Monday, 2 April 2012

A Very Guilty Pleasure....

Ok, look, I’ll hold my hands up.
Alright, take your point, I’ll wash them in a minute.
It was a mistake, I knew it when I did it. No, not this, I mean it was a mistake to have them anywhere near me in the first place. I don’t know why I did it. No! Of course I know why I did this... I just don’t know how I thought I’d get away with it. NO! Not get away with this..... I mean I don’t know why I thought I’d get away with buying the children’s Easter eggs a whole week before Easter. I always do it. 
I always think, “this time I’ll act like a grown up, put them away, put them out of my mind, this year I can do it”. Then this happens. I’ve done it again. And this time you’ve caught me red-handed, haven’t you? Well, alright, not red, more ‘Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate’ handed. Yes I know, I said I’ll wash them in a minute. What? My face as well? Much? Where? 
Of course it isn’t stealing, I bought them myself, and I haven’t given them to anyone else yet, so they’re technically still mine. I’ll replace them, of course, so no-one needs to know. Sometimes I even replace them with bigger and better eggs, so that’s good, isn’t it? When I bought that special offer bumper pack of three Easter eggs and twenty four Cadbury’s creme eggs I replaced them all before Easter. Three times. Damned expensive it was, too. I know it’s my own fault but then it’s not really, is it? Haven’t you ever heard of being a chocoholic? 
The clue’s right there, in the ‘oholic’ bit- it’s not my fault, it’s an illness. I can’t help it. Like I couldn’t help it last year, when I found the egg that was supposed to be my Easter surprise hidden in the back of the wardrobe. Once I’d found it I couldn’t forget it, could I? Nagged away at me, beckoned me, it did. See? Chocoholic, can’t help it. 
I was only cheating myself, ‘cos when I was given it on Easter Sunday it looked intact, only I knew I’d eaten the back bit and rewrapped it. I felt so guilty saying “Oh! what a lovely surprise”.  You think I don’t feel guilty about this? Course I do. Trouble is, feeling guilty always makes me crave chocolate, to make me feel better. That was awful, that Easter, ‘cos I felt so guilty but I’d only got half as much chocolate as I should’ve had. I’m the victim here, you know. It’s going to cost a packet to replace these. I’ll get some more on Good Friday. Or on Saturday, might be better. Late on Saturday. And I’ll get a big bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk for Saturday evening, just in case......
Yes, I know, I’ve still got to wash my hands- and face- but I might as well finish this last bit first. No, it’s only a little bit, there’s not enough for both of us. Buy your own chocolate. Or why can't you wait ‘til Easter?

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Imagine you are travelling, freewheeling in a bright and lovely charabanc. The sun is shining in the see-through sky, and your face wears a big, complacent smile. The sides of the road are lined with blithe and jaunty daffodils, waving as you pass. People are waving too, sincerely, cheering, wishing you the best of luck and fun and joy and happiness. You see before you undulating fields of comfortable green, and welcoming and sympathetic trees. You imagine that you see the road in front of you and know its course, and the exact shape that your journey will inevitably take.

What you don’t know, and no-one round you seems to know, or notice or point out, is that the charabanc you are driving has weak and wobbling wheels. Everyone is oblivious, but it doesn’t really matter as the road is smooth and straight and you can’t see any obstacles along the way ahead.
Imagine then that someone puts a trivial thing, a very tiny nothing-thing, at some point on the way along that smooth and straight and obstacle-free road. A seemingly inconsequential thing, of no significant at all. But then..., secure in your charabanc, all unaware, encounter it, stumble on this trivial, inconsequential, very tiny thing, the thing of no significance at all, and


The wheels fall off. Those wavering, unstable wheels explode, career in all directions, your charabanc and you abruptly crash, wrecked, smashed, in catastrophic chaos.
You look around you. The sincere and smiley people are all gone, hurried off lest they be called as witnesses to what has just occurred. The daffodils lie limp and crushed, dying in the fading, dirty light. The once-green fields, now barren, brittle, dry, recoil from cruel and blackened stumps that masquerade as trees, and dead-branch fingers point accusingly, spear-straight and unnervingly true, right at YOU.
YOU made this happen. You caused it all, it’s all your fault.

This isn’t fair! Your mouth begins to open up, complain, protest, explain about the very tiny, seemingly inconsequential thing, that someone else had left right in your path; about the charabanc and weak, imperfect wheels that everyone was heedless of, that even you could never think might lead to such catastrophe. Then you recall the second rule, (it doesn’t matter, now, about the other rules you gave yourself, to try to codify your life, just this, right now, the second rule) the second rule that states the letter E shall stand for Explanations: ‘Explanations really are Excuses. No-one else will ever believe your Explanations so don’t bother, ever, to Explain’.

You close your mouth tight shut, swallowing your explanation, consuming the excuse. It burns your throat like bile. Stinging pain sprays through your face (oh, by the way, that so-complacent smile has long evaporated) then your stomach grips and spins and then you RAGE. You rage against your idiotic charabanc, its shaky and pathetic wheels. You beat it with your fists until your nails indent your palms and shred the skin, your knuckles darken, swell and flush. You kick it ‘til your jagged feet and toes scream out ENOUGH.

You want to find the person, the one who placed the trivial and tiny thing, the thing of no significance, into your path, to beat and tear and thrash and spit and bite and kick them too. But is this devastation really all their fault? They didn’t know the damage they would cause. They didn’t realise the wheels were loose, your charabanc a fragile rattletrap. No-one knew or realised, not even you. And yet the consequences of their actions are quite devastating still, you could be no more injured had they been hell-bent, their actions forged with forethought and the sole intent of stopping you, brutally exposing your reality, pointing out your failings, your incompetence, inadequacy.

So who is it you blame? It doesn’t really matter, as the damage is the damage, whatever or whoever might have brought it into being. It’s irredeemable, irreparable. It’s done.

You shuffle dead-eyed, sobbing, to the margins of the now deserted road. Into the cloying stinking mud that festers there, where recently so many shallow flowers bloomed. You wallow in the mud’s embrace, the lowest of the low.  No-one comes to pick you up, no-one knows you’re there or that you need to be uplifted, and even if they did there isn’t any place to get a grip. Everyone looks the other way, casually indifferent, especially the person, that person, the one who placed that very tiny, seemingly inconsequential thing into your path, for they know least of all what they have done. And if they did, do you think that they would genuinely care? And if they did, do you think they’d really try to understand? Does anybody really care or genuinely try to understand?

You can’t repair your poor, dejected, crippled charabanc. You’re stuck, bogged down, congealed, immersed within that slice of time, that moment when the wheels fell off, when everything went BANG. Through endless dragging, wakeful nights and grey and weighty days, your heart and soul and mind relive the incident, the instant when that tiny thing, inconsequential (seemingly), thoughtlessly positioned, tossed or thrown or left or placed, gave rise to all this desolation, caused this crashing fall from grace.

Or was it really, clearly, in reality, actually, with certainty, without excuses, all your own fault, caused by your own hubris, your own blindness and stupidity?