Another week bites the dust

Saturday and unbeknownst to me, someone has announced that it’s National Stand in the Fucking Way Day. In at number three we have the couple who came to a sudden halt in the main doorway of Boots. I’ve given them extra points for comic value as from their bickering it was clear that one of them desperately wanted to get in there, whilst one of them desperately didn’t. The opposing forces being equal it was perhaps just physics that caused them to halt where they did. They still should have fucking moved though.

Second place must go to the couple who stood at the bottom of the down escalator, as enraged customers piled into the back of them. Not quite as funny as the other couple, but I’ve given them added danger points. Especially since the immediate danger was not to them but to other people. Up with that sort of thing, it’s what the Tories love.

My favourite, and definite winner, was the young man standing in the gateway that leads from a road (with cars and everything) onto a national cycle route, at the bottom of a steep hill. Meaning that anyone standing on their brakes (that would be me) desperately trying not to hurtle down the hill, and unable to ring their bell because their hands are on the brakes, was liable to slam into him. Well not him precisely but the small child and pushchair he was using to shield himself from imminent danger.

Yes, well done that man. I think Darwin awards are meant to be given out if you kill yourself before you reproduce, not if you kill your own child after you’ve reproduced. There really is no need for that sort of thing. Or perhaps there is. Here, have a biscuit.

The week meandered on. OK, I wish it had meandered. It sped. Before I knew it, it was Wednesday and I was listening to a BBC news report on the dangers of smoking in cars. Is this fear that whilst fumbling around for their lighter, a smoker might hit an innocent bystander? Dear god no. It was worry for the smoking driver, fumbling around, desperate for a nicotine hit. Why worry about what that might do to someone else, when you can worry about the self-inflicted build up of chemicals in your car.

All of this was explained to me by a lovely reporter, who drove along, facing the camera whilst chatting about the dangers of smoking in your car. She failed to mention the dangers of driving whilst not looking where you’re going because you’re talking to a camera.

Seriously, esteemed members of the British Medical Association, if you want to save lives don’t muddle around trying to get laws passed that the police will not have the time, will or ability to enforce. Instead, back road safety campaigns. Get drivers to concentrate on what they are doing, slow down, and stop thinking that driving is part of some kind of grand display of multi-tasking. Or campaign for me to be allowed to shoot bad drivers. Either really, I’m not fussed. But leave smokers to it. We all do stuff that is bad for us as individuals, and that’s our choice. It’s when we do stuff that is dangerous to others that we need a slap.

I switched channels to see if Ch4 was any better. It wasn’t. Now, I still have a soft spot for Vincent Cable. I remember voting for him in the 1997 election. Over a decade later and I enjoyed watching him waltz with Erin. But I really do think he’s deliberately trying my patience these days. There he was, explaining the jobless figures, and John Snow’s report on unemployment. John (lovely John) had been interviewing people in the north east who were, to use a technical term, utterly and irretrievably stuffed. According to Vincent (I don’t love you any more, Vincent) “there has traditionally been higher unemployment in the north east”.

Bloody hell Vincent. It’s not Christmas. It’s not traditional to be unemployed in the north east. It’s not as if it’s something like Morris dancing, haggis, fox hunting, or getting shit faced on a Friday night. Unemployment comes about as a result of socio-economic forces. It’s worse in the north east not because of tradition, but because the industrial base for which that region was famed was stripped bare by Thatcher. Tradition my fucking elbow. I shall now transfer what little respect I had left for Vincent to the lovely Mr Snow. The lovely, lovely Mr Snow. There is a special place in my heart for the cycling silver fox, especially in that advert where he’s stiff as a board on the back of a scooter. But anyway.

Thursday was a bit of an odd day. I found out that you can hang the Union Jack upside down, though my colleagues and I spent a little time trying to work this one out and concluded that you can hang it back to front, but not upside down. Apparently one must do this if one is in trouble, as a signal of danger. It is, however, a very subtle signal and one unlikely to be recognised by anyone other than a boy scout. If you are not in imminent danger, hanging it back to front is just rude, apparently. And if you are in danger, you’ll attract boy scouts.

Once home from work, and as a break from all this flag-induced angst, I decided to unwind by watching Frozen Planet. Big mistake as those bloody killer whales were back again. Oh no, wait, it was a leopard seal. Whatever it was, David was not allowing me to escape from the fact that nature is red in tooth and claw, as the streamlined predator knocked back a baby penguin as if it were an amuse bouche. Though I am fascinated by the penguins and confess that they make me think really shallow things like, “why don’t you just move somewhere warmer? With fewer seals”.

The week ended with a trip to Lidl, palace of delights. Lidl holds endless fascination for me, as I know of nowhere else where I can find a frying pan beneath a pile of wellies. Next to a computer keyboard and to the left of some very unusual cheese. And some waterproof trousers. And this week’s highlight, almost, an electric guitar. The actual highlight for me, however, were some Christmas themed candles. Some of them were in the shape of angels. I am now wondering what it is like to watch an angel slowly burn and dissolve into a puddle of wax. I may have to buy some just to find out, though no doubt it will make me think too much about life, the universe and the symbolism of burning angels.

So onwards to next week, when I shall be mainly getting my haired dyed. Gulp. It’s staying ginger, but going less grey. So long as I don’t look like a flaming angel, I’m sure it will be fine.

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