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» Shoplifting

Anxiety Porn
This is a rather embarrasing tale for my first post but alas it is the only time I've shoplifted.

I went on my first holiday to Spain with my family when I was around 13/14. Indeed, it was around this time that I noticed a temporary euphoria whilst trying to tear off a particular body part.

I had spent about a week of the holiday surrounded by my family so it was impossible to abuse myself. One day I caught/ate something that made me sick. My family had booked a bus trip somewhere so I insisted that they go whilst I stayed in bed. After a few hours I felt slightly better and saw an opportunity present itself.

However, I wanted to put a bit of effort into this one as it might have been my only chance during the two week period. I had noticed our slightly more liberal European cousins had a variety of softcore porn available in almost every shop. I headed out with a pocket full of cash ready to purchase my first piece of pornography. I was slightly nervous walking into the shop but being in a foreign country gave me a confidence boost.

Despite this I still hid my selected magazine in a basket full of Fanta, Lays crisps and Chubba Chub lollies. Whilst I was waiting in the queue I noticed an English guy the same age as me purchasing a pack of cards. There appeared to be a problem with this particular transaction. On further inspection I realised the old Spanish lady behind the till was pointing at the lovely breasts that decorated the cards. She then shouted at my comrade in hands and threw him out of the shop.

I started to panic and quickly jogged around to another aisle. I was a desperate young man and had just seen my best chance of momentary happiness being shot down in flames. Fuelled by anxiety and anticipation I shoved the magazine down the back of my shorts and headed back towards the till. As I approached I started to feel sick again. My legs started to go weak and my head light. I could feel every set of eyes on me and my anxiety grew so much that my breathing was suffering. I tried to focus in on the beeps of each item being scanned but it was no good. I managed not to faint but had to run outside and be sick before collapsing on the steps outside.

The old Spanish lady took pity on me and didn't charge me for any of my stuff. I remember thinking how nice a person she was as I headed off back to my hotel room. It wasn't until I got back and sat down on a seat that I remembered I had solid gold in my pants (boom boom). The guilt of my theft lasted about five seconds... rougly the same time it took me to do a naked strip run to the bathroom.

The last laugh was on her though as I eventually passed out on the toilet seat and cracked my head on the sink.

Length? 8 stitches above my left eye.
I haven't stolen anything since.
(Sun 13th Jan 2008, 6:22, More)

» Broken Promises

Sticker Tears
I've never been one for making promises because I tend to try my best to stick to them and this causes a great deal of stress. Therefore, I'm too selfish to be selfish.

Anyway, I was reminded of another reason why I don't tend to lie/cheat/break a promise at work today. I teach English to primary school kids in Japan. They go absolutely mental over a sticker system I made to reward winning games or being creative with English. The only other group of people I've seen get that agitated and excited were junkies waiting for their methadone.

I forgot to bring my stickers with me last week for one of my lessons. I promised that I would bring them with me the following week and that I would give the winners two stickers as a reward. As I walked into the classroom today the cutest 6 year old kid you've ever seen came up to me with a massive, warm smile. She stuck out her hand in anticipation of her delayed prize... and then I realised I had forgotten them again.

She did not take this news well and I could see the spark in her eyes extinguish. She told me in Japanese that I had broken a promise and then she turned around close to tears and sat looking at the empty spaces on her sticker reward sheet. I've destroyed her trust in adults and foreigners forever.

Little bastard has made me feel guilty all day.
(Thu 2nd Dec 2010, 14:57, More)

» Hotel Splendido

Floody French
A few years ago I went on a cheap camping holiday with some friends in France. The first few days were excellent as we basked in the sun and drank numerous beers.

However, one morning we awoke to find our camp site had turned into a lake during the previous evening’s thunderstorm. To this day I have no idea how none of us woke up on what must have been a howling night. We were all sleeping on those camp beds that are about 1-2 ft off the ground and this is where the water had risen. Everything was sodden… absolutely everything. We abandoned the tent and set off through the water in no particular direction. It was an absolute nightmare and we didn’t know where to go. The local town was in a complete mess as the river had burst its banks and poured into the streets. All local transport had shut down so we headed off to higher ground.

It took us a good few hours but we eventually stumbled upon a small town. It felt like we had been transported from a comfortable/modern European/internationalised 21st century/ cultural exchange trip into rural medieval France. The sky was a dark grey and the summer heat had been replaced by a harsh wind. As we trekked along the cobble streets we noticed that everything was bolted closed. Eventually we came across a small hotel… and here comes the relevant part.

Did you ever see ‘Allo’Allo? No, me neither. Anyway, do you remember the old grandmother that used to live upstairs? (If not, imagine an 85 year old bat shit crazy French woman). This was the owner of the hotel… which was basically her very old house. Most people in the world would have looked at us with moderate sympathy… like four young kittens that had just escaped drowning. The old woman took an immediate dislike to these dirty English youths and sneered at us. I tried to explain to her in French that we weren’t English (we were Scottish – auld alliance my arse) but she ignored us.

