Stand-up Comedy

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When the surgeon stands me up, several thoughts go through my mind:

1. Have I really got to the grand old age of 29 without being able to spot the timewasters?

2. Maybe he’s been caught up in a really long surgery…

3. Really long surgeries are like kidnap, sudden death and being trapped under something heavy.

4. This time I’m going to block him using an app that doesn’t tell me when he’s tried calling.

The next day, I’m holed up in the office til late. As I approach the station, a busker strikes up a soulful rendition of Let It Be. I stop to listen, rooting around in my bag for my phone. The new all-singing, selectively-blocking messaging app came highly recommended by Which. I open it to see, in the corner of the screen, a shield symbol, and beside it a small number ‘2’. Disbelieving – and perhaps a little relieved – that yet another developer has misread the brief and interpreted ‘blocking’ as ‘putting the offending messages into a separate inbox so they’re impossible to miss’, I tap the symbol.

The first text expresses outrage at being blocked on WhatsApp.

The second informs me he’s just got out of a 14-hour operation.

I tell Beatrice.

‘That’s hot,’ she sends back, reading my mind.

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CC Image courtesy of Martin Deutsch on FlickrPerhaps, I dunno, perhaps he’s lost his phone, or… no.  I tell myself to shut up.  He knows about the dancing I do – he could easily find me on Facebook.

This is when I catch sight of Charlie’s face through the crowd.  We start doing strange crab-like movements, dodging others on the platform (who frankly look scared), until we meet and he catches me up in his arms, whirls me around.

‘Ahhh!’ I scream.  ‘You’ll throw me onto the tracks!’

The train comes to a halt at the same time as I do.  I curtsey to the opening doors, and we board.

‘So,’ he says, leaning against the doors, ‘what are you going to say in the blog, about this girl not replying?’


Twenty-four hours earlier…

Charlie and I are on the Circle line, talking Tinder.  He ‘liked’ a girl, met her for drinks, and still liked her.  Then, the next day, he texted her and… nothing.

‘Do you want the harsh truth?’ I say.  ‘No, never mind….’

‘I can take harsh truth.’

‘Well, it’s not good.’

‘You say that, but actually, well, you see, we’re the same!  She thinks the same as me, about things.  And one of the things that’s the same about us is that we both forget to reply to texts.  We can like the person and want to reply – mean to reply.  But we just forget and a couple of days go by and we still haven’t replied.  She said that.’

I smile and shake my head.


‘I loved what you said – you see I used to – the thing is, you say it’s because you forget to reply, but people don’t – they just don’t.’

‘Have you heard of ADHD?’

I frown. ‘ADHD?’

‘Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.  Did you know it’s present in 5% of the population?’

I laugh.  ‘Saying that, it’s like saying they’ve been kidnapped by – by MI5!  Or dropped their phone in the Thames, lost their computer and found themselves in a remote part of the British Isles without phone signal!  And that’s why they haven’t replied!’

‘No because you’re ignoring the variance.’


‘Between 5%, and the likelihood of those things happening, which is a lot smaller.’

It’s Charlie’s stop.  We say goodnight.

‘By the way,’ he says, turning back, ‘I won that one.’

‘No you didn’t!’

He grins.  ‘For the record.’

I shake my head.

CC Image courtesy of kabl1992 on Flickr
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‘He had to pack!’

‘If you’re a guy, you can pack in half an hour.’

I’ve made the mistake of telling Flatmate about Nice Guy; specifically about how he cancelled drinks on Tuesday (not nice) in order to ‘steady the ship’ before going off on holiday. I haven’t told him that I googled ‘steady the ship’ to death after The Free Dictionary failed to come up trumps. I knew what the phrase meant (sort of), but that didn’t stop me reading about Bell and Broad’s impressive performance on Day 3 of the first Test, or Lampard’s goal for Chelsea against Reading at Stamford Bridge.

‘He works long hours though,’ I say, ‘and he was doing stuff on Sunday and he was out Monday night and blah blah blah….’

‘If he really liked you, he’d have met you for drinks.’

CC Image courtesy of Britanglishman on Flickr

I put Flatmate’s argument to my brother. He laughs heartily.

‘Half an hour to pack?!’

My little heart soars.

‘More like half a minute!’

I don’t look happy.

My brother frowns. ‘Actually…’


‘… it took me a while to pack my revision stuff – my books and stuff – before coming home for the weekend.’

‘The guy was going on holiday! He didn’t take revision books!’

Or did he?

CC Image courtesy of Templarion on Flickr