Attack of the killer bees and backhanded compliments – My week condensed

1) At the dawning of a new week I was faced with a conundrum, clear signs that this week was about to test my resolve and my whole ethics system.   Sleepy eyed I moved to board the train as it pulled into Camden Road station and I spied a wasp on the back of a man’s jumper.  Should I:

  1. Tap on his shoulder and tell him he has a wasp on his back
  2. Backtrack and board a different carriage
  3. Ignore it, wasps are harmless

I went with option 2.   You can’t make physical contact with strangers in London, it breaks the commuting code.   Option 3 is nonsense, wasps are evil and are out to maim you.   Option 2 was the only realistic option available to me, so I proceeded to the next carriage and watched from afar as people were frantically flailing their arms about which was met by confused looks from people in my carriage, I buried my head in the Metro and assumed an air of nonchalance.

2) “Meet me at 6.30 in the pub” so read the email.   Like a good, trustworthy, and not to mention punctual, friend I followed out this request, I even warned them I didn’t have my phone on me (I never have my phone on me).  Half an hour turned into one hour and in turn became 2 and a half hours and still no sign.  I don’t really mind as I know the staff well and some regulars, but as the heavens opened above us, no one was in a hurry to come out.  My friend never did appear and someone I had met briefly before had arrived.   She is a quiet talker, so you have to really lean in when she speaks, impossible in the confines of a pub with many ambient sounds, tonight was easier as it was empty.  There was an awkward moment, as feeble attempts to greet by a kiss on the cheek failed embarrassingly, not sure we really know one another to warrant that greeting, a Hi and a nod would be suffice.  

After seating ourselves and conversing for a while I found myself reminiscing of the times I couldn’t hear what she was saying.   Nothing was going right in her life, everything was a problem, if you were sat next to them on a plane you would be wishing real cutlery were still allowed so you could take out the frustration on your wrists.   What do you really say to someone with so many issues when you are happily becoming tipsy?  Even her impending  Cancun holiday was fraught with problems, at which point I switched off and wondered if I should warn Mexico.

3) I was told I have cow eyes.  I’m trying to fathom if this was a compliment, do cows have beautiful eyes?  Thinking about it, maybe they said arse.   Cow’s eyes, cow’s arse….said quickly and a bit slurred it could easily be confused. 

                               

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83 Comments

  1. Thank you for the giggle. Well written.

    Reply
  2. Ha! I tell my boyfriend he has cow eyes (and not an arse), too! For me, it refers to the lashes…they point down, not up and out. It’s like he is evolutionarilly prepared for a downpour in a field…

    😉

    Fun post. Truly — I’m looking forward to looking around more, because your humor and mine seem kinda similar. And I agree wholeheartedly: wasps are out to MAIM. Evil, ugly, flying bugs…

    Reply
    • 🙂 Just off to examine in the mirror, I’ll check my behind out while I’m at it to make sure…

      Reply
    • yeah wasps are mean..but mostly misguide drawn to the light when they enter our abode and u find them dead unless u save them with a paper or cloth to hurriedly keep it out ..they’ll escape..

      .ne ways ur post is hilarious…only wonder wat happened to the guy with the wasp…

      Reply
  3. Ha, hopefully it was cow eyes, and yes, they do have nice eyes! The Arse however, is another story all together.

    Reply
  4. so cute and funny! great post

    Reply
  5. Cow eyes… Well, I’d just take it as a compliment 🙂

    Reply
  6. Haha hilarious, next time leave the negative Nancy at the other end of the pub!

    Reply
    • Not seen here since, hope she didn’t read the blog, it’s one thing being a keyboard warrior but I’m terrible at confrontations. I’ll make sure I always have one person accompanying me everywhere

      Reply
  7. LOL, love the cow photos!

    Reply
  8. Anti-wasp touching ought to be a reasonable exception!

    Reply
  9. It breaks commuting code to tap someone on the shoulder? Interesting… Can you be cited for that kind of violation?

