Here’s the story of Bob Dylan, disaster, and children as footstools.
You wanna know how my Friday went? Delivery. I was on the way out, but I had to sort out the delivery. Missed my bus. Got in trouble for showing up 15 minutes late to an appointment. For complicated reasons, I was then shouted at for not having a mobile phone, something that was referred to a decision maker, whilst they got me an invoice I had to take to a shop to hand in, in exchange for a mobile phone. Cool. Free phone and top up. Maybe the day won’t be so bad after all. I then get to the bus station, just as I’m about to get on the bus, the bloody driver drives away. Only three buses come every hour, you know, so I got a different one and decided to walk the extra distance. On my way home, I was nearly involved in two major crashes, the first because the bus almost went into the back of two vehicles that had crashed in front of us, moments earlier, the second, to avoid that crash, nearly causing a stupid speeding Mini to crash into the side of the bus. But oh no! Happy thoughts Alan, happy thoughts, happy thoughts. Yeah, the buses don’t have seat belts, yeah, if you’d crashed, you’d have gone flying through the window, yeah, you’ve had an awful day, but you’re nearly home. Got off the bus, the freezing temperatures of the morning had evaporated, making way for summer sizzle, leaving me in a thick jacket. By the time I got home, I could hardly breathe. A nice shower, that’s what I needed. ARRRRGH! No shampoo! And I haven’t even mentioned the huge spider I found that night under my bed covers. I trapped it and tried to drown it in the bathtub. It wouldn’t die. It eventually crawled down the drain of its own accord, momentarily stopping and turning toward me, before carrying on. As if to say, “You only needed to ask!” Oh jeez. What a day, what a day…
I’m not technological. I didn’t have an email until a few years ago because I didn’t need one. Ten years ago, nobody did. But nowadays, everybody does. It’s gonna go that way with mobile phones. In ten years, everybody will need one. What else, huh? What else? Credit cards? I don’t have one, I don’t need one. But in ten years, when I want a friggin’ tea bag, “Oh sir, please insert your credit card.” “What? Sod off, you daft cow, here’s a fiver.” “You don’t have one? OH MY GOD, YOU’RE A MONSTER!” Fair enough, our parents had to deal with huge technological change, but I don’t like change. I resist it at all costs. When too much change happens, it overwhelms me. It’s too much to deal with. It’s not me. It’s not what I want. I don’t want a bloody email. I don’t want a bloody mobile phone. But nope. The world is moving and I have to keep up. I’m being dragged, bound and tied in the back of a pickup. It’s not fair! But you have no choice.
This is the problem. It’s not the change, it’s the change is happening too soon. Too quickly. This is what it must be like for old people. It’s confusing. I can’t keep up. I’m drowning in modernity. A mobile phone. Yes, every 24-year-old has one. I acknowledge that. I’m the one that’s out of date. But do I really deserve 20 minutes of some stupid lady shouting at me for not having one? When it came time to get an email, it was nice and gentle. “I understand, but times are changing, and you have to try to keep up. It’s a simple little thing, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be grand, sweetheart.” Sounded like a Bob Dylan song. But lately, it’s becoming faster. Every little thing you need in this modern world is being fired at me. And I don’t know what to do. I can’t keep up. That mobile phone. It was thrown at me. “Here, figure it out yourself – get with the times, granddad.” I accept that. But be gentle. And realise that for some of us, change is the most difficult, hardest, strangest thing to deal with.
I always wait until the point whereby it is physically impossible to progress without technology. I can’t stand mobile phones. And I’m sorry for being an old grouch. But I turned 24 this week, hence why this post is a bit later than usual. I’m officially an old man, so I have the right to be grouchy. It took me two hours to figure out how to switch it on. What happened to the ‘on switch’ technology used to have? It’s now a sort of weird circle with a line in it. What the hell does that mean? And this SIM thingy, my God, they’re tiny. Quarter of one inch, maybe. It took several attempts to jam it in. I’m thin, and even my fingers were too fat for the job. I had to use tweezers. And then it started vibrating at me. Eight quid it cost. And to think the amount of money women spend on – never mind.
