Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday 9 May 2010

I struggled to sleep last night fuelled with thoughts of disillusion as another sock of reality smacks me in the face and tactically and tactfully brings me down once more.  People sicken me, they always have done and it would seem that they always will.  At which point will I stop buying into their bullshit and become fully disaffected by it.  While I still I want some degree of inclusion, I guess never.

With all that in mind thankfully I at least have something of substance to witness today.

Initially I wake up around 5AM not knowing just what the time is, all I know is that it is already light outside.  From here I attempt to slip back to sleep but when I reawaken around 7AM I throw in the towel on further sleep and watch the Gonzo documentary.

The Gonzo documentary seldom fails to fire me up and today I come away from it buzzing wishing that I could just stay home and write today instead of having to lug myself up to London via all sorts of public transportation nightmares and obstacles.

Gonzo is a movie that comes with so much baggage for me now.  I remember watching it at the London Film Festival back in 2008 and coming away from it feeling really sorry for myself due to having to watch it by myself.  Later as the rain stormed down on the day I went to see Ghost Town which further depressed me as it came as resignation that my American Friend did not want to watch the Ricky Gervais movie with me and that she was a bit more of a phoney than I had been thinking.  Later when I again saw the Gonzo documentary in the cinema a month or so later it was on the night before the final time that I would ever see her.  Why do these memories cling to me so defiantly?

After the movie ends from here I pull myself out of bed and get ready for a trip to church in London (Kilburn).  All weekend I have been stressing about trying on my suit and now it is time to face those fears.  When I put it on it is just about OK, not as bad as I had feared but still not good (in other words it won’t close).  Still it is six inches smaller than the jacket I wore to my cousin’s wedding last August so what do I expect/want?

I get to Colchester North Station in good time to face whatever shit National Express East Anglia has to throw at me today.  Bring it on.

I arrive just around 9.30AM only to be informed that the next train is 10.09AM.  What the fuck?  That is not even a service of a train every half an hour.  And they are still charging for this service?  God hates me.

Eventually the train arrives after I freeze for a long half an hour.  From here my misery is compounded as a group of chatty Borats sit around me, drowning out my iPhone with their chitchat patter.

The seemingly slowest train in history then eventually crawls into Chelmsford and as we exit the station the powers that be actually have the fucking gall and nerve to check our tickets.  Perhaps maybe they should be redirecting their efforts into perhaps providing the kind of service that we are paying for in the first place.  Just a thought.

Things proceed to decline further as it slowly becomes apparent that we are not getting a rail replacement bus to Shenfield today as information would originally lead a person to believe.  Instead I find myself on a cramped bus sat next to an old codger wheeling its way to Billericay.  This is a new twist on incompetence, a torrid extent one at that.

The bus journey feels like it lasts forever going through so many green roads past rural pastures and many big trees.  This is Gavin & Stacey land, a destination where you need to lower your IQ to enter, to prevent you wanting to blow your head off.  That’s the problem with first impressions.  Blame National Express East Anglia.

Today on the bus is the spitting image of Melchett’s son.  This only serves to unnerve and horrify me as for an extended spell I fear that it is actually him.  It reminds me of bad times and despicable people on/at all levels, individuals that take life and ruin it for those around them.

Thankfully the bus gets to Billericay by 11AM however less encouraging is the reality that the next train to Liverpool Street is not until 11.21AM.  What on earth is happening?  If they are going to mess with our journey why are they putting on so few and infrequent actual trains?  This truly displays a huge degree of contempt for their customers and users.

Unsurprisingly by the time the train arrives the station platform is rammed which then subsequently equates to the train also being rammed and uncomfortable.  To boot it is a piss streak train, the kind where the seats are grotty and the d├ęcor reminds of vomit.

People who ride trains at the weekend are freaks, I miss the manners of commuters at these times, the zombie expression of extras being forced to ride trains at an ungodly hour out of necessity resulting in misery that literally stuns them silent in some echo of defeatism.  At least these people know how to respect the space of others.