    Reply
  10. Good read – 3 very different tales and yet you maintain your humor and write very well. Thanks. And cow eyes can be taken in many different ways. Just google it and you will see. I personally would be offended.

    Reply
  11. hahahaha ohhhh lord. You’re hilarious. THanks for the mid-afternoon pick me up!

    Reply
  12. Yes! Wasps really ARE evil and are out to maim you! Why do some people not get freaked out by them??

    Very cute and creative post! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 😀

    Reply
  13. Rebekah

     /  August 31, 2011

    I (literally) laughed out loud at your post! As to point three, however, I have been told all my life that my big brown eyes were “cow eyes”. I always take it as a compliment. Ironically, I had a Jersey cow one time whose eyes were larger than mine, but very similar in color. She had pretty eyes too though! 😉

    Reply
    • I’ve always called my eyes dishwater grey and been strangely proud, people can keep their sparkling blue eyes and sultry brown ones. 😉

      Reply
  14. I almost fell off the treadmill at the gym as I received these messages, so I left after 10 minutes working out. ‘d only dragged myself to the gym after months off, I can blame WordPress for my continued laziness now (nice to have a kind of valid excuse) Thanks for the cool messages!

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

     /  August 31, 2011

    Enjoyed your post. I also think warning Mexico is not a bad idea. Cows eyes…if your eyes look anything like the pictures you posted, it would be a compliment, although it would be simpler to say, “you have nice eyes.” Great writing!

    Reply
  16. Enjoyed your post. I also think warning Mexico is not a bad idea. Cows eyes…if your eyes look anything like the pictures you posted, it would be a compliment, although it would be simpler to say, “you have nice eyes.” Great writing

    Reply
  17. You helped me reconnect two otherwise never related outstanding pieces of humor: Jerome K. Jerome and that episode of Seinfeld (you know when he commits himself to a quiet talker and wers that puffed up ridiculous shirt), both in atmosphere situational. Thanks for the reading: You sure are a storyteller, and could write with…your eyes close!

    Cheers.

    Reply
    • Thank you, I will pop down the library (before my local council closes them down) to check out the writer, sounds up my street. The Seinfeld episode is genius, I know it well, exactly what I was thinking about when she was talking, she must have mistook my smirk for appreciation of her conversation.

      Reply
  18. Amy Ru

     /  August 31, 2011

    My husband just told me to shut up already as I have been laughing out loud for the past 5 minutes. Thank you for that!?

    Reply
    • I’ll add a disclaimer along the lines of I can’t be held responsible for marital problems that may occur. 🙂

      Reply
  19. singlegirlmodernworld

     /  August 31, 2011

    As someone who frequently uses public transportation to and from work, I understand the code and wish it was more widely known. I especially have difficult cases with children to kick the bench or people who sleepily drift into my space. Suggestions would be much appreciated.

    This will most certainly get me through the commute home…thank you for that!

    Reply
  20. bees and backhanded compliments are the worst. actually, i think i’d rather have a bee sting than a backhanded compliment. at least the sting is very short-lived. the backhanded compliment can stick with you for a while. hope it gets better!

    Reply
  21. Oh you really don’t have any other option on the tube than to avoid and ignore…lol… I have not only gotten onto but CHANGED carriages in mid journeys…lol…. nothing can make me jump off and sprint to the other end of the tube than the guitar playing dude on District…. I mean, I am a music lover (quite clearly) but I just feel so obligated to 1. pay attention 2. to give him money… being a captive audience and all that…. lol.

    Reply
    • I thought by wearing your headphones and pointing at them you can avoid any approaches, that’s my failsafe. He may have some mind bending abilities, be wary

      Reply
  22. Anonymous

     /  August 31, 2011

    it´s not cow eyes it´s cow way of sight or whatever.

    Reply
  23. Dishwasher gray lol

    I thought of the “close talker” and “quiet talker” from Seinfeld while reading your post actually. Didn’t anyone tell you that you have a talent in writing, or comedy at least?

    Cow eyes?? That must be a comment from an Arab because they usually say this as a compliment (but in Arabic they use a nicer version of the noun “cow.” A name probably for the cow’s eyes). Arabs love the eyes.. they’re alllll about the eyes!