The infernal contraption nearly vibrated out of my blasted hand. It was like a jumping bean. To top it up, I had to send a text message. It’s like Morse Code but more complicated. And to make matters worse, the receiver is located in such a way that you can only hold it with your right hand. I’m bleedin’ left-handed! That’s racist. Probably.
They’re just stupid. The back is covered in fingerprints, and when you hold it up to your face, the screen gets covered in condensation. A huge wet cheek mark. I don’t have any friends. I rarely see my brother. And ma and pa are, let’s not be glib, old. So I have no one to turn to, to figure out what I’m doing with this phone. I know an Italian, one of my own, is now officially recognised as the inventor of the phone. But I think he’d hate mobile phones. He’d probably throw it at Alexander Graham Bell shouting “You’a thieving bastardo!”
I’ve noticed that as I grow older, I’m becoming increasingly less patient. I don’t know why. Is grouchiness something that comes with age? Some would argue I’ve always been a grouch. Take the neighbours for example. They’ve just started building an extension to their home and I should be understanding. Instead, I’m fighting the temptation to open our window and shout unpleasantries at them. They’ve woke me up countless times since the work started, which is clearly a violation of the building code. But oh no, mother won’t let me call the police. She says, “Now, now, be nice and neighbourly.” You clearly haven’t met their kids. They were clearly born out of the frougarten of the devil. They’re like a male version of the twins from The Shining. In the olden days, we’d have sent them off to an institution out in the country somewhere. But oh no, that’s apparently ‘frowned upon’ these days.
The other neighbours aren’t much brighter. Street parties when it’s hot ‘because they can’. They clearly haven’t got council permission otherwise we wouldn’t been asked if it was okay to which my response would’ve ended with ‘off’. Their boy regularly kicks his ball over our garden fence and we don’t give it him back. So he breaks in. “Why not, free country.” HE’S BLOODY 12! He thinks he’s a bloody hippy! We don’t need any more hippies!
Oh, and there are more strange goings on. The other neighbours have two young daughters with mouths like a Satanist’s garage. One of them is eight! You couldn’t get away with that in the olden days. You’d have punished her. Make her clean the chimney or the outhouse. Put her to work as a footstool. Now we have all these ‘child labour laws’ meaning the worst you can do is put them on the naughty step. Ooh – a step! Like that’s gonna friggin’ work! Give them a community service order. Make them clean out the trolleys and condoms from the canal. They’ll have such bad memories of the experience, not only will they not swear again, that when they’re older, they won’t want to go down the canal with a boy, meaning they’ll end up with a decent human being and have kids who respect society! I do not like hearing an eight-year-old girl telling her mother to ‘f-off’ and her mother replying, “Ah, you little scamp.” PUT THEM TO WORK!
If I become old and grey, these are the idiots who’ll be looking after me. That’s terrifying. I’d rather you just sent me out into the woods when I turn 50. These young people. As adults, nurses and carers. Giving me a sponge bath. I don’t want that. Leaning over the bath scrubbing my delicates. The cigarette end will probably fall out of their mouth and burn me wedding vegetables.
Honestly, on my 50th birthday, re-enact on me the scene with the old dog being ‘taken to heaven’ from Of Mice and Men. Oh man, what if my carers are the devil twins?
I turned 24 this week. Call me forgetful. Call me old-fashioned. Call me a grouch. Call me forgetful. But I don’t care what anyone thinks. I’ve had a good 24 years, and the last three blogging have been the best. I know this is a tiny, not-very-often-read-blog-because-it’s-a-bit-crap. But the handful of you that do come here have a very special place in my heart. And there aren’t many things in there. In fact, the happiest thing I have in there are a selection of monkey bloopers. As I enter my 24th year, I might be getting grumpy. I might be getting increasingly confused by technology. Children and modern attitudes may continue to baffle me. But one thing is for sure. I am still here. And I will continue to be here until the day I’m… not here.
And that, readers, is the kind of great philosophy I hope to be giving out for the next 24 years…
American author, Jarod Kintz (b. 1982), once said, “I don’t like to celebrate my birthday, because I don’t like taking credit for others’ work – in this case, my mom and dad. Or possibly my mom and the mailman.”
Peace Out :|:
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To Contrive & Jive
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