Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
In an attempt to broaden the scope of the blog and deliver content that is amusing/entertaining/interesting about the places I’ve been and places I’m going – I’m going to publish some journal entries from another blog I used to run for the folks back home. This will be the first of the travel focussed posts. I intend to publish a post a day until I’ve caught up re-publishing the articles from the old blog. After that, I’ll include posts about the locations and situations I find myself in every so often.
Let me know what you think about these posts, tell me if they add to the blog or detract from it and why.
Leaving the UK – 11/11/2013
Hola!!! I’m keeping a diary whilst out here – this isn’t it.
What I hope I can do with this is do my friends the service of giving out a few laughs (usually cheap but then what else would you expect?). I now also know with absolute certainty that there is no way on earth that I could maintain correspondence with everyone I care about.
I feel a fresh wave of gladness for knowing you all, and having too many amazing friends and family is a brilliant problem to have! I will try to return emails but if a response is late or short please do not be offended. This blog will be my repository for things that will hopefully entertain you or at the very least let you know that your friend yet lives.
I had written this post while in transit but the nature of this software is such that it often decides to censor the user by simply deleting everything you’ve been working on. C’est la vie.
Of my flights/airport stays I will say this – I was glad to be done with them! It was taxing but not impossible. It wasn’t bad enough to make me think that I’d never do it again. I met some wonderful people. You’ll be shocked to hear, dear reader, that I was “that guy”. Talking to strangers has never bothered me (not as much as the strangers in question, usually), and I could just hear my friend’s voice as I made first contact at Manchester – “Don’t be ‘that guy'”. Sorry Kris, had to be done. I met:
*A man from Birmingham who wasn’t impressed.
*A couple who had somehow managed to stay in Hong Kong and avoid eating Chinese food for two days.
*A pair of what could only be described as “Extreme Twitchers” who had recently tripped to photograph polar bears and took delight in telling me about the joys of Australia after they had soundly beaten me at the game of “where’ve you been” top-trumps. This game is normally abhorrent to me, and often makes me think its like namedropping for people too antisocial to have ever actually met anyone, but on planes and in the strange no-man’s-land of airports it gets a pass. They told me that they’d photographed cassowaries in Australia. From what I’ve heard of this bird all I can say is : velocoraptor. Seriously – Google is your friend. While you’re there search IMDB for Crank and look at the character called Doc – the twitcher was a shorthaired, nature loving dead ringer for him.
It is our unfortunate midlander who makes the headline today, however. A Birmingham gentleman (term applied loosely) was stood at a vacant customer services desk at Manchester airport. I shuffled behind him and as he wheeled on me suddenly I asked: “queue?”. “Fucken ridiculous” came the reply. Now – I might be alone in this but I find there to be something inherently hilarious about angry Brummies. Its like a circus clown having a strop or something equally incongruent. That accent simply does not lend itself to outrage.
Evidently he had been waiting for AT LEAST thirty seconds before I arrived. He had begun to target the actual desk with his abuse, stating that if he missed his flight “the whole lot would be turned upside down”. I believe he honestly thought two things (and these sat comfortably among the total of 11 thoughts he had ever had, and could count to with his toes):
1: The label saying “Customer services” meant that if the desk itself was unmanned then the desk itself was in charge of servicing him.
2: That if this unhelpful MDF and formica ensemble offended him enough, he would be within his rights to smash it to pieces and march triumphantly onto his plane, masculinity buffered.
He began ranting a disgruntled soliloquy and I became acutely aware of the hazy aura of lager fumes and the look in his good eye that suggested he meant every threat. That poor desk, I had to intervene. I pointed out the phone and instruction sheet telling customers how to summon staff to the desk. Oddly enough this enraged the man further. It was probably due to the sneaky staff hiding it in full view only a foot from the bereaved Brummy’s head, those tricksters.
Having immediately put all thoughts of the phone from his mind, our poor victim now began issuing a declaration of war to the desk. During his speech to this, the Mary Celeste of British Airways furniture, I decided a tactical withdrawal was the best course of action. I began drifting, carefully monitoring my velocity and heading so my movements would say “Yeah man, right on! Fucken ridiculous” to the midland malefactor, whilst broadcasting to everyone else that I was making good my escape and that we weren’t together. My flight to London was only an hour- I could wait. Being on a no fly list still isn’t on my bucket list.
Being ever ready to find the silver lining I though I had spotted a way to avoid becoming involved in the developing drama whilst turning it to my advantage. I had been remiss whilst trying to help the man and my level of care had suffered as a consequence of being distracted by an absolutely stunning, red haired woman sat nearby. Coincidentally my escape route went via the bench she was sat at I disembarked from the man and sat next to her, melodramatically mouthing the word “HELP”. I had expected an embarrassed smile but the speed with which she averted her gaze indicated that one of two things had happened:
1. She found me unattractive or intimidating.
2. Her capacity for lipreading comedy pleas for assistance had been severely diminished by all the excitement.
I meandered to my departure gate shortly after, leaving the woman in peace and the man in something patently not peace. I didn’t want to have to answer questions about an alliance with the one man riot that was brewing.
You won’t be shocked, dear reader, that having assessed all evidence impartially then promptly over-ruling it with the consideration of which scenario I’d rather be true – I felt that I had left the creature with the luscious red hair wondering why I’d gone to the help desk in search of “KELP” and what about her had given me the impression that she was a purveyor of strange seaweed.
“Mr.Sulu – get us to an embarrassing and awkward situation for all involved. Warp nine.”
The price paid for my attendance at “Customer Service Desk”gate was an alliance with a belligerent Brummie and then the unpleasant and all too familiar experience of making an innocent bystander uncomfortable and confused. As Borat would say “GREAT SUCCESS”. I’ve still got it, baby!
All I wanted was the Wi-Fi password to make Spotify behave. I sat on the flight to London listening to the two songs I’d managed to download on repeat.