Friday, July 6, 2018

I’m in the Colorado coastguard

Where I worked in the UK for most of my 20s & 30s is called The City – it’s the UK’s major financial district and the UK equivalent of Wall Street. Saying you work in The City gives most people massive misconceptions in that everyone has images of trading rooms with people shouting orders or looking at red numbers flashing on screens whilst looking despondent. In fact it’s anything other than glamorous – probably less than 5% of people working in The City can be accurately described as bankers or traders (i.e. the people who make the mega money) and the vast majority are support staff – operations, IT, tax, compliance, research etc. 

Every Thursday and Friday night the bars & clubs are full of pretty girls looking to meet a rich trader or banker. And guess what – every guy in those bars and clubs conveniently happens to be a trader or banker. Except they’re not – nearly every guy pretending to be a trader or banker is either one of the aforementioned support staff or doesn’t even work in the City at all but has come into town just to spin a yarn to one of the pretty girls who thinks she’s going to be swept off her feet by a multi-gazillionaire. And during my 20s I used to pretend to be one of those professions in order to have my 20 minutes of fun with a pretty girl – everyone did it and it still goes on today. But I found a game which is far better – it’s the complete reverse of the original game in that you have to tell the object of your desires that you do the world’s worst, mind numbingly dull job or something so outrageous that it couldn’t possibly be true, which is where the title of this post finally makes sense. In fact I take so much fun in this game that it doesn’t even need to be someone that you’re trying to chat up – anyone I happen to chat to at a poker table, bar or on a plane is fair game given that I’m unlikely to see them again and I try to make up something so ridiculous that I’m quite easily rumbled.

I’m sat in seat 4 at a 1/2 table amongst mostly middle aged or older men apart from seats 1 & 2 which are occupied by 2 younger (probably 25ish), not unattractive, ladies. They’ve obviously had a couple of drinks but they’re not drunk. But they are very chatty and most of the guys at the table are getting annoyed at their chat. From having listened to their chat I’ve worked out a couple of things – they’re not overly bright and they are obsessed by guys in uniform.  One of the girls has obviously just broken up with her boyfriend and keeps going on about missing seeing him in his uniform. Her friend keeps telling her that there are plenty more fish in the sea and that any guy she meets could be the next “one”. So she proceeds to ask some of the guys at the table what they do – seat 3 is a retired guy who says he was in the navy (that seems to perk her up despite being old enough to be her grandad), as she asks me I’m in a hand so I ask her to give me 2 secs and she asks a couple of the other players before coming back to me. Once I’m done in the hand she asks me again what I do and I reply that I’m in the Colorado coastguard (they’ve already discussed NYC a lot earlier on so I was working on the assumption that neither one of them was from Colorado). My answer elicits a snigger from the guy in seat 3 and the girl in seat 2 looks a bit confused. “How could you be in the Colorado coastguard?” she starts out, damnit – rumbled at the first attempt, “you’re British”. Well at least she hasn’t thought I’m Australian (more on that here  So it’s not the Colorado coastguard that’s caught her out but my accent.

“I was married to an American girl and I’ve lived over here for years” I replied. “Do you have any photos of you in uniform or of your boat?” she then asks. I tell her no but that anything to do with my boat is classified information. She then proceeds to ask me really weird questions like what’s the strongest storm we’ve been in. I get a couple of seconds thinking time between questions by looking at my cards and I manage to fend her off on a couple by feigning making a decision about my hand. About an hour passed like this and she said goodbye when she left and I genuinely think that she believed I was telling the truth – if you ever meet a girl who says she met someone from the Colorado coastguard she’s talking about me.

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