Posted in comedy

The Mega Bus to Hell

I woke up knowing it wouldn’t be a good day. Today I was getting the MEGA BUS. I have an issue with the name. Just call it the bus. There’s nothing Mega about. Unless the next part is Mega soul destroying.

I get on the bus, very apprehensive. After a short while my phone battery runs out, I now have no choice but to to try and avoid the man with gold teeth and a medallion nestled into his chest hair calling me ‘baby girl’. I’m not a girl, I’m a woman. You greasy, slimy creep. I don’t say this, I’m a people pleaser so I just smiled and said ‘Buses ey?”.

That’s another tip when trying to avoid conversation with nutters, act as if you have no personality. It works, trust me.

It all started when I accidentally wore double denim. This took me back to my teenage years. I once wore quadruple denim to a night club. A truly horrifying image. Especially when you add hair straightened to within an inch of its life and a blue WKD clutched between badly fake tanned hands. If that image isn’t scary enough the next one will finish you off…

Within an hour the toilets are already ‘OUT OF USE’. A young woman is desperate to go and the driver says we can’t stop until Birmingham. This is all too much for her and she goes to the back of the bus, squats and covers herself with a jacket. I cant believe I’m typing this…she is pooing into a paper cup.

She then just sat back in her seat and held onto the steaming cup. I looked around trying to make eye contact with someone who would exchange a glance of ‘what the hell?!” I keep looking, searching desperately. No one meets anybody’s eyes. I’ve never felt lonelier. Its moments like these I feel like it really is just me. Why does no one else think this is bonkers? There’s a lady, I use the term loosely, holding a steaming cup of her own shit. Not that it being someone else would make it better. Come to think of it, nothing would make this better. The only would be me being a bit more fancy and just getting the train, which I normally do but I was trying to be sensible so I had more money for cocktails. Cocktails that I definitely need after this ordeal. We’re not even in Birmingham yet and the smell of a strangers shit is burying itself into my nostrils.

There’s no air-con and a bonkers old man wearing a Friends t-shirt keeps pushing the coach windows shut because the draught is hurting his neck. I’ll give him a sore neck in a minute. The Friends t-shirt is a lie, he clearly has none, not with an attitude like that. I instantly regret smiling at him when I got on the coach. I’m pleased I didn’t offer him any of my grapes, that I ate before we even left Manchester. All I have to keep me entertained is a sorry looking apple. The apple’s sorry and I’m sorry. Why didn’t I just get the train? The Virgin speedy train, in London in just 2 hours. Air -con, clean seats and a functioning toilet. That train is a 5 star in the Maldives with an underpaid butler in comparison to this 1 star, shit-scented, Mega Bus to hell. I might sound spoilt and entitled but I don’t think fully grown adults should be shitting into cups, not in public anyway….and if they do, they should at the very least have the grace to look embarrassed.
To be fair to her, maybe she’s had a really bad week, or a bad vintage and just doesn’t care any more. I remember turning 30 during a shift at a Christmas grotto. Whilst dressed as an elf, I ate an entire Paw Patrol advent calendar. A low point. Maybe this is her low point. Something awful must have happened to her because that is a defeated woman!

I finally jumped off the bus in London – dazed, damaged, in need of a gin and to be held. I spent the weekend re-telling the story to friends and friends of friends. I’ve had to tell so many people that I’m convinced it’ll eventually get back to the cup girl.

A thought that makes my blood run cold is that in a couple of days I’ll be getting back on the Mega Bus to come home again. I mean, I could get the train but where are the anecdotes in that?!

Maybe we should all be pooing in cups, she looked strangely liberated. Or perhaps use it as a bench mark for a personal crisis, for example- work was depressing this week but at least I didn’t poo in a cup. A positive spin on a shitty situation.

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday Crisps

Today wasn’t an ordinary day. Today was Sunday and that meant ‘Sunday Crisps’

I didn’t realise until a couple of years ago that ‘Sunday Crisps’ was something my stingy Glaswegian Mum (or Mummy in our family. We’re not posh, we’re just pathetic) had invented. I honestly thought every family did it.

