Always late....

Something that I keep to myself are all the things that happen to me on the way to somewhere.

For years I have pretended to have an issue with being on time. I even invented a few incidents like chopping the top of my finger off, being depressed and volcanic ash from Iceland to make sure people never found out the truth.

The truth 
I help people. Tonight I was late for dinner in Essex. I pretended that I had left 90Moanyard late. Really this is what happened.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent
As I walked through the Olympic park towards Stratford a bus turned the corner and tipped over.
It suddenly spun round and the slight incline of the road meant it quickly built up momentum and started to spin on its side towards the building site where new student accommodation is being constructed. 

The Crane
Sparks flew onto the road as the metal from the bus connected with metal railings that lined the bridge. I could see the driver helplessly holding the steering wheel... well steering wheels only work when your vehicle is upright. 

200 metres and running 
The bus hurtlied towards the base of the 200 meter high crane. Moving at the speed it was it certain to knock it over into the nearby crowded Westfield shopping centre where Jamie Oliver was making a rare public appearance. 
100's of local school children had cramed into the Market Street area near Waitrose to see Jamie Cook and an organic bacon sandwhich with Kevin Bacon. 

How to stop a bus
Even though the bus was moving fast it was all happening in slow motion. I looked at the path ahead of the bus and ran towards it.
I had no idea what I would do when I got there but I knew the answer was to be found there. 

This is a job for Siri and Google
I tightend my back pack and sprinted off, my DM's making light work of the wet road, I pressed the button on my headphones and Siri kicked in, I took a deep breath and calmly asked, "How to stop a bus sliding at 100 miles an towards a crane that will fall over into a shopping centre basement where a celebrity Essex chef is making a bacon sandwich with an actor of the same name, in front of an audience of local school children that were not picked to be part of the Olympic opening ceromony" Phew! 

"We have three results" 
Said the same voice as the national lottery.

There was a huge crash, the bus had hit a parked car and knocked it off the bridge. It lunged through the barrier and exploded in a ball of fire as it plummeted into the wetland below. 

Into action
"There are three ways to stop a bus...."
"If you happen to be wearing Doctor Marten boots..."
I was! 
I jumped in front of the bus and stuck my leg out with my Doctor Marten boot facing the oncoming meteor like red object - every few seconds I could see the "388 Stratford City" on the front of the bus flash round. 

I dug my other boot into the Tarmac and sung a few lines of #Bowie's Ziggy Stardust to keep me focused ....
"...and it was allllllright - the band was all together..."

BANG
The Bus connected with my BOOT.
My body shock and the vibration traveled through my body so fast I though I'd turn to dust like vampire that has been exposed to sun light in a high wind.
The energy travelled down to my other DM boot and gathered there like a waterfall filling a ballon.

There were a few seconds of the DM and the tarmac of the road deciding which way this was going to go. 
My heart stopped. Really stopped. 
I could see the people in the bus, I could hear their shrieks of fear, their prayers said out loud and see the whites of the eye of the people by the windows. 

"Laughed at his long black hair, his animal grace..." 

I wondered why this Bowie song had pooped in my head. I started to think that something more classical and cinematic would have worked better. 

The Tarmac and the DM reached an agreement and collaberared on a superfast grip that temporally paralysed me and enabled the soles of both DM boots absorb the full force of the momentum of the bus. 

I blacked out.

The next thing I know
I am being handed a cup of tea by a policewoman named Juliet. 
"Bravo! Are you ok now?" She smiles.

The bus driver is next to me wrapped in a red blanket. Why are ambulance blankets always red? To hide the blood? 

He is visibly shaken, he thanks me and says that the bus was packed, it was the busiest he had been all day, eveyone was racing to see Jamie Oliver make a bacon sandwhich. 
There were 10 weight lifters who had got on near Wood Green and were all sat at the top of the bus on the left had side, their combined weight and the wind had made the bus unstable on the corner.