    Reply
    • Nah, I’m the wallflower of my group, they either pretend to ignore me or don’t get it, unless I am a quiet talker!?!

      Reply
  24. thankz for the laugh! a good way to start my morning!! :p

    http://travellersdiningdepot.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  25. You are very amusing. I thoroughly enjoyed your lack of empathy for poor wasp man (eye contact and speaking to him would have not employed any touching ;)) and your detailed account of “Blue in Cancun” (The nickname I’ve decided to give her). As for the cow eyes bit, when I googled “cow eyes” a lot about dissection came up (your friend is not a vet student are they? If so beware) and I also found this post with people weighing in on what they believe it means: http://painintheenglish.com/case/626.
    I do believe your talent to be writing. The way in which you retell things is quite vivid and had me wanting to read more. Also I would recommend carrying a cell phone unless you want to run in to Blue in Cancun in again;).

    Reply
  26. Juliana

     /  September 1, 2011

    Nice post!!! I live on a farm and raise cattle. They do have lovely eyes. not sure I would tell someone that though! The other end is not so lovely though!

    Reply
  27. The only dilemma slightly worse is when a man’s fly is unzipped and you, a woman who is not his wife/partner/sister (perhaps daughter, shudder) has to decide whether or not to alert him to this fact. You’re not supposed to notice his genitals, but does he really want everyone else to do so as well?

    Reply
  28. “At the time I didn’t even question the irony of a bass player calling me talentless….” Funny, understated, well-written, and causes the reader to pause, reread, and give off a chuckle before moving on again — mining your writing for other jewels such as this. Joehoover — not only are you talented, but you are funny and a really good writer. I love your blog. From one humorist storyteller to another: keep writing!
    http://www.howthehelldidienduphere.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, I’m now going to be terribly bored of my friends since everyone on WordPress is more interesting. 😉

      Reply
  29. So funny post! I like it 🙂

    Reply
  30. Hmmmmm…. cow’s eyes…. nope, that CAN’T be a compliment.

    Reply
  31. Your post reminds me of a series of events, morale tests, I had when I lived in Glasgow. I called the series of events “Glasgow Tests You” moments and kept a running score of events I turned out to have successfully passed and failed. I think at last count I was 5-4 up.

    An example of one of the events was a group of neds (the equivalent of chavs down south) were shouting at 2 guys speaking a foreign language to, “Speak English!” and I was presented with a bunch of options I could choose to do.

    I’ve rambled on a bit but I just wanted to say thanks for reminding me. You know you’ve made a good blog post when other people can draw parallels from their own experiences. Good job!

    Reply
  32. aparnanairphotography

     /  September 1, 2011

    Cows are lovely creatures with very sweet eyes.

    Reply
  33. I have heard of doe eyes, quite a compliment. But cow eyes? Hmmm. I’d go with the theory that the person really meant doe eyes. Way easier on the ego. =)

    Reply
  34. Oh my gosh, thank you, thank you and thank you again. I laughed my arse off. Such a welcome end to my otherwise ucky day. Wait a minute, I am sounding like H-E-R, lol

    Reply
  35. laughing in Canada

     /  September 1, 2011

    Hilarious…made me laugh right out loud! Take it as a compliment 😉

    Reply
  36. I hate wasps – I’d have smashed it with a book, and when the chap looked up I’d have said; “Terribly sorry old boy, must have been a gust of wind that blew it out of my hands.”

    Reply
  37. Hilarious and well-written. Ethel Mae and I agree.

    Reply
  38. Aisiri

     /  September 1, 2011

    Still laughing at the third. 🙂
    And guess what, I got stung by an ugly son-of-another-ugly-wasp wasp yesterday 😛

    Reply
  39. I love the way you write! Writing is definitely your talent. 🙂

    Reply
  40. I sincerely enjoy this post. It put a smile on my face. Thanks Joe!!!

    Reply
  41. Good writes chum.. but seriously you can’t tell a fellow he has a wasp on his back? lol.

