Category Archives: swearing

I blame society

It isn’t so much the length of my commute that troubles me. At an average of 45 minutes to an hour I suppose it’s not too bad by modern standards. No, I’m afraid to say that it’s the people.

Until quite recently it wasn’t too bad. You see I catch the number 38 bus from Clapton Pond in East London to the centre of town, and since my stop is the first, when the vehicle was an old fashioned route master bus, I was pretty much guaranteed a seat at the front of the top deck. From there I could daydream the journey away, enjoying the London scenery.

Even back then, there were, of course, a few alarming incidents. Like the time I was joined by a woman who spent most of the journey singing dreamily and cooing at her crack pipe as if it were a baby. And the time when a gang of youths relieved me of my personal possessions. During office party season there would also inevitably also be someone hanging off the rail at the back heaving up his guts, making my exit onto the street fraught with danger and bad smells.

However, it would be churlish to complain – especially since the journey was so blissful compared with what I have to put up with now.

You see, thanks to the advent of the new bendy buses, all the focus of the journey is now turned inwards. There’s no view out the windows and no escaping my fellow passengers. The best thing that can be said about whom (as the residents of London’s loopiest borough Hackney) is that they are never boring.

They are, however, far too many in number, far too lax in personal hygiene and far too ill-mannered when it comes to keeping I-pod volumes low, letting people in and out of the doors and making room for old ladies.

So far so similar to most other commuting experiences around the country, I imagine….

What sets my journey apart is the constant –and often realised – threat of violence coupled with the sheer madness of a small but very vocal minority of the passengers. These I have labelled in my head as The Woman Who Throws Bread At Me, The Man Who Shouts About Jesus, The Man Who Just Stares (scarily), The Man Who I’m Sure Stole My Wallet Once, The Man Who Sweats and The Woman Who Shakes. I think their titles give an idea of the kind of challenges they present on the way to work. They’re also sometimes accompanied by a very frightening person who wheels a rotting old doll around in a pram, lying on a bed of plastic bags, and a young city-boy who snorts cocaine from his Oyster card and says “oh fuck” every time he does so.

The heat and the psychic pressure built up by this combined mass of bodies and madness has also driven me to the point where I worry that I too am as crazy as the rest of them. Only the other day I heard someone crying in anguish “Will you please just give me a fucking break…” only to realise in horror that it was my own voice.

I think I should probably start cycling.

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Filed under Blogroll, Commuter hell, swearing

A load of bollocks

The fact that the office of the building firm I work for is completely open plan is annoying when I want to take a snooze, but does present some unique opportunities for amusement.

A few weeks ago for instance, we all witnessed a young man hurrying past our desks, looking harassed, and nervous and most definitely late for the interview he was due to attend in my boss’s cubicle.

My boss sat him down, quickly flicked through his CV, which he hadn’t bothered to read before and started off: “So then Harold…”

At this point I was a bit confused, because when I’d read through the CVs and help my boss decide on the candidates, I thought this guy was called John…

“How did you get here?” asked the boss, not the most welcoming of openings, considering the candidate’s clear anxiety about his lateness (and a bit harsh considering he was only actually five minutes past the due time).

“I got a lift.”

“Can’t you drive.”

“No.”

At this point the boss flicked through the CV again, clearly seemed to spot something which contradicted this answer, frowned and said: “Well then, you’re wasting my time.”

The young man looked mortified at being humiliated in front of so many people like this, not to mention the man he had hoped would soon employ him.

Unsure of the correct etiquette and whether to stay or go (I later learned that this was his first ever interview), he just sat in stunned silence as my boss proceeded to phone the recruitment consultancy who had sent him their way – and inform them that they were all a bunch of “bollocking morons” for sending him such “a lying little bollock” with such a lot of bollocks on his CV that they really should have checked before sending him on to him. Not to mention the fact that he was clearly a “dweeb:” who would be entirely unsuited to manning diggers and building site work – even if he could drive.

It was at this point that I finally twigged. My boss had the CVs mixed up and thought he was supposed to be interviewing a site manager rather than a graduate office intern.

When I went and whispered the sorry truth to him he was so embarrassed that he offered to hire the by now utterly bemused graduate on the spot.

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Filed under badboss, Blogroll, Hired, office, swearing, You plonker