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Humanity Is A Form of Irritant

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Ok. This might be a long one.

I’ll start with by giving you a bit of background. Saturday I went to a BBQ and it was great. I had a really good and very alcoholic time. Sunday was a touch different. Sunday would have been my grandfather’s birthday, had he not passed on a year and a half ago. This guy was the leading light in my life as I grew up, and his death hit me real hard. That being said, you can imagine how I was drunk most of Sunday too and, by the evening was emotionally exhausted.

Now add to that my night’s sleep (or lack thereof.) Probably as a product of my emotional state and Friday’s incident with the spider (see two entries ago) I continually nightmared about spiders. This resulted in me having about an hour of bad sleep at a time, followed by 30 minutes of being awake and unhappy.

Then I went to work.

I now can finally attach real significance to a line in Hamlet’s soliloquy. “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.” Forgive me if the quote’s not exactly correct – it’s drawn from memory not text. I can only assume if Hamlet were around now, he’d be ending that sea of troubles with some sort of machine weapon.

We’ll start with the end. I finally left work (a little more than 30 minutes ago) and walked the 15 minute journey home. On the way, I stopped at the small shop/post office for cigarettes. Yes I smoke. I’m not over-proud of it, and I do realise it’s bad. Not all smokers wake up and look forward to their 20 Lambert and Butler in the sure knowledge it makes you a healthier person and extends your lifespan. And in England, they’re often called fags, but this being a multi-national site I’ll refrain from that regular reference.

Anyway, I drop into the shop and hold out my £5 note, waiting for the strange, probably senile old woman to come out of hiding in the back. I have no doubt that with willpower and a burst of speed I could have cleared the shop of anything valuable before she even looked up. She smiles at me.

I am, at this point, absolutely DESPERATE for a whiz (pee, slash, urinatory experience) and I’ll tell you why in a bit. I hop from foot to foot.

“Can I have 20 Regal King Size?”

She smiles again.

“Hello Tony.”

I frown. This is not, and has never been, my name. I do not know her at all.

She reaches round with infuriating slowness and tries to collect the packet from high on she shelves (she’s about four feet six!) I try and maintain my fixed rictus smile. She passes me the cigarettes and then takes my note and opens the till. She says “five pounds…” as if to check. She searches for the 2 pence change. I nearly reel in shock. These cigarettes are almost a quarter as costly again as when I but them elsewhere. Still, I’m desperate, so I don’t argue. As she works on the difficult task of subtracting 2 pence from 5 pounds (we ARE decimal after all), she tells me (Tony) about how the coal man has been with his delivery. Ooooo. I’m reaching for the gun…

She turns with infuriating slowness and holds out the coin. And then stops.

Stops! To examine how dirty the coin is!

She turns and selects a shinier one.


Finally, she gives me the coin, which I promptly drop into the little charity box (hopefully in aid of mentally incompetent shopkeepers) and rush out with a quick thank you. Rushing the rest of the way home, I barely make it to my toilet in time, only to find that she has given me the wrong cigarettes. These are not King Size. They’re Filter. They’re so small, it looks like they’re pre-smoked. I may pop in on my way to work tomorrow and try to sell her the stubs back for a third of their original price on the grounds that they’ve hardly shrunk!

Ok. On to the work stuff (and why I was so desperate in the first place.)

I received an e-mail at 4:30pm (half an hour before the place closes) from one of the staff telling me that he’s ‘at the end of his tether’ with one of the applications we use (Zetafax for anyone in IT who wants to sympathise with the plight of anyone who has to deal with this rickety piece of shit.) Apparently this application has not worked properly all day.

I grind my teeth. In this type of case would it not make sense to report the problem at the START of the day when it is discovered than to put up with it all day and only give me half an hour to sort it?

I can’t be bothered to relate any of my other misadventures for the day, but I will say that I would have ‘Gone Postal’ and taken arms against that Sea of Troubles were it not for friends. Frodo, The Shiny One and Chicken Boy have kept me sane today. No, strike that. They kept me INsane today. Chicken boy wants to know why I don’t call him the Haytron (another of his nick-names due to his attempts to sit in his chair and emulate cheesy fifties robots.) I shall call him both. And many other things.

Tonight I am writing the pub quiz that I run on a Tuesday night. If anyone, any week, comes up with genius ideas for questions (only really good ones), feel free to drop me a line. It might save me some time and would make me aware that other parts of the human race struggle to be decent and interesting too. Music for tonight is Symbol of Life by Paradise Lost.

Sighhhhh. Rant over. Now to the quiz. Sayonara all.



Written by SJAT

August 20, 2009 at 11:29 am

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