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This is a question Amazing displays of ignorance

Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic tells us: "My dad's friend told us there's no such thing as gravity - it's just the weight of air holding us down". Tell us of times you've been floored by abject stupidity. "Whenever I read the Daily Express" is not a valid answer.

(, Thu 18 Mar 2010, 16:48)
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My trip to Bath (from the U.S)
In case you don't have the ability to look down, "Warning: this is long" =)

I went to Bath for work a couple times, lovely town – and I thought my parents would like to see it too, so the second time I traveled across the ocean to visit - I brought the parents along with me so they could spend a couple weeks there on my dime.

We did not represent our country well.

I was running on about 2 hours of sleep in the last 72 when it was time to go and expected to get some sleep on the redeye trip over – unfortunately the guy sitting behind my parents and I was, with no exaggeration, the most fucked up spastic I’ve ever seen, who I believe – also had tourettes. He violently kicked both my and my mother’s seat on an irregular basis for almost the entire trip, and I don’t mean he just bumped the seat from time to time, he would haul off and *kick* it. If you were drinking when he did it the liquid landed on the people one row up. Mix in shouted random words and you may wish for only a wailing baby on your next flight.

6 hours of that, he only quieted down when mom started loudly discussing to the air around her the idea of pulling his ass into the aisle and beating the shit out of him until he died.

I think she probably terrified the shit out of this guy, my best guess is he had an emotional age of about 6 and was not able to understand the concept of hyperbole.

I’m not sure mom was exaggerating at that point though so ... whatever works.

We still arrived with no sleep for any of us, I’m slipping in and out of consciousness as I walk around and the level of irrationality, grumpiness, paranoia ... and utter lack of focus... it’s at a respectable level of truly fucked … and we get to Heathrow!

What a joy that fucking place is, let me just say - it's just as yummy delicious as you remember. If you haven’t been there just imagine miles of fuck all mixed evenly with bureaucracy while carrying way too much luggage.

Still I was expecting the walk... the line... the waiting... the carts... the luggage... the last of customs... I was prepared for that.

I was unprepared for the herculean task of getting my two spoiled bratty whining children, uh parents, to Bath from the airport...

Let me set the scene...

--- A few hours before the plane lands: ---

Me: Dad, mom's really tired and worn out and she can't take anything
complicated, lets get a cab when we hit the airport - it'll be expensive but the company will pay for it and it'll be a lot easier. Door to door, 1 hour trip, much easier.

Mom: oh yes, I would like to sleep, do you think we could get a cab where they would allow me to sleep? cause as long as they're willing to let me sleep then I would like to do that.

Me (I’m baffled at the idea of a cabbie who'd force you to stay awake): Yes mom, we'll find a cab which will let you sleep.

Mom: (Mumbles for the rest of the conversation about cabs and sleeping.)

Dad: That sounds like an idea.

Me: Ok, thanks dad.

--- Every Ten minutes from then on Repeat the entire conversation verbatim --

Land... deal with all the Heathrow bullshit... mom steals a free cart along the way and insists on using it despite it being broken. Mom is the only person I know who could steal a free cart and get the broken one.

After much headaches and pain and waiting and lines and walking and luggage and impatience and waiting for slow mom and telling too fast dad to stop sprinting and to wait up ...


Mom: ... Sleep ... we have to find one who will let me sleep I don't want to go on one who won't let me sleep...

Dad: ...you're wasting money it'll be more expensive... we'll just take this bus to the train station transfer over from there and be there in 2-3 hours... it'll be much better...

(are you serious? better?)

Me: Hello mr cabby how much to get to bath?

Cabbie: 280 pounds.

Me: ...

Cabbie: You can negotiate.

Me: Are we going to get anywhere near 100pounds?

Cabbie: No.

Me: ok...

Can we get all our stuff and us in this cab?

Cabbie: No, you’ll need to hire a second one for those bags.

(in retrospect... it would have been cheap at twice the price)

Dad: I'm gonna go talk to the bus terminal woman.

Me: ok.

Mom: I'm going with him!

Me: ok.

Dad&Mom: You watch the bags!

Me: ok.

(they leave... they talk to the woman... they come out...)