    Reply
    • It was early, hungover……ok, I swear next time I have the opportunity to avert disaster I shall take it, I’ll report back when I have a black eye for my troubles 😉

      Reply
  42. Cows have the most beautiful eyes! They are big and round and deep! I love them, and I definitely think you should take it as a wonderful compliment (though if they said “arse,” I’m not so sure what that means). Congrats on being freshly pressed, your stories are adorable!

    Reply
  43. Your blogs are very funny! I hate wasps and so would have probably just legged it and waited for the next train haha. Congrats on the freshly pressed status!

    https://studentdaily.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  44. This was great fun to read. I might have told the fellow about the wasp only b/c I’m allergic and would want someone to have told me .. but I understand why you did what you did.

    As a farm girl, I can tell you that cows have beautiful, kind eyes. I’m sure it was a compliment. Cheers! MJ

    Reply
  45. Yeah, I would have avoided wasp carriage too. It’s bad enough when they get in a house!

    Reply
  46. nearlynormalized

     /  September 1, 2011

    Vegas, oh Vegas no cows and very few wasps, maybe a few–(White, Anglo Saxon, Prots)

    Reply
  47. I did the same thing (re: #1) I saw a wasp on a bus once and promptly got off and waited for the next, alerting no one that they were contained in a death trap on wheels.

    Cows have pretty eyes, so wonder-filled with beautiful eyelashes. Unless they meant your eyes are large and kind of on the sides of your head…then it may have been an insult.

    Great blog 🙂

    Reply
    • Maybe that’s why London buses the drivers are encased in perspex? But what if the wasp got inside that? You made the right choice.

      Reply
  48. I think cows have cute trusting eyes too. I wouldn’t be too upset:) And remember, while people are talking about you, you’re not dead LOL

    Reply
  49. I believe the only real way to battle a Debbie Downer is to out-Down her.

    Suggested response to any complaints regarding her Mexico travels: “I hear yet another tourist was found beheaded. Or was it just a local woman? It’s hard to keep track what with so many beheadings and mass graves and whatnot going on there. Weather should be good, though.”

    Reply
  50. This was really funny!! 😀 😀

    By the way, you have cow’s eyes or cow’s arse?? 😉

    Reply
  51. Cow eyes, definitely a compliment. Cow arse…not so much.

    Reply
  52. cherrysoda15

     /  September 1, 2011

    hahahaha that’s funny. i’m trying not to laugh while i’m in class hahaha. good writing too 😀

    Reply
  53. Cows do seem to have fabulous eyelashes so if I was a girl I might take it as a compliment if they made sure to say that my eyelashes were really long. And loved the bit about warning Mexico your friend is coming, you should be excited about any trip you can get!

    Reply
  54. Hey I just came across your blog and it just seemed so fitting since I got stung by one of those vicious wasps today. Had a bit of a freakout on the street and entertained some people for a while but I am all good now.
    Your other posts made me laugh as well so I am following you now:)

    Reply
    • Ouch! They are not cute like a bee or make delicious honey, they just seem to have a chip on their shoulder. Your freakout reminds me of a tale of a friend who when walking past vents blasting air on the underground thought it was rats in her hair so had a similar freakout.

      Reply
  55. its funny yet good experience…! lucky guy…

    Reply
  56. enjoyed reading 🙂 nice blog!

    Reply
  57. realanonymousgirl2011

     /  September 13, 2011

    Don’t you just love backhanded compliments. I’m usually like “Thank you?”

    Reply
  58. As someone with a sever allergy to wasps and bees, I would run screaming in the opposite direction.

    Very helpful, I know.

    Reply
    • *severe allergy

      Reply
    • That’s my reasoning, I don’t know if I’m allergic so it’s a good enough excuse to turn the other cheek. I’d hate if I had gone for the heroic act and came to his aid only for it to come back to sting me in the face. 🙂

      Reply
  1. Attack of the killer bees and backhanded compliments – My week condensed (via londonsurvival) « Recession Dodge to Victory
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