Hello there. This is my first post since November 2013. It is now 2015.
That means I didn’t write anything last year.
I don’t really know what happened in 2014. I definitely had a headache one of the nights. Possibly two.
I was working a fair bit.
I also spent a lot of time listening to ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and admiring her impossibly high cheek bones.
I guess when you consider all those things, it’s no wonder I didn’t get around to posting anything new here.
Anyway, I’ve decided to share a story that until now I’ve been too embarrassed to tell anyone about.
Years ago I wrote this Bus Girl post. Read it if you want. Don’t read it if you don’t want. You’re your own person, pal.
About 18 months ago I encountered a serious, real life case of Bus Girl.
A girl, she was. A female girl.
I started seeing her on the bus to work each morning. I admired her from afar. Not that far, actually. Like, a couple of seats away.
She had sallow skin. Brown eyes, brown hair. I know what you’re picturing. It’s this, right?
You’d be wrong. Far prettier than that.
She was always well wrapped up. She always, always, wore a hat. Sometimes I worried she might have some sort of bald patch under there. No matter, I thought. Just wear the hat all the time if you want. I mean, look at that singer, Gabrielle. She covered up her eye the whole time. Probably helped her career in the end. Yeah, go on love, cover up that bald patch.
Anyway, soon enough we started making eye contact. Looking at each other with our eyes.
This soon escalated.
I’d get on the bus, have a scan for her. We’d lock eyes and smile.
SMILING AT EACH OTHER!
WITH OUR MOUTHS!
WHILE LOOKING AT EACH OTHER WITH OUR EYES!
Thank God my dear mother couldn’t see me now, I thought.
Not that my mother’s dead or anything. She was just at work, probably. The crucial point is that she certainly wasn’t on that bus.
It got to the stage when I’d feel a little bit excited every morning thinking about this real life Bus Girl.
Where’s she gonna be sitting? She’ll definitely be sitting a few seats back so we can do our daily eye-contact-and-smile as I make my way to a seat. Maybe if I sit close enough to her I’ll find out what she smells like. Probably smells nice. Do I smell nice? I do smell nice.
I definitely smell nice. She’d better fucking smell me if she gets the chance. SMELL ME!
Sometimes she’d have to stand up to let the person beside her, get off the bus. She’d glance in my direction as she did this. Another eye-contact-and-smile.
Multiple eye-contact-and-smiles in the space of half an hour! I was a stud!
This was going on for about two months. Sometimes her smile was cute. Sometimes it was more lustful looking. As if she was thinking “ooh, you smell nice.”
Eventually, I decided something had to be done.
This has gone on long enough.
Some day I’ll get on the bus and she won’t be there, I’ll never see her again, and I’ll be disgusted with myself for not acting on all this eye-contact-and-smile action. It had been happening so undeniably, for so long, that there was no question of me imagining it, or mistaking mere friendliness for something more.
The internal debate rages.
Do something, Mark.
Do what, though? Give her some fucking flowers? It’s 8am and a public bus. Can’t exactly buy her a drink.
What about your friend who was given a note from a guy on the bus before? She loved it. That’ll work. It’s a note. Girls love notes. Remember school? They were always sending notes! She’ll know you’re literate too, that’s a bonus. She’ll probably think you’re all romantic, like Shakespeare, or one of the Backstreet Boys, or something.
Ah, fuck’s sake. Maybe I should just carry on with my life as normal and then everything will be okay.
No! What about that quote annoying people sometimes put on Facebook? Some shit about it being better to regret the things you did, rather than the things you didn’t do.
Yeah, I bet Fred West comforted himself with that little maxim when he got caught, didn’t he?
Don’t bring Fred West into this. What about Rosa Parks? She was brave on the bus, and look what that did. She made a difference, Mark. You can too.
I do love Rosa, in fairness.
Go on son, do it. Do it for Rosa. Do it for AJ from the Backstreet Boys. Do it for your people. Do it for your willy.
I’m doing it.
I take out a pen and scrap of paper.
It’s good that I only have a shitty scrap of paper. This way it looks off the cuff. If it was some pre-written prose, written on some nice paper, I’d look like an over-prepared little nerd.
