Monday, May 01, 2006

Stress, stress and more stress

Last week was not a good one, all things considered. I had horrendous PMT (of the weepy, edgy variety), vast quantities of uni work that I just couldn't find the appropriate levels of motivation to get started on, worked the worst shift yet in the bar, during which I was reduced to tears by my utter arse hole of a deputy manager because my pint of Grolsch was too bubbly, and skived several important classes because all I wanted to do was stay in bed and mope. On Saturday I went out on the voluntary project that I co-ordinate, taking older people for a day out shopping. This is always moderately stressful, because I'm not great at organising things, but the reward of seeing them enjoying themselves and having a good old chinwag with some spritely 80 year olds normally outweigh the stress. However, this week it resulted in one of The Most Stressful Situations Ever.
I had planned for us to park the minibus in a shopping centre car park, as the wheelchair hire shop was actually inside the car park. How convenient! Going into the car park, there was a height barrier of 2 metres. There was nothing inside the vehicle that said how tall it was, so we edged through carefully. I even got out to check that it would fit, and it did, just. So we drove in quite merrily, until just round the corner we heard several enormous crashes. Yes, the minibus full of old people was fully wedged under the ceiling of a multistorey car park. Woo fucking hoo.
Long story short, we got the older people and all the volunteers except me and the lovely but quite distraught driver off, and they set off on their shopping trip whilst we spent an hour and a half extracting the bus. This was not an easy task. All the tyres had to be let down, several larger Yorkshire blokes had to jump up and down at the back to weight the bus, and poor poor Jess had to do the scariest manouveure of her life, reversing the bus slowly whilst the clutch burnt and the roof practically sliced in half. Oh, what fun. Once it was free, there was smoke pouring from the engine, filling the car park, and getting sucked into the air conditioning. We even got the manager of Next coming down to complain. Nice.
Thankfully, once the bus was free and the tyres were pumped up by the helpful security guy, the engine was still operational, and we got it to a garage to get the tyres fully up. Whilst we were there, I climbed onto a wall to have a look at the damage. The whole length of the roof looked like it had had a tin opener run along it. It had almost gone right through to the interior, but thankfully not quite. The back doors were also screwed, and there was smashed glass from the light that we mashed up all over the top of the bus. There was without doubt many, many thousands of pounds worth of damage to it. Impressive. It did get us back to Leeds, which I am incredibly thankful for because having to load eight old ladies onto the back of a tow truck would have been a bit much. But the noises that were coming from the roof all the way home were not at all encouraging, and I kept having visions of it caving in on top of everyone. Seriously, I think I've taken years off my life from my heart beating so fast all day.
Anyway, we got everyone back safe and sound. I don't think the older people realised the full extent of the damage and the severity of the situation we had been in, which is a good thing, and they all had a nice day out I think. So maybe it was worth it. We had to go round to the Action (the uni voluntary organisation the project is part of) co-ordinator's house to grovel slightly, she was surprisingly good about it, although she didn't actually get to see the roof which may explain why. I spent the rest of the evening drinking as many stiff drinks as I could find, and groaning. It was, I suppose, a character building exercise, but I can think of more fun ways to build character.
So, yeah, an incredibly stressful end to a stressful week. Today is a new week, and a new month, perhaps it will be better. I do have to write an essay on a very very long (2000 pages) Renaissance Italian poem that I have not really read, before Thursday. So that will be stressful. Nevermind, I'm going to Bradford for beer and curry this evening. Things will get better.....


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