With all the fat kids running around (well, not running around) it would do the trick.
I’m not a politician but if Lady Ilaria ever becomes Prime Minister then the first thing I’ll do is introduce ‘Sunday Crisps.’

The sugar tax hasn’t really worked, if you want chocolate you’ll pay any amount for it but ‘Sunday Crisps’ could really take off. One fat kid at a time.

I’ll set the scene for you. Candles lit, we’re in our pyjamas and wrapped up in our crotched blankets. The telly is on, Xena Warrior Princess (I still don’t know if that was a man in a dress. Send answers). Followed by Hulk Hogan starring in the nineties classic ‘Thunder in Paradise.’

My mum must have adored us because having caught glimpses of these programmes as a grown up I have to admit that they are truly awful. That’s probably why she sent us to bed so early.

‘But Mummy, it’s daytime’

‘Go to sleep my wee cabbage flowers’

‘But the light is in our eyes’

‘Not listening. Sleep!’

‘But Mummy, don’t you love us?’

‘Not enough to fall for this rubbish. Now go to sleep, I’m watching Sharpe’

It’s okay though, we got our own back.

We asked our errant Father (or ‘The Italian’ as he’s still referred to, only by us. ) for a drum kit. We knew what we were doing. He wouldn’t buy us school shoes or vegetables but was perfectly happy to pay for something that would drive my Mum mad.

We’d found what we considered to be a loop hole ‘Go to sleep kids’ doesn’t mean DON’T play the drums; And by play, I mean bang the hell out of them with our fists until we got bored. We weren’t stupid, we wouldn’t dare pull this move on a Saturday night out of sheer fear that ‘Sunday Crisps’ may not materialise the following day. It’s a wonder we made it past the age of 10 with such smart arse ways, we were cute as a button though. Even I can see that! Everyone but my mum was sucked in my our chubby cheeks, big brown eyes and muddy knees. These 3 things mean you can get away with murder…almost. DISCLAIMER: This will not stand up in court though, sadly

We couldn’t let Mrs E down, she ran the village shop across the road. She was adorable and scary in equal measures. She’d pretend she was all tough but when we moved house she ran over the road late at night and ‘sold’ us a carpet for a fiver because she knew we were a bit skint. She knew about the Passeri tradition of ‘Sunday Crisps’. Mrs E was so patient as she waited for us to make our choice. It would take us forever to choose and seconds to eat. As a grown up I’m desperately trying to turn that into a metaphor for something deep but I’m struggling. A Wotsit is a Wotsit.

Watching my little brother eat the fluorescent coloured, chemical coated snack highlighted exactly why crisps were not a more regular feature in our house. They would send him wappy for half an hour. He’d have what we used to call a ‘mad 5 minutes’ where he’d turn into the cutest possible version of the Tasmanian Devil.

‘Sunday Crisps’ were definitely worth the mad 5 minutes, they bonded us all. I’d like to say we all shared our crisps but we weren’t very good at that.

When I have a baby I’m going to resurrect ‘Sunday Crisps’ and make Sundays special again and a real treat.

Roll on Sunday. I know you’ll all be doing it.

And incase you’re wondering…Walkers cheese and onion were my crisps of choice, Eleonora went for Skips and Adriano went for Monster Munch. Classics

Posted in comedy

The Village Shop

‘Kids! Get your wee bums down here.’

My mum shouted in her Glaswegian accent.

My little sister and I ran down stairs to be met with my mum holding a ten pound note. She waved it around and asked us to go across to the village shop for bread, milk and toilet roll. Boring things.

The highlight of the village I grew up in had to be the local shop. A Mecca for renting videos and buying penny sweets. I loved the village shop, it was great. All you had to do was ignore the rumours of the toenails in the quiche and it was a beautiful shopping experience. Something I’ve tried to erase from my mind was the time I was sent to the shop to buy mushrooms and the shop keeper woke up the sleeping cat who was using the mushrooms as a bed, shooed her away and blew the cat fur off them.

