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» My Arch-nemesis

My train-nemesis(es), or how I became a public-transport vigilante.
I used to have a fairly hellish hour-and-a-half commute to work. This, in and of itself, would not have been too bad, however I had to undertake this daily 3-hour round trip on public transport; the worst kind of transport.

After a while, many things begin to annoy, chief among them being the symphony of white noise, squirted forth from the mobile phone of various little oiks. This monstrous racket, the kind that sounds like music being performed by angry wasps, was the bane of my life. If I had remembered my headphones, and to charge my iPod, it was fine, but there were many days when my life was near ruined for a good half-hour stretch. It became clear to me that I was going to have to strike back at the heart of the problem.

One day, there sat before me one happy chappie, whose music was so painful and grating that I decided that this was my moment. I simply had to punish him for his insolence. Not by getting angry, oh no, but by a much stealthier method. I pretended to enjoy his music. I started to look over, giving little appreciative nods if he caught my eye. He looked away quickly, but the fear was clearly setting in, I was beginning to turn the tide, and claim back my train. However, his music was still not switched off, relying on his mild homophobia was not working, and the nuclear option was called for.

I stood up, crossed the carriage, and began what can only be described as a 'dance', to his music. Now, I am on the wobbly side of portly, and my dancing skill is (to put it politely) not too high, but where I was lacking in these areas, I made up for in brute enthusiasm and pelvic thrusting. I launched my ample frame around that carriage like I was trying to dislodge a troublesome ferret from inside my trousers.

These 'moves' were accompanied by that 'special' facial gesture. Eyes scrunched closed, head back, a delicate bite of the lower lip. In this instance, this pose was conveying that the sheer act of my dancing to his music was giving me nothing but sheer, orgasmic, animal pleasure.

Oddly, he seemed to decide, fairly soon after that, that he didn't really want to listen to music any more, (either that, or he was afraid of catching a stray moob to the face from my lunging) and he turned his noise-box off.

Check. Mate.
(Thu 29th Apr 2010, 22:34, More)

» Helicopter Parents

Until this weekend, I had nothing to add...
So, I was in town, picking up a few bits and bobs shopping. The town is Cambridge, so there are a fair number of delightful little Ruperts and Tarquins fopping about elegantly with their doting middle-class parents yapping at their heels to rush them to ballet etc...

Anyway, walking through the shopping centre, I happened to be following a Mother and her rather bored looking son. The mother seemed to be going through a long list of the things they had to do that day, ".. and we've got to get you some new school-shoes, and then you need some new pens, and then we're going to tea at...". She also seemed to be doing the 'lick-a-tissue-and-thrust-it-in-the-face-of-your-offspring' thing. Because clearly saliva and mouth bacteria is much better than an ink-smudge or two.

In the midst of this whirlwind of fussiness, the little trooper of a kid turns to her, raises his hand to her face resignedly, and sighs "Expelliarmus, Mummy."

Solid gold.
(Mon 14th Sep 2009, 19:37, More)

» Vandalism

As a teacher...
I deal with only the most petty of vandalism. Our school clings to the fringes of a frightfully middle class town, and so our clientele are fairly well behaved as a rule. However, the lure of producing a crudely drawn member on any available surface is a universal one, and even the most straight-laced of children can only hold out for so long.

It was last term when I spotted it, right near the end of the school year. It was proudly displayed on a year 9's book: slap bang on the front cover of his book. A magnificent specimen of genital anatomy, a vision in black marker pen, engorging and enriching the whole page. Truly, this thing was superb. However, it did pose somewhat of a dilemma for me.

As a teacher, the urge to chastise was strong: the wretched child had vandalised his book, and should be punished. As a human being (and b3tan), the urge to encourage this behaviour was almost as strong. How to reconcile these two opposing forces in the universe?

Simple: I am a science teacher.
"You will label that half-finished... *cough*... "diagram", and label it properly, using scientific vocabulary. You will not make any mistakes on it, and you will complete it for homework. If you do make any mistakes, I will send the whole diagram home in an envelope for your Mum to correct for you."

It was the best piece of work he produced all year. I hope he treasures it.
(Sun 10th Oct 2010, 23:07, More)

» The Naughty Step

The diagram
So, as a teacher, giving punishments is part and parcel of my daily grind. I don't particularly enjoy telling-off as a rule, but when it needs to be done, I do try to find some way to add amusement value, particularly when the crime deserves some special attention.

