Friday, July 06, 2007

All aboard the rude express

Recently, I had an Extremely Odd Transport Day.

It started with catching a ride on the rude express in the morning. For some reason, I got The Early Train, which is packed with school kiddies and people who would rather be asleep. I crawled on and snaffled a window seat. The woman opposite me was champing open-mouthed on a wad of gum. At 7.30am. The guy next to her was quite personable, yet chose to snort snot back into his throat instead of blowing his nose like a civilised person and to cough without covering his mouth. Little did he know that his life was in danger.

The carriage filled quite quickly, mostly with kids wearing sniffy college uniforms. Being a public school gal myself, I can't tell one sniffy school uniform from another, but I figure that if the kids are wearing blazers, then their parents are probably paying more than they should. Anyway, the little college loves had grabbed most of the seats early on and even though the train was full and adults were strap-hanging, did they stand up as they were supposed to? No! Obviously that rule only applies to public school students. They were far too good for that caper.

By the time I got into town, I'd been generous with my patented could-strip-paint look. Sadly, only the guy with the wet cough had taken any notice, but at least he was covering his germ-dripping gob. Everyone else had ignored my Medusa stare and somehow not been turned to stone. Perhaps it's all about eye contact. Still, I wanted to drop a rolled-up rubber band into the hair of the gum chewer and I really wished I had had the energy to blast the overprivileged brats who were sitting down while adults stood. I don't know which school they came from - probably No Manners Grammar.

After lunch, I found myself in a taxi driven by a guy who was literally willing to go to the ends of the earth to get me to my destination, which happened to be a wharf in the back of Port Adelaide. It's not usually that hard to get to the docks, but there are roadworks at the moment and the usual route looks a bit like a kids' sandpit minus the cat poop but with more bits of broken concrete.

Mr Cabbie decided he knew where we should be going, even though I told him I was heading for a Damn Big Ship and couldn't see one anywhere near here. Before I knew it, we were heading crosscountry over a big patch of ripped-up road. I swear if I hadn't told him three times to turn back, we would have driven off the end of a half-made bridge and into the Port River. Enthusiasm for one's job is commendable, but only to a point, y'know?

Eventually we found our way to the dock. Thank Ford, Mr Cabbie proved to be the only man in the world willing to ask another man for directions. Hallefordja. Shortly afterwards, I found myself wrapped in a fluro yellow safety vest of cavernous proportions to make the dangerous trek across a stretch of forklift-infested bitumen. The guy said the vest was one size fits all, but I think it was actually one size fits three.

My destination was a dirty great cargo ship being loaded with oranges. Hurrah for oranges, eh? Without them, we'd have no Jaffas, no vodka and orange and no Beroccas. I don't really have any other uses for oranges, but as those three are quite important I'll tolerate them.

Me and my notebook and camera got dragged all over said cargo ship: the officers' mess (bolted-down tables, manky dried flowers, remarkably low ceilings and signs warning about being shitfaced on duty); the bridge (big windows, nothing resembling a wheel and midgets in white uniforms); the engine room (more dials, gauges and pipes than your average nuclear reactor and Snow White's Seven Dwarfs running the place) and the deck and holds (goodness, what a big crane you have!) Oh, and a fuckload of oranges. About 5000 tonnes, to be exact.

As I left several hours later, a Thai crewman said, "Goodbye, sir!" Thanks, mate. That makes me feel just great. If you weren't four foot eight, I'd bloody 'ave ya!

By the time I got off the ship, it was 5 o'clock and nearly dark. The gloaming, I think Scots poets and drunkards call it. Calling a cab didn't seem like a great idea, since the guy who'd dropped me there was probably the only cabbie in Oddelaide who'd be able to find the place. I thought I'd walk to the main road and then get one. Ha.

Among my many flaws is the unfailing ability to get lost within, oh, three seconds. I have no sense of direction. I'm completely incapable of taking my bearings, let alone finding them again. I usually just start walking and hope that it's the right direction. Of course it never is.

The backblocks of Port Adelaide are not what you'd call a pleasant place to be with darkness descending. In fact, a ute slowed down and did a u-turn behind me and it was only willpower, the lack of running spikes and the realisation that at least one man in the near vicinity had recently mistaken me for a bloke that kept me from taking off like Cathy Freeman.

