wake with alarm
try to comb hair
catch the bus
miss my cat
wake with alarm
try to comb hair
catch the bus
miss my cat
Yesterday I bought the groceries from the supermarket, scanning the items myself and paying for them without even swiping my card. As I shopped, I used a device that fits in my pocket to view a photo, posted seconds earlier, by a friend on the other side of the planet. A device that is hundreds of times more powerful than desktop computers I used at work less than a decade ago.
For some of us, the future arrived a while back. I don’t think we even noticed; as we were impatiently waiting for flying cars and teleportation devices, we actually got robotic limbs, 3D printers and radio controlled cars on Mars. At times, even science fiction fantasy can’t keep pace with our science fiction reality.
Unfortunately not everyone benefits from life in the future – we all know that billions still live in abject poverty, lacking even the most basic health care or sanitation. What makes it worse, some of these are forced into virtual slavery to build our latest must have gadgets. To think about this makes me feel a weird mix of self hate and sadness. At times it’s overwhelming.
William Gibbson once wrote – “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed”.
He was right.
The TV drones away in the background as I try to sleep. I am uncomfortable. I’m too hot, and my pyjamas are twisted under the bed sheets. I never could sleep in the same room as a TV. I feel like someone is watching me. I get up, stretch and walk over to the open window. I glance over to the TV as I light up my last cigarette. I should have quit years ago, like all my old friends did. Me being me though, I continued secretly smoking away, whilst announcing to anyone who asked that I barely touched them – ‘Just when I had a drink’. Now though, I couldn’t care less. Those who quit had a reason to do so – they developed hobbies which required them to be fit, or met partners who encouraged them to quit. Some had kids.
Staring out of the window, I saw an old fox trotting up the empty street. It stopped to sniff at an overfull bin, then looked over in my direction. I stared back. In that moment I felt a connection. Something under that moon linked me and this old fox. Out there, in the street fending for itself, living day to day. I thought it was about to reveal something to me, a secret of this world. I waited. Then the fox’s head moved slowly. I realised that it wasn’t staing at me, but an empty polystyrene takeaway box beng blown past my window by the gentle breeze.
I cursed, threw the stump of my cigarrette out of the window, flicked off the TV and went back to bed.
I woke slowly, hoping it was later than I knew it would be. 7am would have been good; 8:15 better. I didn’t raise my head to look at the clock. Not yet. I just lay there, letting my eyes grow accustomed to the darkness, and listening her, breathing. The gentle rise and fall of her chest the only sound in the darkness. I needed to go to the bathroom, but I really didn’t want to get up. I was comfortable – a rarity for me whilst lying in bed – and comforted, by her rhythmic, steady breathing. The simple sensation of her breath being exhaled against my exposed forearm brought more pleasure than I would have thought possible. A gentle caress, regular and hypnotic.
I turned my head to look down at her, glancing at the clock as I did so. Then I just lay there, smiling.
At 04:04 Monday morning, in that dark, quiet room, I was more content than I had been anywhere else on the planet for a long, long time
I’ve been given the dubious honour of being the best man at a good friend’s wedding this weekend, in a little town called Lucignano, Italy. It’s kind of a low key affair, and initially there weren’t going to be any speeches – much to my relief. Things have changed however, it looks like the bride and groom are getting a bit carried away with this whole wedding business, and now expect me to say a few words. I can’t say that I’m especially looking forward speaking – in fact the prospect fills me with a certain amount of dread, especially because the groom and I have managed to be perfectly good friends for the last 30 years without ever feeling the need to say any nice about one another.
Not that there aren’t lots of nice things to say about him – but just I don’t really want to stand up in public and say them… Anyway, as part of my preparation in writing the speech, I did some research, and have compiled this list of nuggets that definitely shouldn’t be part of a best man’s speech
1. Comparing the honour to being asked to fuck the Queen (a great honour, but who wants to do it). This is funny if you have never heard it, but gets tired pretty quick, and most people have heard it
2. Anything to do with sexually transmitted diseases
3. Previous wives / husbands
4. Abortions! (can you believe some people actually bought this up during a speech!?!)
5. Don’t use the words c*nt, f*ck, sh*t, or tw*t. (no matter how accurately they describe the groom)
6. Don’t finish on a raised-fist salute, saying “Rest well comrades, for tomorrow we march on Rome” (I actually wanted to say this, but mentioning it to the groom’s brother, he told me that would be a bit inappropriate)
7. Don’t make too many personal ‘in’ jokes – there will be more than just you and the groom listening, so try to focus the speech on things that everyone will find funny – not just you and him.
8. Say something nice about the bride. ‘Gorgeous’, ‘warm-hearted’, ‘beautiful’, ‘radiant’ are in; ‘controlling’, ‘ball-breaker’, ‘easy’ and ‘ugly’ are definitely not
9. Do not share a joint with an Italian waiter just before standing up to do the speech
10. In the end, you’ve been asked to be the best man by your friend, presumably because he likes you, and if you accept, then you must like him too. For this reason, don’t worry about being nervous – you know the guy. Prepare, sure, but don’t overthink. Speak from the heart and all will be OK. (In theory)!
It’s 5am, I’m at Heathrow airport, and I can see people working out at the ‘airport gym’. Including a family of 4. The world is going to hell in a handcart.
Or at least, on a running machine.
Oh. Actually, it’s 5.30. My ‘genuine’ $12 Rolex had stopped working. What were the chances of that…
I’m not sure if I like sunsets, as, although I’m sure they don’t mean to, they make me think back on what it is that I have done that day, and think ahead to the disappointment I am going to cook myself for dinner that night.
Be that as it may, I love this song. I put it on, and then steadfastly ignore the screen till it is finished.