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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

How to Hydroplane in London during Rush Hour (Moment of Oops, Part 89765)

My brother bought me a pair of Uggs when I was in Oz a couple of years ago. I made loud cooing noises, and I wear them a lot. They're pricey in London, so the best I could afford where the cheap shop versions, where the lining turns into the zombie version of cotton wool and tries to eat your toes after a few outings.

I try not to wear them when it rains, though, because although I love them to bits, for some reason in wet weather they become the equivalent of strapping blocks of butter to your feet, especially over anything metal or tiled. The results have been interesting in the past. I've never dared try them in snow. There's a certain age where you just stop bouncing well on pavements.

On Tuesday morning when I left the house, the puddles were drying up. The remaining ice packs from last weeks snow had washed away, and the sky seemed fairly clear.

The Uggs went on and I trotted down to the station, detouring around the gangs of pigeons that were loitering around the remaining puddles and sniggering at the pedestrians.

I reached Kentish Town just over an hour later, since TFL was having it's usual morning melt-down, and it was drizzling. It must have rained pretty hard just a few minutes earlier, because the ground was saturated.

The first light crossing wasn't too bad.

The second one... Well, I took a step towards the end of the pedestrian ramp, expecting to stand and wait for the light to change, and realised that I had no brakes. There was nothing and nobody to grab onto to stop myself.

Messenger bag flapping behind me, little grocery sack containing my lunch (yogurt and a cool drink) held stiff-armed in front of me to ward of demons, pigeons, and on-coming traffic, and chanting the usual Incantation of Protection (OhshitohshitI'mgoingtodie!), I sailed majestically over the road.
I'm 99% sure I had a little bow wave following me.

There was a group of people waiting for the next bus who watched me hydroplane across the road with varying expressions of awe and horror. I was lucky, the only traffic that came close to me was some guy on a fancy racing bike, who squawked something as he blew past me. No idea what it was since I was still busy chanting.

I did the rest of the walk to work using the exaggerate penguin shuffle. It went well, right up until some small flying thingy flew up my nose, at which point I went "Gah!", and swotted myself in the face, with the hand containing the grocery sack. Whilst doing so, I forgot the penguin shuffle, and hydroplaned rapidly into the brick wall of the building next to my office. (No marks or bruises, because I hit it with the top of my head, which was cushioned with a beanie hat as well as quite a bit of hair.)

I took a few minutes to lean against the building and remember how to breath, because slapping yourself in the throat with a grocery sack containing a bottle of carbonated drink tends to affect that.

It rained for the rest of the day. I took the bus back to the station after I clocked out.