[Just when you thought I couldn't get any lower, I come up with a joke like this.]
When the aliens or Russians or whoever-the-hell-it-is finally invade, and people who like being free/alive take to hiding in forests and fighting with shoes, what would I teach my hypothetical post-apocalyptic child? Aside from the fact that, contrary to the Fallout games, he should not have bitching tunes to listen to while he haunts his own wasteland looking for food. Good music, as we all know, creates a feeling of familiarization and enjoyment, and when you have to be on guard all the time this should not even come into the equation.
So what would a child of mine in such a situation learn that would be of use? Never, ever, under any situation go surfing just before a very stressful period, in which you need control over your legs.
I've recently - say, four hours ago - got back from a two week trip to Newquay in Cornwall. Two weeks of staying with my girlfriend's sister, and two weeks of sun, sea, sand, surf, San Miguel, and silliness. And since Newquay is a place where twenty-somethings like something go to fight off scary maturity for a few for years with glorified pieces of wood, it seemed like a lot of fun. And it was. Boy was it. The trip was very pleasant, and a lot of fun. But honestly, the real fun started when the west coast was hit with the arse-end of a hurricane, during which time I happened to be surfing with my girlfriend and two mates in the mist and light rain. This produced one of those snapshot moments in life that feel (at least) unforgettable. And there was a certain mood about because of the norish lighting from both the buildings and streetslights, poor visibility that gave everything a strange brownish colour, and the moody sea.
This had a very positive effect for us because the next day was bright hot, and the waves on the famous Fiscal beech were ideal, so during a 6 hour surfing session - though only with my girlfriend this time - I was able to get a good handle on what I was doing and making progress in my surfing skills. Which is essentially: jump on a plank of wood and hope for the best.
However, during this rather epic surf I managed to fall off my board and land on someone, and I twisted my ankle. It didn't stop me and I didn't think much of it at the time but over the next few days it started playing up occasionally and sent shooting pains up my leg. But, I'm not exactly soft, and I could mostly ignore it.
As the fates conspired against Achillies, and Oedipus so they conspired against me on this trip. I should have been home two days ago, but on the day I was to come back our car engine died, Valve two was misfiring and the converter became clogged and stopped working. Becki, my girlfriend's sister, drove all around Cornwall trying to find a garage to fix it which only made the problem worse and the car (an Alfa Romao) eventually blew on a motorway somewhere near St. Ives. So, what to do? I needed to get back to Northumberland because the next Monday I'll being taking the position of Assistant Editor with The Northumberland Gazette for a week, and I start my third year of University the week after.
Our solution was simple. Rent a car and drive like hell back up to Northumberland and Becki could then drive it back to her apartment in Newqauy. Brilliant. But we set off ASAP, which meant setting off close to Midnight and drive through the night. The thing we didn't take into account when we came up with this plan was basic: tiredness. Because the person navigating was tired and the driver being just as tired was simply following directions, we made a slight alteration to our route and we ended up somewhere near Brighton. But, as soon as we got onto the M1 things improved. Just follow the M1 until it turned into the A1 and drive until we pass Newcastle; then we would be back in Northumberland. Great.
Which lead to another problem. three people in a car driving through the night. We needed coffee to stay awake, and because of the coffee we needed bathroom breaks. So we had to stop in Services every two hours for a pick-me-up and a rest. While in Trowel Services early this morning (around 6PM) my hurt ankle started acting up, sending shooting pains up my leg. Because I was tired, I felt it a lot more and I fell over just beyond the entrance on my way back from the coffee machine. Thankfully I had already drank half of the crappy coffee and it was then lukewarm. So I wasn't too badly hurt when the coffee flew all over my shirt and jeans. I don't know what is more embarrassing: that I split coffee on myself or that I fell to end up in such a graceless pose of having my arms wide apart, one leg completely on the floor and the other still holding myself up in some kind of horrible parody of The Thinker.
Why, you might ask, would my hypothetical post-apocolyptic/post-invasion child need to know about this? Because hurting yourself and being tired is all well and good, when nobody is watching.
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