There weren't any footpaths, either: just rather rocky verges that led past freight handlers and pallet-makers and a rather noisome company that claimed to send things to Kangaroo Island but really just smelled like stale sheep piss. Very stale sheep piss.

So, there I was. Lost, but couldn't call a cab because I had no idea where I was. Hurrah for me. Finally, I looked over my shoulder, saw the cement works and realised that I was definitely walking in the wrong direction. I already had blisters and unless I wanted to find myself with blisters and a custom-built shallow bush grave, turning around seemed like rather a good plan.

Naturally, I had to walk back past the very stale sheep piss.

But happily I found my way into the Port without being murdered, found a cab in front of a pub I have been known to frequent and was home five minutes later.

Only to find Mr Furpants had had an identity crisis and sprayed in my study.

Rude express, crazy taxi, cargo ship staffed by blind midgets, lost in the boonies and cat pee in the house. Whacko for that day, eh?


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At 11:00 pm, July 06, 2007, Blogger phishez_rule said...

Just hope the germs from MrSnotNose (sorry, forgot his name) imploded from the sheer icyness of your gaze and you don't get sick.

At 1:16 am, July 07, 2007, Blogger Sakura said...

How can so much crappiness happen in one day? That is a shit day to say the least.

I know what you mean about legging it, because it is getting dark and you are in unfamiliar surroundings.

Once I almost impaled myself on the back path through the forest to work one pitch black morning (what was I thinking) because I heard noises and I freaked myself out big style !!!

Needless to say the guys did not let me live that one down for a while. I had bruises the size of dinner plates on my legs from falling into massive logs.

At 10:13 am, July 07, 2007, Blogger Lonie Polony said...

Oh Dear. Glad you didn't get murdered. Hope you gave work a good blasting for not sending a car for you.

At 2:15 pm, July 07, 2007, Blogger ashleigh said...

Makes my bad days seem like a romp in the park. Next time I'm crabby about crap I'll just have to remember this!

At 7:40 pm, July 07, 2007, Blogger Eleanor Bloom said...

Gawd, I hate days like that.

I'm guessing the cat piss was the spray that broke the florist's back... No... wait, that's not right...
Eh, whatever.

At 10:13 pm, July 07, 2007, Blogger Steph said...

Some days you just shouldn't get out of bed.
Alas, we never realise this until we've had a shitful day. *sigh*

Glad you made it out of there alive.

At 2:31 am, July 08, 2007, Blogger Scorpy said...

LOL...I have to work with ships about once a month and I am sure the same crew is on every one. They are all 4 foot 8 and come from somewhere in Asia or the other crew that belong to some state in the Balkans. The smell inside the ship, from their cooking and unwashed overalls is the worst :). Actually, the coffee served by most of the captains seems to be of the Turkish variety and a spoon could stand in it. Great story :)

At 4:52 pm, July 08, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

That sounds like a very wacko day, indeed - although I secretly enjoyed your post (I'm sorry to laugh at your expense) but it was rather amusing to think of you lost at the docks.

Glad you're feeling better!

At 4:58 pm, July 08, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

phishez, I already had my own disease. Luckily, it seems that you can't get two at once. Or if you do, I guess you don't notice it.

sakura, ha! That sounds like something I'd do too!

lonie, I'm rather pleased to have not ended up in a ditch myself...

ashleigh, every bad day is a little crapiverse of its own :)

eleanor, bingo. That was indeed where the wheels fell off and I threw a tantrum.

steph, I reckon every clock radio should come complete with a shit day alarm. If the SDA goes off, then you just pull the doona back over your head and call in sick.

scorpy, thanks matey. Is it something like the minimum height thingies on roller coasters except in reverse? You must be less than this height to work on a ship? Thank God I didn't have to deal with the coffee ~shudder~ Poor you that you have to deal with it regularly!

At 5:00 pm, July 08, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

rosanna, sorry, I was answering while you were commenting. That's OK - it's called schadenfreud. I've been known to enjoy a bit of that myself ;)

At 5:42 pm, July 08, 2007, Blogger Milly Moo said...

You poor old sausage - the things we do for a living....!

You've inspired me to do a post on public transport (hope you don't mind - I'll link to you) but fortunately no scary times were had in the docks

At 7:05 pm, July 08, 2007, Blogger gigglewick said...