I don’t remember what I wrote. It was quite simple. Something about how I like seeing her (and her hat) every day. Followed by my name and phone number. That sounds really lame and shit, but come on, what the fuck can you write? I’m just a man. A man on a bus writing a note. Give me a break.
As I’m getting off, I tap her on her adorable little shoulder, and hand her the note.
I do my best to stride confidently off the bus.
This is definitely a good idea.
I’ve definitely done the right thing.
She’s definitely going to text me.
I glance at her as I exit the bus. She’s reading the note with a big smile on her face. An unmistakable smile.
She’s definitely going to text me.
I was supremely confident I’d hear from her soon. Usually I wouldn’t feel so certain of such matters.
But this flaccid flirting had gone on for months. There’s definitely something there. She had the biggest smile on her face reading the note.
She’s texting alright. Probably before I’ve sat down at my desk.
Shit. What if we date, it goes sour, and then I see her every day on the bus still? Oh Christ. I’ve made a huge mistake.
Then again, what if it doesn’t go sour? That’s probably what’ll happen. You gave her a note for fuck’s sake. That’s the opposite of sour. That sweet. Sweet. A sweet gesture from a sweet guy.
I’m checking my phone at a rate of knots.
Whenever I get a text or alert I’m absolutely disgusted when it isn’t her. Enough to feel angry at the person who has texted me.
WHY ARE YOU TEXTING ME? GO AWAY!
DON’T YOU KNOW I’M WAITING FOR A TEXT FROM A BUS GIRL? A REAL LIFE BUS GIRL?
WE’VE BEEN MAKING EYE CONTACT! WE’VE BASICALLY BEEN LIVING IN SIN!
It gets to lunch time. No text.
She’s playing it cool.
She’s definitely going to text.
You wouldn’t want her texting too quickly. That’d be so annoying. She’d be way too keen.
It gets to 5pm. No text.
She’s just been really busy at work! Must be a high pressure job. Good thing I gave her the note so. She’s probably thinking about it all day. That’s probably what she’ll say when she texts.
7pm. No text.
Maybe she has a boyfriend or something.
Still, just text and tell me as much. That’s totally fine.
8pm. No text.
9pm. No text.
9.30pm. No text.
9.45pm. No text.
10pm – The texting Watershed. You can’t start a conversation by text after 10pm.
Little. Baldy. Bitch.
I get on the bus the next day. She’s there. I see her from the corner of my eye. I couldn’t even look at her. I was too embarrassed.
Joke’s on you, love. Wearing your hat all the time? Even on the bus? Don’t you know you won’t feel the benefit when you go outside again? YOU WON’T FEEL THE BENEFIT!
The next week, I saw her on the bus, and made accidental eye contact.
But it wasn’t the same smile. Before, she gave me a sexy, almost suggestive, smile.
This was a different smile.
Ever been at a funeral, and you see a relative of the deceased, from afar? You do your best to give them a supportive smile. It’s not really a smile. It’s more just pressing your lips together and trying to look humble.
She did that.
So much worse.
Thankfully I only saw her for a few weeks more, and then never saw her again. I can only hope that someday she doesn’t receive a text she’s banking on. Like one telling her to move out of the way of an advancing lorry. YEAH! HAVE THAT!
Fuck Rosa Parks, too.
No, I don’t mean that. I’m sorry Rosa. Forgive me. Here, have my seat.
Anyway, the lesson here is to just to never take any risks, and avoid human contact at all costs.
And take off your fucking hat indoors.
Not too bad myself.
Any readers of previous blog posts may have gotten the impression that I am a dull man. Unadventurous. Sometimes cynical.
That would be a completely accurate impression to have.
So then, it may come as a surprise to hear that I recently went on a little holiday to New York. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps.
Although Wikipedia tells me that ‘the city that never sleeps’ can refer to New York City, Mumbai, Barcelona, Las Vegas, Lagos, Mecca, Cairo, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, São Paulo, Tel Aviv or Zurich, which renders the phrase a bit useless. Make your mind up, lads.
