Sunday, April 27, 2014

Enter Shakira

It was lentil and bacon soup from a Morrison's can. Lunch. Heated up in the microwave for three minutes, stirred twice and then double plated so I didn't burn my fingers. I supped it slowly (for me) as I looked at Wikipedia, the history of pulp comics and their artwork. It was one of the featured articles of the day that I would scan a random hoping to find a story or an angle or something interesting or titillating. I'd given up on most news sites (apart from proper factual ones) and though Wikipedia had a reputation for being corrupted or unreliable I didn't really buy that. Most of the daily dose of pseudo facts I hoovered up were...believable. Eating the lunch time soup took about three wiki clicks as I jumped onto biographic pages (for artists) and then some image files where I check their work. It was cartoon sex and sci-fi mostly. Pin-up girls, big headed robots and flimsy space suits containing muscular men. A time before science was real and threatening and before CGI made everything believable and ultimately boring. A wonderful world had briefly existed in rough paper and glamour but It had been squeezed out of existence by progress and neurosis of our modern world. Why hadn't anybody realised that the Star-Trek crew on the Enterprise would just unquestioningly use their handhelds and communicators? They'd all be out there in space anxious and neurotic about picking up the latest upgrade or downloading a service pack or an app. The writers had seen the future all right but failed to put stupid people (aka us humans) into it. 

The soup was gone and my mind moved on, I looked at a few political pages but, frankly, they were dull. Dull and unbelievable. The opposition made promises about what they'd do in two years time when they won. As if the world and the electorate would stand still, frozen on the spot waiting on that time happening. It was a distant Christmas or a twenty first birthday present for a sixteen year old. Sentences that began “We will...” were there to be ridiculed. The sad politicians learning nothing from history or from their own recent experiences. They swam in a strange pool of media events bubbling and repeating their messages like rotating goldfish. I washed up the dishes and rinsed out the can. I rinsed out the can and stuck it into a bag of general waste as there was no recycling here, unless I took it home. That idea though worthy was a tedious one. One I didn't want to think about and as a result it tugged at me for all of five minutes. I would save the world a recycle tin cans another, easier more convenient day. When I had the means and the focus, not right now plus I seemed to align itself (recycling) with a kind of political obedience and set of behaviours that I felt like rebelling against. Why should I just adopt that mass conscious and always do the right thing. I fancied a fag and a Mars Bar and a great bulbous glass of deep red, fruity French wine. Three compatible but incompatible evils that I might, in complete defiance of the Daily Mail, Telegraph or BBC whatever channel, enjoy. Life had to be about enjoyment in order to rise above the misery of media scrums and corrupt debates. Advertisements and good advice. The joy of doing things and, in the process and without caring too much about the consequences of just fucking yourself up a bit. Enjoyment.

I do repeat or reuse the same words a lot. At first, or when I first noticed it bothered me and I tried to retrace my steps and find others. I thought that was what writing must be about, proving your vocabulary. Finding different ways to say the same thing so that what you say is more entertaining or informative or just less repetitive. But then I thought about my own streams of thought and colours. It's fine to repeat colours in patterns and designs, in pictures or illustrations, why not words? Why was I being tough on myself? If that word came out three times in a paragraph (as long as the word isn't amazing or fantastic) then why not just use it and go with the flow. For all the readers that there are will they really care or criticize? That actually would be good, some actual attention over the use of repeated words and my limited vocabulary. There; my vocabulary, some place in the wasteland between a Premiership Football Manager or a social worker and a scholar of English Literature or Richard Dimbleby. That was where I sat, which is no place in particular but is a least a position. I had a position in vocabulary and was unafraid to use it. My position in good grammar usage was however a different thing altogether.

The dishes, three bowls and two spoons, a can opener and a knife were done by hand. There was tomato sauce on the tin opener, or perhaps tomato soup. I wondered how long it had been there as I scraped it away with my fingernail and ducked it into the hot, soapy water. Then I clashed (?) the clean dishes on the draining board, walked away and checked my phone. I had a brief Star Trek moment but let it pass. Those poor actors I thought, play acting with dumb props and suggestions but without anything in the script that actually placed them in the future. Just plywood and cardboard knock ups to hold and, if the word had been around at the time, interact with. All that functionality without any of the social anxiety. No wonder everybody wants to live in the future.

At three o'clock, in a moment of total harmonious perfection and agreement between unrelated items the rain, as predicted on the BBC weather web site, began. It may not have been precisely the correct kind of rain, there are about a thousand kinds though only a hundred descriptive terms are in current use. Whatever this one was (approximately slow drizzle, like olive oil applied to those crunchy green leaves on as cookery show or the end of an uneventful but none the less necessary piss) it was a kind of rain. Good enough for me and welcome for the hanging baskets (an unfortunate name for them if there ever was) so as to restore life to dry things and just pleasant enough to add a zesty ambiance to the air and the day. It was also nice to look out upon. Rain, when you're not in it allows a smug superiority in the rain viewer. A smugness that allows a giggling mockery for those out there, trapped by duty, or travel or some other piece of self inflicted or demanded misery. A special place in rain is reserved for those poor souls who ventured out unprepared (without a car), boys with T shirts and tattoos, girls with cardigans and old people who've lived on this planet a long time but failed to plan for the obvious and inevitable patterns of weather. “Have you learned nothing!” I wanted to shout, “Eighty years shuffling around here and you still don't get it!” of course if they're eighty then perhaps worrying about protection from the rain isn't quite so important. Rain, in normal quantities wont kill you. If it's a lake or a swimming pool then that's a different thing. I wondered if anybody had ever actually drowned standing up when out walking in the rain. A proper cloudburst. Unlikely but there must be somebody, most likely in the US Midwest or Florida who had gone out this way. If may not been recorded, today I would be clip on YouTube or a Vine, gone in ten seconds like one of Noah's enemies.

I left the building and got out into the car, turned the key and it started. That hadn't always been the case but I now had a reliable sense of confidence in the vehicle. The drizzle continued and the wipers ticked across the screen at just the wrong speed, just out of pace with the rain as they danced with conspiratorial elegance against each other. Probably Audi had fixed this, lesser manufactures or older models still struggled with adapting to the weather. I bumped off the main road at the turning and zigzagged homeward avoiding pot holes whist trying to make a pattern I couldn't quite see but one that might be seen if someone else was flying in an aeroplane directly above my car and filming it via a camera mounted downwards on the lower part of the plane's fuselage. That was what I was thinking anyway. The part ten became longer, looser and less well imagined as I travelled along the track. There were two bad corners. The first with the boulder (a remnant from the Ice Age I imagined) has generally easier. I did sometimes feel a strange compulsion to scrape the side of the car on the boulder, I don't quite know why. I resisted and soldiered on. Just on the next corner, sharp, blind and challenging a red Mitsubishi pick up truck met me. We slowed abruptly but in unison and crawled past one another. I looked across at the, driver, I was ready  to deliver one of those awkward nods that says, “Hail fellow road user, well met and a good day to you!” I was ready with this move. It was there right up my sleeve but you can well imagine my surprise when I looked across at the truck's cab and saw that the driver was none other than the Colombian singer and some time celeb beauty known as Shakira. I didn't expect that to happen today.

1 comment:

  1. Your writing makes me feel lazy John. But then, I am indeed lazy..

    Hail the master!