It's astonishing how quickly your mood can change, isn't it? From a fairly jaunty start to the day I've rapidly regressed to a state of intense grumpiness, not helped by a train which was virtually empty yesterday being rammed today. Funnily enough, I do not enjoy sweating in a corner with a toddler yelping next to me and the sun streaming in through the train door windows. But while I'm in this frame of mind I thought I'd share with you my Monday, before this butterfly that's gracing the garden lifts my funk (or El Mog eats it).
Such a crappy day, with a wonderful 3 hours towards the end; it might almost be enough to make me believe in divine punishment and reward (almost). Let's start with me getting up at stupid o'clock to inject the cat early, then leaving to catch an early train. I was within a step of standing in the carriage when I realised I'd left the key to my desk drawer at home; this drawer contains my work laptop, and without it I can't work. There'd be nobody in with a skeleton for at least another hour, and since I needed to leave early there was only one option. I'd have to go home and get it. Which would be annoying enough at the best of times, but in a heatwave? By the time I'd hauled myself back and to the station again I was covered in sweat; filmy moisture all over my back, shirt sticking. Yeah. That's the way to go into the office. The train then kindly decided to stop at every signal between Hither Green and Lewisham.
The air conditioning in the office was virtually non existent and then, about lunchtime, very existent indeed – we went from sluggish torpor to the chills – with a bunch of work requests from people who contradicted themselves within the same sheet of A4. I actually needed to wheel out that old chestnut about walking away from your computer after you've written an email before coming back and checking that what you've put down is not, in fact, an incoherent bundle of patronising rage. But, I got through the day and home to inject the cat, bustling through the house like a whirlwind before leaving for the oven that masquerades as the Bloomsbury Theatre.
When one of the things that winds commuters up is a lack of information, it wasn't surprising to get the reason for the train stopping at every signal (again) from the group of women in front of me. Lineside fire somewhere near Charing Cross, they said. Which isn't a brilliant thing to hear on a Charing Cross train (and frustrating as hell when recorded voice woman keeps telling you it's due to "congestion"; yes, clearly, but are we going to be held here for hours while the fire is cleared?). After chugging slowly into Charing Cross, what do we find but that the ticket barriers at the Tooley Street side have either a) had shutters pulled over them (I didn't even know that was possible) or b) are all set to allow people in, not out. With a huge stream of people coming in from the tube (I later discovered the Northern line was also having huge problems), those of us trying to get out were forced to squeeze the wrong way through a permanently opened gate with screams of abuse being flung from people trying to get in. Of course, I eventually got to the theatre a minute after the show had started, and in my sweat and in the dark I managed to get us sitting in the wrong seats. Quickly rectified, but still not exactly great.
But what a show! A benefit for the Rationalist Association, it was hosted by a sleep deprived and manic Robin Ince; gave me a new way to pronounce feh-yuh-urious (thank you, Chris Addison); showcased some brilliant, little known female comedians (Helen Keen and Christina Martin; I don't think Josie Long counts as little known any more, does she? I didn't keep track, but I think the performer gender split may have been close to 50:50 which is almost unheard of for these things), got Simon Singh setting light to a gherkin and had AL Kennedy doing some reading. God, I have such an almighty girl crush on AL Kennedy. She's so brilliantly, insightfully witty and cynical, yet can still see the beauty in the world and turn it into the most perfect phrase you ever read, saying exactly what you've always thought about a particular thing but so tightly, so succintly, that you could never have said it like that yourself. And she does stand up. She's just amazing. (Seriously. Girl crush.) And I'm still singing the Schnapps song. ("Such mishaps because of schnapps.")
It was all just a bit of a shame that the couple in front of us spent most of the evening with their tongues in each others' ears (and this isn't just me being single and bitter; m'companion in the Arts, who is married and everything, also found them intensely annoying). And then they had the nerve to clap Marcus Chown hands-above-the-head when they clearly hadn't heard a word he'd said. They'd totally ignored their two friends, yet sat them on either side of them, so the friends couldn't even talk to each other. They'd have been better off giving the editor of the New Humanist their £20 in person and just buggering off to the Euston Travelodge to screw.
Perhaps you think my day ends with this brilliant, albeit slightly marred by horny morons, show? Of course not; the Gods weren't finished with me yet. I missed the train home by all of five seconds, at the perfect time in the evening for London Bridge not to have any sandwich or pastry shops open, just M&S with a seriously depleted stock. (Yes, when I miss my train and it's 11.15pm, I like to snack.) And OK, I let out a 'fuck' when I saw my train's doors closing but I generally contained my disappointment; unlike the middle aged man in a suit who had the exact same thing happen 10 minutes later. No, he thought it would be more fun to start shouting at the platform guard. "It's 23 minutes past! Exactly!" [And the trains doors may close 30 seconds before departure.] "You could see me coming! Why didn't you wait?" [Because he'd already started the departure before you made your appearance. They're not like buses, they can't just hang around on the off chance. Timetables to keep and all that.] "You miserable c**t!" [Same to you sir, with bells on.]
Things weren't even simple close to home. I walked past one guy up a ladder fiddling with what looked like wiring or a burglar alarm on a building, with his mate stood in the road looking out. Hmm. So like a good citizen I rang the Met to see if any of the Fuzz fancied having a drive past. Or rather, I rang the Met and listened to their hold music for 10 minutes while whatever was happening, happened, finished and went elsewhere.
Tell me, what manner of rites do I have to perform to ensure I don't have to suffer for my pleasures like this again?