We’d often go in there with one penny each and take a ridiculous amount of time choosing between a strawberry shoelace, a cola bottle or a mini marshmallow. We were easily pleased. Back then we used to think ‘Our Mummy is so generous’ in retrospect I now realise what a genius move that was, and a stingy one at that.

The sweeties I always begged for were pink Bubbalicious bubble gum. We were never allowed bubble gum, it was banned in the Passeri household and for a very good reason. We could barely keep it in our mouths. I lost track of the amount of times I had to have it cut out of my hair.

The local shop was run by Mrs E, she was a lovely old lady. Thick jam jar glasses, long tartan skirt and one brooch too many on her jumper. She knew everything and didn’t care who she clipped round the ear, it was in the past, people didn’t mind back then. I was convinced I saw a mouse in the living room, I was terrified so I asked Mrs E if I could borrow her mouse trap (standard village banter).

Once we’d finished with it my mum sent me over the road to return it to her and to bring back some tomatoes for our pasta that evening. I handed back the mouse trap that was in a white paper bag and said that my Mum had asked for tomatoes. Mrs E was such a resourceful woman and couldn’t bare to see a perfectly good paper bag go to waste, so she put the mousetrap back in it’s drawer and put the tomatoes in to the paper bag. The bag that had only seconds ago had a mouse trap in. A used mouse trap I might add. She was a very thrifty lady but was hardly going to win awards for hygiene. Even as a kid I knew this was madness. I handed over the money, said bye to Mrs E and ran across the road back into the house and explained to my mum what had happened. I had one hand on my hip and the other flying around in the air for extra dramatic effect. Spot the mini Italian. I relayed the event to my Mum as if it was the hottest gossip to have ever passed through the village. Which it certainly wasn’t. In my opinion the juiciest gossip was that 3 couples from the posh end of the village were swingers, the evidence was that all the kids looked the same and that the parents were tired in appearance and smug from all the swinging.

Back to the ten pound note that was being handed to us. This is a moral conundrum – do we do as we were told or do we abuse her trust to live out our child like dream. Tricky one. Guess what we did? We went absolutely berserk…The world was ours. I was 9 years old, my little sister was 5 and we were in possession of more money than ever before, not too much money to know what to do with, oh we knew alright. I was going to buy pink, sugary Bubbalicious bubblegum and lots of it! We ran across the road to the shop.

Paper bags were filled with sweeties we were never normally allowed. The ones that Mrs E needed a ladder for. Chocolate mice, pear drops, strawberry bon bons…the delicious albeit forbidden list went on. We even got Mrs E to put in a few blue sweeties, these were another strictly prohibited thing in the Passeri household. My brother is Autistic so all those colourings and E numbers send him wappy and my little sister and I were a little bit nutty (not a medical term). The whole time Mrs E kept asking

‘Are you sure your mum said all the money was for sweets?’

Shit. We’d been rumbled.

I pulled my little sister to one side and whispered ‘listen, we have to get something else to make it look more realistic, she knows mummy would never let us have more than one sweetie each.’

My little sister nodded in agreement. We shuffled back over to the counter, I did my best grown up voice and said ‘we’d also like to purchase 2 carrots and a bin bag.’

‘Okie dokie sweetheart’ we’d got away with it! Part 1 complete. Part 2 was a little more complicated, we had to explain this to our mum.

My mum told us that this crime would send us to prison and we should pack a bag before the police arrive and take us away. We burst into tears. As a bargaining tool we said she could have all the sweeties, including my beloved Bubbalicous bubble gum. She thought for a moment before agreeing to the offer, took the sweets from my hands and phoned the police man and said it was okay. Phew, that was a close one.

 

Posted in comedy

Glitter In All The Wrong Places

‘Miss, erm, oh this is a weird one’

I’m in the Doctors waiting room. I then hear the Doctor nervously call out a strange sound before coughing awkwardly, cueing me to assume it must be my appointment time.

