Category Archives: Funny anecdotes

Vengeance and Valentines

First, thanks for your emails encouraging my recent romance.  Alas, I won’t be providing the intimate details you requested (you lecherous bunch of pervs!).  I apologise if this is frustrating but I’m exercising a degree of censorship because:

  1. My mother reads this blog.
  2. So do some of my colleagues.
  3. I would like to cling to a smidgen of dignity.  

Anyway let’s get down to business and see if it’s possible for you to be entertained without X-Rated content (seriously, shame on you!).

Courtship is on my mind and not just because of Cafe-Man.  Many of my friends have recently embarked on new relationships, Valentine’s Day approaches, and in my family home I’m surrounded by paraphernalia from relationships past.

In December Mum touchingly toasted my arrival in Australia with champagne in glasses that, in a previous life, were an engagement gift to me.  My stomach lurched when I saw them and I hoped she’d forgotten where they’d come from.  She hadn’t.

Mum:  These glasses were an engagement present to you from Tom’s sister, remember?

(Yes, yes I do).

Mum:  It was such a shame about the two of you.  Do you think you’ll ever get in contact with him again?

I closed down this conversation quickly.  Tom’s divorced and working in Sydney; thankfully enough time has passed for me to smile at my ridiculous behaviour after being dumped, but I still don’t leap at the thought of seeing him.

My break-up meltdown was classically psycho; when young love turns sour the wounded party often loses their mind.  However one instance of my bunny-boiling conduct continues to trouble me.  A few weeks after I’d moved out I agreed to drive Tom to work.  I sat on his waterbed (yes, waterbed – it was the nineties) and waited while he was in the ensuite showering.  Tom always wore a silver ring, however on this occasion I saw it resting on his bedside table.  In a moment of inexplicable insanity, I picked up the ring and heaved up the corner of the waterbed (it’s possible you’ve never lifted a waterbed mattress – believe me, they’re heavy).  I calmly threw the ring onto the base and lowered the hefty mattress.  What on earth was I thinking?!  When Tom emerged ready for work, I carried on as though butter wouldn’t melt.  Nothing was said about the ring until later that week when I ran into him in a shopping centre.

Me:  Hey, you’re not wearing your ring? (Knowing he’d be puzzled and frustrated by the lost piece of jewellery wasn’t enough – I had to hear him say it!)

Him (with a look of confusion): Yeah, I can’t find it and I’ve looked everywhere.

To this day I can’t explain why this caused me such delight.  Love, or lost love, had temporarily made me crazy.

I’ve known aggrieved exes to do far worse (both illegal and dangerous), but guilt has stayed with me about this little incident and I want to make amends.  During our years together Tom wrote a book (a fantasy novel about a green elf and an angry dwarf – I didn’t say it was a literary masterpiece).  This book is on my laptop and I’m determined to retrieve it (he never saved it to a “floppy disk” for his own possession).  Unfortunately the software is museum-artefact ancient and I can’t even switch it on.  I’ve taken it to an IT professional who’s old enough to remember DOS to sort it out.  Will I actually send it to Tom?  I don’t know.  I don’t want to cause him unnecessary shock but I do want him to have his piece of creative work.

Luckily I’m at peace with almost all my other past loves and haven’t engaged in any vengeful or sociopathic behaviour for fifteen years.  Okay, at the start of the millennium I may have indulged in a few phone calls where I hung-up without speaking, but it’s been a good few years since I committed so much as a drive-by (you know, just to check if he’s at home …).

And as for the International Day of Romance, well my Valentine’s Day date is with my dentist.  At 2pm on 14 February I’ll be having a root canal, so any X-Rated action will be gory rather than lewd.  I’m sorry to say that you’ll have to get your dirty titillation elsewhere.

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Solitary adult pleasure

I’m not sure when I became the person who takes a bottle of wine into the cinema on their own.  At fourteen, my movie marathons were accompanied by awe-inspiring sweets and crisps binges; at some point I progressed to the adult version.  In time, I’ll be covered in cat hair and a trail of birdseed will spill from the bin liners I carry.  It’s Tuesday afternoon at the Vue Cinema, Shepherd’s Bush.  I’m in the ticket purchasing area having just watched “We Need To Talk About Kevin” and about to head in to “The Help”.  A woman in a grey suit holding a clipboard makes eye contact with me in a way that’s beckoning me to stop.  Slightly tipsy, I oblige.    

WOMAN:  Are you interested in two free tickets to a movie?

ME (pausing slightly, wary of the sales catch):  Um, maybe.

WOMAN:  All you have to do is put your name on this list and the tickets are yours.  We’re screening “Red Dog” here on Thursday.

ME:  Ah, that’s an Australian movie! (Nostalgia’s making me encourage her when I should be cutting her off).

WOMAN:  Ok, give me your name and I’ll put you down.  You need to bring a male with you for our numbers.

ME (thrown by the condition attached to the free tickets):  Oh, um, I don’t know who I’d bring ….

WOMAN:  You must have a male you can bring?

ME: Well, not really.  I’m single so …

WOMAN:  And you don’t have any family here?  A brother?  Cousin? (My Australian accent should indicate that my family are not Londoners).

ME (starting to feel pressured):  Well I have males I can bring, but they all live in other parts of London and won’t be free at such short notice. 

WOMAN:  So, you don’t have any male you could bring with you?  We can’t give you the tickets if you don’t bring a male. 

(Jesus Christ, is she trying to make me feel bad?  I look at her and just sort of shrug).

WOMAN:  I could give you three tickets instead of two and you could bring a couple with you?  (Ugh.  I’m in a scene from “Bridget Jones“). 

ME (pity and discomfort have drifted into the situation so I lie):  Oh, no it’s okay, I know exactly who I’ll take – two tickets are perfect! (My enthusiasm reeks of overcompensation).

I put my name down for the tickets, but won’t collect them; her judging eyes have slightly tainted my afternoon retreat.  She feels sorry for me, but her pity is misplaced.  Yes, I’ve developed some habits that might be described as eccentric, but at this very moment I’m entirely happy – few pleasures compare with a good movie and a “glass” of wine.  

Entering the cinema to watch my second movie of the day, I see there are only three other people viewing – all on their own and all men (I wonder if the “numbers” are acceptable in here …).  To some people, we’re desperate loners; if we were about to see an adult movie the whole scene would be sordid.  Instead I hear the familiar crinkling of food wrappers from three other seats and think of us as innocent fourteen year olds (nostalgia creeping over me again).  There’s an intimacy in our united solitude and anticipation of the escapism we’re about to share.  I stretch out, take my shoes off, pour myself a drink and wait to be transported to another world.