Not The Time!

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Chawn

It is Thursday. A busy Thursday of a busy week of busy days. It’s been a week of interviews. Preparing for interviews. Being counselled for interviews. Going to interviews. I could go on, but that would be a waste of time. My time. For the rest of this week is all mine.

And I am going to relax.

Big Boots has asked if I’d tidy the hall on my day off. Sure. I mean that still gives me most of the day to relax and watch The West Wing.

I am about to watch Martin Sheen put his hands in his pockets when the phone rings. I pick it up. It’s my brother.

“Are you free tomorrow?”


Dave Jones is singing.

But I don’t live with him any more.


My Dave Jones MP3 alerts me to the fact that I must now face doom. The doom of getting up ridiculously early on my day off. I start a 45 minute walk and get onto a train. My first train. My brother wants me to hand in his wife’s coursework at her university because she’s ill and he’s working.

I’ve been sent to Coventry.


A few trains later I arrive in the city of Steve Ogrizovic and do what I always do when I come here. I get lost. I used to live in Coventry, but it’s the Bermuda of Central England, and about as well thought out as Gerard Houllier’s appointment at Aston Villa.

I emasculate myself by getting my brother’s wife to text me directions to Brown’s; the snazzy student bar where I’m meeting her friend Katherine, my guide. I eventually find it but can’t see Katherine. I’m walking near to people, smiling and saying “Katherine?” and being ignored. I’m being ignored noticeably. When a girl walks up to me. Which is just fine.


I’ve come quite a way and think that Katherine may have had a similarly tiring day. She may appreciate the chance to sit down in a trendy bar and have a quick coffee before we get to business.

“So, shall we?”
“Sure, unless you want to get a coffee before we go?”

She looks at me with a look of surprise and confusion before suggesting that…“We should probably just carry on.” We carry on, and I suddenly  feel quite awkward. She’s stopped making eye contact. And has started subtly keeping a small distance away. Noticeably. I replay the conversation in my head.


I may have just asked her to get a coffee with me. Or at least I think she thinks I have. I manage to stir up conversation and we loosen up when it turns out she’s nearly 10 years older than me with kids. She’s lovely, and leads me through the Ricoh labyrinth. She even fills in the forms.

We part ways and I make my way home. I see a sign pointing back to the railway station. Or so it says. It’s pointing in the wrong direction; but I don’t know this part of Coventry. And signs don’t lie! It must be a secret shortcut! I follow the sign.

And the sign after it.

And the sign after that.

I am under a bridge. In a grassy walkway. Somewhere deep in the recesses of Coventry’s ring road. A hilariously inaccurate name unless rings come in the shape of Alison Janney’s ileum. I look for a sign to hold my hand as I walk through this dark 2pm abyss. There are no signs. And no people. It’s a trap! I’m caught in the ring road’s web! It’s taken all the verbal fury of drivers trying to find their way off it and congealed it into Lady Godiva’s lair!

I’m lost! On an island! Just where the ring road wants me!

I’m considering taking the long – but known – route back the way I came when Jon Lim appears before me like Obi-Wan Kenobi and warns me not to go back on myself. I trust him and venture on, watching out for naked women riding polar bears.

I am completely lost. I ask for more directions and find my voice de-breaking before I eventually end up on a train to Brum where I pick up Star Trek: First Contact on DVD. Because it was a quid. And because they didn’t have any more West Wing.


It’s been a few tiring hours since I left. Now I’m finally home and grabbing a drink of Aldi squash. I’m about to make it so when I remember that Big Boots asked me to tidy the hall.


Reluctantly, I sort it all out in one breath and hoover. I sit down. And engage. I’m shattered. There’s no way I can have energy for anything else. Resistance is futile. I breathe.

And smile.

And hear a knock on the door.

I sigh again. Painfully. I roll out of my sofa alcove – or ‘sofe-cove’ – and answer the door. It’s Brian, my next door neighbour. “Have you seen your leak?” I stare at him. “What?” He leads me down our shared alleyway. It’s flooded. Majorl-Barrett-y. The leak leads us to the outhouse in the back garden. We open the door and are weed on by a broken pipe hosing us down like new fish at Shawshank. Brian grabs his umbrella and I hold it up for him as he activates his default action man settings. Big Boots gets home and also activates his default action man settings as I grip the umbrella for dear life.

I get soaked.

I give up.

They don’t.

I get more soaked.

They give up.

I drip.

I sit back down in front of Captain Picard’s hilariously paused expression. I breathe. And smile. And press play. I look at my phone. It’s 6:30pm and I have to leave for Friday night youth. I sigh. And mutter. Unconsciously.


It’s Roger, with a question. An in-depth question. I see some odd colours.

The phone rings.

I lose it. Now is NOT the time!

I pick up the phone.


I hang up. Roger has run away. Big Boots is staring at me.

“Was that about your uni interview?”

I stare back at him.


The phone rings.

I look down. And cautiously pick it up.


It’s Colin. I apologise and go to youth.


It is 11pm. I have just got home. My brain slides my body into the kitchen to make some Aldi squash and onto the sofa. It puts on Star Trek and relinquishes control.

I breathe.

And smile.

The phone rings.


YouTube Clip Of The Week!



  1. Simon Platt says:

    Still enjoying your adventures. Last time Iwas in Coventry my ‘shortcut’ to the train station petered out in what semed to be a time-loop of ring roads and subways followed by a shamefaced retreat. Keep up the good work dude!

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