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» The Worst Journey in the World

Bastard Multimap
Myself and my boss were due to attend a meeting in Croydon. Neither of us had ever been there before and had no idea where the building was so, deciding to avail myself of the infinite knowledge stored on the internet, I tapped a couple of postcodes into Multimap and we had our directions.

Sadly, neither of us are able to drive so we had to figure out the public transport route.

After getting a train into London, I met up with my boss and we boarded the train that was heading towards Croydon. After ten minutes, the train stopped. And sat there. Then, after a few minutes of silence, it sat there some more. Eventually, the driver announced that we were being delayed because of a fatality on the track several miles away which was backing up all the trains.

Eventually, the train wheezed, juddered and started to move. However, we had to get off a stop earlier then anticipated, then wait for another train to take us just that little further. We were at a Croydon station, but not the Croydon station we required.

The train arrived, we got on, travelled one stop and got off again. We walked outside, whereupon I removed a small map that I'd printed off from the magical internet and the lovely, lovely autoroute.

Thus began a walk which looked like about ten minutes on paper, but actually took us 45 minutes. It was also uphill. All of it. The day was unpleasantly warm and we both had suits on. After fifteen minutes, we had our jackets slung over our shoulders, and my hair was plastered to my head with perspiration.

Eventually, we arrived at an area which we thought was probably correct, although the actual road we required didn't seem to exist. After some careful checking, we realised that we'd walked too far and had to go back down the road half a mile. More checking of the map, mopping of the forehead, and general cursing ensued.

Finally, we found ourselves standing on the exact spot that the little arrow on the map was pointing to. It was an odd building and not what we were expecting. It looked more like a hospital than an office building. At that moment, a care assistant walked out of a door holding a man by the arm who was, shall we say, a little 'uncomplicated'. We appeared to be standing outside a care home for the mentally challenged.

I wanted to cry and, for the briefest moment, I saw the watery shimmer of tears in my boss's eyes. A taxi driver who was waiting to collect someone told us that we were miles from our destination and when I proffered the map so that he might tell us where we could find the building, he merely chortled and said, "It's not even on that map. That's how far away you are."

We walked back to the train station, sweaty, tired and developing a mutual hatred of each other. Ironically, this particular part of Croydon appeared to have been designed by MC Escher as we had walked from the station to the middle of nowhere and back to the station, and THE ENTIRE FUCKING JOURNEY HAD BEEN UPHILL.

We arrived back at the station. The next couple of trains were delayed. We phoned a taxi. When we got in and announced our destination, the taxi driver nodded in a non-committal way and drove us away. Five minutes into the journey he admitted that he had no idea where he was taking us...

We arrived, finally, at the meeting, 2 hours late. The people at the meeting hated us on sight because we were there to add more work to their already hectic schedules.

When we left the building, it transpired that the station we had got off at about an hour and a half previously was a 3-minute walk away.

We have never been back since. Fucking multimap.
(Sat 9th Sep 2006, 22:56, More)

» My Worst Date

Never date a girl who lives on Canvey Island
I almost don't need to explain that, but I will.

Working in a newsagent in Southend, met a girl. Asked her for a date, she said yes. Result! I was 15.

Met her on Canvey Island (shudder) and we went for a walk to the seafront-type area. Ended up doing dirty smooching in one of the shelters by the sea wall.

Everything is going well and she reaches down into my trousers to fondle my man bits.

Sadly, this was late November and there was a biting force 10 gale gusting directly at us. My manhood had decided, quite wisely, that it was far too cold for any of these shennanagins.

Accordingly, my todger had completely disappeared. And I mean completely. It simply wasn't there anymore. To this day I still don't understand quite where it went.

Cue much embarrassment and mumbled apologies.

We only lasted for another week or so. However, her fringe was so heavily lacquered that you could lift it up like a flap, so I don't think I missed out on much. And she lived on Canvey so I think it was something of a fortunate escape.

Apologies for lack of length....
(Fri 22nd Oct 2004, 22:59, More)

» The passive-aggressive guilt trip

I'll always remember, with fond memories,...
...the time my Dad left my Mum.

I'd been planning on moving out myself when he dropped the bombshell, announcing he'd beaten me to it and I had to stay with my Mum "because she needs you". Cut to several weeks of purgatory later and my Mum comes to me for a 'chat'.

"I just wanted to let you know that if anything happens to me, the mortgage will be paid up. We've got insurance."

I sat and quietly nodded, fully understanding what she was getting at, but refusing to comment. She continued.

"See, the thing is, I can't carry on without him."

I then spend quite some time trying to explain to her that suicide isn't really something that she should be contemplating. Who'd iron my shirts, for heaven's sake? :o)

Of course, I'm then in the wonderful position where every time I come home I never quite know what I'm going to find when I walk in the door. Hanging from the rafters? Holding an empty paracetemol bottle? Ah, the joys of divorce...

I could write a book on the number of times the old ratbag has ruined something good in my life by ensuring her own needs were vociferously campaigned for. Emotional blackmail is her forte. Considering she's almost illiterate and can barely string a meaningful sentence together - she once blamed television interference on 'Asthmatic Ferrets' instead of 'Atmospherics' - she's absolutely bloody fantastic at making me feel guilty for having anything approaching a life.

I have long since moved out, but every time she phones me she says, "I thought I'd better phone you because you NEVER phone me".

I am consumed with anger because, despite all her shortcomings, I still love the old ratbag.
(Thu 13th Oct 2005, 10:50, More)

» Look! It's me in the Local Paper

Back in 1992 when I was a fresh-faced young pup of barely twenty, I managed to snag the lead role in an amateur dramatics production of 'The Opposite Sex' in Southend. My first ever stage role.

Six weeks of rehearsals later, we were ready for our 3-night run. Did the thing on opening night and it went pretty well. Plus, there was a reviewer from The Evening Echo in the audience. Woo-hoo!

The following day, about 30 minutes prior to 'curtain up', someone hands me the newspaper instructing me to read the review, but not take it too seriously. It said:

"Dan L******* was so underplayed that even a dose of valium would have livened him up. He wallowed, undirected in a vacuum of his own inexperience."

It was my first ever review and it completely destroyed me.

If you're reading this, Roger Diss, you're a fucking cunt.

(Fri 11th Feb 2005, 23:05, More)