I am comedian Kai Humphries. Each autumn I tour throughout the UK with my fellow stand-up and flatmate Daniel Sloss. This year we also roll out the tour to Europe for the first time, visiting 18 major cities over 21 dates. To amuse myself whilst we travel between cities (and whilst Daniel snores) I am keeping a journal of our adventures in the style of a scientific journal where my study subject is Daniel and my role as his support act is merely a disguise to cover up my true objective which is to psycho-analyse his behaviour.
Date: 31 October 2014
Destination: Antwerp (Belgium)
Subject: Daniel Sloss
I have spent the last hour of this flight from Estonia to Latvia losing a sustained conflict over the arm rest with a robust gentleman to my right, seeing as I am in the middle seat and he has the entire cabin aisle to liberate his starboard limbs, I consider it my unlegislated right to occupy the small border separating our positions, however he has shown no respect for my territory and I've resigned to abandoning my position to avoid further contention. I think he might be Russian. To my left a small amount of saliva is working its way down the contour of my companion's chin as the sandman works his devilry.
We had a three hour layover in Riga before proceeding on to Antwerp, I attempted some small talk with my test subject but he rather discourteously placed his palm brashly on my face and said "Snooze" we didn't talk to one another for a further eight minutes.
Having failed with base level communication I engaged Daniel with more meaningful discussion about our respective childhoods, this topic seemed to be of interest to Daniel, I suspect this is because it gave him an opportunity to talk about himself, something he highly enjoys doing regardless of tense.
At a prominent point in the lengthy exchange I regaled a particularly harrowing anecdote from my secondary school years about the time I presented a Valentine's card to a female classmate named Catherine in attempt to win her favour. Not only did the girl rebuke me but she went on to use Tipp-Ex branded correction fluid to remove my prose from the inside pages of the card, once dry she then used her own gel pen to rewrite the card to a new recipient named Darren who went on to perform lewd acts on her behind the bicycle shed. Allegedly. When I looked up to see Daniel's response it wasn't one of somber empathy deemed appropriate for such a sorrowful tale. He was in fact wearing a mask of extreme merriment that radiated out of him with insuppressible glee, this expression held on his face like he was buffering until the comprehension of the story had fully loaded onto his system, like he was stuck on 99%. When the download was complete he exploded into a rapturous guffaw of laughter that raised mild curiosity from the entire contingent of the departure lounge. This response was a stark reminder that his relationship to me is merely that of a test subject, a case study if you will, and that I must not let an intense working relationship manifest into a bond with a person who would have such a malevolent disregard for the struggle of prepubescent teens.
In a superb venue for performance forged from an abandoned factory with meticulous attention to detail we had the pleasure of entertaining a glorious collection of Belgian citizens in splendid atmospheric conditions for spoken comedy. Once I'd finished my repertoire and Daniel was on stage I heard him beckon me from the wings to join him, we went on to tell the crowd embarrassing stories about each other that would be otherwise inappropriate to reveal to strangers outside the platform of stand up comedy. Although the story of my boyhood woe never came up, I now understand why Daniel found it so hilarious. Because it didn't happen to him. As I conjured happiness from the onlookers at Daniel's expense in a trade for him doing the same to me, I considered that I could possibly subscribe to Daniel's particular brand of schadenfreude.
What a night we had, drinking wine alfresco on the cobbled streets of Antwerp with my Belgian comrades; Tom, Arbi and Bo. Their humour and attitude to life really appeals to me, their placidity and laid back nature is as though life is moving in slow motion for them, giving them more time than the rest of us to measure their concise responses and actions. It's just the Belgian way.
I returned to my quarters positively buoyant from my biological reaction to such high value alcohol and social stimulation, my apartment is a luxurious abode with a bath in the floor of the bedroom, a full mirrored wall and remote operated blinds that can conceal the vista of the city and plunge the room into intimacy at the push of a button. It is reminiscent of a boudoir inhabited by Seth Macfarlane's animated creation Glen Quagmire, for want of a literary reference. At risk of coming across crass, I can't help but imagine what my girlfriend's posterior would look like with the visual enhancement of the mirrored wall, but I refuse to act on my mental imagery because nothing adds tragedy to self gratification like your own reflection. The yearning for my significant other in situations like this exhibits the sacrifices I've made to conduct this study.
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