When we arrive at Shenfield we proceed to sit in the station for ten minutes.  I really just don’t understand these trains.  At Romford a few toffee looking Chelsea supporters board wearing their replica kits representing everything that is wrong with football in the Sky era.  Unsurprisingly one of them looks like Danny Devito, complete with nervous twitch.

By the time I eventually reach Liverpool Street it is midday and National Express East Anglia have royally managed to turn what should be a 45 minute journey into a near two hour test of endurance.

From here things fail to improve as when I arrive at the Central Line platform for whatever reason there is a fifteen minute wait for the next train.  Has anyone actually bothered to turn up to work today?  Immediately I decide to turn arse and see what the Metropolitan Line has to offer.  Basically it can get me to Kings Cross but from there to who knows where.  Initially I actually do board this train but soon exit it again and decide to return to the Central Line and take that bullshit by the horns.

Finally I find myself on a train heading to Bond Street where I change onto the Jubilee Line for Kilburn station.  By this point the time has past 12.20PM and things are looking bleak.  Also even though I do not realise it as the time, I am headed to the wrong Kilburn station.

As I emerge at Kilburn station it soon becomes apparent that it was Kilburn Park that I needed to head to.  From here I begin stomping from where Shoot Up Hill ends and Kilburn High Street begins up to Quex Road and the Sacred Heart Church.

Unfortunately it soon becomes apparent that I am at the wrong end of Kilburn High Street and I am having to stomp through a scruffy part of town overdressed in an ill fitting suit.  I really don’t fit in here.

Eventually I find the street and soon the church with the time now at 12.50PM making me officially and awfully late.  I creep inside the church and take a seat at the back of the room in the cheap seats where no good view of proceedings (the communion) is possible.  At this point I feel like such a failure, feeling battered and bruised from proceedings.

As ever church freaks me out.  This is a weird scene.  Soon it becomes apparent that I have arrived just in time for the collection (the cost of admission).  Feeling guilty about being here on false pretence I rummage inside my pockets and pull out as many pound coins as possible, almost offering to put in for the visibly troubled lady sat to my left.

Finally I spot The Filipino and her little girl whose communion it is today.  They look like they’re taking the whole thing very seriously and suddenly I truly feel like a heathen whose bad fortune and experience could well be based on my lack of faith.

Unsurprisingly the service is a long, you have to get your moneys worth.  A number of times just when it appears that it is coming to a conclusion the priest hits the congregation with a new set of blues.

Sheepishly as I look around people are taking things incredibly seriously.  As ever there is, of course, a crazy kid to my right bouncing about singing bollocks at the most crucial of moments.  Why can’t its mother control its own kid?

When the moment comes I opt out of praying, I just don’t want to be a hypocrite or act submission to something I am not open to.  I suffer from that enough already I feel.

Towards the end of the event we are instructed to shake hands with a person nearby and to my left the troubled lady extends her hand although I get the impression she doesn’t necessarily want to touch me.  Also of course naturally I wind up being encouraged (lent on) to shake the hand of the little bastard kid when really my impulse is to clip him around the hear (and the useless mother too).

It all eventually comes to an end and people begin to filter out.  Standing I watch as the regulars walk out, the true believers made up of people that tend to look like they don’t have a pot to piss in.  As they exit many of them bow and make cross gestures on their chest.  Does this really help a person get through the day?

While I stand waiting for The Filipino I spot The Girl stood at the back of the church so I saunter over.  Today she is dressed very smartly, very impressive and like a completely new/different person.  In other words she looks like she is attending a funeral.

We exchange nice nice as she tells me that she has been at the back of the church all the while waiting for me to arrive.  Then she announces that she is busy and isn’t sticking around for the meal because she has things to do.  This is annoys me as I feel it is a really selfish gesture and quite frankly dropping me in it.  After all my hours of dealing with shitty public transport putting up various obstacles and she can’t be bothered to make good on the invite.