I should probably start being more assertive and insisting on people saying my name properly. I’m getting quite fed up of people’s response to hearing my name being ‘Can I just call you something else?’

‘No you bloody can’t’ is what I should say.

I went through all of university answering to and being referred to as either Laz or Owawa.

Anyway, I digress. Doctors surgery. In I go…

‘Take off your tights and knickers, then lay down on the bed’ says the Doctor, bluntly.

‘Ooh very forward of you, I normally have to be bought dinner before that.’

I thought a pre – smear test joke would be appropriate. She did not laugh.

I did as I was told. I took of my tights and knickers before manoeuvring myself over to the paper topped bed. Shuffling with my knees together to preserve my modesty.

I was then instructed to put my feet towards my bum and open my legs. I knew I looked like a chicken on a baking tray. To make it even more glamorous she then lowered a light over me.

There was a slight pause that felt 10 years long before she said:

‘Oh, Miss Passeri. You’ve certainly made a lot of effort’…’You’re very, erm…sparkly’

A wave of horror came over me as her words began to make sense.

No. No. No.

I then remembered.

I stared at a poster on the wall about the importance of getting enough fruit and veg. The art work was beautiful, the words so profound, the font was perfection. Anything to take my mind off my shimmery ‘cookie’ (this is the bit where I’m going to reference a previous blog post. It’s what all the bloggers do. Sex education blog).

So, here’s a bit of an explanation. I got up late that morning, jumped into the shower and slapped on some body lotion. I did all of this without my contact lenses in. I’m blind as a bat without them in. I’ve even been known to get on the wrong bus and all sorts. I have two body lotions. Both coconut scented, one is normal, one is shimmery for party time. Guess which one I grabbed. Party time was not appropriate for this setting.

You’ll be glad to know I have since binned the sparkly one, I am a  grown-up after all.

So, that’s the reason I’m in a Doctors surgery, legs open and sparkling away. It was all over in a couple of minutes. I got dressed quickly, grabbed my bag, avoided eye contact and headed for the door whilst mumbling an embarrassed ‘Thank you very much.’

I got the door, desperate to leave. So desperate in fact that I actually broke the door handle. It came off in my hand.

‘I bet that happens all the time’ I said to fill the space.

‘No, never’ said the Doctor.

I handed her the door handle and escorted my glittery self as far away from her as possible.

Several months later I was walking through town doing some shopping when I saw someone I recognised but couldn’t think where from. I gave them a big smile and a half wave as we walked past one another. A few moments later I worked it out…it was the Doctor who performed my sparkly smear test. Surprised she recognised me with my clothes on.

Smear tests are bloody important, all females should go…just don’t do what I did.

In all seriousness, if you’re old enough to have a smear test then you have to go. Don’t be stupid and avoid going.

There’s a young woman Called Megan that I know. she is only 23 and has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It’s so important to keep going for check ups and being savvy about your body. She’s currently undergoing chemotherapy. Here’s her Go Fund Me page, any help for her and her sweet little girl would be greatly appreciated.
https://www.gofundme.com/bravetheshavewithmeg

Go for your smear tests, sparkly bits or not, go!

Posted in comedy

The J Cloth Incident

“Mummy! That lady has got 4 bums”. My brother shouted at a ridiculous volume whilst pointing enthusiastically at a woman, who did indeed have 4 bums. Her shorts were so tight that her arse looked like a pair of festoon curtains.

We were in Flamingo Land, our favourite place in the whole world. Also known as the place parents take their kids if they are too skint to afford Disney Land. Flamingo Land has it all, a funfair, a zoo and a circus. Everywhere you look there are ice cream vans, parents arguing and kids screaming excitedly as they are flung around on the rides. The one thing we didn’t experience were queues. My mum was very smart and did the genius, albeit, illegal thing of taking us off school for a week. It was in the past, things like that were fine then. Flamingo land is in North Yorkshire and people would only go for a day or a weekend. Not us, we’d stay a full week and love it. My favourite bit was choosing our mini box of ‘posh’ branded cereal each morning. The stuff of dreams. I remember sitting in my pyjamas watching telly the morning the news announced the death of Princess Diana. I was more concerned that my brother had eaten my mini box of chocolate cereal.

