Modern life is rubbish, says some bloke who thinks the world is becoming too left-brained, which is to say: “an increasingly mechanistic, fragmented, decontextualised world, marked by unwarranted optimism, mixed with paranoia and a feeling of emptiness.”
I wonder if he’s talking about internet shopping. Personally I love being able to do my Christmas shopping on the internet, but on Saturday morning I realised that a packed December schedule and particular requirements were going to force me to do some non-internet, ie. physical, ie. real-life, ie. interpersonal, ie. oldskool shopping in the centre of Bristol that very day. So I did what I always do in such emergencies – got up at the crack of Saturday and got in there quick before the hordes. It was raining, I was moderately hung over and the only two shops I’d been pinning my hopes on failed to deliver. All this befouled my mood. But on the offchance I popped into St Nicholas Market, the hippy-centre of Bristol retail. And do you know, the brilliant little Nails Gallery yielded the Perfect Thing; exactly what I was looking for. And then a quick mooch around the rest of the hippy stalls yielded two more Perfect Things and suddenly the trip was a triumph.
Bucked, I strolled off to buy some breakfast from a hippy food merchant. I enquired of him of what a rather tasty-looking example of savoury pastry consisted. Of.
“That’s a nice vegetarian tomato and cheese pasty,” said the hippy.
“Oh in that case I’ll have a sausage roll,” I said, chuckling.
“Ah, sorry for swearing at you, saying the word ‘vegetarian’” said the hippy, chortling.
“Well, my wife’s a vegetarian. I’m virtually a vegetarian,” I said, snickering. “So when I’m out on my own I make sure to get some dead animal.”
“I get you,” said the hippy, giggling. “When you come in it’s all Where have you been, at the steak bar?”
“And I say, No honest love, I was only at the strip club,” I said, hooting.
This went on for some time, by the end of which our improvisational double-act had reached the comedic heights of, say, ooooh, Hale and Pace, and we were virtually rolling on the floor.
I marched perkily back to the car with my Perfect Things and the sausage roll crumbs sprinkling my coat like Christmas snowflakes. The rain was gone, the sunlight was beautiful, Castle Green is beautiful, Bristol is beautiful. Hippies are great. Christmas shopping is great. The internet is great. Modern life is rubbish. God bless you all.