already near-death to inflate his smug, arsey ego (you know that male teacher type – relatively young, unable to ever let their guard down, and who probably has larger-than-average balls but a tiny penis, giving them plenty of bolshie testosterone but ultimately nothing to show for or to substantiate it). Anyway, his name was Mr. Burroughs.

One of the main bad parts about field trips is of course the dress code. “Sensible/appropriate” footwear is something that I was not born to understand – and even if I did, I wouldn’t own any. So instead, I tramped over sludgy hills in mid-November wearing shoes made out of faux zebra fur without a cagoule to my name. To me, “cagoule” sounds like a word I might spot on a menu in a Hungarian restaurant that I’d consider ordering and at the last minute think “better not chance it”, and then think “why am I in a Hungarian restaurant? I want a pizza.”

That then leads me on to consider food arrangements during field trips. The truly sensible person buys their food for the day from a supermarket beforehand (ready-made sandwiches, a pot of pasta salad, etc.) and does not take a packed lunch. This is because, whether you’ve ever vocalised it or have just thought it, everybody knows that there is nothing to make one more self-conscious than taking a packed lunch out of your bag and making your squished Dairylea rectangular-cut sandwiches the subject of silent scrutiny of others. I mean, just think about it: you’re sat quietly eating your home-made sandwiches, and then someone comes up to you and points at them and goes “YOUR LUNCH IS HILARIOUS!” at which point everyone turns around and LOLz themselves into next Christmas. I’m dying inside just thinking about it. And how do you react? Do you get all huffy and make everyone laugh more, or go bright red and rue the day you ever made beef paste sarnies? Minefield.

There are certain things that, over time, have changed with field trips. The coaches are basically the same – dingy, oven-like and manned by a sociopath; but gone are the days of stuffing crisp packets into ash trays on the backs of seats, or hearing shouts of “Oi put yer bluetoof on”. And, naturally, am I bothered? AM I ‘ELL AS LIKE. I have only one single pleasant memory about any field trips that I ever went on, and that was the time Emily trapped a woman inside the revolving doors of the V&A. She still squirms in her seat thinking about it.

-Charlie

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