On buying problems in a wine bottle

I lugged my suitcase up the steps and onto the train and breathed out – unaware that I’d even been holding my breath..

Looking around, it became apparent that I’d landed in the first class carriage. I would have to wrangle my suitcase and an unwieldy bag of picture frames* through the restaurant car and past the private cabins, but at least I was on the train.

***

The station had been full of people walking slowly, and I’d got stuck behind a deaf couple going just fast enough to make it hard to overtake without bashing someone.

They were too busy signing with each other to notice me, and since asking them to either hurry up or let me through was a hopeless case, I tried not to think about the time, and instead concentrated on not ramming them with my luggage.

The train was already there and the platform was mostly empty by the time I’d made my way up the escalator. Luckily.

I ran, or stumbled, unhindered (except by myself) along the platform and hurled myself at an unblocked door.

***

The train left before I’d had a chance to find a seat. I lurched forwards, trying not to fall on anyone, and still panting from running along the platform.

I asked the first person sitting by themselves if the seat next to them was free and flopped into place as they moved over to the window seat.

After getting [most of] my breath back, I checked my phone, told DB I’d caught the train ok, repositioned the picture frames so that they weren’t poking my legs more than necessary and took out the biscuit tin.

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One of the guys at the meeting on Saturday had provided 3 tins of Christmas biscuits and since we hadn’t eaten them all yet, they were offered to whoever wanted them.

It’s still a bit early for Christmas biscuits, but they are good ones, and they are easy to eat on trains so I volunteered to take one of the tins off their hands :).

Anyway. It’s a little bit rude to eat biscuits by oneself, even if you don’t know your neighbours, so I turned to the window-seat-man and offered him the tin. He looked a little bit lot perplexed, but ate one regardless. 🙂

Then he reached down into his bag and produced a slim black tin which he presented me..

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For some reason I first thought it must be cigars, but it turned out to be chocolates – “from Dubai”, he said casually, as if everyone carried excess tins of Dubai chocolates with them**..

A surprisingly interesting conversation ensued – he’s an on-call pilot for a rich Russian bloke with a private jet and a string of inportant worldwide business meetings (hence the chocolates from Dubai ;)) – and I was a bit disappointed that he was changing trains after only a couple of stops.

As the train pulled up to his station, he started gathering his stuff together. A coat, a suitcase, a laptop bag….and a very large cardboard box.

“That’s a bottle of wine. A very big bottle of wine. A huge bottle. I bought it in Italy and it’s the reason I’m on the train. I usually fly home, but I wasn’t allowed to take it on the plane! Taking liquid on my bosses plane is ok, but not on passenger machines… I should have known that I wasn’t buying wine, I was buying problems in a bottle!”

And with that, a smile and a wave, he was gone, leaving me with a small black tin of chocolates and a story for my travel collection – and a post! 🙂

* Three were almost exactly what I’d been looking for, for a project I’m working on, two were simple and colourful and would go well on my wall. And besides, they weren’t very expensive and I don’t go shopping much ;).

** If they do, can someone tell me why I knew nothing about it?

On thinking instead of sleeping

It’s half past midnight* and I am lying in a crisp white hotel bed.

I’m probably supposed to be asleep, although I know that lots of my peers are at the bar, drinking mostly, and talking.

The rest, including DB, went to bed a while ago and are presumably sleeping soundly. DB is snuffling more than sleeping, because he has man flu.

I’m not asleep, yet, because I have to think.

I have come to the conclusion, that, despite not actually having an answer, I have an excellent** observation:

The world is full of strange problems and stranger solutions. Among the potential solutions are a lot of weird, unexpected suggestions and weeding through the options is quite fun in a very uncertain way….

* I fell asleep before I could press ‘publish’ 😉

** yes, I was proud of it 🙂

On First-Person Problems

“This problem only exists because I think it does”

Problems are pretty much a given when one’s alive. The way you look at them can change them into more major or minor problems.

The particular sort I mean are the sort of problems other people might want to exchange for their own.

Problems like the ones the “first-world-problems” memes are full of…. Only not necessarily related to the first-world/wealth/status.

The reverse of the problem is probably more acknowledged as a ‘real’ problem, but the affected person doesn’t care. They’re bothered by their problem. I suffer from this all the time ;).

(Examples could be things like: not knowing which of many friends to invite to a sleepover (because the floor’s only so big) versus sitting by yourself in the playground, having too much choice when buying milk versus discovering lactose intolerance and not being able to drink any at all, or having several of your male friends fall for you at once versus waiting patiently to be noticed… etc etc etc …)

This is my definition. There may already be a better definition out there. If anyone knows it, please let me know.