On the move
I got a text. "Where are you?"
"On my way" I replied back, I was to stubbed to explain.
"Will you be ok getting home?" Asked Juliet.
"Yes, I am just going to West Ham to change trains.
"We are going that way now , jump in and we'll give you a lift".
So there I was looking at the soles of my boots as we hurtled round Stratford City towards West Ham, Juliet and her partner Starsky dropped me at Canning Town as they had to go to another emergency on the Barking Road.

I looked at the new text on my phone. "Where are you? Are you on your way?" 
I took a picture of the station sign and texted it.
Still trying to make sense of the events that had just happened, I had no energy to talk.

"Why are you so late? You said you were leaving 45 minutes ago!" Read the next text.

I texted back to say I had fallen asleep on the train and that is why I was at Canning Town, I did not know how to explain what I had just done. 

"I was busy with Hootsuite and my blog - sorry." I lied, it was easier. They'd never believe I had saved a bus and Jamie Oliver. 

The train arrived and I stepped onto it. Out the corner of my eye I saw a small boy scraping a toy double decker bus along the window of the train, he was making screeching noises without thinking I stamped my boot like I was putting out a fire. 
He stopped immediately and shot me a nasty look as he did. I am not sure he'd understand what had just happened if even if he knew. 

P.S. Ana and Supercool wife - sorry I was late.



The lunacy of community.....


The 90Mainyard Community 
So there I was, sitting at the bar getting all excited about 'this community' when my conversation partner says - "you just made me think - it's not a community." 

 Exsqueeze me?

I was so busy 'spilling my candy in the lobby' about community (honestly, if I could have picked up the phone and ordered a punch in the face for myself I would have) I was not really hearing the possibility in the project.




To me it HAD to be community before it could function. Maybe it did not? 
It needed to move, evolve, be an airport something transient yet purposeful.

2014 - Here I come! (7 Habits of Highly Effective Bernie)

Christmas 2013
I really don't enjoy Christmas full stop and I like New Years Eve even less. Every year I try to hold my breath until this time of year is over. So here are 5 reasons why Christmas suck and 7 things on my agenda for 2014.

(I was going to title this Merry £u@king Christmas - Wake me up when it is all over.... but I thought better of it.)

If I had the spare cash I'd buy a small cottage on a mountain somewhere and hide there with #supercoolwife and #babybernie until Christmas all over.
**If you EVER win tickets to stay in a Tibetan monastery with a free vow of silence in December I'll take it off your hands in a second.

Bystander Syndrome in the Doctors.

I am always wrestling with how much I should do, when to get involved, is it my position to say something. 

Often I have dived into a situation to help, my parents default was to offer to see if someone needs help.
If there was an accident on the motorway we'd stop and see if everyone was ok.

I like this and think it is important.
Over the last few years as my inner confidence has been a bit battered I have left my headphones in more and not been looking for any "action" (not that much has happened.)

However, in the last few months my spirit has been reignited.
One very of the most special things about #supercoolwife if she won't let anything go without saying something.

There are no innocent bystanders and if someone does not speak up she will, often first.
In an incredibly short space of time she will have formulated a concise argument, motivation and go in guns blazing.
For the over five years she has been working with at risk families in one of the toughest areas in London, before that she worked with at risk women and families in Krakow and Buenos Aries Shanty Towns. 

For instance if there are three pregnant women standing on the train and everyone else is sat there looking blank she will quickly ask how much longer it will be before three of the people sat down are going offer up their seats.

Kicking off in the Doctors 
A few weeks ago I was in our Doctors surgery waiting room and the two miserable ladies behind reception were shouting at (sorry speaking loudly) to a man.

I guess he was about 30 and I think he was from Bangladesh. 

Strike One
I would have sweated it out usually. However, before I knew it I was walking towards the counter and if I'd had a pump action shot gun I would have been firing it as I went.


"Excuse me, I'm sorry, I am about to be rude and it is with full intention." I said.
"Sorry? Look Sir you are going to have to wait you turn and I'll be with you when I am done with this man."

