I was eating dinner last night with Friend-Who-Knows-Big-Words when she reminded me of the time my hearing had her rolling around the floor with laughter… and me blacklisted from Tesco canteen forever more!
The Tesco canteen was the perfect venue for our A-level revision – skanky, sticky and rammed with junk food! We used to sit in there for hours discussing Charles II or the ‘merits’ of Mansfield Park – usually with me mumbling under my breath that Jane Austen should have been strangled at birth. (I’ve grown up a lot since then)
One day we arrived there, in my car (possibly the same day I nearly fractured Helena’s skull), all badly in need of coffee before our exams started for the day. The canteen was loud – machines buzzed, broad accents cut through the air and the sea of perms was making my head spin. I needed caffeine and I needed it now!
Suddenly, from behind the counter appeared a fierce looking woman, hair set solid, features to match and said, ‘Are you waiting for coffee?’ Except, I didn’t hear her over the rabble and gabble of OAPs so I just guessed and said, ‘No! I’m waiting for coffee.’ And, it was at this moment that I lost my volume control and accidentally bellowed it.
Thirty perms turned and stared at me, even the coffee machine seemed to slow to a hush and then I heard manic spluttering from in front of me as Hannah appeared to be fitting, frantically stuffing the sleeve of her jumper into her mouth.
The woman looked at me as if I was something nasty that had crawled out from under a stone and promptly served the person behind me. With no idea what I’d said wrong, I was ushered through the queue like a leper, my friends trying to keep the hysterical bouts of laughter from escaping, making them sound like manic kittens.
‘What did I do wrong?’ I asked as we sat down with our mineral waters – I’d unwittingly ruined our chance for caffeine…
‘Shite,’ was my response when I found out.
Another accidental smart-Alec moment came when I was temping in an office that was relocating. The boss was packing up and extremely stressed. ‘Could you get me a bowl,’ I thought he asked. So off I tottered in search of a bowl, which was quite difficult in a half-empty office block. After much searching I returned with a battered plastic flower pot in my hand, quite proud of my find and presented it to him.
‘Very clever,’ he said putting it down on the side and stalked off.
I stood there a while wondering what the hell I’d done wrong when the office angel sidled up to me and hissed, ‘What the hell was that? He asked you for a bulb, for a light – not a flower pot.’
He’d obviously been quicker than me…
Light – bulb – flower pot…