At this point I huff and begin asking about Friday night before lining up and launching into a torrent of gripes attached to the evening which sees me effing and blinding inside an actual church.  Truly what has become of me?

Eventually the Filipino and her daughter emerge from the photo session at the front and when she sees me we exchange smiles.  This is a big day, a big thing that means a lot to certain people.  There is a validity and importance to this event that fills what would appear to be a gaping void in my own life/being/existence.

It doesn’t take long for The Girl to announce and establish that she isn’t bothering with the meal/restaurant as a brief sense of dread grips me.  Not longer afterwards The Girl fucks off in selfish fashion leaving me on my own as I am fobbed off onto a Filipino lady with kids.  Is this her sister?  Gingerly I introduce myself and attempt conversation but its all just a bit strange.  In the end it turns out that the woman is an old work colleague of The Filipino.  Soon afterwards her husband turns up and they give me a lift to the restaurant in their SUV.

The restaurant we go to is called Little Bay and as we are led down the stairs the Japanese looking concierge/waitress asks me if I am with the group being that I am one of only two white people amongst around thirty Filipinos.  This is without doubt a position of privilege, a hot ticket and a warm invitation/welcome.

After a tough start I end up sat at the guest end of the table where I eventually/happily get pulled into proceedings by her sister in law and same ex-work colleague.  From here I begin to have fun as for once the people around me are open and act like adults.

When the food gets served it is fantastic, dare I say much tastier than the dishes I have grown accustom to (and bored of) at work.  The starter is a crab pastry dish with some kind of blazing sauce.  It takes delicious, warm with all the good and none of the band attached to eating crab.

The main course is duck breast in an equally amazing sauce.  Ordinarily I find duck to be greasy but served like this it is amazing.  Again there is more pastry to compliment proceedings, to the give the dish a sweet base and wonderful texture.

Finally we get onto dessert by which time conversation is glowingly flowing thanks to many glasses of wine.  The dish is a magnificent apple crumble with custard AND ice cream.  For the win!

Not long after we finish up eating we begin to disembark and call a close on proceedings.  Once outside I bid farewell to the new people I have met today as the Filipino offers to give me a lift to the nearest tube station.  Ironically it is West Hampstead, home of the absent and silent Sarah W.

As I get into the car the friend of the Filipino says “so this is the famous Jason”.  What did I do?

When we get there (stuck in traffic) West Hampstead turns out to be surprisingly (dishearteningly) grotty when I had been led to believe that this was a swank part of North London.  My bad.

From here I endure a Sunday evening spent on public transport.  By this point my suit has become tight (tighter) and very uncomfortable.  I am also grossly overdressed for such a now menial occasion.  People aren’t supposed to wear suits on trains at the weekends.  It’s the rules.

Eventually I get to Liverpool Street and a train heading to godforsaken Billericay.  On the train I experience the annoyance of a strange guy in a cream suit deciding to sit (squash) next to me despite an abundance of additional seats around us.  Should I have piped up?  Probably.

Finally we get to Billericay and once off the hell bus at Chelmsford as I wait on the platform a stranger asks me if I would mind looking after his luggage for him while he makes a call.  My first thought is “is this a Beadle prank?”  After a nervous wait he returns and thanks me.  What a thing to ask of a fellow human.

On the train from Chelmsford to Colchester my iPhone finally dies.  From here I get to experience the carnage of two shaved headed little bastards as they make their mum’s life hell.  These kids are plainly the criminals of the future as their mum does the worst job imaginable of disciplining them.  Where is the dad?  In prison probably.

Elsewhere on the train is a quiet father and son with a little dog.  Unfortunately one of the bruiser kids spots the pooch and begins petting it as an expression of unease appears on the soft man’s face.  Likewise his kid does not look too fond of their family pet’s space being invaded.  All in all it’s a sad sight.  This is what you get for riding the train on a Sunday.

Thankfully I eventually get home around 8PM, feeling exhausted.  I now need a weekend to recover from this weekend.

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