Real sacrifice: what’s that?
I mean that man/woman, you know the one, he/she’s on the tube/train/bus and promptly surrenders the rare seat he/she has to—and it could be anyone needy as he/she’s the sort, kind of opportunistic—that old/pregnant/injured-in-some-way woman/man. Which he/she does minus any kind of selfish thought/consideration, because doing so sets in him/her this smug flush of satisfaction that he/she relates to a firm contribution towards what he/she perceives as a ‘good day’. Is this any sort of sacrifice? Really.
I suggest, of course, it is.
Though maybe, and because no real hardship has been endured by the seat donor, on the contrary, he/she has in fact used old/pregnant/injured-in-some-way woman/man to feed his/her own sense of self worth and at no real cost to his/her own-actual-self. The man/woman, at day’s end, giving nothing away that effects the outcome of his/her journey in a from-here-to-there sort of way. Would our man/woman—let’s call him/her Boo, which is likely not his/her name though coincidence is inevitably a feature of the day-to-day and creative imagination—feel so inclined to relinquish hen’s teeth in such a noble gesture if armed with the knowledge that his/her space was, in fact, the only space available on the tube/train/bus and to gift it would actually leave him/her in a pedestrian situation: you know, pressing in the crowd, wearing out shoe/boot leather, working up lactic acid? I suggest therefor that he/she, in doing this selfless thing, has gained more than has the very subject of the sacrifice who, out of the whole deal, only got a seat.
Or am I perhaps loaded with cynicism and unfairly unravelling bog standard good manners because I’ve nothing better to do than watch?
That contented pig, you know the one, he/she’s enthused and snuffling through tree-litter for acorns/truffles/stuff he/she’s certain are there, only hidden in brittle/soggy leaves that are old: been about a while and kind of clogging the place up a bit.
Old men debating, with enthusiasm rather than actually loud, downstairs maybe deeper. Their words audible but minus clarity or any recognisable shape as their tone’s muffled by that carpet/floorboard/plaster triumvirate permitting comfortable second/third/higher floor living.
Both of these are sounds that strike me as something like that made by my stomach, periodically and during the course of every day, at times relating to regularity. Is it that I’ve some gastric disorder or is it that these sounds are commonplace at times of refuelling; noises that could easily on times be likened to a party balloon’s squeak, deflating through the tines of a comb. This because I’m not eating today.
Bold, I know. I say this mostly on days when it’s mid-afternoon and before I realise I’ve not eaten and so it seems there’s a fasting opportunity presenting itself; you know, a bit of a purge already underway minus noticing that might do me some good. Trouble is though, and this is inherent within the act/sudden-awareness of having so far had zero food to speak of, now I’ve noticed I’ve not eaten I’ve this instantaneous hunger and a powerful urge to service it. And once hungry I find my willpower regarding abstinence invariably and rapidly approaches zero. Eating, after all, is what we do when there’s nothing else to do.
Willpower is a matter of distraction and the stuff of distraction is utterly subjective and closely related to matters of passion. Lose your passion and you’re gonna eat. Unless you’re passion’s eating in which case you’ll never hear that contented pig. Discuss if you can be bothered, even if it’s only a little bit.
During a town-center parking dispute type situation in a civilised backwater in which the ‘wronged’ protagonist (postal service worker going about his/her business of collecting/delivering from/to General Post Office in year-round-shorts and expecting loading slot on busy narrow street and directly opposite General Post Office not to be occupied by casual shopper awaiting consort with little consideration for the generally accepted rule and playing the ‘keep your hair on only going to be a moment’ card while discharging an indignant and somewhat miffed air so readily wielded by those thinking they have some sort of special dispensation to do so due to the fact that they thrive on self-importance and are nurtured by convenience while actually being a bit of a git) is forced to plug the very pinched one-way-only high street so creating their very own road block stretching in fact out of sight over the brow of and way back beyond and down the hill, how long is it roughly before his/her obligation to the building traffic at his/her rear becomes more important than winning some kind of stand-off situation regarding his/her rights and offending opponents inconsideration/selfish behaviour?
And, in an unrelated matter, could it be/do you think the previous sentence perhaps a tad too long?
There’s a fire, hot coals in a iron box, wood for flames because flames are free entertainment. Heat on one flank’s kind of cleansing half my face. Here I am poised: you know, kind of rigid as if what I’m about to do is so utterly important it would be completely stupid just to jump right in. In thought then, deep and lithic, pondering input to my cell phone as if what I write is imperatively profound. Like I’m some sort of cliché you might spot and think, ‘fuck that guy’s a cliché.’ You know. You’ve done it too I’m sure. Kind of rigid and staring at the phone’s tiny screen while things happen/continue/go-on about you unnoticed like nothing else is important. That music that’s playing. The haunting guitar riff stretching into and out of the past becoming nothing more than a sound like humdrum. And the random and vanilla chitter-chatter rattling through the lives of others struggling to be heard within their cohorts and over the cohorts of others. My hand.
