Saturday 26 June 2021

Getting to Know You (Part 2)


Welcome to a sunny South Manchester on day 469 of Covid restrictions and, apparently, three weeks away from all restrictions being lifted, according to the abomination that is a product of when Pennywise the Clown had a relationship with Worzel Gummidge. I want to believe Boris Johnson but every time he opens his mouth, a lie comes out. The man hasn’t spoken the truth since he was born.

I may be wrong, of course. For once the scarecrow/clown hybrid might actually be telling the truth. 

We shall see.

In the meantime, let’s dive into a few silly questions from Sunday Stealing

(1) Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not?

I had this discussion with a few friends the other week and, in truth, it depends on what the surprise is. For example, on my 30th birthday, I arrived home to find that I was the victim of a surprise party. I use the word "victim" because that’s what I felt like. My house was full of people, both friends and family, and all of a sudden I was hurled into a place that was far outside of my comfort zone; I was the centre of attention and I remained the centre of attention for a good six hours. I was the host of a party that I didn’t want, it was in my house and, unbeknownst to me, a lot of them would be staying for the night. Don’t get me wrong – it was fun – but my comfort levels were on the floor. I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t go to bed when I wanted to and I had to entertain friends who I hadn’t seen for a while, some of whom had come a long way.  I have told Mrs PM in no uncertain times that she is not allowed to do that (to be fair it was my ex-wife who surprised me the first time).

However, some surprises are good. If for example somebody were to buy me a holiday, or tickets for a concert or football match, I would love it.

(2) In the evening, would you rather play a game, visit a relative, watch a movie, or read?

I usually read last thing at night or when relaxing during the day, so in the evening I think would just love to watch a film. In fact, we usually designate Sunday night as movie night although we do watch them other nights too, especially in winter.

(3) Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?

I’ve been to Alaska and I loved it. It seemed so remote and the scenery was beautiful. I would definitely be tempted to visit again. I have never been to Hawaii, but I think it would be an incredible place to go to. 

The answer is therefore both of them.

(4) Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? And why?

I would rather win the lottery because I don’t think that there is a perfect job for me and, to be quite honest, I am fed up of being part of the rat race. I am fairly close to escaping the shackles of career and I can’t wait. I do have a plan if I am lucky enough to win a colossal amount of the lottery and it involves travel writing as I fly across the world. 

(5) If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?

I would travel back to the year 1984, when I was in my final year at university in Liverpool. I loved that time of my life and to live that again, just once more, would be incredible. I wouldn’t change a thing.

(6) Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

I guess there is nothing because I can tolerate days with just necessities – as long as it is just for a day that is. For example, one time I was on a business trip in a remote hotel about 50km away from Moscow, on my own in the middle of a bleak winter where the temperature outside was 20 degrees below freezing and the snow was piled up almost to my own height, with nothing to do apart from eat from the same menu I had eaten from the previous night, and work boring days in an office with very friendly Russians who spoke limited English. It was the same for three solid weeks and I only had the necessities. I also coped with it admirably because on weekends I was able to catch a fast train to Moscow and explore the city. For the remaining five days of those weeks all I had was an office, snow (lots of it) and a hotel room, the same menu, a Russian beer, and Russian TV, which I didn’t understand. I was fine. 

I guess I can survive a day without most non-essential things (having survived fifteen on that particular trip).

(7) How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Probably about ten, made up of shoes, boots and trainers. 

(8) What would you do if you won the lottery?

As I said above, I would book a round the world trip, first class of course, armed with a laptop and notebook and write about my exploits. 

(9) What form of public transportation do you prefer? (air, boat, train, bus, car, etc.)

I love the train. I have travelled by train throughout the UK, Europe as well as China, where I spent the entire night on a “soft sleeper” travelling overnight from Beijing to Shanghai. I promise you, sleeping on a train is easier than sleeping in your own bed because the gentle noise of the train roaring along the tracks is soothing and sleep comes really quickly. 

(10) What's your favourite zoo animal?

I’m not sure that I have a favourite. It will be one of the following: big cats, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, apes, rhinos and hippos – off the top of my head, of course. I will probably think of something else if you ask me tomorrow.

(11) If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?