(I look at them expectantly. There’s silence with significant looks)

Mom: (sits down, seems to have lost connection with reality)

Me: (looking to dad now… )

Dad: I couldn't hear a word she said. We'll get on Bus 4.

Me: ( ... how did these people reproduce? ...)

Me: hello nice woman at the bus terminal - how do I get to bath in the simplest easiest least painful way?

Bus Lady: Why you sweet boy - do not be unhappy - it is most easy - you herd your children over to there down the hall, you get on the bus to bath and you'll be there in an hour or so - have a joyous day!

Me: Why thank you bus lady person! You are very cool!

Me: Mom, Dad! We can go down the hall there and get on a bus to Bath, lets go!

Mom: (confused and a little upset) Ride a bus, to bath? all the way to bath?

Dad: We'll be taking the bus to Reading.

Me: ???????!?!??

Mom: Can I have candy?

Me: !!?!?!??!!!???

Mom: (walks off to candy machines)

Dad: We'll take the bus to Reading, get out, find the train station, and take a train from Reading to bath.

Mom: The machine won't take my coins!

Me: It's exact change only. But dad, that sounds like a lot of transferring bags and stuff and I

Dad: (walks away)

Me: (I was fucking midsentence there dad! Wtf!)

Mom: (sits down and looks sad, hands me 1 and 2 pound coins) Get me candy?

Me: ... ok mom...

Dad: (mysteriously returns) Getting candy?

Me: No, it's exact change only... (dad is gone already... what the hell?)


Time passes...


We get on the bus to reading.


I sit with mom and dad.

Mom: Whine. Bitch. Moan. Complain.

Dad: Pained Ignoring.

Mom: Sulk.

Dad: Cry for help.

Me: ... (moves to back of bus and hides under my coat)

.. ( I love my coat. )

We arrive at reading. We get our bags out, we go to the train station (very close luckily) ... there's a pasty shop in the train station.

Mom: I want a pasty!

Dad: ok, I'll go get the tickets.

Me: I feel so surreal.

(realizes to be reimbursed for tickets I should use company credit card at handy terminal)

Me: Wait dad - let me get the tickets here, I can use the company card.

Dad: Ok.

Me: (fiddle fiddle) ok, all good - I got the tickets! Dad?

(Dad has wandered off to buy tickets from people despite watching me buy tickets from the terminal...)

Me: Dad! I got em!

Dad: Ok.

(walks back to mom)

Mom: I'm soo unhappy! you all left me and I couldn't get pastys! (Waaahhhh!)

Me&Dad: huh? you're at the pasty shop? wtf?

Mom: but no one was here to watch the bags!!! ( waaaaaahhhhhhhhh! )

I suddenly have that reminiscent feeling of watching I love Lucy.

Dad: I'll watch the bags.

(dad walks off)

Mom: ok. (Mom goes to get pastys)

I am so confused.

I run into the pasty shop, get a drink and a standard small pasty and come back out to find...

Dad is moving all our bags 4 feet to the left.

Me: Whatcha doing?

Dad: Moving the bags.

Me: ok.

I move bags in circles around themselves. I'm still not sure why I did this, it just seemed to make sense at the time. Dad seemed to approve. Then he walked off.

The bags seem to be in their proper positions now. I am satisfied. I’m adjusting the last ones the way I know would make my father proud.

Dad returns.

Dad: Whatcha doing?

Me: (I look up... I have no idea)

We sit.

Mom comes out in a while, with bags and bags and bags of pastys which she hands out to everyone.


We eat pastys for a while.

Mom: Why are the bags moved?

Me&Dad: ...

Mom: (gets up and moves the guide rope for the restaurant seating section near where we're sitting)

Mom: (sits down and stares off into the distance.)

Me: I...

Mom: So where's the train?

Me: (confused)

Dad: (confidently) You just go over there whenever and it's waiting for you. They go in and out of here.

Me: (even in my idiotic state of mind this seems like a stupid thing to say about trains, in a train station.)

Mom: but which one is ours?

It strikes us all at the same time that this is a really good question... we search the station for answers.

We find none.

Dad: (sees a train, strides boldly and points) That's it there! We have to hurry - it's about to leave!

We stumble towards it dragging a trail of bags and pastys in blind reaction to leadership.

