Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Beware escaped dinosaurs at airports

It says something about the connections my brain makes that my first thought on learning that a renowned actor, Gérard Depardieu, had urinated on the carpet of a delayed aeroplane was of the film Jurassic Park. Hat tip to ing this to my attention. Let me refresh your memory more pleasantly than M. Depardieu did the carpet. The power to the fences has gone out, and the tyrannosaurus is about to escape. The dastardly lawyer (are they ever nice outside John Grisham books? Actually, I haven't read any Grisham, so they may all be evil in them, too, for all I know. Oh, hang on, John Mortimer has good lawyers, and there's always Perry Mason. Disregard!) - anyway, the dastardly lawyer flees in terror to the toilet, abandoning two children in the car. Unaware of the soon-to-be-dining dinosaur, one of the characters in the car behind remarks on the lawyer's precipitate dash thus: "When ya gotta go, ya gotta go."

Needless to say, that reminds me of a story about me: the best kind of story. Some friends wanted to go to Alton Towers. They had learned from a fellow pupil at our school (it was a long time ago), that the attached hotel frequently had spare rooms, and would let them go for rock-bottom prices if one turned up Friday night and had a haggle. I wasn't told of this, as it wasn't relevant. You see, I wasn't particularly interested in rides (and lacked their shared incentive of girlfriends), but agreed to chauffeur them so they could drink. However, Nathan's map-reading skills were atrocious. At one point we crossed a bridge over what appeared to be a motorway, of which none exist in the region in which we were driving. I think we later pinned it down as the A50 - still damnably far off course, but not so bad as if we'd hit the M25!

After several false flags and missed turns, I got a little exasperated. Seeing a road ahead, "Nathan, do we need to take this turning on the left? Nathan? Tell me. It's in several hundred yards. Tell me. Is it this road?" "No, Pete, it's not this one." Thus reassure, I accelerated past the turning, only to hear the somewhat sheepish and belated remark that it had indeed been the correct turning. Really, eighteen-year-old Pete should have been less excitable while driving. In his defence, his bladder was full to bursting. Hence the connection to M. Depardieu above. Don't have horrific visions (let alone clammy sensations) of soggy car seats. No such disaster befell me. I am a stronger man that M. Depardieu. A rather different misfortune struck my passengers.

You see, by the time we got to the hotel, I had been holding it in for a couple of hours, and I rather torpedoed the intended haggling. "Pay him! Pay him! I don't care what, just get me a toilet!" Desperately screeched words such as these from a prospective guest rather undermine the would-be bidder's sangfroid and ability to pretend he would happily walk away. So they paid full price, and my discomfort was subsequently diminished. My friend, Nathan, reminded me of this story the other week, and I fancy he rather holds my indiscretion against me. I was too tactful at the time - but too playful (some would say wicked!) to fail now - to remark that there would have been no indiscreet words if the trip had not taken two or three times the length of time it ought to have done.

I can't recall much else that happened that weekend. My friends were very taken with the Oblivion Cocktails, recently released to aid in publicising the ride of that name. I think they involved vodka, and liquorice and orange ice cream. I did not partake. Alcohol never was my thing as a young man. Somehow I seem to have ended up with a double-bed to myself, despite the fact that the two friends I brought had their other halves with them. I don't know at this distance whether to think I was very rude and greedy or inconsiderate or if some other forgotten happenstance led to that peculiarity. I think I recall noting that the Oblivion ride was rather relaxing, but I'm not sure. I remember at some point I decided I didn't want to embarrass myself by being afraid on rollercoasters, so I relaxed myself quite deliberately. I find these days that they can almost put me to sleep. I began this entry with an odd thing my brain does, so here seems a tidy point to end it. Pictures of work soon, dear readers!

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