Anyway, on my trip to what is sometimes called the best city in the world, I noticed a few things.
1. Unmistakable Irishness
New York is, as one might expect, full of New Yorkers.
However, you also get a few Irish lads around the place.
I didn’t speak to any of them, but you can spot them a mile off.
See, there’s a few features Irish people have that make them instantly recognisable.
Of course, you have the freckles and ginger hair, but there are also some more subtle things that do the same job.
For example, no Irishman looks right in a pair of shorts (GAA shorts aside). You’ll be on a packed subway, and on comes some lad in his shorts, usually something like the below:
It matters not that the shorts are no longer stylish. They were most likely purchased seven or eight years ago, but only get wheeled out for two weeks in the summer, so you can go and shite if you think he’s buying a new pair.
But it’s not just the shorts that give it away.
The legs of an Irishman are thick with hair and impressively pale. But there’s more.
The final piece of the puzzle of the Irish leg, is the mysterious bruise.
Locate any Irish leg in the vicinity. There will be a bruise. Not a bad one, just one of those brown ones. The owner does not know where it came from. Probably happened when out acting the bollocks or having the craic somewhere. But it’s there.
When it fades, it is replaced very soon with another bruise elsewhere on the legs.
There’s also another way of identifying the Irish abroad.
We’ve a phrase here that I’m not sure is used in other English-speaking countries.
“The head on him.”
It’s usually used to point out someone with a head or facial expression we wish to mock.
“Would you look at the head on him.”
“The absolute head on her.”
I can see why we’ve come to have this phrase here. The Irish head stands out when you’re abroad. Whether it’s the look of worried befuddlement, or the face somehow shining with sweat, you can spot it straight away.
The best example of an unmistakably Irish head, is Robbie Keane.
Let me say now how much I love Robbie Keane. He is a treasure. I love him so much. But I won’t get distracted lavishing praise on him. Instead I will focus on the head on him.
Look at it.
When this photo was taken, Robbie was contemplating the utter futility of life, and how no matter what we may achieve, how differently we all live our lives, ultimately we shall all wither and meet the same end.
In this photo, Robbie had just scored a crucial goal for his country against France, in a World Cup qualifying playoff, and decided to go for a cool, “Yeah, what of it?” kind of celebration. A smooth operator, our Robbie.
Have you ever seen a young man look so like a disgruntled granny?
Finally, as one of the greatest international goalscorers of all time, Robbie is well used to being in front of the camera. In this one, he is modelling a new kit for his team, LA Galaxy. Give us your sexiest, suavest face Robbie. Yeah, look a little angry. Smoldering.
Looks like he’s just realised he’s shat himself.
So there you have it. The quintessential Irish head.
2. There’s no bathroom like your own bathroom.
People often comment on how no matter where you go, you always miss your own bed. I couldn’t argue with this.
Often neglected, however, is your own bathroom.
Bathrooms abroad are a shambles.
You go there, there’s often no thing to put your toothbrush in.
There’s one of those disgraceful toilets where the seat doesn’t stay up. I’ve noticed this a fair bit. I know it’s sinking pretty low to be complaining about toilets, but I mean, it’s such a basic function, and surely not a difficult thing to get right.
How can we have created the internet but still have so many ill-functioning toilet seats?
Then you have the shower.
You fiddle around trying to figure out how it works, then trying to get the temperature right, and when you finally think you’ve got it right and step in, the heat of the water suddenly surges up and scalds you. You never can predict the speed with which the water temperature responds to your fiddling. And for some reason I’m very impatient with this. I don’t want to hang around waiting to see if the current temperature truly is the final temperature. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
And worst of all, is that most showers abroad have a fixed height that I can’t adjust.
So I’m crouching down towards a stream of water barely above my fucking thigh. Was this place built for hobbits or what?
Bollocks to that.
3. Tourist attractions are generally shit
In New York I did a number of things because I felt like I had to.
Prime example here is the Empire State Building. I knew that when I came back, most people would ask whether or not I went up the Empire State. It’s one of the first things that comes to mind about New York.
Grand, says I. I’ll go up there.
You buy your tickets.
Then you queue for ages.
