Friday, April 25, 2008




Noreen: Excuse me - do you have any pantyhose*?
Shopwoman: Yes, over there in the corner
Noreen: Thanks
Shopwoman: You're welcome
Noreen: Sorry, do you have any pantyhose* in a chocolate brown** colour
Shopwoman: Yes, I think we do. Excuse me, are you plus-sized?
Noreen: What?
Shopwoman: (slowly as if speaking to a retard) Plus-sized.
Noreen: What, like fat***?
Shopwoman: What size do you wear Ma'am?
Noreen: Well it depends entirely on the shop. normally a 6**** but in Marks and Spencers they cut large, so I can squeeze my lower half into a 4****. I've large shoulders AND big tits though so if it's a shirt - well I make a point of trying it on and I've arms like a monkey as well - so you can never be too careful. I can't go near a Top Shop shirt they are cut for ironing boards with slopey shoulders, but a Thomas Pink one has decent sized darts in that can accommodate anything up to a D cup, which is more realistic, as women with big tits are more likely to wear proper shirts, especially over a certain age. But you have to cough up for a Pink shirt - the thieving so and sos - I'm sure they make them in China and get orphans to sew them just like everyone else, but dear god do they make you pay for it! And what is it with assuming all women have stump arms - I mean some of us are more gangly and I don't want cuffs up round my elbows, I have a thing about wrists, those nasty bones that stick out give me the creeps - I dont want to look at that, a shirt should button just below the hand........ ****

At this point the woman was looking glazed so I stopped my shop chat and smiled at her - waiting for her to explain the plus sized thing or get my tights or something

Shopwoman: "This is a Plus-Sized Store ma'am". Avenue??*****
Noreen: Avenue? Ah, like a very large road.
Shopwoman: I don't think we have anything for you here - you'll find pantyhose in the drug store.

*Pantyhose is american for tights. I learnt it before I went.
** My mother would call this colour "nigger brown". I know better than to come out with that one in Yankland.
*** I did not lose my temper immediately because I have watched "The Devil Wears Prada" and the main one in that was told off for being a size 6 and called fat - For a nation of some spectacular lard arses, they are very peculiarly anorexic in New York.
**** These are American sizes, they are 10 and 8 respectively in the Queen's English.
*****People who work in clothes shops like to hear about unusual body types
****** said in that tone of voice as if I should fucking know it was a plus sized store

On the bus in DC

Noreen: Is it possible to get a one day travelcard and get on and off the bus for an unlimited number of times?
Bus driver:each ticket is valid for two hours
Noreen: That's great, but I was wondering if I could get a ticket that is valid for maybe eight hours
Bus Driver: Listen Lady,get this ticket then you can get off, and get back on before the time printed on it.
Noreen: So I can't get a ticket for all day then
Bus Driver (holding out his hand for money and offering ticket) NO
Noreen: Sorry, how much is that please
Bus Driver: rolling eyes and looking at me as if I were very, very, simple. ONE DOLLAR
Noreen: Here you go
Bus Driver: You expect me to give you change for a hundred dollar note?
Noreen: It's not my fault all your money looks exactly the same. I thought it was a one - let me see if I have it in change. Why do your coins not have the amounts on? how many of these coins make a dollar (hands over a pile of silver coins)
Bus Driver: Give me another nickel
Noreen: Which one is a nickel?
Bus Driver: A NICKEL
Noreen: I don't know what a nickel is. How many things, cents, is a nickel
Bus driver: Five
Noreen: Well there is no coin with a five on it so I do not have one
Bus Driver(reaching into my hand and triumphantly producing a coin): That is a nickel
Noreen: It doesn't say 5 or nickel on it though does it
Bus Driver (starts bus fast)

In a restaurant

Waiter: Can I get you any coffee?
Noreen: Yes two espressos please.
Waiter: So no coffees, just two espressos
Noreen: Espresso is coffee though, isn't it?*
Waiter (rather tartly and as if he was revving up to spit in whatever it was type of caffeinated beverage) I'll get your espressos for you right away

