Technology is a wonderful thing. It has changed almost every aspect of our lives in so many ways, making us wonder how we ever survived without it. Of course we did survive, though things were often a little more complicated. On the day I moved into my new house in London, I was still waiting for my telephone service to be switched on.
Mobile phones had been invented but were the size of house bricks and still rare playthings of wealthy City bankers. Not fortunate enough to have one of my own, I had to find a call box to discover why my van of furniture hadn't yet arrived.
Luckily through the cold February downpour, I discovered one at the end of the street.
It was a big old red cast iron number, originally issued by the Post Office. Armed with a handful of loose change, I pulled at the door. It took two or three tugs to get the bloody thing open, clearly it had been overlooked on several maintenance runs.
Jumping inside out of the rain, the first thing that hit me was a hideously pungent smell. It was sadly a kiosk that doubled as a public toilet. I wondered how Superman would have coped had he leapt in for a quick change. Perhaps the water running off my clothes would give it a quick rinse through, I thought. With one eye on the road in case my elusive van drove by, I grappled for the removal company's card and picked up the receiver. The line was dead. It was then that I noticed a bunch of fine, multi-coloured wires yanked from underneath the box. The vandal had clearly needed something to occupy his mind while he was emptying his bladder!
I pushed at the door to exit, now desperate for a gasp of fresh air. It was jammed solid. I frantically tried the other walls to be sure that I was pushing at the right one, but still nothing. Putting the change back into my pocket, I put my back to it and pushed my feet against the opposite wall in an attempt to add some force, but it refused to budge.
It was at this moment I noticed a little grey and white cat, sheltering from the rain under an overhang of ivy to the ragged brick wall behind. He watched with silent contempt as I struggled for oxygen in my urine soaked prison. "Go and get help!" I cried through a small hole in one of the glass panels. He ignored my pleas, deciding instead to sit and take in the unfolding drama.
My attention turned to passers by in the street. The heavy rain seemed to be drowning the sound of my shouting, making it hard to get a response from any of the scurrying pedestrians with their coat collars up and heads down.
Finally, I got the attention of an elderly lady in a lilac coat and plastic rain hat. "Eh?" she shouted, parking her shopping trolley to one side. "I can't get out, can you please get some help?" I pleaded. "No, dear," she replied with a squint, "it doesn't work." At that moment, my van cruised slowly past, looking for me to flag them down from my new front gate. "Stop that van!" I gasped, pointing. By the time she'd turned to look, the van had gone. But following the direction of my pointing, she grabbed her trolley and wandered off across the road and up the turning opposite, as if she'd somehow find the answer to what I was so desperate to convey.
A pit of despair developed in my stomach. It was nearly five-thirty and I knew my furniture drop was the last of the day. What if they couldn't find me, gave up and went home? I'd spend the night sleeping on bare floorboards… or worse, suffocating in the urinal. Panic set in. "Help! Help!" I screamed, banging as loudly as I could on the windows. My van went round again. I was desperate! At that moment, a middle-aged man in a green trench coat ducked under the ivy to light a cigarette. I banged loudly on the glass to his side, screaming through the hole. He jumped a foot into the air, not expecting to be confronted with my onslaught.
Taking a long drag on his rollup to ensure it was properly lit, he walked around to the door handle and casually pulled it open. I lunged out, gasping for air. "Yeah it gets stuck from the inside, mate. Happens all the time. Nearly every night they find a drunk standing in his own puddle." He glanced me up and down briefly, perhaps trying to assess if I was one of those unfortunate folk. "I was trying to use the phone," I explained, not wishing my potential new neighbour to think of me in such a lowly way. "It don't work," he offered… helpfully.
Suddenly, my van went round for a third time. "Thanks so much," I said before running up the street after my furniture. Once all my belongings had dried off, I could finally settle into my new home. My phone was now working, washing machine plumbed in and everything relatively hunky dory. There was just one more job to do. I walked back down to the cell of my former incarceration.
The little grey and white cat was in his usual place. Seeing me coming, he scarpered over the wall, perhaps anticipating revenge for his complacency. I shuddered, briefly recalling my hour of terror before posting a large white sign on the side of the phone box, which read, "Enter At Your Own Peril."
Don't forget you can see Jeff at Molly Moggs in London's SOHO on Monday and Thursday nights where Jeff performs his famous Sing along show, (Always a great night out)
You can also see what else Jeff has been up to by visiting his brand new website here:
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Jeff also has his own range of "Life's a Drag" products available, get your hands on some here:JK Merchandise
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