GIVE ME FIVE BEES FOR A QUARTER











{August 17, 2009}   Monday hangovers

Usually my journey to work is the same as every other public transport commuter’s: the monotonous trudge to the bus stop, a frustrating wait for a bus that should’ve been here fifteen minutes ago, and then the familiar and routine drive to the office. Sometimes, though, the trip in is entertaining in ways you’d never expect, for the tiniest of reasons.

On Saturday night, as I was walking home from what was, in and of itself, a pretty bizarre night out, I came across a ginger-haired man passed out in the street in a pool of his own vomit. Several people just walked right by him before I found him, but I figured I might as well stop and see if he had any money in his wallet, or at least steal his shoes. He didn’t, and his shoes weren’t the right size, so instead I just called emergency services and waited with the drunkard until the cops arrived to bundle him into the back of a van. End of story?

Nah. Two days later (today), I get on the bus and lo-and-behold, who do I spy? It’s our poor ginger drunkard from Saturday night! And he looked pretty rough. But just to make it that bit more amusing, he had a Sterling t-shirt on, thus indicating he was a Sterling employee. And I was recently helping a friend write a complaints letter to some furniture company over an employee’s behaviour towards her while she was buying a sofa. It seems like these furniture salesmen in general might have a few social problems. They’re an unruly bunch.

So I’m on the bus, with the still-hungover Sterling employee sitting in front of me, and I look out the window. Outside is a middle-aged man, who also looks very rough (it would appear that everyone’s hungover today), trying to bite open a 10p ice pole he’d just bought. Now, who buys an ice pole at 8am? Well, I happen to know the answer to that question.

It was my birthday, I was a teenager. I went out with friends, got wasted, spent too much money and couldn’t afford to get the bus home. So myself and another guy slept in a flat doorway for the night, like proper vagrants, because another friend of ours declined to let us actually come inside. What are friends for, right? Anyway, we woke up in the morning, completely parched and still broke. We spent the best part of half an hour scouring the streets for spare or dropped change, checking phone boxes and gutters, and eventually managed to scrape together – yep, you guessed it: 10p. And so, dehydrated, throats aching, we went into a newsagent and bought ourselves a 10p ice pole, snapped it in half and sucked down some cola-flavoured bliss. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been that relieved.

And so now, when I spy a rough-looking dude in the street, fumbling with a cheap-ass ice pole in the early hours of the day, I know exactly what it means. He’s hit hard times. I can relate. And it amuses me that I’m able to make that connection.

Okay, so maybe my journey into work still wasn’t exciting. But honestly, when you’ve been doing this sort of tedious routine for years and years, any distraction is welcome. So I’m just going to convince myself that this morning was exceptionally interesting, and post this blog on that note.

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