We’d go to Flamingo Land every year for a week and the remaining weeks of the year were filled with me bragging and showing off about our holidays to anyone in my presence. I’ll be honest with you, I mainly went for a monkey called Albert who lived at the zoo. We’d watch Albert for hours at a time. My poor mum must have been bored stiff. We’d been visiting Albert for years and years and watched him change so much during that time. We’d observed him sniff his mate’s bums, seen him get a monkey wife (Victoria) and we even ignored the rumours that it was a different monkey every year. I loved Flamingo Land so much that I made a 9 year old family friend cry (I was also 9 at the time, I’m not a monster). He’d recently got back from the Canary Islands with stories of his travels. I stared him out for a while before crossing my arms and saying ‘Yeah but did you make friends with a monkey?” He had not. He went home and begged his parents to take him to Flamingo Land. They were a posh family, they wouldn’t take him.

It was all going great until my little sister and I had a near death experience. We ran towards a helicopter ride, we argued on the way there about who would be the pilot. I’m 4 years older but she’s scary so she won and got to be the 5 year old pilot. A truly horrifying concept. As a kid she was terrifying. She’s a grown woman now and I’m reminded the word to use is ‘sassy’. The Flamingo Land staff came round to check all the kids were secured in the rides safely before pressing the start button. They got round to our carriage and realised our safety door was broken. Instead of telling us to go into another helicopter carriage they decided to tie us in using a J cloth. Even as a kid I remember thinking “Well, this seems fucking stupid, surely it’s a joke” But oh no, it was happening. The ride started up. We went higher and higher. The helicopter carriage turned to one side, my side with the metal door, and then tilted the other way…the J cloth side. Oh shit. Shit indeed. J clothes shouldn’t be used to stop kids from dying. My sister and I started screaming for help as we felt the J cloth begin to rip. We looked down at my mum and screamed ‘Mummy! Help us!’ She couldn’t hear us and just smiled and waved. Chilling. I still to this day have no idea how we didn’t die. Whenever I’m shopping for grown up things like scented candles or cleaning products and I stumble across J cloths I shudder at the memory, can’t bring myself to buy them and would much rather use an old sock to clean my shelves.

I recently went back to Flamingo Land, just for the day. Good news, Albert is still there. For some strange reason people kept calling him Tony.

Posted in comedy

Sex Education

Once upon a time, a spotty teenage boy with a flat face confessed to having a massive crush on the school tart. They started going out. This was big gossip. They were known as ‘Bucket and Spade’ …do you get it? She was a tart and he had a flat face. I still laugh to this day. Surely for ‘Bucket and Spade’ to have a happy, healthy relationship then they had to be equipped with all the facts on the ‘birds and the bees’. Luckily, this loved up pair didn’t have to wait long to be educated…today was ‘sex education day’. We were all so excited as we looked at the blackboard and saw the words ‘LETS TALK ABOUT SEX’.

Our form tutor who we all said was ‘kinda fit for an old bloke’ looked like he was on the brink of suicide.  He cleared his throat “Right kids” he croaked. “Shout out slang words for your genitals and I’ll write them on the board.” Brave, brave, stupid man. He began visibly sweating as he wrote the word ‘minge’ on the board. I also looked like a complete twat (coincidently, another word that was shouted out) when I said “In my family we call it a cookie”. I got the fright of my life when I first saw the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. I still remember the image clearly…he was on a bright pink kids swimming costume.

‘I’m the Cookie Monster, I eat cookies!’ I ran out of the shop screaming. This genuinely still keeps me up at night.

