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(Sunday) Four horsemen come in, mumble something vague and then ride off.

My arms feel like worn out bits of string. If you can't imagine what that would feel like try driving down to Essex and back with a mate and then carting a second hand three piece suite up three flights of stairs. It looks fantastic but I honestly think my arms are going to seize up. Then they'll feel like bits of wood.

What struck me about the journey was how easily we covered such huge distances in our hired van. I'm not a big one for travelling but it's impressive how easy it is given the qudos it gets you. Particularly given the added excitement today of it snowing a little in Sheffield and then people in the UK getting stuck in it elsewhere. Big thrills.

For years I was totally against the idea of flying on a plane for example. I stuck to the words of the late John Peel who once summed it up beautifully 'moving at a speed you don't comprehend in a machine you'll never understand that's being driven by a man you've never met'. It never seemed like a good idea to me. How wrong everyone told me I was: "did you know you've more chance of being killed by boring unworkable statistics than you have by a plane crashing. Etc etc a#ses".

In the end I was convinced to take a flight to Amsterdam with some mates to sample the culture of another country. It was my first time in a plane and I have to admit everything was fine. Oh I felt like a fool. What had I been so worried about? Nothing went wrong. People do this all the time. How silly I've been.

On the flight back I was much more relaxed about the whole thing. I was even allowing myself the luxury of getting annoyed at things like the yobs chanting on the plane and the bloke behind me who was making a fuss about some cough he had. It unnerved me a bit to look round and see the guy didn't actually have a nose. Just two holes where it should have been. He looked irritated as well. The controted face sort of seemed to point out he had no nose. The wrinkles all of course leading towards where it would have been.

Stop staring at the poor guy. He's probably had enough of that sort of thing. might be why he looks annoyed. Surely you could get a prosthetic nose? He's not a terrorist is he? Calm down, relax. Look forward. There's nothing kicking off here. People go on planes all the time. You're more likely to die in a lift/kitchen/motorway etc etc.

Now he's thumping the fu#king back of my seat and coughing like his life depended on it. We're thousands of miles up in the sky in a metal thing that doesn't flap its wings* but can fly and some bloke's kicking up a fuss because he can't breathe. What the hell is his problem? Oh sh#t! He can't breathe?

I looked at the woman next to me and she pulled a sort of 'what's his problem?' face moments before the woman sat next to the bloke with no nose screamed "my husband can't breathe"!

Oh shit. This is really kicking off. There are people flapping about. An air steward has come over and is asking what the problem is. "Is there a doctor on the plane" is echoing over the speaker system. This is serious and terrifying. All the people on the plane are sh#tting their pants. The yobs are watching in stunned silence. People are remembering we're in a plane that can crash, and we'd all die.... and oh fu#k this is awful. I'm looking straight ahead pretending it's not happening.

I glance behind and see the blokes face has gone purple. The steward is trying to do the Heimlich manoeuvre. It's not working. I'm going to see someone die. And I was thinking bad things about him. S#it! Sh#t! S#it!

"This plane is making an emergency stop at the nearest port" says the speaker system.

Then an asian bloke comes over and takes firm control of the situation. I can't hear what they're saying but he gets the guy with no nose and f#cking hurls him into the Heimlich manoeuvre. Almost smashing his head on the roof of the plane. Splat! Out pours a brown green, foul smelling sort of mucus from his face. He gasps and breathes again. His eyes are rolling in his head and he doesn't look too healthy but he's alive again. Back in his seat... not looking good. Passing in and out of consciousness.

Then the plane banks onto its side. I look out of the window and see the ground. We're turning back towards Amsterdam. We land and matey is taken off in a stretcher.

The rest of my final plane journey takes place in silence although we're told the man was okay on arrival.

What were the odds of all that going off on the ground I wonder?

NM


*I've always thought it'd be safer if planes flapped their wings like birds. Surely then they could fly better? Big jet engines are just cheating aren't they?

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