“Only 1 room.” (in French)
“Err ok we’ll take it “
“Only double”
“Err ok we’ll take it”
“No men together”
“Only 1 person can have the room”

Two people had lost all their money so we were going to need to share anyway. This wasn’t a problem for us but she was making it quite clear only one of us was getting in that room. We were sly bastards though so one of us booked the room and the others disappeared for an hour before breaking in through the back window.

The ‘hotel’ itself was something I’d imagine was near the front line trenches of WW1: No towels, no bath/shower, one sink with a dripping tap, no curtains, no carpet, no bed sheet… no bed. It was a hollow excuse for a room with an empty bed frame and two wooden chairs. We changed into some partially dry clothes and jumped out the window to get some alcohol.

The evening made the day bearable as we wound up in an old pub and drank our sorrows away. With a few beers in us we crept back into the rustic charm of our hotel and drifted off to sleep. The next morning I woke up hearing two sets of raised voices. One belonged to my friend and the other to the hotel owner. She had unlocked the door at 6am and came into our room whilst we were still asleep. She then proceeded to wake up my friend by poking him in the balls with her cane. She then started shouting at us in some of the most horrific sounds I’ve ever heard in my life. When she began to throw stuff at us we all made a quick exit out the window and ran out of the town never to return.

It remains one of my most favourite stories to tell. When keeping in contact with that particular group we always wonder two things. “Did we actually go back in time?” and “Do you think she would have provided a breakfast?”

The cane was bigger than her.
(Wed 23rd Jan 2008, 6:25, More)

» Dad stories

High Heels
I remember when we went on holiday to Barcelona once when I was a kid. I went into a shop with my mum and brother whilst my dad waited outside. We were only gone for about two minutes but when we returned we found my dad hunched over a postbox in agony. We were obviously concerned and asked him what had happened but he refused to tell us and limped off without saying a word. He only let slip after he'd had a few drinks later that evening.

Apparently some attractive young ladies in high heels had walked past him as he waited on the street. The first thought that came into his head was how it was possible to walk in such a confident stride in them. So he decided to put this thought into practice and put on a pair of imaginary heels and began to try and walk around. After a few seconds of impersonating a drunk velociraptor he got a cramp in one of his feet and proceeded to fall over and twist his ankle. My mum didn't look surprised in the slightest.
(Tue 30th Nov 2010, 4:08, More)

» Faking it

eins zwei drei
I've been living and working in Japan for the past year. My attempts at learning the language have been pretty woeful. The extent of my ability stretches to ordering a few pints and being able to read the kanji (Chinese symbols) for 'fire extinguisher'.

A lot of my foreign friends here speak the language almost fluently. This makes me feel like an idiot when I'm stuck in a long conversation with them and some Japanese people.

However, last week I given an opportunity to claim back some linguistic pride. Somebody asked me what other languages I spoke. I might add that this question wasn't asking me IF I could speak another language but instead asking me which one. That's right native English speakers... everyone else in the world learns a second language.

Anyway, I was armed with my Standard Grade (GCSE) in German and declared that I was fluent in the harsh, barbarian tongue. I got a few impressed nods and was asked to say something. I went with "Der hund ist leer" which means "The dog is empty". After a minute or so of basking in the limelight I went back to drinking in my quiet corner.

I'm not exaggerating when I say everything came crashing down around me about 5 minutes later. My friend from the next town turned up at the bar with someone I didn't recognise. He then introduced himself to everyone at our table.

His name was Stephan and he was from Frankfurt.

" Oooh really? Hanta just told us he spoke German! "
" Ahh ja? Very gut. "
" Stop staring and make some room Hanta! "

There's very few times in my life where I have experienced that level of shock. I very rarely boast about things I am good at nevermind making stuff up. I thought I was safe with my little white lie considering I live in the most rural prefecture in Japan. I know every foreigner out of the 300,000 people that live here and they are all from English speaking nations.

It turns out he was couch surfing (sleeping for free on stranger's couches) around Japan. He just so happened to turn up five minutes after I decided to tell everyone I spoke his language fluently.

Everyone stared and waited for me to say something in German. My brain was flashing back in time trying to think of something... anything to say.

" Wie gehts? "

Yes... fucking yes. How are you? Let's see you deal with that Stephan you random, couch surfing bastard.

That was enough for everyone at the table and they went back to talking Japanese. It turns out old Stephan spoke perfect English and I explained what had happened. He pissed himself laughing and I ordered him a beer in Japanese.
(Tue 15th Jul 2008, 9:27, More)
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