When we were little we used to have a satellite dish for Italian television. One day we were watching a cartoon when an image appeared on the screen of lots of naked people in a jacuzzi. They were having a ‘grown up party because they are in love’ as my mum described it to me. My little sister, brother and I ran upstairs to my mum shouting “Mummy, Mummy there’s a man on the telly eating a ladies cookie!” My mum later explained what had happened to my errant father. Instead of acknowledging the problem with the satellite dish and what his poor little kids had seen he was just very irritated that he couldn’t get it on his Italian satellite dish.

In his thick Italian accent he kept saying “Which channel? I missed this, what time and day?”

I’m sure he’s a massive fan of high speed internet, purely for this very reason. No longer will he need to wait weeks between episodes of ‘Jacuzzi Orgy’. He’ll be able to binge on every single episode whenever he likes…including a soul destroying Christmas special. All online.

My sex education growing up didn’t just come from middle aged Geography teachers and accidental Italian porn. There was a boy at school who had experienced everything. We all thought he was amazingly grown up and cool because he had a dragon tattoo and a moustache. Looking back the tattoo was awful and the moustache needed work. One day he gathered a few of us in the playground to pass on some vital information….this is verbatim by the way…

”Last night I was fingering this bird.”

“Oh my god, who?!” a little short lad excitedly asked.

“No questions!” said moustache boy.

He carried on, all of us looking on in awe.

“All of a sudden I started rubbing this little thing on the outside and she went wild for it.”

He had discovered the clitoris, and in that moment had become a legend in our town. If only he had passed this horribly worded information on to more men, I’m sure they would find women nagged them less.

Despite a plethora of educational sources in my past, ‘Grown Up’ Ilaria is still as confused about sex as ‘Little’ Ilaria ever was. This was never more evident than the time I was working as a Creative Practitioner in a school and was unexpectedly asked to cover the PSHE class. The class with the ever changing name. When I was at school we called it ‘Citizenship Class” then it changed to PACE (no one knew what the hell that stood for). The class that teaches you to write a CV, wash your face and basically to not be an arsehole.

This week was supposed to be sex education week (yes, it really can all be covered in a week, apparently). My anxiety levels soared. WHY ME? I am not equipped to deal with this. My main advice would be “Listen kids, don’t do it till you’re 35” followed by “It’s massively overrated and never, I repeat never worth the expensive knickers and certainly not worth the wax.”

Instead, I walked into the class of virgins and introduced myself as Ilaria (not Miss or Mrs, I was desperately trying to make them think I was cool). I told them very earnestly that they could ask absolutely anything and that no one would laugh. This was a lie. I got them all to write down their burning questions onto little scraps of paper and pop them into a hat. This was so they felt able to ask questions they’d be too shy to otherwise ask.

This would’ve worked beautifully if the little sods didn’t put their hands up and say “That’s mine!” after I’d read them out.

Question 1 – When you grow boobs, how many do you grow?

Answer – usually two. What am I saying? Always two.  We’re humans, not farm animals.

Question 2 – When you get down there, which hole do you put it in?

This question needed answering with care. There are a few factors to consider but the main point is – it isn’t pick ’n’ mix.

I couldn’t bear to read out a third question, instead I just played an educational video from my childhood. He might be terrifying but he sure knows how to write and perform a catchy tune. Teenage pregnancy is high in this country and in all honesty, I blame this guy. Everybody, meet ‘Johnny Condom’.

Posted in comedy

The Sexy Chicken Book

“This train is for York. Please have your tickets and passes ready.”

Mother’s day, an audition in London or a party in another city. These things sound nice don’t they?

Wrong. They fill me with dread. I don’t drive so this involves getting the train. The train filled with mental people. Mental people who want to tell me things.

For example. I get on the train from Manchester to York to visit my family. I’m mentally preparing myself for my Mum’s lasagna. I’ve got a bag of washing stuffed in my suitcase for her to do as soon as I get through the door, she loves it.

I see a tragic looking man approaching me. The key here is to avoid eye contact. This tip is crucial. He sits down next to me. He sighs loudly and then tells me about being made redundant. It’s a long winded story. Why me? There is no advice I can give him. I just say “Oh shit” and then “Maybe view this an opportunity to spend quality time with your family.” He answers back with “My mum’s dead, my wife hates me and my kids have disowned me.”

