Bad day

A large part of my job is sounding like I know what I’m talking about.

Usually it’s not so difficult. Lying through one’s teeth comes pretty easily to journalists, after all.

But today was a bit different.

I took my girlfriend out for a meal at Les Trois Cochons last night to celebrate our two-year anniversary.

We shared a bottle of red and enjoyed some lovely food.

I decided against a nightcap as I had an important meeting with a prospective client this morning and wanted to be absolutely certain that I had a clear head.

So you can imagine my consternation when I woke up to discover a team of rodents was drilling boreholes into my brain.

Or so it seemed.

No worries, I thought, I’ll have a banana and some yoghurt, I probably just need to eat something.

Needless to say, we had no bananas and no yoghurt.

And unless you count dried fig puree, nothing else which passed for breakfast either.

I stood under the shower for 20 minutes silently cursing myself for ordering the cheapest bottle of red and then got dressed.

Outside, things took a turn for the worse.

Snow was teeming down and the temperature was below zero. I abandoned my bike in favour of the bus only to find everyone else in Copenhagen had had exactly the same idea.

I eventually arrived and, once my colleague was in, we hopped in a cab and headed over to the meeting.

I had been hoping that the ride would help soothe my head but I was wrong.

I actually developed motion sickness for the first time in my life and so by the time we sat down for the meeting, I was close to collapse.

But that was nothing to what followed.

Gradually, I sensed my body deteriorate.

My colleague was doing a sterling job covering for me as I fought to control my urge to run out of the room and puke up my wretched guts.

Maintaining some semblance of professionalism (and ensuring I didn’t jeopardise a very lucrative contract for my company) was becoming increasingly difficult.

I felt my fevered mind beginning to wander.

The CEO of the company was explaining how their software works and all I could think about was how his secretary, whose presence in the room seemed about as futile as mine, looked like Pauline from The League of Gentlemen.

I fiddled with my pen uncomfortably.

And then my stomach began to rumble. Audibly.

The first time I ignored it and hoped that no-one noticed.

But then it happened again and everyone stopped dead so I was forced into making a feeble wisecrack about the perils of foregoing breakfast.

I needed to leave the room badly.

The next half hour was a blur. I started fidgeting. I crossed and uncrossed my legs. I realised I hadn’t spoken in minutes.

I started calculating obscure, meaningless equations in my head.

‘How many objects are there in this room divided by the number of people?’

Anything to take my mind off my physical discomfort.

Things eventually began to wind up and, after the obligatory handshakes, it was over.

I went and sat on the loo until the cab came to take us back to the office and congratulated myself on a job well done.

Later, I overheard my colleague actually praising my performance to my boss.

Sometimes life is nothing but a sham.


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