Along the way I actually try repeatedly to use my ticket on a cement post because it vaguely resembles a subway turnstile. I think its a metro gate. It's not. Dad pulls me through saving me from an eternity of trying to win a real life game of rock paper me.

We arrive at the train. But wait... look... there's other trains here too...

Reason snickers at us from the back of all our heads at once.

Confused circling of baggage ensues. We make little figure eights thinking hard with our heads down, yet we don't run into each other. In retrospect it reminds me of cats and legs. With about as much purpose.

Mom has a brilliant insight!

Mom: Look! the sign by that Train says 1001 - and our tickets say 0937 - we just have to find the train that says 0937!

Me: um mom

Mom: FIND TRAIN 0937!!!

Me: mom

Dad walks off

Me: Mom... that's the time I bought the ticket. the ticket says 0937 cause I bought it 20 minutes ago, the board says it's 1001 cause... it's 10:01 now...

Mom: ...

Mom: I don't think so. Find the train.

Dad: (wanders back) There's a guy over there lets ask him.

Me: (seeing guy in neon yellow work jacket who’s obviously a train station employee) Excuse me! Guy! pardon me!


I am not shitting you. He booked it. I don't know why.

Unless, maybe, he'd been watching us for a bit and valued his sanity.

Me: Guuyyyyyy!!!

Guy comes back. Guy shows no evidence of being aware of me whatever I do.

Me: Excuse me!

Me: Hey!

Me: Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, hey you, guy, hey, excuse me, mister, hey,


Guy: huh?

Me: Is this the train to Bath?

Guy: (nods)

.. we board, ignoring the guy hence forth ... fuck him

We find seats...

Mom: do they have any seats facing the other way? I can’t sit facing the wrong way.

Me: (looks around... at all the seats ... yes they do... weird thing to ask...) You can sit anyway you want mom, it’s ok.

Mom: (sits next to me facing "wrong" way) You know if we took a cab it would have been easier.


Me to mom: I'd like to put my bag up above instead of holding it in my lap.

Mom: Ok (nearly crying as she takes this rejection of her as a sign she should move many rows away. She sits facing "wrong" way again)

Me: ... whatever

Hmm... skip rest of train trip....


Mom: No one carries my bag!!!

Dad: I just carried it down a flight of stairs and out of the train station.

Mom: But... you've barely carried it at all!

Me: He has his own bag mom, we all have our own bags, and yours has wheels.

Mom: But a gentleman should carry a lady's bag.

Me: If I see a lady I'll remember that.

Mom: ...that's just cold.

Me in my head: (Shut the fuck up! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! JESUS CHRIST! SHUUTTTTTT UPPPPPPP!!! GOD DAMN IT YOU STUPID SHIT FUCKER DIE DIE DIE £^$& £^$& %^%$&** &$&$%^"£$%"£"*%&"$%^* ^ )

Me out loud: Come on mom, we're all worn out - we're almost to the hotel - lets just get there and get some sleep, we’ll crash for a bit it’ll be great…

Dad: (has gone scarily silent every since the gentleman crack... as a side note, my father used to kill people for a living.)

Mom the martyr: you all just go on with out me... I'll catch up eventually...



So we arrive at the hotel... Menzies... lovely place.

Hi, we're the Allisades! We have a early check in arranged.

Evil Counter Bitch: We don't have any rooms for you.

Me: Really? (blink blink blink) (I'm not sure what surprised me more - that this has fallen through, or that I didn't see it coming.)

Evil Counter Bitch: Yes we sold all our rooms last night and you didn’t expect us not to sell a room just so you could get in early did you?

Me: Well... I called twice to arrange this specifically and you promised us the early check in ... so... yeah...

Evil Counter Bitch: I'm sure no one promised you it.

Me: No, we offered to pay for an extra night of stay to guarantee it and the lady on the phone said that wasn't necessary, that we could just check in early...

Evil Counter Bitch: But they didn't guarantee it did they? (voice is saying: you're an idiot to think anyone would)

Mom (babbling): We really did offer to pay and she said we could and we didn't have to and ...

Evil Counter Bitch (voice raising): Well we're not going to kick out our paying customers so you can have a room!

Mom: We're not expecting you to kick anyone out!

Me: But you shouldn't have promised us early check in.