This man has an answer for everything.

He says I’d be more appealing if I wore tighter clothes. I’m beginning to see why his wife hates him.

I glance down at my watch, only an hour and 10 minutes until I will be in York.

He carries on talking about his shambles of a marriage.

I glance down again at my watch, 45 minutes to go.

My mind wanders to looking longingly into my Mum’s well stocked fridge. That isn’t a euphemism. I’m not an animal. The woman just loves a well stocked fridge. Shelves upon shelves of goodies just waiting to be turned into delicious dinners. She’s an amazing cook but is clueless when it comes to portion control. The words ‘average sized serving’ mean sod all to her. It’s more of a challenge. It’s as if she reads the portion advice and thinks “Bollocks to that.”

Her worst nightmare would be to know that someone was in her house and hungry. In all honesty no one has ever, ever left her house without being deep in a food coma. She is the original feeder. Not a feeder in the kinky sense like I’ve seen on so many documentaries. Always Channel 5.

Channel 5 has a lot to answer for in terms of shaping my once naive, innocent mind.

Back to the over sharer sat next to me. He opens up his leather satchel and pulls out a book. Phew, he’s now reading a book. This must mean he isn’t going to try conversing with me anymore. I look at the front cover and my blood runs cold. This man has gone from a depressed over sharer to a full blown nut job, a mentalist. I won’t go on because I’m not quite sure of the appropriate politically correct term. I’ll tell you what the book is and then you can decide on his title for yourself.

It’s a picture book of women in latex clothing strangling chickens.

The book has so many pages and his eyes widen each time he flicks onto a new one. He’s been gleefully looking at the poor chickens for several minutes when he turns to me and says “What do you think of this one?” I look down to be met with the image of an old lady holding a whip in one hand and an unhappy chicken’s neck in the other. I still, to this day have no idea what the right answer is. If anyone knows then please get in touch. I just say “Ooh, I really need a wee.” I shuffle out of my seat, trying to make the least amount of physical contact with what I can only describe as one of life’s unfortunates.

I go to the bathroom, lock the door and take a long hard look in the mirror. Why does this keep happening? This is not a one off, the week before a woman told me all about her divorce from the ‘Hairiest Arse in Leeds.’ The day before that a man in a woollen suit showed me building plans for a conservatory he was planning to build for his wife and asked me which one she’d like the best. I felt like saying “I don’t know your wife, I don’t care and your suit is shit.” I didn’t say that though, of course. I instead opted for “The second one looks nice. Beautiful suit.” He smiled contently and said “Thank you sweetheart, you’ve made my day.”

My main issue was the fact he was wearing that god awful suit in the height of summer.

Still, it takes very little effort to make someone smile. If everyone did that then the world would be a happier place.

Right, I’ve been in this toilet long enough. Everyone will think I’m having a shit. That’s much more believable than hiding from a man with a chicken strangling fetish. I pointlessly wash my hands and head back to my seat.

He’s gone.

There’s a note on my chair and a KitKat. I eat the KitKat first then turn my attention to the note.

Priorities.

The note reads ‘Thank you for listening to me. I’m going to leave my wife. Take care’.

Chilling.

My first thought is “Why did I eat the KitKat so quickly?” I love KitKats, very underrated. My second is “Where on earth did he get that book from?” Asking for a friend.

In conclusion, my top ways to make sure no one sits next to you on public transport are:

1. Act mental – Note, this will only warn off normal people. The more mental you are the more the crazies will think ‘Yes, she is one of us.’ Use your own judgement here.

2. Avoid eye contact by instantly becoming fascinated with a loose bit of thread on your clothing or the dirt on your shoe. Anything to stop you from locking eyes with the nut job approaching you.

3. Always carry around strong smelling snacks – I’d recommend a garlic, tuna and red onion sandwich with a side of boiled eggs for extra effect.

I hope these tips work better for you than they do for me. Or, just learn to drive.