15/ Old DVDs in Post Office
All that hard work: the long shoot with cast and crew, the marketing team conferences, the nervous box office expectation… and then somehow, Joe Versus The Volcano tanked. And now has a cardboard DayGlo green star affixed, reading: “Tim Hanks Speshial Offer: 99p!”
14/ Riding the bus to work in the middle of winter
Margaret Thatcher may have put the sword to British society – but she was spot on when she said: “A man riding a bus at age 26 may count himself a failure.”
One minute you’re happily pounding away like a heavyweight champ, nine internet windows open simultaneously and your toes curling skywards. Five seconds later there’s jizz everywhere and your mood’s plummeting like Brian Harvey’s after too many baked potatoes. To paraphrase TS Eliot: “I have measured out my life in pointless wanks.”
12/ A helium balloon floating away from a crowd
It becomes more distant, then withers to a wrinkly silhouette of its former self and dies. Much like granddad.
11/ Foreign blokes driving minicabs who are better qualified than you
“An MBA? Crikey. I went to uni too. Dropped out – student loans were a nightmare. Your uncle sold his house to pay for it? Wow. Ah crap, I’ve dropped kebab on your handbrake. Can I smoke if I open the window?”
10/ Being able to beat your dad at everything
Come on old man, race you downstairs! And I don’t want to hear that ‘crippling arthritis’ excuse again.
9/ The new local cafe failing dismally
And the Bangladeshi owner who blew his savings on it pleading with his eyes for you to go in and buy a cup of coffee. At any time of the day or night. Free Kit Kat with every cup!
8/ Handwritten ads for cleaning work on your doormat
Sad: the optimism of a fresh start away from oppression and poverty, the misspelling, the vain hope she can scrub your crappy flat. Still, best put the chain on the door in case her gypsy magic can read your mind.
7/ Donkeys on their own in fields
No other animal on Earth has that expression: ‘Oh, how long before death’s sweet embrace?’
6/ Women with loads of shopping bags
It won’t help, love. It’ll cheer you up for, what? Five minutes. Then it’ll be dumped back in the back of the wardrobe. Just next to the ‘emergency’ bottle of gin, the unused gym kit and the copy of Psychologies magazine you bought from the garage while drunk. Just buy a cat – it’ll be cheaper than all that sweatshop apparel, and it won’t fall to bits in under a month.
5/ Service stations at night
No glitzy Reno 24-hour-party vibe here. Instead? A collection of disparate souls – from the skittish 14-year-old girl with a black eye, clutching a filthy holdall, to the travelling salesman sat alone in Wimpy, drawing thick red lines on his wrists with the very indelible marker pens he’s supposed to be selling. Get the pasty and get out.
4/ Happy birthday messages on Facebook
You remembered! Well, ish. :-(
3/ Stag nights at 7.30pm
Nothing to say to each other, too early to break out the drugs or hit the strip club, and the ‘class clown’ from 14 years ago already tipping pints over his own head to jolly everyone along. Death.
2/ Dating a new girl in old haunts
The stark realisation you’re desperately trying to re create a really good relationship that you ballsed up by taking a new girl you don’t really like to all the same places you went before… all summed up by a sympathetic nod from the all-knowing waiter.
1/ Elderly waiters
Although, somewhere during his wheezing shuffle from the kitchen, this soup has gone cold. Would it kill him to jog? Ah. Sorry.