I am the grit in the gears, the missing bolt, I am the poker of sticks into spokes.
I like to know how things work, but sometimes when I take them apart and rebuild them, I have a few pieces left over.
I am a man, so I tend to leave reading the instructions until after it goes wrong.
And like all men I have a comprehensive mental map of the world and never need to ask directions.
I never get lost, only sometimes I'm late, or end up in the wrong place entirely.
It's what we do.
Sunday, 17 June 2012
The Happy Train
I feel for this child.
Somebody says "Smile!" "You're having a great time!" "Be Happy" "Look, everybody else is having fun!" "Isn't this fun?!"
Let me be the judge of that, get the f***ing camera out of my face.
Sometimes I am this child. For instance, a few weeks ago, I was totally and utterly exhausted, far from home, and, when I should have opted for an early night, I agreed to go out with my cousin and her husband, to a pub where a band he knew was playing. Now, at one end of the pub, far from the music, there were comfortable leather sofas, and dim lights. Oh no. They wanted to be out in front of the band. And dancing.
I do not dance. It's not naturally wired into me, nor did I ever take lessons, so I don't dance. Really. I just don't. Now there's a breed of women out there who seem to think that all men are, in fact, pre-wired for dancing, and just need to let their hair down.
I had my beer, told the others that I was fine, just needed to sit down, on a hard old church-pew, by a big old table, facing the ear-bleedingly loud speaker-stacks, and snooze.
But Helen's pal seemed to find that an affront, and kept coming over to try get me to dance with her.
I said no thank you, and no offence, but I'm not available, to this woman I'd never met before, and had no interest in knowing better. Pulling at my arm, wheedling, cajoling, hectoring.
And me refusing. Face set like the child above, some people just don't see the signs. The dog's ears lie down... the hackles rise. The teeth show. Keep petting the nice doggy, tug at it's ears and end up getting reconstructive surgery.
I think Helen, from a distance, could see the warning signs. The sullen glare, the clenched jaw. She came and pried her friend's fingers off my arm, just in time. I told her I was done, would sleep on the table, amidst the noise, if her friend could just be kept away.
It was easier, I think, for them to call a taxi for me. Great taxi. The guy had no idea of the address I gave him. Luckily I remembered the name of the park nearby, that I'd walked in that morning. If he got me to the gates, I could backtrack from there. Despite that, I gave him a tip. Appreciated it, the taxi like a lifeboat. Or a rescue helicopter.