It’s then I realise that hand, my hand, is like it’s plastic. Action man’s clasping digits deployed like a claw, thumb poised and hovering over the phone’s keyboard until it aches from inactivity. That thumbs major ball joint set on the edge of an arthritic click, then clicking because it’s loose from overuse and dodging about the buttons in an unnatural way of texting.
‘Hello, Mermaid’, I write. How are you?
Right: so I’ve been on the beach in wellies.
Mid-tide, that tide an on-coming one and the wind’s strong and raising white foamy lumps on the seal-grey sea. It’s pressing landward, that wind, sort of relentless and loaded with needles. Ouch! That wind. Like being dough-punched by a cold-pawed cat. But only in an invigorating way, because I’ve enough clothes and with enough clothes the wind’s just pushy.
That beach being a sandy one, mustard’s colour and hard from double-daily soakings. Cut here and there by sudden untethered streams spilling from bridges where there might be trolls. Draining from the village’s secret byways and exposing a pebbly hardcore like speckled eggs across which people in unsuitable footwear and wooly hats with ears wobble their way with care, thinking wet feet to be perhaps a bad thing. Those streams’, like fingers, hyper-flexing for the big water and too much of a deal for tiny diffident dogs.
A particular dog, dodging about open spaces like wasps’ fly. Dazzy’s chasing pebbles I’ve kicked for her to chase yet is unable to collect because of the size of her mouth. Finding this, it seems, frustrating she grumbles and yaps in tones that sound faraway. That name she has being something she ignores when called because ignoring it suits her whenever compelled by a impending social situation maybe involving other dogs, or people, or gulls. Seaweed, perhaps. Or crabs like kraken, dead and rotting which she sniffs in contemplation then claims as hers, marking indignantly with a pee-squirt for later because I’ve stopped her feeding. Seems everything belongs to Dazzy and I’m envious of the simplicity of her arrogance: her aspirations.
We’ll call it Broad Haven, that beach, but only because that’s its name. You know, what it was called by long-ago people knowing no better, with maps to fill and zero imagination when it came to naming places; speaking mostly as they found. I’ve seen broader. As a child though it seemed infinite and wondrous, but the truth is it’s named so because it’s wider than Little Haven, which is little and a whole beach south. In comparison much narrower: not broad at all. The two villages being something of a renowned combo similar to bread ’n’ butter but more reasonably, chalk ’n’ cheese. Littoral neighbours connected not only by contiguity and by the sand revealed at the tides bottom but by the sense of isolation that’s innate in being in the countryside and at the very edge of the world. Villages that present as something like siblings: one of which went on to university studying classics while the other became a tradesman; probably a plumber.
When a man/woman/talking-horse opens/closes a sentence with, ‘trust me,’ then that is probably the very last thing you should actually do. What they are about to do/have already done, in fact, is introduce you, minus any actual shame and in a bare-faced sort of way, to an utter lie. I’ve found. Or.
Maybe/perhaps/in-all-probability subject you to an opinion they have about which they’ve utter confidence in it being the absolute last word and whatever it is you may think/say in response, to them means nothing at all. Zero. If they do this while performing those bunny-ear finger flexions—you know, hands flanking wide-eyed and humbly sincere yet pinched ’n’ serious face (this could be single or double barrelled depending on house style. The doubled barrelled version being additionally sickening/irritating while in the fingers splayed form due to its connoting some sort of already perceived victory)—then you would be well counselled to disengage immediately as the man/woman/talking-horse is clearly a bit of a twat and likely to further irritate you in a relentless manner. This I have found but is by no means the whole truth of it. Please ponder if you can be bothered.
It is true, I’ve witnessed it often, that craving for misery inherent in the lives of certain standard humans!
I’ve heard them and I want to know why it is that certain people have this deep rooted need to own an illness/misfortune/loss: make it work for them in some perverse way. ‘Since my stroke,’ ‘after my heart attack,’ they say. You know how it goes, you’ve heard them I’m sure! ‘You’re lucky! When my husband/wife/significant other died it was so much worse.’ Yahda yahda yahda!’ It’s like the only good thing coming out of that illness/misfortune/loss they’ve had is the illness/misfortune/loss itself. They’ve had it and it hurt and so now it’s going to be this credential they default to that they feel prioritises them when there’s sympathy being dealt out. A woeful tale they’ll rattle out when they think they’re being upstaged in some way by another’s illness/misfortune/loss and this really sticks in their craw because, at all costs, they have to be, be perceived to be, the least happy person in any room. Like their illness/misfortune/loss is now the thing that defines them and that definition, in their own actual minds, delivers kudos and in heaps. They thrive on personal misery in such a vital way that to deny them that misery, you know, reflect back at them nothing but joy and positivity, would be to remove a significant part of their personality: misery being that part of their being that’s in fact getting them through the day-to-day. People ay! What ‘r’ they like!?