Also, as N says:

You might think you have more -and bigger- problems than anyone else, but maybe it’s just because you know about 100% of your own problems and only <20% of theirs.

On turning down, turning off and turning up

Okay, so I’m [most probably] going to sound either incredibly stuck up or incredibly naiive for the next paragraph or two.. please bear with me.

***

I got a phonecall from my skiing teacher a couple of weeks ago.

He said he’d just got in from a day of skiing and asked if I wanted to go for a couple of days the weekend after next (= this one ;)). He figured I was the only one crazy enough to want to go skiing enough to put up with MORE snow/winter.

I thought that was a fantastic idea and said we should invite D (my ski-partner) because he was bound to be interested (and crazy) too. I was being given a lift into town by a friend I don’t see often and who I wanted to talk to, so we agreed to plan the skiing later.

In the meantime I sent D an email. He was as enthusiastic as I’d imagined.

Last weekend we talked about skiing.

Turns out my SkiTeacher wasn’t just thinking about skiing when he invited me. A happy threesome wasn’t what he’d pictured either (thankfully, I suppose…).

He was jealous of D, unhappy with me automatically inviting other people to what he’d hoped would be a chance to “get to know me better” (his words). He suggested (stroppily) that we (D and I) go together because he didn’t just want to be our chauffeur. That I really just wanted to ski and thought D might too wasn’t a possibility in his mind.

He’s a great teacher, and also one of those people I really like spending time with off the piste, but I couldn’t imagine having a relationship with him. Especially since he’s one of my ex’s best friends, and has just about (more-or-less) finished breaking up with his girlfriend of 4 years (very messy, been going on since about July).

A couple of strained conversations later, we decided to abandon the whole skiing idea, freeing him up to go to a birthday party he would otherwise have passed on. I didn’t exactly turn down the skiing, so much as him as a person.

When D asked what the plan was, I bent the truth a little and told him the SkiTeacher was busy. He suggested we go by ourselves instead….

Oh man.

Because that obviously wouldn’t cause further complications.

Besides, I figured I don’t have the time or the money to go skiing anyway..

***

It’s May.

It’s supposed to be well into spring and fast approaching summer.

Instead it’s cold, wet, cloudy and making me want to hibernate or at least turn the heating back on.

I turned it off back in March when we had a strangely warm fortnight or so. 24 degrees is nice enough to convince me I really don’t need to continue to finance the electricity company’s boss’s next holiday.

On Friday it didn’t get above 10 degrees.

Yesterday it reached the dizzy heights of 15 degrees.

Today it’s back down to 8.

It’s May.

This time next week it’s already several hours into June.

The radio told me that it’s supposed to be warm on Tuesday. The presenter told him to stop there and not say anything about the rest of the week.

Starting on Thursday I’m going to be away a lot for the next couple of months. Given that my heating takes about a week to start to have an effect, it seems a bit pointless turning it on.

I guess I’d better pull out a jumper and my blanket and get through the next few days.

***

I finished school in June 2005. That means I’ve been out of school for almost exactly 8 years (also, that I did my GCSEs 10 years ago, but since the rest of my year are having a reunion party without even inviting me, I don’t think it really warrants much attention…). I moved to Germany the following autumn and apart from a few months here and there have been living here ever since.

After a 5 year ‘struggle’ to make, and more importantly keep, friends during year 7 to GCSEs, it came as a major surprise to be so wholely and immediately welcomed into a group of the loveliest people in the 6th Form (I changed schools). There were enough of us to fill the ‘Small Common Room’ but the core group was practically inseperable, eating, walking, revising, partying, just generally spending time together. I especially spent time with two lovely ladies.

My group of A-Level-ites kind of broke up when everyone went off to uni (and I went to Germany) but we continued to meet up when we were all home for the holidays.These group meetings were drastically reduced when we all broke up with our respective partners and getting together became awkward. Since then we’ve all moved on, changed jobs, houses and boyfriends a couple of times..

However.

I still keep in touch with my lovely ladies. Not especially regularly, but still enough for it to not be forced when we DO make it into the same place at the same time.

And now it’s finally time for them to come and see me in Germany.

Finally.

They plan to turn up at the end of June 🙂

Looking forward to it so much I’ve even started making plans a month in advance!!

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

🙂