Chew Chew, Choo Choo

Give a drunk man forty minutes and he’ll give you some content for a blog.

I had a great day today. I was working but I was away from the office in meetings, which took up most of the day, and in between the meetings I also managed to get quite a bit of actual work done. Then after that I met up with a few chums in some weird, loud, Scandinavian bar where we worked our way through a pillow-sized bag of gherkin-flavoured crisps: a great team effort. I’ve just inhaled a Whopper and fries, and whether it’s that great flame-grilled taste or just the beer from the Scandinavian bar, the creative urge has kicked in. I’m genuinely curious to see if anything of significance can be produced when a drunk man operates a smartphone on a vomit comet hurtling towards home surrounded by a cargo of dishevelled commuters.

I read an interesting book about journalism the other day and there was some advice in there about writing as you speak, rather than agonising and thinking about it too much, so in the unlikely event you didn’t realise that’s what I’m doing, that’s what I’m doing (for this post, not necessarily for the whole blog).

Nearly got caught with my pants down in Starbucks this morning. Before I tell you the story let me just say that I would much rather spend my morning consuming a double sausage & egg McMuffin meal than anything Starbucks has to offer. Eating and drinking under the Golden Arches doesn’t require a re-mortgage, the food’s probably healthier and definitely fresher, the black coffee is no less drinkable, there’s a higher chance of getting a seat and a lower chance of degradingly having to clean your own table, the service is much quicker, there are free newspapers, there is no pressure to leave a tip (on the contrary, there are charity boxes into which you are nudged to contribute your change), and it’s generally a more relaxing customer experience. I’m lovin’ it. Unlike sitting in a highly-marketed coffee shop, unfortunately you can’t delude yourself that you’re a doyen of high culture and deep down you’re probably concerned that someone you know will see you, but I think that’s an acceptable price to pay for a relaxing hour or so before a boring work meeting.

Anyway, the black coffee was enough to loosen the pipes and I felt myself strongly drawn towards the toilet. (I know, it didn’t take long for the quality of the writing on this blog to plummet. Sorry.) I went in, locked the door and approached my throne, which was quite a distance from the door; so far that anyone without go-go-gadget-arms would have found it impossible to keep the door shut while sitting (I said sitting) in the event someone attempted to breach the door.

Before I had sat down and while I was still fully clothed, another Starbucks customer appeared behind me, inside the same toilet, because the locking mechanism on the door was faulty. Oh, and this door opened directly into the main Starbucks area – there was no intermediate area with another door.

This situation could have been much worse. Had this person’s life been delayed today for any reason by just sixty seconds, I would have been sitting comfortably, with nothing between me and the rest of the Starbucks customers other than metres of completely transparent air, as surprised to be looking at them as they would have been to be looking at me. Talk about not being able to go when people are watching.

Both being English and entirely blameless, we apologised to each other immediately. We each decided not to use this toilet and we left to find another one (but we went our separate ways). What can we learn from the curious incident of the bog? Don’t ever trust the toilet locks in Starbucks, unless your arms are over five metres long.

Is coffee that big a deal? I don’t think so. If someone told me I could never have another coffee for the rest of my life, it wouldn’t be worth one of my tears. Tell me I can never have another cup of tea, though, and just watch as I descend into blind panic.

Right, I’ve got to stop, I’ve got to my stop.

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