Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Travelling

Travelling, for me, has never really been overly problematic. I’ve never been travelsick as I was never that child at school who looked constantly pale with a powdery complexion and a general colicky air about them who was always nipping out of class every now and then to take his ear medicine; and being the type of person with below-average levels of friends (as well as BMI and tolerance for ‘light’ mayonnaise), I don’t really get bored as I’m used to providing my own entertainment. Rather, I find it only the existence of other people that makes travelling often such a challenge for my already tenuous sanity.

The majority of my travelling experiences come in train form. I can drive, and therefore have absolutely no need to ever get on a bus. And even if I couldn’t drive, there quite frankly wouldn’t be enough crème brûlées, Cosmopolitans or blowjobs in the world to make me get on one. Call me what you like, but I will always get a taxi in those situations. There are two types of taxi passengers – those who chat away happily, and those who sit there in an air of icy silence and even go to the extremes of choking down the need to cough lest it be mistaken for attempted communication. I’ll leave it up to your keen imagination to guess which I am.

This changed momentarily during one taxi journey an evening in August this year when the driver repeatedly told me I was a “very nice boy”, kept shouting my name, ‘delighted’ me with tales of his holiday and his accidental stumbling across a nudist beach and telling me I looked “very hot” in the back of his vehicle. I have only ever once jumped out of the door of a moving car, and that was when a wasp so big I could see its shoe size flew through the window at my face – however I came very close to making it a second time during that taxi ride.
I haven't mentioned coaches in this blog. This picture says it all.
Coming back to trains, once you’ve gone through the process of remortgaging your house and putting your grandparents into a care home so that you can sell off their house just to buy a ticket, you clamber on and fight people to the death for a seat. And because they’re so packed, it’s guaranteed there’s always going to be one complete nutter/lout in each carriage. I was once sat adjacent to a man talking to two sleeping women about the Cold War, angels, hobgoblins and the life-cycle of a worm. I was so close to bursting into sobs that I meekly asked the person in the seat next to me to let me up, pretending that mine was the next stop. In reality, I was actually giving up my seat to go and stand for half an hour by one of the train doors with burning eyes as they fought back tears at the horror of the entire experience.

Yet to be topped, however, is my one experience of flying. I have the most irrational fear of planes – not flying, not the fear of crashing, not claustrophobia, etc., JUST PLANES. They look, to me, like machines simply designed to KILL, especially when seen nose-on and particularly when they’re all stationed around the terminals and they look like animals feeding. Feeding on HUMAN LIVES. However, my ultimatum was this: you either get on a plane and I’ll take you to Amsterdam for your 21st, or you have nothing. Irrational maybe, but a fool I am not. So not only did I get up at 3am and have a sicky-stomach panic talk with Emily, I then had to be picked up at 4am (by which time I’d already had 3 glasses of Jack Daniels).

The rest of the event went rather like this: arrived at airport; removed ¾ of my fabulous outfit as it was just too fabulous for the metal detectors; had double gin & tonic; went to toilet and cried in cubicle; had double gin & tonic; approached terminal but went weak-kneed and slumped down wall as I saw plane; wept internally; solemnly got on plane; sat down and attached seat belt as tightly as possible; whimpered as it taxied; absolutely crushed my dad’s hand on take-off; absolutely crushed my dad’s hand on landing; got on wrong train; got on right train; checked in; had beer; went to ‘coffee shops’; travelled to places by sensibly WALKING (or staggering, depending upon what I’d just consumed (or indeed bought, with reference to the copious sex-toy shops)).

So I know I seem to have contradicted myself by saying that travelling isn’t really problematic for me, but I’ve just highlighted a *few* bad occasions that I’m sure people can relate to. It’s mostly a breeze because I have a darling mother who picks me up from everywhere. (I know: I want to punch me in the face too.)

-Charlie

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