Evil Counter Bitch: You can't…

Me: Fuck it. You don't have rooms? ok. That's the way it is. Let us know when you do. (Herds mom away...)


Me: yeah mom, just the way it is - lets go do some email...



I ditched my parents in one email place and then went to another and wrote this up to my friend as a cathartic release.

Dad came in a while ago (I respect his ability to track me down in a city when I've run off... I mean admittedly ... head for the computers, big surprise... but still)

Dad: How you doing?

Me: I'm ok – writing my friend - he's heading off to boot camp so it's one of my last chances. I’m telling him about the trip…

Dad: I took your mom back to the hotel.

Me: she getting some sleep?

Dad: Actually she flayed the desk girl alive.

Me: Yeah?

Dad: Yeah. Tore her a new asshole, then used that to rip her skin off from there. (there’s a bit of awe in his voice.)

Me: Cool.

Dad: She's sleeping now.

Me: I hope it helps.

Dad: Yeah, I'm gonna take a walk - tell your friend hi from us - wish him luck.

Me: ok dad, love you.

Dad: love you too.


Floored by abject stupidity? I was raised by it... but I wouldn't change them for the world.
(, Tue 23 Mar 2010, 20:31, 13 replies)
that was quite a story. i can empathise, never had it that bad but still, a definite click
(, Tue 23 Mar 2010, 21:40, closed)
Too long... but due to the click above I soldiered on. Sorry to hear your tale. You will find more tales of beaurocracy during your time here. Enjoy the UK!
(, Tue 23 Mar 2010, 22:12, closed)
tl:dr. Reason: linebreaks

(, Tue 23 Mar 2010, 23:10, closed)
(, Wed 24 Mar 2010, 6:58, closed)

Can't be arsed to read it!
(, Tue 23 Mar 2010, 23:18, closed)
it's the Attack of the 40ft Post!
(, Tue 23 Mar 2010, 23:37, closed)
Thanks for that.
I lost the will to live half-way through reading it, but still looked at all the words, hoping it would fall into place.

It didn't.

You owe me five minute of my life and I'd also like to suggest you never travel with your parents anywhere else, ever again.

I think..
(, Wed 24 Mar 2010, 0:02, closed)
Oh, and if you are going to have a pop at Heathrows lines
Try any fucking US airport when you are a non-US citizen.
3 FUCKING HOURS stuck in Homeland Security, and that is normal. So just MTFU.
(, Wed 24 Mar 2010, 7:03, closed)
Well, I liked it...
This sounds all too familiar. You know one day that you'll be the grown up and you'll have to look after the parents, but it arrives sooner than you expect. Yes, your post was long and, in places, incoherent, but I thought it evoked the sleep-deprived hell that travel often brings. Thanks for making me smile whilst taking a break from dealing with my own, and others screw-ups at work!
(, Wed 24 Mar 2010, 9:20, closed)
You had already lived in the UK for a bit....
...but hadn't twigged that it would be, shall we say, a wee bit steep to get a cab from Heathrow to Bath?

Oh well, at least you had fun in Reading, my adopted home! The bit about trying to insert ticket into concrete post made me lol.
(, Wed 24 Mar 2010, 9:42, closed)
OK, I don't mind reading something long...
But it gets very boring when you tell every tiny little uninteresting detail of each conversation - and put double-space in between each line.

I read about half of it and gave up because it was too boring.

You need to learn how to précis your story into the interesting and relevant parts only.

Oh and also - you took a coach, not a bus :)
(, Wed 24 Mar 2010, 9:51, closed)
I soldiered on
And as a resident by birth in Reading, it did make me chuckle that you bumped into a first great western (Train) fuckwit. There are a few of them but generally they are o.k.

Really, what you should of done is got the bus straight from Heathrow to Bath. Confusing to people that don't know the hell that is heathrow airport but step outside to where all the buses are parked up and ask a random in a green jacket. Always worked for me. Taxi's are just a no go. They either don't want to take you anywhere that is outside of London and if they do they will rip you off. there generally for tourists and people with more money than sense.

Hope you enjoyed your visit anyway!!
(, Wed 24 Mar 2010, 12:11, closed)
Wow quite a lengthy post
But it does put in perspective the "adult`s" looking after the "kids" on a long journey
(, Thu 25 Mar 2010, 9:29, closed)

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