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My Favouritest Coach Journey Ever

Television is great - a place where everything happens for a reason, and no problem is allowed to go unresolved before bedtme. Real life, as we all know, is more of a tatty-fa-la, about 80% of everything we feel important eventually amounting to nothing more than a general sense of futile incompletion. A ha! But then, sometimes everything you do over a period of days finds its purpose in the same ten seconds. This story is neither exaggerated nor elaborated. It is simply true. 

16th May 1997 

I am preparing to go to Oxford. My official line is that I am visiting an exboyfriend on the grounds that we had something beautiful while it lasted and we shouldn't lose touch. In reality, of course, I am making sure that he hasn't found anyone to replace me. Furthermore, we never even had anything beautiful - the whole relationship was based around me losing my dignity and throwing myself at him in ever more desperate ways. Anyways - I have only one pair of clean trousers, but this situation is soon remedied when I spill wax all over them lighting a cigarette from a candle. There is no time for laundry. I leave. 

17th May 1997 

Arriving in Oxford, I am caught in a torrential cloudburst. My boots, being far from waterproof, welcome the rain as though they were part of a primitive tribe who worshipped cats, and the rain looked like a cat. I am too drunk to care, and when the time comes for sleep, I peel my socks off and as quickly as possible I trap them in my travel bag. I amuse myself for five minutes playing with my trenchfoot symptoms. 

As I emptied my pockets in preparation for sleep (my traditional drunken substitute for undressing), I think it wise to take out my house keys and leave them somewhere safely out of sight. 

18th May 1997 

I awake at 1:25pm, with half an hour before my 24 hour coach ticket expires. I feel as rough as the proverbial badger's arse, I look like a cleverer Down's Syndrome child (you know, the one that gets the starring roles in those Drama Workshops), and smelling like an ill horse, I rushed unthinkingly to the coach stop. I catch the coach with five minutes to spare. I am happy, and I relax. 

 And so we reach...
A smart business woman got on the coach at the next stop. She sat next to me, probably because I didn't look like I was about to start a conversation. She glanced at my leg - I followed her gaze, and noticed for the first time that after two days of scratching, the wax stain looked like nothing so much as a hefty wad of day-old semen. Having to consider another person, I became aware of my own stench, which was considerable. The woman's expression, once she got close to me, was the expression of a person who knows that they have made a mistake.
I decided I'd try to sleep - and I was having some success, but as the images of semi-slumber trickled through my head, I remembered  my house keys. More particularly, I remembered not having them. I snapped awake, said "Fuck" at what was virtually a bellow, and starting patting my pockets in a panicked pocket check. Or, as it must have appeared, I was trying to bat out an imaginary fire on my thighs.
I checked my travel bag. The socks were obviously unhappy at this disturbance. The smell that came out of that bag.... my God, Miss Jones, the smell! I had gotten used to my own stench, but this new assault knocked me sideways. The woman, also within the bag's belch range, registered her disgust with an audible gasp. Her last lingering thread of curiosity was severed by a wave of nausea, and she looked away with her hand over her mouth.
You know when belches slip out without even warning you that they were there in the first place? Next, in what I consider to be my coup de grace, I did one of those. A manly belch. A gutsy belch. Automatically slapping my hand to my mouth and muttering "'Scuse Me", I began to wonder at the cumulative absurdity and my general appearance, and I started to giggle.
I faced the window, giggling as quietly as possible. When the woman stood up and moved seats, that just set me off into fresh shudderings. It was a farting in School Assembly, helpless giggle. All in all, I reflected to myself for the rest of the journey, this had been the best coach journey of my life.