The lad’s sitting on a BMX by the train doors. The bike has skin-scraping metal tubes in the centre of each wheel for doing tricks. Each tube is white and unscratched. He rolls backwards and forwards as he talks about his job, loudly:
‘So the airlines tell us the movie they want, yeh? Our company buys the rights for them? Then we edit the movie and send it to the airline?’
‘Prick,’ I think.
Then a woman approaches the doors with a pram and before I think about it, the lad’s off his BMX and helping her off the train.
‘This is a clothes shop – there isn’t a changing room?!’
The new trousers hang limply over my arm.
‘There’s a 28 day returns policy. Bring them back if they don’t fit,’ the assistant says.
‘Will I get cash back or store credit?’
She looks at me like I’m some kind of genetic accident.
To prove a point, I’m about to take off my jeans and try on the trousers in the middle of the shop. Then I remember what underpants I’m wearing and how old they are.
I storm off, chuntering, and put the trousers back on the rail.
With a day off and access to a television I inevitably wasted all my time vegetating. Daytime terrestrial TV offers a staggering variety of programmes. If you’re moving house for example, you could watch: Homes Under The Hammer; To Buy or Not To Buy; Escape to the Country; A Place In The Sun or Build a New House In The Country. Then again, maybe you like antiques? If so, there’s: Cash In The Attic; Cash In The Celebrity Attic; Bargain Hunt; Flog It; Dickinson’s Real Deal and Restoration Roadshow. If you want to watch anything half-decent however, you’re absolutely screwed.
In the cell of a budget hotel chain who’ve managed to turn austerity into a selling point. On the towel rail: ‘This unit has been disconnected for your safety’. The window: ‘for your safety this window is restricted.’
How about comfort? How about: ‘for your comfort, the duvet is thicker than an inch,’ or: ‘for your enjoyment, here’s a biscuit with the coffee making facilities,’ or even: ‘for your convenience we’ve provided you with some toiletries instead of charging you an extortionate amount to get them from our vending machine’.
The cost of the room wasn’t even that cheap.
We could only take hand luggage on the flight. Because anything over 50ml of liquid is such a colossal terrorist threat, it meant that all of us had to leave behind our deodorants; shower gels; shampoos and aftershaves. As soon as we were through security, we clubbed together and bought one set of toiletries for us all to use. Unfortunately, the spray-on deodorant we picked left white stains on our clothes. When we were all together, it looked like we’d been branded. At least it made it easier to find each other when the strobe came on in the nightclub.