Redcap, it was worth it.

If nothing else, today you have taught me some maritime terminology.

5000 tonnes = one fuckload.

I am sooo in with the MUA boys right now.

At 7:34 pm, July 08, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

That's quite okay - I'm sure I forgive you.

At 8:18 pm, July 09, 2007, Blogger killerrabbit said...

Thank you for braving the ship and the horrors of the Adelaide docklands to make sure of our jaffas, imagine if we didn't have those. Maybe Mr Furpants wanted to go visit the kiddie's sandpit? To add the cat poop perhaps?

At 12:18 pm, July 10, 2007, Blogger hazelblackberry said...

Simply seeing someone mindlessly gnawing away at chewing gum first thing in the morning would have been enough to set me off for the whole day.

At 1:06 pm, July 10, 2007, Blogger Mex said...

cat pee is never a good thing. but cat pee followed not long after stale sheeps piss is even worse.

At 2:25 pm, July 10, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

milly, well, I suppose it's better than being a turkey tickler. That would be a nasty job. And of course I don't mind - your morning sickness story is very funny :)

gigglewick, it's one of those variable measures and can be adapted to suit. For example, a fuckload of ants would be far less than 5000 tonnes. Especially if we're talking about ants in one's pants or one's picnic basket.

rabbit, I know! What would the world do without Jaffas? It would be nearly as bad as if there were suddenly no chips. The horror!

hazel, I hate watching people chew and if it's done open-mouthed it's just too horrid for words ~shudder!

mex, yeah, pee's never a good thing. I just realised I've been telling a lot of pee stories lately...

At 3:05 pm, July 11, 2007, Blogger gigglewick said...

please don't EVER foreshadow a world without chips ever again.

I mean it. NEVER AGAIN.

At 4:07 pm, July 11, 2007, Blogger kiki said...

zkzuif you're heading to Port Adelaide for the day, i think that's the least you can expect.

At 6:44 pm, July 11, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

gigglewick, sorry man. I didn't mean to scare you like that and I promise never to do it again. I mean, fish and nothing and schnitzel and nothing would be just awful.

kiki, it's not really that bad. I used to work in the centre of the Port and I live about five minutes away. The first few times I went to the Port shopping centre, people would randomly give me the finger in the carpark. For no reason. But I guess losing that tooth made all the difference and made me look like one of the locals...

At 10:35 pm, July 11, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

Redcap, I have been laughing about THIS

Oh good God. Ron? You fancy Fanta Pants Ron? If only Alan Rickman weren't such a Dumbledore-killing gob-shite and Ralph Fiennes had a nose, I'd be way hot for them.

comment of yours for the past fifteen minutes. Now I have the hiccups AND I'm lusting after half the cast of Harry Potter, so thanks very much.

That's all.

PS: Ralph Fiennes is damn fine

At 10:36 pm, July 11, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

PS: Fanta Pants.

Oh dear god. Still laughing.

At 6:05 am, July 12, 2007, Blogger londongirl said...

Blimey. What a day. Did they give you some oranges to take away as a momento?

At 9:32 am, July 12, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

rosanna, I suppose actually Ralph would be a fanta pants too, being slightly on the auburn side. I hadn't thought of that...

LG, no oranges for me. That would have left a box light and then the Yanks would have got ticked off with their shipment. Plus, I don't have much use for them unless they're juiced and mixed with vodka and lots of ice.

At 10:30 am, July 12, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

Maybe a half hearted fanta pants? Only one way to find out. I'kl hold him down - you attack.

At 12:23 pm, July 12, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ha! He's doomed! Doomed, I tell you!

At 1:31 am, July 13, 2007, Blogger Nai said...

Oh yeah, fanta-pants was funny, but I don't get the rampant anti-redhead thing. I've crushed on a few in the past, though I've never seen the 'pants end' of one...

At 5:23 pm, July 14, 2007, Blogger Ms Smack said...

Yeh, thats a pretty crappy day all around, I agree.

At least when you have a better day, you have something to compare it with, eh?

ps. I'm a jaywalker, too, and anyone that gets miffed at me, well, i blow them a kiss. One day, i'll get beaten up,until then, BITE ME!


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