As Sofia over at Mother Road might say: Holy Crap!
As Sofia over at Mother Road might say: Holy Crap!
[Driver and passenger are driving on a bend. Car coming from opposite direction, crosses central line and almost causes an accident.]
Did you see the way that driver cut you up?
I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.
Are you kidding? He was over the centre line. If you weren’t watching the road he would have hit you.
Look, it’s just another soul having a bad day.
Know your trouble? You make too many excuses for people. You just don’t want to see that people are basically selfish and they’ll get away with whatever they can. And don’t give me all that 'benefit of the doubt' crap. Because when a car rams into you at high speed and you wind up in hospital, all your 'soul having a bad day' philosophy won’t mean crap.
Whereas judging someone for a mistake that any of us could have made is in some way beneficial? Do you feel better for it or do you, in fact, just feel more stressed, if that was possible?
I feel like my eyes are open, unlike that bloody driver. And you, my friend, you’re in denial about the very nature of humanity, a humanity that you claim to care so much about.
I do. I love humanity. It's just individual people who create problems.
An interesting paradox. So he wasn’t people?
Well yes of course he was. But I don’t think his intention was malicious. He was just careless.
Clueless, you mean!
So if I burgled your house and accidentally burned your house down because I was careless with a candle on my way out, that would be okay?
You’d burgle my house with a candle – what are you, a Victorian theme burglar?
It’s a metaphor.
You mean an allegory.
Jesus, psycho driver gets to almost run you off the road without comment and I get picked up on for my use of language. Where’s the consistency? Metaphor or allegory, there’s still a candle and your house has still burned down.
Am I inside?
Er, no. You’re visiting friends for the evening - I'm not a monster.
Okay so I’m not injured. Just seriously inconvenienced. But I still have my car, right?
Well, unless psycho driver met you on the way home when you heard the fire engines.
So I could sleep in my car for the night – at a push?
Be realistic. Your house has just burned down. How would you be able to sleep?
Well, my files are all backed up to a server and there’s nothing I can do for my property. What else am I going to do?
You could mourn, show a little emotion, maybe? Christ, your whole life has gone up in flames. And what didn’t has been stolen by a..a Victorian theme burglar.
But you weren’t hurt, were you?
No! What does it matter if I was hurt?
I’m just saying, no sense in both of us suffering. And besides, most of my things are insured; probably overinsured.
You know, this glass half-full approach can be really wearing.
It’s a choice, okay? And I choose to look for the best.
It’s just a subtle form of denial.
What would you prefer?
Okay, I miss my stuff, life sucks and I hope the guy who burgled me gets rectal cancer - no offence.
None taken. That’s the spirit!
Okay, and that driver was a total arsehole who should watch the road more carefully.
Now we’re there. Do you really mean it - any of it?
Not for a second.
Now, now! Don’t distract me; I need to watch the road.
As a writer and a reader, I'm fascinated with endings. So much so that I ponder the conclusion of a book long after I've returned it to the shelf or the charity shop.
They say you learn something new every day. I'll spare you my diary entries and share
4. Sometimes, you're waiting four months for a response from a publisher, only to discover – upon ringing them up – that they never received your manuscript in the first place. Thank you, Royal Mail.
Sometimes it takes a big person to recognise when a relationship isn't working out. "It's not you - it's me," has become a cliche and a get out clause. But in this case, I have to say, "It's not me - it's YOU!" You crave my attention and you have so many finicky rules and attitudes that I only discover if I ask the right question. And frankly you're doing my head in.
“Well darling, Malcolm is something called a vegetarian.”
“Is that a sort of religion?”
(Frowns.) “No dear, not exactly. Uncle Malcolm has certain beliefs about what he eats.”
“Well… like not eating animals.”
“You mean tigers and lions and giraffes and elephants?
“No dear, no one eats those. I’m talking about cows and sheep and pigs and chickens.”
“I’ve got those in my farm set at home, haven’t I, mummy?”
“Yes darling. So that’s all cleared up then.”
(After a millisecond pause.) “But why doesn’t he want to eat them?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because they have legs.”
“So does Uncle Malcolm eat fishes then?”
“Erm, no dear, he doesn’t.”
“So is it because they have eyes then?”
“Perhaps that’s it; let’s talk about something else.”
“But mummy, didn’t you tell me that potatoes have eyes. Does Uncle Malcolm eat potatoes?”
(Heavy sigh.) “Yes he does. And potatoes do have eyes, but it’s not the same thing.”
“So what’s different about a potato’s eyes? Are they on the back of its head?”
“A potato doesn’t have a head.”
“Then where does it keep its eyes?”
(Heavier sigh.) “Eat up; your dinner will be getting cold.”
“So… about the potatoes. Does Uncle Malcolm eat them because they’re a vegetable and he’s a vegetarian?”
“Yes dear, how clever you are to have worked all that out by yourself. Why don’t we have a little rest from our conversation now?”
(Pause for two bites of food.) “Do potatoes have noses as well?”
“Now you’re just being silly, when have you ever seen a vegetable nose?”
(Narrows eyes.) “When we had a snowman, he had a carrot nose.”
(Casts eyes to the floor.) “Yes, I suppose we did, but that was different.”
“Because the snowman wasn’t a vegetable?”
“I expect so, dear.”
“About Uncle Malcolm, mummy; why doesn’t he eat animals then?”
“I don’t know dear, why don’t you ask him next time we see him?”
“But you said we weren’t to discuss it and you told Uncle Malcolm he wasn’t allowed to say anything to upset me.”
“Did I? Oh well, that must be right then.”
“Do animals eat other animals?”
“And do animals eat vegetables?”
“Yes, sometimes they do.”
“But animals don’t eat crinkly chips, do they mummy?”
“No darling, not crinkly chips.”
“Except our dog Jambo – he likes chips.”
“Yes, except Jambo.”
“And Jambo likes meat from a can as well.”
(Pats child on head to alleviate desire to scream.) “Yes dear.”
“And do vegetables eat other vegetables?”
“Why don’t you tell me what you think?”
“Erm… I don’t know. But potatoes could see the other vegetables, only they don’t have any teeth.”
“So that would be a ‘no’ then?”
“Do fish eat vegetables?”
“I imagine some do, yes.”
“Is that why we eat fish and chips together?”
(Gazes at ceiling for inspiration and divine intervention.) “Probably.”
“But I still don’t see why Uncle Malcolm only eats vegetables.”
“Alright, you win, I’ll try and explain. He doesn’t want to cause suffering, directly or indirectly, to another living thing. Does that help you?”
“Thank you mummy.” (Two bites later.) “But aren’t vegetables alive?”
“Sort of, but it’s not the same.”
“So they are alive?”
“Everything is alive, sweetheart.”
“Even the television?”
“That’s just being silly.”
“But you said everything. And what about rocks and rivers and… and… mushrooms?”
“Rocks – no; rivers – no; mushrooms – yes.”
“So why does Uncle Malcolm eat vegetables if they’re alive?”
“Because Uncle Malcolm has to live too, otherwise he couldn’t visit us on Saturdays and bring you nice presents.”
(A long silence.) “I think I might become a vegetarian when I’m older.”
“That’s lovely dinner; now finish up your burger because your fries are getting cold.”