It’s been a Hell of a weekend. I had a house party to go to, which my best mate Alan was throwing on Saturday. I’d invited BC from work because, in my experience, house parties are poo when you don’t know anyone barring the host and maybe one or two others.
It was always going to be a long night when BC blew me out on Saturday morning, claiming he was ill. The fact that I’d already said to Alan that I’d probably be alone sums up what I thought of BC’s intent for the day. I think it was a case of his other half not wanting him to go, coupled with the fact he didn’t know anyone.
Anyway, I drove to Al’s and got there at about 5.30pm. Despite telling him when I was leaving and what time I’d be there, I seem to forget that he’s a single late-20s guy and as such was in the pub when I got there. No great problem as I know the area he lives, and was at the bar within ten minutes.
Alan is, at heart, a good guy. He just seems to have a habit of annoying people. I can’t explain in words what he’s like, but if I say that he doesn’t go out with his work colleagues (who are out at least three times per week) and he has worked with them for at least a couple of years, it gives an idea of what he can be like. Especially if I go closer to the full story and say that he has attempted to shag every female, and has offended everyone in the office, male or female, on at least one occasion.
Which is why when I sat down with a pint and said hello to him and the various others gathered around the table in the middle of the pub, it wasn’t a surprise to hear his opening comment.
“I’ve upset our flatmate, Jo. I think she’d just over-reacting though.”
Apparantly he insinuated to Jo that she was shagging a bloke that she’d been seeing. Personally I can’t see what’s wrong with that, as from what everyone was saying, it does sound like she is. But women are funny creatures and Jo copped the hump with Alan about it. I tried to explain to Alan that he needed to apologise, and batted off his suggestions that he had mumbled a quick “sorry” and that should be enough, trying to make Alan look at things from Jo’s point of view and offer more in the way of an apology, but he wasn’t having it.
“I’m sure she’ll be fine later.” He said, dismissively.
The time came to leave the pub shortly after and we headed back to the flat. Alan had forgotten his keys and so we knocked on the door. Jo answered with a bright and cheerful “hello!”. Then it must have clicked who she had opened the door to as she followed up her greeting with “oh… I don’t think I want to let you in.” SLAM!
I looked at the (now closed) door in front of us, and looked at Alan, who was laughing.
“She’s only mucking about, she’ll open the door in a minute,” He peered through the spy hole. “Bloody Hell, she’s actually gone in and left us.”
After a few more knocks on the door, Alan’s other flatmate answered and we were let in. Alan went upstairs to the kitchen and apologised to Jo, who seemed to accept the apology more to keep the peace than anything else. She then apologised to me “I didn’t mean to slam the door in your face, you’re more than welcome to come in” she giggled nervously as she said it.
I couldn’t tell if she was being shy and sincere, or a little sarcastic. “It’s a bit bloody difficult to get in when there’s a door in the way, but thank you nonetheless.” I answered, with a smile. Obviously Jo and I were never going to be the best of mates, especially if she’s already annoyed with the one guy I actually know at the party, so I decided to go and have a look around instead.
The party carried on and others began to arrive. I met Alan’s cousin, Phil, who I’ve known for years through Alan. He had brought his wife to the party so I sat and chatted with them for a while. Phil then revealed he’d found a telly in one of the bedrooms and that he and his wife were sneaking away from the party to watch Eurovision later. Unfortunately he wasn’t kidding.
Shortly after, Paul, a friend from school arrived. He was the last person to arrive at the party that I recognised, and we caught up with each other in the awkward way that people do after so many years apart “How many kids have you got now Dan? You had 1 when I last saw you.” “Four now, blimey has it been that long? How’s that Steph girl that you was engaged to?” “She’d good, but I’m married to someone else now…”
Paul commented that we seemed to be a good 5-10 years older than most of the others at the party, all of whom seemed to know Jo. A glint came to my eye as I suggested that we lie about what we do. I could be the pilot of a jet plane in the RAF and he could work for MI5. Childish, but it may make the evening more fun.
As the night wore in, Paul and I found ourselves ensconced by the fridge in the kitchen. Close access to the beer, and people we didn’t know were forced to make polite conversation with us in order to get a drink. Win-win.
One of the “Others” to start talking to us was another of Jo’s friends. His name escapes me but I’m going to call him Martin, as he reminded me of Martin from Game On.
Once we got past the introductions, and the all-important discovery that Martin had a bottle opener, conversation was steered towards employment.
“So what do you do for a living, Martin?”
“I’m a forensic scientist. I help the police track down criminals using DNA and the likes.” He went on describing a job which was probably far removed from what he actually did, but sounded fairly exciting and rewarding.
By the time he finished, Paul and I were looking at each other.
“I can’t believe your REAL job is cooler than our FAKE jobs.” I said. The conversation with Martin seemed to peter out after that.
The drinks however, kept flowing. Keeping our position by the fridge, we found ourselves chatting to an Australian girl called Alex. A typical Aussie, she was loud and outgoing. Her chosen topic was, for some reason, travel and terrorism, and she mentioned about going to Egypt, which caused Paul to mention the fact that she could be blown to pieces in a terrorist attack.
“You can’t live your life worrying about stuff like that, the chances of it happening are so slim.”
“Mind you,” I chimed in, “you’re staying in London so you’re probably safer in Egypt!”
“You guys don’t have any problems over here though, that’s one of the nice things about being here.”
For a second I thought she was being sarcastic, but then I realised she was being serious. My sarcastic instincts set in.
“You’re right, we never have any trouble over here. It’s rare to even hear the word “terrorism”, let alone experience it. In fact, it’s a widely known secret that the police use live Brazilians for target practice on our tube network. That “Charles Mendes” bloke, or whatever he was called, being a terrorist suspect was just a cover-up. Thinking about it, I can’t remember the last time we had four blokes jump on our tubes and blow everyone and everything around them to shit. Apart from 2 years ago, obviously, when loads of people were killed.”
Alex’s face had dropped by this stage.
“Oh God! I forgot about that, I’m so sorry!”
“Don’t apologise, it’s no problem for me,” I was being sincere by this stage, “we’ve had terrorism over here for years. Before Bin Laden we had the IRA trying to plant bombs everyone – look at the Harrods bomb for example.”
Alex still thought I was being sarcastic, and tried to apologise again. After that I realised I should just shut up for a little while, and Alex tried to get the conversation back on track, but she was obviously still pissed at me.
After a couple of minutes she looked me in the eye and asked a question which I still think came out of nowhere.
“What’s my name?”
I looked at Paul, and then at Martin, more to see if this was a natural course for the conversation to take than anything else. Martin shrugged slightly, and Paul caught my eye before quickly turning to avoid having to answer the question himself.
“Well if you don’t know, what chance have I got of knowing?” I responded.
With that, Alex stormed off, her face like thunder.
“I can’t believe you’ve been talking to her for thirty minutes and then couldn’t remember her name!” said Paul, incredulously.
“Her name’s Alex, I just thought it was weird that she was asking me.”
I was told shortly after that the correct answer would have been to tell Alex that I knew her name. It’s just weird if you ask me.
Still, as I pointed out to Alan a little later, “I’ve managed to piss off Alex. That’s one less person for you to upset!”
The best bit about the weekend? West Ham staying up. C’mon you irons!!