Art imitating life

iStock_000043631720SmallWell my first attempt at cashing in on my student discounts went well – Liz and I were practically thrown out of a West End cinema on Saturday night for not having the right documentation. We had absolutely no trouble buying student tickets – automated ticket machines don’t ask questions or demand ID, but ushers do and that’s where we came unstuck. No ID no discount. “But we’re students, we really are!” we wailed, riffling fruitlessly through our handbags, and just as Liz was about to prove the point with some choice words from her advanced Italian course, complete with hand gestures, the manager was called. The manager was a stickler for procedure – nothing other than our student ID, which we both had left at home in our studenty jute cotton bags, would allow us our £4 student discount – Liz even produced an email from her tutor praising her homework to no avail.

“Bloody jobsworth,” muttered Liz, ten minutes of scrabbling around for receipts, refunds and new tickets later. We bundled into the auditorium just in time for the last of the trailers. Good grief it was never like this at the other end of the student ID spectrum when I was buying illicit halves of Adnams at the Queen’s Head in Suffolk. As long as you sat in the garden, didn’t disturb the regulars and sent the oldest looking boy in to buy a round (usually the driver – ironically) you could stay there all night. “No one asked to see our papers then,” I muttered, taking my venom out on the otherwise inoffensive man behind me who was crunching peanuts so loudly it sounded like the changing of the guard. “Could you munch a little quieter please,” I hissed, all vestiges of my student self disappearing in a fog of bosom-folding indignation. I think I even had my handbag on my lap at this point.

“I don’t think I can,” he mumbled amiably between mouthfuls. He could, and did, and we settled down to watch the magnificent Wes Anderson’s bewitching comedy about the debonairly heroic M. Gustave H, an impeccably well-connected, well-collected and well-cologned hotel concierge played by Ralph Fiennes. Ten minutes in he was charming a bunch of jack-booted fascists out of arresting of a young stateless refugee on a train – for not having the right paperwork.

If only it were so easy in real life…

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