because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Thursday, 19 January 2012

I hate Ryanair.

Internet, before I even begin this post I just need to get something off of my chest, and that something is that I write this from Mum and Dad's- for reasons I shall explain in a minute (PATIENCE!)- and all I wanted was a tiny little bit of dark-outside, warm-in-my-heat writing time before everybody got up this morning but GODDAMN IT the second anybody hears you MOVE in The Forge it's all, "Put the kettle on", and "Let the dog out", and "Some hot buttered toast would be lovely" and, "Do you want to talk about your anger towards the world this morning, Laura?". I feel like I've already put in a full shift and it's not even 8 a.m.

And now I can't even really concentrate because hell, I really want some hot buttered toast.

Yesterday I flew in from Rome because tomorrow I am finally, seven months (and many years tardy) after completing my university degree, having my graduation ceremony. Never let it be said that the University of Derby doesn't do things quickly and efficiently. Oh. Wait.

During the winter getting back home breaks my balls in every conceivable way because nowhere flies close to home until March. The SHITAIR flight leaves the bumblefucknowhere airport of Rome at 11, which means I have to be there for say 9, which means I have to get up at 6 a.m. for enough time to be beautiful, eat, get a bus to the main train station in town and then hop on the coach that transfers to the airport. I know, boo hoo, a 6 a.m. start. It's like, those 5 year olds who got scalped working in the dark of Victorian cotton mills have got SHIT on me and by ability to shut up and put up. I am surprised by by own wise inner strength.

Well, except I'm not because I hadn't even gotten to bed until 2 a.m. because my friends threw me a surprise Cuban-themed graduation dinner where we drank Mojitos out of jam jars and there was a cake WITH MY NAME ON IT. I have never had a cake with my name on it in all of my 6 a.m. rising-without-complaint LIFE and I wanted to cry and I got all hot in my face and bit blabber-y because it was the loveliest of all the things. Why people care about me here continues, quite often, to be a shock. But care about me they do, as this story will come to prove.

Because no, I'm not done talking yet.

As I crawled into bed at 2 a.m. I checked, for one last OCD time, when my flight was so I could set an alarm accordingly. Getting up on time hasn't been my forte recently and you know, what with it being kind of an important weekend I was vaguely aware that as good a story as fucking-up makes, on this occasion I was all for travel without event.

Except as I checked my email for the flight confirmation I remember that MOTHERCHUCKIN' TITS, ARSE AND THE PRIEST'S BOLLOCKS I'd forgotten to use the printer at work to make a copy of my SHITAIR boarding card and so I was going to have to pay SIXTY QUID for them to print one for me. This, my friends, is what I like to call a Twat Tax. Been a twat? PAY FOR IT.

Before I set off yesterday I made sure I had the extra cash with me and when I got to the desk the woman was all, YOU CAN'T PAY CASH, and I was all, URM. DO I PAY WITH MY BLOOD? and she was like, DEBIT OR CREDIT CARD ONLY and I was like, YEAH, THAT'S REALLY FUNNY. WE ARE IN ITALY. EVERYTHING IS DONE IN CASH BECAUSE NOBODY PAYS TAXES AND THAT'S WHY THE COUNTRY IS DONE IN THE BUM HARDER THAN MY NANNA BEATS THE JUNGLE DRUM and she was all, RULES ARE RULES and I was indignantly all, BUT RULES DON'T APPLY TO ME and the woman shrugged and didn't care anymore.

I deal in cash. I have no money in my English current accounts because I don't live here anymore, and as stated, the reason Italy's economy is milking Europe for all it's worth is because nobody pays tax and everything is done in cash, under the table.* I had no card to pay with, just used Euro notes.

"Maybe somebody will let you use their card," the woman said.
"I don't know anybody here," I replied.
"A stranger, then."
"Uh-huh. Can we do it by phone?"
"I have to see the card, madam."
"Oh, piss off."

I went and sat in a corner and breathed very heavily and let my eyes well with tears as I thought two things over and over again.


2. Calum is going to kill me if I miss graduation.

It was number two that made me swallow my pride, remember that if I could ask a stranger in an airport for a hug then I could ask them for money, and head to loiter around the check-in desk trying to find somebody who both looked as though they had money to spare and who might actually share it. Finally I spotted an older woman in her fifties with a woman in a wheelchair. Sympathetic-looking types. They were the ones.

Look, this is going to sound crazy- really, really crazy, I said, which- on reflection- when approaching a stranger probably isn't the best opener. Please just hear me out for one second, I promise I'm not trying to con you. I think this translates to most people as I'M GOING TO TAKE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE GOT. I've had a problem with check-in because I forgot my boarding card, and I need to pay for a new one. Automatically I'd be thinking, 'Well I'm not chuffing paying for you!' and walk away. I have the cash, but they need me to pay by card, and I don't have one, and you see I have to get home for graduation and Calum will be really cross if I don't- he's my best friend- and I really just wasn't expecting this today and oh God, I'm sorry, I'm crying now, I just really need to get home and I need help and it sounds ridiculous but I just need somebody to see that truly, I have the cash right here and you can have it in Euro or Sterling or however you want JUST PLEASE DEAR LORD HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME.

I actually cried so hard I couldn't breathe, and the old woman in the wheelchair looked to her friend and said, "Oh Judy, help the poor lass," and so they did, and their kindness made me cry even more and so I brought them some jam in duty free but I never saw them again so I still have the jam in my bag. I wish I could've given them the jam. I'd like to think of them having breakfast and talking about the crazy girl in the neon scarf and fedora who they helped make happy as they spooned fruits of the forest conserve into their smiling mouths.

Because even though I just wanted one day without incident, you know? ONE DAY. They did. They made me really, really, happy.

Thanks Judy.

Also: screw you, Michael O'Leary. You big CUOT.

*my employer assures me that he pays my taxes for me and everything is perfectly legal, though, okay? 
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