* I was starting to worry, as there are a lot of false friends in american english (the British and American Fanny are a perineum apart)- it was quite possible that it may be something entirely different to the short strong shot of coffee we know in europe.
I'm back now anyway and I did not get shot

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I bet you can guess what I think about New York

I went to New York, or The Big Cunt, as I like to call it. What a fucking awful place it is. I blame the town planners and their shitty grid system, building the narrow, yet endless straight roads that form a windtunnel from one end of the water to the other, each street a dark valley, flanked by tall, gloomy, uniform buildings, and home to an icy breeze. Every walk in the city is a freezing cold, interminable bore, with tediously regular stops at pedestrian crossings, which, contrary to American television do not light up the words "Walk" and "Don't Walk", but rather have a big red hand and a green man, much the same as anywhere else. And you get stuck with the same group of dull people, all walking in the same direction for miles and miles, and people stare so, which I find immensely rude, and they have really loud conversations, and dart their heads around, hoping desperately that people are listening in, as they talk about stupid things like their therapist, and their dysfunctional lives and vapid relationships and how much everything costs and how they would, like, DIE if they had to move out of the East village and live in the nineties, perish the thought. I hated it.

I was not irritated by the way New Yorkers give directions, first and fourth, and all that shite, which, I thought, was incredibly big of me, but I really fucking objected when taxi drivers asked me for directions, when I asked them to take me to places, like hotels and museums. "Where is that?" they all asked, blind to the fucking enormous Sat-Nav thing in front of them. They only ever have to drive around three square miles in a grid, so it can't be that fucking difficult to know a few landmarks. New York taxi drivers are lazy gobshites, who drive like arses - zooming up other cars' backsides, sighing, slapping the wheel, saying "Would you look at that?" when they rarely, ever, look at the road themselves, as they are so busy holding forth about some shit or other, whilst gawping at other drivers, in the air, in the glove compartment,at their passenger, at the boring television thing in the cab, with a woman wittering about the weather (which, by the way, is always going to be cold, because of the stupid long straight streets being so near the sea). One taxi driver - a Latvian- harped on and on about how Churchill had given Latvia to the commies or something - and I just thought to myself "Churchill was right", which doesn't happen very often. And everyone I spoke to, without exception, had the absolute neck to exclaim "wow - you have an accent", when their own mangled vowels and brash, shouty, inflected sentences made my ears want to shrivel up and climb inside my head.

Most of all I hated the myth. I saw a bunch of try-hards living a collective lie - pretending to be edgy and achieving being abrasive and argumentative; shoving each other, making passive agressive remarks "would you look at that, God! And people complain about ..", posturing and showing off. New York is as egdy as its mainstream inhabitants in their market-stall-mixed-with-designer clothes, about as edgy as a boring digestive biscuit with wacky green icing. Each smart bar serving cactus snacks, with great trestle tables of edgy people, thrilled to be drinking vodka made in France, is rather unedgily plastered with posters explaining what to do if someone chokes, lists of dos and don'ts, waffle about drinking and pregnancy, and there are always a bunch of people on hand to quell any spontaneous dancing in bars that haven't been officially designated as dancing places, whilst the teams of miserable staff hover and glower and expect to be tipped for doing absolutely fuck all. I found it a very limiting place, full of people who thought they were being wild and free, but were actually fairly unimaginative squares, and that got on my fucking nerves. If you work at the UN and are busy trying to save the world and New York happens to be your head quarters -then fine, you may stay. Or if you are a hugely high earning banker who is funding all of those smart shops and the titty bars - then you may stay as well, (for now, until you lose your job in the next couple of months, at which point I suggest you shoot yourself or take an overdose). But if you are just some dull cunt from the sticks, who thinks that by moving to shitty New York, and doing some grunt job, you are suddenly going to inhale a spirited energy that will make you more interesting - please get back on your greyhound bus and fuck off home. That is all.

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