A Series of Unexpected Events

Sometimes, just when you think things have settled down and the world is becoming normal again, life throws moments of “What?!” at you. Unexplainable happenings. Unbelievable occurrences. General mind-blowingly WEIRD stuff that makes you stop what you’re doing, shake your head and laugh out loud at the sheer absurdity of it all. The past month has been significantly more banal than my first few months of living in Manchester. Things have become serious, I’ve spent more time sitting in front of my computer watching movie re-runs in my pyjamas and I have a job. Boring. But then last night happened.

My initial plan was to meet my friend Eli and some co-workers at the Manchester Art Gallery. Last night was the Grayson Perry exhibition opening and Eli, who works at the gallery, had acquired tickets for us to go. Throughout the two hours of the opening, a random selection of people formed our group – friends of friends and the like. We made the most of the free wine, chatted and analysed Grayson’s amazing tapestries, trying to decide whether or not the lamp shades depicted in the kitchen scene were from IKEA or not. There must be something about the Art Gallery as I have made many friends within its walls. I originally met Eli there and we have since become good friends. Last night I made friends with a Scottish lass who screamed with delight when she discovered I had sent a ‘wee text’ to her mobile.

We all went for a drink and some food at a local pub and, after a fun evening of chatting, I decided to head home at about 10.30pm. I walked outside with two of my work colleagues and stood outside as they smoked cigarettes. While they inhaled toxic fumes, a guy walking past the pub stopped and asked to borrow a lighter. His Australian accent was picked up by the shrewd ears of my colleagues and we started chatting, discovering he was South Australian, now based in London, was visiting Manchester for a week and knew no one. Were we interested in going for a drink? Sure. One must look after one’s own kind.

So two Australians, an Irish/Jamaican and a Chinese guy, headed into the Northern Quarter for a quick drink. Where should we go? How about Terrace? Agreed. Arriving at Terrace Bar we discovered the place was heaving – music was pumping, people were drinking and the dance floor was going off. Highly unusual for a Wednesday night but hey – why not?

Our quick drink turned into two hours of dancing, laughing, singing and general craziness. It turns out we had accidentally walked into Terrace’s first birthday celebrations. At 12.30am I called it to a close, remembering that Wednesdays are school nights and that according to School Night Rules 101, I really I should have been in bed hours ago. But I had had such an unexpectedly fun evening out, made new friends and bonded with my new colleagues. I now know that two guys in my team can dance far better than me – an invaluable piece of information to know in the workplace.

I really enjoy life’s ‘What?!’ moments. They draw me out of deepening holes of self-pity and make me see how unexpected life can be. You never know what is going to happen or who you are going to meet when you step out of the front door of that pub and choose to take the risk and say yes. I don’t think my dreams would have been even half as entertaining as the events that occurred last night. I’m glad I chose life over sleep, although that may be the strong coffee that I am currently surviving on speaking.

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