To Embrace the Odd and Dream of Catching Toast


Here’s the story of fire, pride, and seats.

Whilst running down a street with a stolen bus seat under one’s arm may sound a tad strange, in the grand scheme of things, it’ll eventually solve the problem of what I’ll call ‘metaphysical ownership’. The bus analogy is actually quite a good one. I see it all the time. I use the bus a lot. I have a favourite seat. Sit in it whenever it’s available. But now and again, I’ll be waiting in the queue to board, and somebody will sit on ‘my’ seat. I get incredibly angry, a bubbling hate filled foaming seething at the mouth kinda feeling. But because I’m British, I don’t say anything. And we’ve accepted this as a society. Very rarely do we step back and think, ‘this is utterly insane – I don’t own that seat’. So why am I so angry? We’re all like this, every one of us. Our favourite spot on the bus, train or at church. We feel so angry when we actually have no claim to ownership of said seat. It’s gonna get to the point, readers, where people actually board buses with saws and take the seat with them when they get off. But as I said at the start, it’ll eventually solve the problem. Because eventually, there will be no seats on the bus at all. Making it impossible to have a ‘favourite seat’. So there’s my top tip of the week, readers. Go and steal a bus seat.

Human beings have this weird delusion that we control more or accept more than is realistically possible. And I’ve never understood it. Mother gets so angry when somebody sits in ‘our’ seats at church. “It just ruins your whole day, something like that”, she’ll say. “I mean, these people, THESE PEOPLE, just some strangers in our church, think they can come along and take our seats”, she’ll continue. “Well, I’m not having it”, she concludes. And seriously, who among you reading this can honestly say you’ve never either blown your top or nearly blown your top over somebody claiming something that wasn’t yours? Hmm? Be honest, now. You have, haven’t you?

Never mind the fact that it’s church. You know, ‘love your neighbour’. ‘We need to get as many people into church as possible’. ‘Everyone is equal and loved equally in the eyes of our Lord, and we must emulate that love among one another’. Oh, okay. Fine. I can do that. But if somebody pisses me off, it’s clobbering time.

What I love most of all it how vitriolic the hate is. I’ll repeat, “Well, I’m not having it”, said mother. What the hell does she mean? Is a fight gonna break out? Handbags at dawn? What is, no, what could we possibly hope our endgame is? It won’t end until somebody is gracing the obituaries page! It’s just gonna escalate and escalate. Sure, starts with fisticuffs, next thing you know, it’s a chainsaw. “IF I CAN’T HAVE THIS SEAT, NO-ONE CAN!”

It’s utterly ridiculous. All seats are the same! ‘Ooh, I want to get a good view of the priest!’ WHAT! HE LOOKS THE BLOODY SAME AS HE DID LAST BLOODY WEEK! ‘Ooh, but he might have a new haircut!’ YOU’RE IN CHURCH, IT DOESN’T MATTER! ‘Well, I like the front seats of the bus because I get a better view!’ THE VIEW IS EXACTLY THE SAME NO MATTER WHERE YOU SIT! If you sit at the back of the bus, you’ll get exactly the same view! THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT YOU’LL GET IT THREE BLOODY SECONDS LATER! ‘Ah yes, but those seats are more comfy’. IT’S A BUS! IT GETS YOU FROM A TO BLOODY B! IT DOESN’T MATTER! STOP COMPLAINING! I’m gonna have an aneurism in a minute…

You can’t shout at humanity for too long because you have to enjoy the little moments we claim as victories, even though, like with ‘metaphysical ownership’, we don’t actually have any control over these things. Nor do we have a right to claim such. I was in the bathroom the other day, I go in there most days, and the tap was making a noise. And I told it to ‘shush’. And it did. We all have moments like those in our lives. Little things we don’t expect to work, but they do. You might tell a flickering light to stop flickering, and it does. It’s a massive coincidence, but a coincidence is all it is. But I felt so proud when that tap shut up. I felt as proud as I do when I get ‘my’ seat on the bus. Or as proud as I feel angry when I don’t get ‘my’ seat on the bus. We all do when these little victories come our way. And you have to hand it to humanity, when the little things make us happy, it’s lovely to see.

If an alien species is looking down on us now, they must be baffled. But I also think they must be smiling at just how odd we all are. And I hope that’ll mean they’ll leave us alone, because I really can’t be doing with another alien probing…

I’m not for one second suggesting we’ll ever get over our love of claiming everything or being proud when an inanimate object does as we say. But once one understands the strangeness of these things, it unravels a whole world of oddities.

I invented a toast catcher when I was young. It was only an idea. People are always coming up with odd little inventions that are rather useless and yet claim so much pride over. It’s another funny quirk of humankind.

I have a powerful toaster. Every toaster I’ve ever had has been incredibly powerful. I remember when I was young, the toast used to leap out of the toaster and fly across the kitchen. It was a difficult scenario. You had a few basic options. You could try to catch it and burn your hand severely. You could try to wear oven gloves, but catching anything with them on was a bit difficult. You could wait for it to land, although I did that once, not realising the toaster had a fault and set the toast on fire. Trust my luck for the flaming flying toast to land on top of the paper kitchen towels. Smoking toaster, flaming bread, flaming paper towels. I got my priorities right and I put out the toast, first of all, because I was hungry and it was the last of the bread. It was one of the first times mother and father left me home alone. They didn’t do that again for quite some time afterwards.

A toast catcher! What an incredible idea! Nothing would’ve been set on fire and I would’ve saved the burnt 27% of my ruined toast! A catcher seemed a tad too difficult to make, so I contemplated some kind of cage, but knowing my luck, I’d probably set that on fire, too.

I still don’t know how I managed to set bread accidentally on fire, but I once set water accidentally on fire, so nothing surprises me anymore.

It was the realisation this week over the stupidity of false ownership of a bus seat and the tap shushing incident, that our little oddities as a species are to be embraced. I shouldn’t have given up on my dream of a toast catcher. And if there’s one thing you learn today, readers, is to embrace the odd and never give up on your dreams…

Of catching toast.

My good ideas keep coming, too. I had one this week. I have many canisters, tubes and bottles that inform me to ‘shake before use’, and I got one this week that required ‘vigorous shaking’. So I’ve set to work on a vigorous shaking machine. Because if there is one thing humankind can’t get enough of, it’s laziness.

Although knowing my luck, it’ll probably catch fire…

English writer, Sarra Manning, once said, “Never shield your oddness, but wear your oddness as a shield.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post


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