Monday, 31 August 2015

We're all going on a bank holiday

I've just seen on the news that Kanye West reckons he's going to run for president in 2020.
Seriously? After having a movie star in the form of Ronald Reagan as president, will the American voters really sink to the depths of having an ageing rapper with an ego the size of a planet in the White House?
As if that isn't bad enough, can you imagine that narcissistic publicity-seeking-missile Kim Kardashian being first lady? If this was to happen (and I don't think for one moment the average American is stupid enough to let it) it really would be final confirmation that the world has gone insane.

Not that we need look to the US for signs of this of course.
On a daily basis we see signs of mankinds relentless plummet towards the deepest abyss of bad taste and social indifference.
Today is the August bank holiday, which is fertile ground for the observation of the insanity around us, and predicably it's raining with a vengeance. It always does, and yet there are still countless outdoor events organised by hopelessly optimistic people with corduroy trousers and excessive beard growth.
Every year it's the same and yet we still hold on to that tiniest sliver of hope that next time will be different.
We had every intention of going to Wimbotsham, just outside Downham Market, today for the annual Fenman Classic motorcycle show. We've been before and it has been a great day out, but unsurprisingly we awoke this morning to be greeted by the sort of precipitation guaranteed to put off all but the most hardy of bikers, so we figured it wasn't worth the trip when the event would probably be reduced from the usual thousands of bikes to three BMWs and an old Yamaha FS1E.
There was nothing on at the cinema worth seeing, but we felt the urge to get out of the house and do something - anything - so we made the stupid decision to pop into Cambridge to get a couple of bits from Dunelm. Fat chance of that working out.
All routes in that part of Cambridge were gridlocked because everyone else in the region was bored too and had the same idea, so not wanting to spend the day in a traffic jam, I took evasive action and ended up at the big Scotsdale garden centre instead, along with everyone else over the age of forty within a 20 mile radius.
By the time we'd wandered half way round we'd lost the will to live. The place was littered with people who were obviously there because there was nothing else to do. Like us. We kept catching snippets of other peoples conversations, all saying they didn't know why they were there.
It was almost a sort of out-of-body experience, a sense of detachment as if watching a film rather than really being there. The characters, the expressions of exasperation, boredom, and confusion, and the old man bent double over his walking stick with a face that appeared to be made of melting wax like the nazis at the end of 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'.
Every conceivable example of the hopelessness of western civilization gathered together in one place with the sole purpose of killing time until that skinny bloke with the scythe and the black cloak comes to relieve them of their misery.
It was time to leave.

This sums up the whole problem. At a time when everyone claims to be so busy and stressed out because there's so much to do and so little time, days like this just go to show that it's all nonsense and they're bored shitless with the pointlessness of it all.
We have filled our lives with things that take the hard work out of life for us like washing machines, dishwashers, convenience food, and not bothering to iron clothes, so all the little jobs that used to be required to keep our households running have been reduced to a level previous generations could only have dreamed of.
We opened up all this free time for ourselves but we have no idea what to do with it, and when it's pissing down the only thing we can think of doing that doesn't involve getting wet is watching shite TV or shopping. Something has gone very wrong.
Yes, I know this is a sweeping generalisation and there are plenty of people who do have lives that are full and rich with a whirlwind social life, just as there are those who are perfectly content with a life spent sitting on the sofa eating chocolate until 'Eastenders' comes on.

I don't particularly want to be any of these things. I want to be happy doing what needs to be done before pottering about doing little things to keep me busy, watching the odd movie, or spending a couple of hours killing bad guys on the Playstation. I like cooking from scratch and would much rather do that than eat something from the ready meal aisle in the supermarket because at least I know what's in it. I enjoy making wine and beer, and I enjoy drinking the result even more.
I love listening to music, creative photography, walks in the countryside and fixing stuff.
Mostly I'm perfectly content with this simple life, but occasionally that little voice in the back of my head gives me the urge to get out and do something different.
When I do give in and listen to that voice, I quickly learn that it belongs to an evil little bastard who puts me in situations I'd rather not be in. It makes me realise that I don't want to join in with the rest of the world running around like headless chickens, and searching for the next fix of unashamed materialism that is the scourge of the modern world.

People everywhere have a 'to do' list pinned up somewhere - a list of tasks that need to be completed in the near future. What I think I need is a 'don't do' list - things I've done that I need reminding never to do again. There are lots of things that belong on this list, such as 'don't buy fruit from the market because it'll be manky within two days',and 'don't mix bleach with other cleaning products unless you want a near-death experience', but the newest addition to it will be 'Don't leave the house on a bank holiday because you WILL regret it'.