My favourite, and one of my own devising, is the punishment for a naughty boy who decided to draw a giant man-sausage on his exercise book. He wasn't a bad lad, but could step out of line rather far on occasion, and so I couldn't let it slide. I kept him behind at the end of the lesson, and his lecture went as follows.

"This is an absolutely pathetic diagram, one of the worst I have seen you produce. (*pause for blank look). You are going to finish it, at home, tonight. (Pause for more confusion.) It is going to be correctly, accurately labelled. No mistakes. No mis-spellings. No crossings-out. This diagram is going to be perfect. Do you understand? Now get out of my classroom."

He leaves, rather puzzled, and the next day, returns with a magnificently labelled version. It is accurate, detailed, and he has done more work on it than any other homework that year so far. In front of him, I tore it out of his book, placed it in an envelope and put it in my desk drawer.

"Now, the next time you muck around in my lesson, what do you think I will bring to the meeting I have with your Mum?... Clear?"

This brought, in fairly quick succession, 1) more puzzlement. 2) a moment of brief panic, and 3) a polite nod and a mumbled "sir".

He was pretty well behaved after that...
(Wed 13th Feb 2013, 17:32, More)

» Bad Smells

The drains...
I possess, among certain circles, a reputation for gastrointestinal fortitude. I have been known to clear rooms, and once woke up members (plural) of my family, through a STRUCTURAL WALL of the house, merely with the noise of my ano-rectal ministrations. One event, however, lives proud in my memory, and stands out as a truly special example of the genre.

We had gone, as a group of middle-class-nerdy-orchestra-kids, to the Royal Albert Hall. It was summer, and the proms were on, but because we were *cough* cool *cough* middle-class-nerdy-orchestra-kids, we had gone to the 'late' prom. A jazz trumpeter called Wynton Marsalis was playing. We had heard he was good, and so we were going to be cool-jazz-kids for the evening. We queued outside, and entered the plush and hallowed concert hall.

Those of you who have been to or seen the Albert hall during Proms season will know that the whole central arena is standing room. You end up fairly packed in, and we found a place somewhere near the middle, to the right of the stage. Once standing, some... issues... began to arise. There was a dark, mysterious odour. A sharp, acidic, almost tangy scent. It smelt a little like something had died. It got worse. The group I was with turned to me with a resigned disgust.

I knew I had done a bad. I had made a rather impressive stinky, and now we were all standing in it, packed in by other concert-goers. I decided that in my new guise as cool-jazz-kid, that I did not want to take the blame for this. I decided to produce a very clever lie.

"Bugger off, that's not me! And you KNOW I like to take credit for them!"

They'd never fall for it. It is true that I did/do take credit where it is due, but there was no way they would be fooled. They weren't fooled. But, clinging to the last vestiges of my dignity and self-respect, I kept up protesting my innocence.

More stench arrived. In waves. Each one more ripe, more fruity and pungent, more soul-destroying than before. It felt, as they were escaping, like they were somewhere in a hinter-land between gas and liquid, so dense and cloying were these airborne-toxic-events.

After about 30 minutes of the sort of chemical onslaught that even hardened war-criminals would refuse to inflict, there was a round of sheepish apology from my friends.

"Actually mate, there's no way that could be you. This is just inhuman. It must be the drains!"

For the full concert, my bowels continued to unleash their vile and venomous fury. Other patrons began complaining to the ushers ("It simply isn't right that a venue such as this has inadequate drainage!"), in endlessly polite hushed whispers, so as not to disturb the concert audibly as well as nasally. People from yards away, the other side of the auditorium, were clearly also disturbed. The ushers were putting in near-frantic calls on their walkie-talkies to get someone,(anyone!) from maintenance to come and try and sort out the problem. How the band managed to keep playing is a mystery and a testament to their professionalism.

The gig... Okay the *concert* (really am still a bit too middle class) finished, and we left the venue. I felt elated. Not only was I many cubic feet of shit-smelling-buttockular-foulness lighter, but I had pulled off the crime of the century. I had dropped a Colo-rectal Hiroshima, and escaped blameless, with only my assaulted nostrils and slight sense of repressed shame as a lasting reminder. I was off scot-free.

That is, until the drains... sort of... followed us onto the tube. I will never forget that look of loathing, mixed with quiet awe.

Good concert, though.
(Sat 18th Jan 2014, 11:22, More)
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