I have decided to tell you all about one of the most stressful days I've ever experienced. I would argue that this was quite possibly the most stressful journey of my life (excluding my birth, obviously). It was terrible. If a suction cap had only been fitted to my head it would have achieved top spot.
It was a rainy Manchester morning. The skies were grey and the sun was playing coy as usual. Now, normally, I'm fine with rail travel- provided I get to the station at least 30 minutes before my train leaves. Yes, it's early, but it's the price I pay to be a responsible and safe rail user/successful member of society. The problem with this journey was that it wasn't just myself I had to worry about.
(Pause here to add dramatic effect)
On this particular occasion I was travelling back to Wales with my friend, work colleague and flat mate, Ursula. Ursula and I had been out in Manchester the night before, and our train was relatively early the next morning. I know, I know, as Jeremy Kyle often reminds his clientele: 'if you play with fire, you're gonna get burnt.' But these were the days of YOLO so we did it anyway.
A friend had kindly offered us a lift to Manchester Central Station (imagine the station in Harry Potter and then take away the magical train. It's pretty shit). I awoke the morning after the night before slightly hung-over, but nevertheless, mind on task. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Ursula, as she proceeded to work at a sloths pace, packing up her things, ensuring she didn't leave anything behind- including all of her tins, jars and any other food she thought would be necessary. Maybe she thought the train would break down. Maybe she thought Wales had ran out of jam. Maybe she thought we were being evacuated. I don't know, she just filled her bags with everything in the food cupboard.
We jumped into the car with about 20 minutes to make the 15-minute journey and catch our train. Time was tight. We reached a set of lights outside the station and decided to make a run for it. I dashed to the back of the car and opened the boot only for all of Ursula's' food and tins to roll out of her unfortunately placed bag and into the road. It was a similar moment to that of the WaterAid adverts when the liquid gushes into the excited children's faces, except with me; it was tins of beans and all over the road, (and I was not happy).
I massively panicked. I was scrambling on the floor. Cars were queuing behind. The lights were changing. Something in me snapped. I had managed to pack most of the tins back into the bag, but there was one last jar of honey. One mocking jar, laughing at how I'd handled the situation. I grabbed it, and, rather than sensibly putting it back in the bag with all the other food, I hurled it in the direction of the pedestrians on the pavement. I'm unsure whether or not I hit anyone. But, I figured, it was my last day in Manchester so, who cared? I was now screaming. I just didn't understand. Why did she even have honey? 'NOBODY LIKES HONEY' I kept shouting. I had seen red, and could probably still see red 48 hours after this event. I now really regret screaming. If people are looking for me in Manchester, don't worry; I promise you I'm sane.
We couldn't focus on the breakdown, we had to run. With seconds to spare we got on the train.
We'd packed some yoghurt for the journey (in my bag of course, Ursula had too many tins in hers). However, in going to retrieve our breakfast I managed to immerse my hand into an exploded yoghurt-y mess. The yoghurts had leaked in my bag and covered everything. In hindsight, the explosion was probably the result of a ricochet hit from the honey throwing. I was furious, and once again probably at risk of a stress-induced heart attack.
I went to wash my hands. This in itself was very stressful. Knowing when the door is locked and unlocked on a train is a task in itself. I cleaned my shaking hands and went back to my seat only to be told that my nose was bleeding by an unnervingly calm Ursula. Maybe seeing red earlier had actually been a burst artery. I am quite surprised that this wasn't a brain haemorrhage.
Believe it or not, we made it back to Wales that same day and all in one piece. Perhaps even more unbelievably, Ursula and I are still friends.