I’m not sure that I would change anything. I am very happy where I am and I fear that if I did change something, no matter how small, I could lose what I have now.

(12) How many pillows do you sleep with?

I only sleep with one – a memory foam pillow. Any more and I start to struggle with neck problems.

(13) What's the longest you've gone without sleep (and why)?

I would imagine that would be on a long-haul flight. I simply cannot sleep on a plane – unless I am in business class which sadly I have only managed to achieve two or three times. Travelling east is definitely worse for me. Last time we travelled east, we arrived in Vietnam without our luggage and it didn’t arrive until midnight. We were so jet-lagged having had little or no sleep on the plane, that we didn’t know what time it was and I recall wandering around Hanoi in a daze and having to stay up so that we could get our luggage when it finally arrived.  To be fair, the advice is to hurl yourself into the next time zone rather than trying to catch up on sleep and so, when the luggage arrived at midnight we immediately went to bed and awoke some twelve hours later feeling more refreshed than we would have, had we retired earlier. 

(14) What's the tallest building you've been to the top in?

The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at a height of 2722 feet (that’s over half a mile). Regular readers will know that I am terrified of heights and I was terrified even looking at the monstrosity from below, let alone going to the top of the bloody thing. I did learn one thing from the experience – I am never ever EVER going to go anywhere near to the top of such leviathans again.


(15)   What are your hobbies?

I am a huge fan of football and watch it whenever I can (I used to play once upon a time too). I also like international cricket and rugby union. 

I love music and go to gigs whenever I can. In fact I have two lined up next year when, hopefully this pandemic will be over. 

I love to travel, so as you can imagine, the past year or so has been deeply frustrating for me. 

I quite like to write, even though I am not brilliant at it. I find the whole concept of getting words and feelings down on paper therapeutic and cathartic and one day, perhaps when I retire, I will take it more seriously. 

I am trying to teach myself Spanish and have been doing so for a few years now. I can understand the gist of written Spanish and really need to take it to the next level and speak with natives. Whenever I listen to Spanish natives I am aware that I simply cannot understand them (they speak too quickly and they use idioms and vocabulary that are beyond me). Even so, I can do simple things like ask for directions, order food etc. My aim is to go to a proper Spanish class when I have more time (i.e. when I retire).

I love reading, particularly weird science-fiction novels. 

I think that’s enough for now – there are more. 


Bev Sykes said...

I hope you get a chance to visit Hawaii. My husband grew up there and we had friends living there, so we have been there several times. We also had friends living outside Anchorage and did a long car tour of Alaska, from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back again. The thing I remember most about that trip was that houses were so far apart that most of them had their own private air strips, since planes were the most efficient way of getting around.

Elephant's Child said...

I don't mind heights - though that leviathan would give me pause. It is small enclosed places which bother me. I don't like being on the ground floor of large buildings feeling all that weight poised on top of me - and underground car parks are torture.
I would find it very, very difficult to get through a day without something to read - to the point that I think it is a necessity for me.
I hope that your restrictions do end. Sadly gates/doors are slamming shut again here (hopefully temporarily).

River said...

#4: since I've already had the perfect job, my wish now is to win the lottery.

Kwizgiver said...

I chose the perfect job for #4. I have no idea what that would be.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

THat sounds like the Alaska I saw - lots of small planes buzzing about. It doesn't really seem like the rest of America. I didn't get as far as Anchorage. One day I will get to Hawaii hopefully.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I've heard about the relapse in Australia - hopefully you guys keep on top of it.

I'm not bothered by car parks or enclosed spaces, thankfully. Having a fear of heights is bad enough.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Lucky you having had the perfect job. I can't wait to quit mine.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

I wonder what the perfect job for me would be - I can hazard a few guesses.




Lori said...

I am afraid of heights too. I am not sure how I would do in that building. I would like to travel to both Alaska and Hawaii too. I have been to neither. Loved your answers! Have a nice day!

CountryDew said...

I had the perfect job except it didn't pay enough. So I guess it wasn't actually perfect. I think you described your perfect job above - travel writing. Go for it!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lori,

It's terrible being scared of heights, isn't it?

You will love Alaska, particularly if you like unspoilt countryside and cute towns.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

Yes - travel writing would be good - if I could travel ...