Sweet Christ, the amount of queuing you can end up doing on holidays. Sickening.
Anyway, after all that, you get to the top of the building and look out over New York. There’s about three to five seconds of pleasure, as you look out at the city from a great height. There’s an unquestionable wow factor about that. But it’s very short-lived. Like I said, five seconds max.
Then you’re just on top a building with nothing really to do.
But you’ve queued for ages, and paid for the privilege, so you pretend to be into it all, and to try spend more time up there.
You walk around the place.
“Look, there’s a really high up view of the city, but from a slightly different position than the one from a few seconds ago!”
Then you take the photos.
The most pointless photos in the history of photography.
You take some shots of the city, you try different angles.
One facing right down towards the ground, looking at how small the cars and people are.
One including some famous buildings.
You twist and assume awkward positions in an attempt to get the best shot.
Yep, photos upon photos.
Never in your life will you actually look at those photos. If you put them up online, people will skip by them.
They are useless.
If I ever want to see photos of that sort of thing, I’ll look online and get proper ones, rather than my amateur attempts featuring my big stupid thumb poking its way into the corner.
Obviously photos featuring you, or the people you’re there with, are a different story. But I know that going through my camera when I got home was a fairly dull experience at times, going through the utterly forgettable photographs of the skyline, or some building I walked by and photographed simply because it was huge.
If I offered you the choice between looking at my photos of the New York skyline, taken from the Empire State building, or close-up shots of my mysteriously bruised legs, what would you pick?
You’d pick the legs.
The legs would be far more interesting.
And I assure you they’re dull enough legs.
That’s actually a bit unfair on my fairly well composed legs, but I digress.
If you picked the New York ones, the most interesting one would be the photo that’s actually a four second video I accidentally took instead of a photo.
I’ll let you go.
Always nice to get a few things off your chest, eh?
Cathartic, they say.
That’s what I’m going for with this here blog post.
It remains to be seen if I shall entitle all future blog posts after Usher songs, but if it doesn’t work out that way, it sure as shit won’t be for lack of trying.
Below are five embarrassing, and somewhat personal, confessions for you. And I won’t listen to anyone who tells me that the internet was invented for the sharing of embarrassing, personal confessions.
1. Mental Disability
There’s a little part of my brain that fears I may have some sort of severe mental disability.
The only reason for this fear is that I have no way to guarantee otherwise. There’s still reasonable doubt.
I’ve seen 12 Angry Men, and if you have too, you’ll understand how important even a shred of reasonable doubt is.
For all I know, I was born with some brain defect.
My parents decided when I was very young that they wouldn’t tell me about it, and instead let me go on living my life in blissful ignorance. And why would they tell me? It’s not going to do any good, is it?
You made the right call, parents.
Women I’ve been with in the past only got involved with me out of sympathy and pity.
My moderate academic success only came because all my exams and projects and everything were graded by someone who had my mental affliction in mind.
“Ah God, it’s that Walsho fella. I’ll give him a decent grade, the poor sod.”
You’re only reading this blog because someone told you that there’s some guy on the internet who’s not the full shilling, and he likes to try to be funny on his blog. It’s called “Walsho”. Who in their right mind would name it that? Someone who’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic, that’s who.
And I only have my job because they needed to fill some sort of equality quota.
To make matters worse, I’m also fairly certain that my dull little mentally handicapped life is streamed worldwide 24/7 to a secret audience.
I’m onto you, world.
2. Wedding Woes
I’ve been to one wedding in my entire life, and that was about ten years ago.
It doesn’t look like I’m getting married anytime soon, and I can say the same for most, if not all, of my close friends (Well, I call them ‘friends’, but we all know they’re actors in my own little Truman Show).
And despite all of the above, at least once a week I get into a panic about having to deliver a Best Man speech.
Sometimes I try to think about funny opening lines and get annoyed at myself for being too cheesy.
I try to think about anecdotes that’ll get a laugh but won’t be too bad for my mate’s bride to hear.
Fucking hell, it’s a nightmare.
Will I hold the speech in my hand or try to memorise it?
What if I get too drunk and RUIN THE WHOLE WEDDING?
