Tuesday 22 May 2012

Introducing Captain Chaos

I have three nemeses (four if you count my hair).

I’ve introduced the first, a certain Captain Paranoia who has been with me all through my life convincing me how useless I am, how nobody likes me and how I will inevitably end up alone in a pit of misery and despair. I tend to ignore him these days.

Today I will introduce mysecond nemesis; Captain Chaos.

His aim, as his name suggests, is to make my life as chaotic and unpredictable as possible, a kind of walking version of Murphy’s Law.

Often, he is accompanied by my third nemesis, called Tonto (I will explain in a future post) and together they wreak utter havoc. And when Captain Paranoia joins in, you can imagine what happens. Apparently all three of them are planning a big get together on December 21st of this year to bring about the end of the world.

But let’s not worry about that just yet.

I’ve just been on holiday to Spain and on the morning of our departure, Captain Chaos chose to spend the day with us.

It all started at 4:45 am.

Being a careful man, I set the alarm for this time so that we could leave the house in plenty of time to get to the airport for our flight to Spain. I’m usually fine when it comes to getting up, but on that day the influence of Captain Chaos began from the very second I awoke.

My usual sense of timing somehow failed me, and I took my time, having a leisurely shower. Mrs PM, a woman who is generally always late – unless I step in and hurry her along – waltzed around the house without a care in the world, slowly making coffee and packing last minute things. I had things to pack too and after my shower, I got dressed and I too drifted around the house like a happy little hamster.

And then I looked at the clock.

We needed to be in a cab by 5:45 am. It was 5:40.

“SHIT!” I said, as Captain Chaos watched with a grin.

“What are you doing?” I shouted to Mrs PM.

“Feeding the cats.”

“Have you called a cab?” I asked.

She didn’t respond but a voice told me she had heard me. That was the voice of Captain Chaos.

I finished packing and checked my list. I hauled our suitcases downstairs to find Mrs PM cleaning out the litter trays and leaving a note for our cat-sitter.

“Where’s your passport?” I asked.

“In my in-tray on the desk,” she replied.

I looked. It wasn’t there. I had my passport safely stashed in my rucksack.

“It’s not there,” I said. “WHERE IS IT?” I was getting a little frustrated.

“I don’t know,” she said, suddenly panicking.


We both frantically started turning the place upside down looking for her passport. Captain Chaos watched and laughed. After about ten minutes of searching, she eventually found it in one of the first places she had looked.

Captain Chaos had taken it – I’m sure of that.

“Right,” I said. “Where’s this bloody cab?”

“When did he say he would be here?” said Mrs PM.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “You rang for one.”

“I thought YOU were going to call for one,” she said.


A frantic phone call and a despairing ten minute wait later, we were finally on our way to the airport, a full twenty minutes behind schedule.  But Captain Chaos wasn’t finished yet; he had prepared the groundwork for his next surprise.

We arrived at the airport and found our way to the check-in desk, only to find an absolutely enormous queue.


We had tried to check-in online (as we usually do) but the website had crashed just as we were reserving our seats. We thought we weren’t checked in, so we joined the queue.

I must have checked my watch about 300,000 times in that queue and eventually we arrived at the desk.

“Have you got your boarding cards?” asked the check-in lady.

Captain Chaos smirked.

“We couldn’t check in,” said Mrs PM. “The website crashed.”

“I need to call the supervisor,” said the woman. “There’s a problem.”

Captain Chaos laughed.

After ten more minutes (during which I felt an explosion building up inside), she returned and said “Right, it’s sorted out. I’ll just check for seats.”

“Check for seats?” I asked myself, relieved but still wary.

“There aren’t any free seats,” she said wrinkling her brow.  Captain Chaos was now on the floor rolling about laughing.

NO SEATS???” I shouted.

“Hang on,” she said – and disappeared again.

I spent the next five minutes trying to control the raging inferno that was building within.

And then Captain Paranoia turned up, giving a high five to Captain Chaos before whispering “You’re not going ANYWHERE mate!”

The lady returned and said “I’ve freed a couple of seats.”

I was delighted and stuck two fingers up at the two Captains.

“Look at the time,” whispered Captain Paranoia. “You’ll never get through security in time.”

When we finally got our boarding passes and waved goodbye to our suitcases, we had to rush through security, where there was an inevitable queue.


We were looking forward to a leisurely breakfast airside but that went out of the window, when Mrs PM was “randomly” selected for the body scan.

We finally made it airside and I had barely five minutes to make a quick visit to the toilet.

“I’ll see you at gate,” I yelled as I rushed off.

Such was the nature of my call to Mother Nature that I had to find a cubicle. And the only one left was the one whose previous occupant had exploded.

The toilet bowl was home to the most disgusting mess I had ever seen – and it wouldn’t flush away. 