After the event so many witty lines played through my head. I am not sure witty lines help as much as we think on these situations - they just make the story sound better afterwards.

Strike Two
"Can you stop shouting at him please?" I ask.
Nothing. 
"There are 25 people sitting here waiting and you are talking to this man like shit, are you trying to make him feel better?"

Of course now I had really lost, but I had made my point, this was seven years of listening to them scream at people coming out in one triumphant blast. 

She was also doing that stupid white people thing of shouting in English louder and louder with each word thinking that the person will understand better.

(Remember the scene in Friends when Rachel welcomes Ross' new Chinese girlfriend by very loudly and slowly saying "welcome to our country" - of course "new Chinese girlfriend" answers back in a New York accent.) Click here 

What am I doing? "Be the change you want to see"
I looked over to the cafe opposite where I could see the ghosts of Mandela, Gandhi and Rosa Parks looking at each other, more than a tad disappointed that I had stood up but then fired off. 

"We can talk about this in a minute, we have a procedure for complaints ----- Sir."
"I don't want to complain, it's not about complaints - it's about you stopping acting like a Nazi"

I retreated back to my seat. 
#babybernie and #supercoolwife emerged from the nurses room.
(Times like this having the cutest kid in the room helps.)

"Let's go and get some lunch" said #supercoolwife.
"Er, I told that lady behind the counter she was a Nazi so I better go and sort it out."
"Ok, we'll wait here or do you want us to come too?" said #supercoolwife rolling up her sleeves for a fight. so did #babybernie - this is the sort of thing I love in our little family unit.

Strike Three
So now I need to eat humble pie, I should not have been rude.
It was very unintelligent. 

She is obviously a tad unimpressed with my intervention and shaken.
That was never the intention.
A past version of me would have been feeling triumphant and righteous - hardly redeeming qualities in this sort of situation. 

I was not really sure what to say.
I dumb part of me (or maybe not) was not motivated to apologise, I felt if I apologised I was just saying it for the sake of saying it.

So I "slipped it in" "I'm sorry if you think...."
Which is a defensive apology.

Out the corner of my eye I could see Mandela was banging his head on the cafe table and Gandhi was asking him to calm down. Rosa was looking into the bottom of her tea cup shaking her head.

"If" - no point in saying this, IF you have to say "if you think" you know dam well you have - otherwise you would be able to say "I am sorry that..."
Between my swearing and her approach she was hardly going to turn around on the spot so I was stuck in my own mess.

Google to the rescue.
Mandela was now looking through his fingers at me like a stressed football manger on the sidelines of a crucial game. 

I said "sorry" again.
"If you google this surgery on the Internet" I said, (just in case they did not know where Google was) 
"There are over 140 comments about how poor this place is."
"Yes but some of them are false."
I could feel a tit for tat argument coming.....

"Maybe so, if half of them are false that still leaves around 70 pissed off people, you are hardly up for customer service of the year award!"

I'd now really lost, what I meant to convey was the opportunity of turning it all around.
If ONLY they had a twitter account I could help them.

We left, #supercoolwife already had a letter brewing.

Bystander Syndrome 
Since this incident we finally moved Doctors and I also listened to this podcast about bystander syndrome with +Jonathan Fields and this TEDxBerlin talk "Zombies into neighbours+Ariane Conrad.

Today I walk into my local station and see you 20 year old man having a fit and blood pouring
out his chin. I could not work out if the guy on top of him was a train worker or not. I was ready to call an ambulance, should I or did they have it covered?
Immediately behind me was a Doctor who offered help. I asked if everyone was OK, no one heard they were too busy, I stood back and waited just in case, I wanted to do something the station workers were all on their radios and in action.




I wish I had just called an ambulance right away, was it my business?
Who knows?
I'd rather have someone shout at me than this guy be worse off.

In the end I moved on as I was in the way and four station staff and a doctor looked in control. It did make me think at what point I should have stayed or gone.

I hope he is OK.