Oh god, I’ll have to buy them some big gift to make up for it.
Jesus, as if the wedding wasn’t expensive enough to go to, in that posh fucking hotel. Why the fuck did I have to spend so much on a new tie just for the wedding?
Eventually I regain my grip on reality and simply pray that nobody will ever like me enough to want me to be their Best Man.
I also worry about my own wedding. The part I worry about is having to do the first dance with my new wife.
I’m not sure if that’s still done these days, but I’m dreading it.
There’s two reasons I end up dancing in nightclubs. The first is that I’m drunk. The second is that I tell myself that everyone is drunk and dancing, so nobody is going to be looking at me trying to emulate Ricky Martin.
But at the wedding, when you’re the groom, you have to go dance with your new wife, JUST THE TWO OF YOU, WITH EVERYONE WATCHING.
What an awful tradition.
Why can’t we just be tarred and feathered instead?
Reckon the whole ‘Big Fish, Small Fish, Cardboard Box’ routine could still work?
3. Overheating Laptop
A couple of years ago, I had a laptop that was prone to overheating.
I spent a lot of time on this overheating laptop.
One day I was using this overheating laptop, on my lap.
So to clarify, the laptop, which was prone to overheating, was on top of my lap.
As the old saying goes, if you play with overheating laptops, you’re gonna get burned.
The next day I felt a strange discomfort in the area that I can only describe as genital.
Nothing serious by any stretch, but enough to make me want to Google around to see if anyone else had been foolish enough to let it happen to them.
I opened up a new tab in my internet browser, and searched possibly my most embarrassing ever search. I remember exactly how I typed it, because immediately afterwards I looked at what I had just typed and let out a shameful sigh at how my life had brought me to this point.
“Laptop burn penis”.
If you’re wondering, which you obviously are, the main result was a story about a Swedish guy who had done similar to myself, but to a far worse extent, needing medical attention. The story was one of those “Look at this idiot!” kind of ones, so it did little to comfort me.
The following day everything was grand again, and I’ve since developed a new appreciation for desks.
But there you have it. A classic case of the old Laptop Burn Penis.
Oh yes, I’ve seen this one before, you’ve got yourself a mild dose of Laptopburnpenis.
Don’t worry though, it’s treatable. Simply apply this tube of Notbeingafuckingmoron, and you’ll be right as rain.
Now, on your way, I’ve got a patient coming in who tells me he’s got a case of Accidentallysatontesticles.
4. YouTube Shame
What a wonderful resource YouTube is.
Some people use it to watch and share funny videos.
Some use it to listen to music.
Some use it to learn about new things.
The more time goes on, the more I think my primary use of YouTube is watching videos of people squeezing enormous cysts that have somehow grown on their bodies, and watching all the contents of these truly disgusting things pour out.
Stumbling across one video leads to far too many others.
And they all have such irresistible titles, such as “WORLD’S BIGGEST CYST REMOVAL” or “GIANT ZIT POPPED!” and I have no choice but to watch and feel simultaneously disgusted and excited.
Sometimes I actually feel jealous of the people in these videos, and hope that someday I’ll wake up with a giant cyst that I can attack and put on YouTube. Preferably somewhere not all that important, or publicly visible. My leg, perhaps.
A man is entitled to his dream.
Martin Luther King had his, and I have mine.
And who’s to say which is more valid?
5. Secret Code
I like to keep a ‘To Do’ list these days. It’s on an app on my phone. I actually have a few different ones – one for work, a personal one, movies to watch, etc.
On my personal one, I sometimes have an entry of “ *lol* “.
This is actually a secret code, just in case anyone were to sneak a peek at my To Do list. A passing friend, perhaps, or someone lurking behind me on public transport. I know well that if I saw someone checking their To Do list, I’d be trying to get a look at what their life is like.
The burden of secrecy has gotten too much for me, and I feel that I’m ready to reveal the meaning behind this uncrackable encryption.
The real meaning of *lol* is…
Trim pubic hair.
THERE, I SAID IT.
Now get out of here, you vultures, constantly asking me about my secret To Do list codes.
You’ve got your story.