I had no choice. I had to use it. I was desperate.

Thankfully, I managed to flush some of it away when I had finished but as I left the cubicle I found a queue of men waiting to use it.

I just ran – I ran as quickly as I could (although I was tempted to shout “IT WASN’T ME – IT WAS THE BRUTE WHO USED IT BEFORE ME”), with the echo of a guffawing Captain Chaos ringing in my ears, accompanied by the echo of the words of the man who had entered the cubicle after me.

MY GOD!!!!!! WHAT KIND OF MONSTER ARE YOU?” was all I heard – and I hope he didn’t think that I had done it but I am absolutely certain he is convinced that I was a disgusting feral human being with a MASSIVE bowel problem and absolutely NO IDEA about toilet etiquette. I just hope I don’t bump into him again. The sight in that cubicle is something that will stay etched on his mind forever – I know I can still see it in my nightmares.

I lost sight of Captain Chaos after that and we managed to get away with no problems apart from having to pay an exorbitant amount for a revolting cardboard breakfast and a cup of coffee that looked like it had been brewed in a cesspit.

Sadly, Captain Chaos accompanied us on our holiday; I saw Captain Paranoia waving goodbye to him as the plane took off.

He met Tonto there. I will tell you about that some other time.

I have many examples of how Captain Chaos has caused me huge problems in my life.

Have you met him too?


drb said...

What a nightmare!!!! I hope the rest of the trip turned out well.

Great post, you captured the chaos, panics and cringe factor perfectly!

When Rob and I travel, there are only 3 things I wil pack the night before: passport, credit card and medications, packed in my hand luggage,

What ever tha goes into the suitcase is chucked in after making the call to the cab.

My philosophy:
if you forget to pack anything, you can always buy new ones.
Suitcase may get loss anyway, then you can claim on travel insurance.

Elephant's Child said...

Captain Chaos and his offsider Complete Pandemonium live in this house. Almost all of the time. I know them, and I know what they are capable of, but they still surprise me with the depths of their infamy. Often.

MedicatedMoo said...

Oh PlasMan, I had to laugh at the toilet situation - my guess is that Captain Chaos had used it ahead of you!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Yes it did but Captain Chaos was there - and Tonto - but more about that later.

The big problem for me is that unless I am there "encouraging" Mrs PM, we will be late - and that particular morning, I forgot myself - and look what happened? ALl that combined with other random "factors" gave me (in particular) a nightmare start.

Still, it mostly worked out for the best.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Complete Pandemonium is someone I have met from time to time.

I don't want to meet him again...




Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Mrs PM also thought it was funny; it made her day.

What bothers me more than anything is the thought that there is a man out there who will remember me as a totally disgusting subhuman filth monster - even though I am wholly innocent and actually left the cubicle in a BETTER state!




drb said...

One good thing of check-in late (45 min before plane take off) is it'll increase the chance of upgrading.

It is true, so even if we arrive in the airport early, we don't check in early.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I've tried that, actually - and its worked twice.

I have a whole post in my head about trying to get upgrades on planes.

I might post it one day ...




drb said...

Mr PM,
I look forward to your post on trying to get an upgrade!!! Will be a great one!

I will share my antics after your post. :-)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

OK - I will write it in due course.

Ever thought of starting a blog yourself drb?

I think it would be a winner.




drb said...

No blog for me, Mr PM. English Literature followed by English are the worst subjects when I was in schools. That is compounded by me Dyslexia. It will be a terrible blog. Most of the times I cringed when I read my comments (or emails for that matter) again because of the tonnes of grammatical and spelling mistakes.

It is ironical that my career depends on my writing (proposals and papers)!!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,


I think you've done very well, despite the dyslexia.

I certainly like your comments.




drb said...

Thank you Mr PM, you are very kind. :-)

Again, I spotted a few mistakes already. Luckily for work, I have microsoft Word spellcheck and grammar check and other colleagues to prove read.

Dyslexia is quite a nuisance especially dealing with numbers.
Eg 1.
drb (on computer): wow hun, come and look at this house,only $350K!!! We can afford it!
Rob: really?! Let me see! Gee, it is $3.5 mil.

drb (open envelop): wow! Dubai Uni paid me $2500 for the reports I wrote for them!
So, went shopping spent $2k (of course).
A few days later,
Rob (looking bank statement): Did you say the Dubai Uni paid you $2500? How come the bank statement said it was $250?

Endless such examples, it is pretty trying for Rob, the poor dear. Balancing budget is a nightmare, get a different number each time, so that is Rob's job.

As a kid, I had to put a ruler under each sentence when I was reading.

Now it is getting better.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Drb,

Glad to know you are coping admirably with it and Rob is there to help sort things out.