Overhearing conversations just gets easier and easier.
It usually happens on buses. Or trains. Or when really loud people walk by, mid-debate and my brain gets really attracted to these wildly oscillating sound waves emanating from all the passing-by, clattering mouths. I can’t help it. And like a kid asked to choose between the wheaty hoops and the Lucky Charms, my brain gets attracted to the wrong kinda stuff.
“Hah hah! He didn’t even know what a Smörgåsbord was.”
“I knoooow the drinks were free. But seriously, the portions.”
“Natalie, I just didn’t get it. I went France. It’s not like Africa: no-one spoke English!”
You read correctly and I overheard correctly. See, one of my favourite past-times is letting the world wash over me via people-watching, eavesdropping – and absorbing everything. It doesn’t do well to dwell like this constantly though. If you have tendencies to do this too, you soon find the world tries to mash you up, make you buy things… make you think you don’t have enough money when, if you’re reading this, you have access to the internet and therefore do. Or like, the world appears to conspire in making you SO angry you just want to…
“Ooooh my God. It was just soooo awful. I can’t even f***ing believe I’m on the phone to you right now about it. It’s like, the fourth time I’ve dropped my iPhone and the screen’s finally cracked –
“Yah, I know I know, at least it’s still working, but now I have to live with a cracked screen for the rest of the month. [Another pause for respondent/bullshit receptacle’s reassuring response]
“Yah. But it’s OK. I’ll buy the iPhone 5 anyway when they release it.”
And in one of those increasingly frequent epistemological crises* – I didn’t actually see that headline. I saw this:
And the first thought that popped into my tiny though sharp brain was: There Are Some Things A Tory Will Never Know.
…it would make a good Smiths song title, right?
Having only just in the last 4 years bought clothes, brand-new from shops instead of charity shops, owning a ‘disposable’ income, caving in to the very minimalistically attractive marketing pressure of owning a Mac, and, yeah, still not feeling better: yes: there’s a rather obvious and large axe to grind. But thankfully I figured that all the pervasive materialism as created by the false needs (as produced from globalised consumerism) means you’ve got an axe too. And I bet you’ve got loads of axes. More axes than me and my extended metaphors! I wish I had as many axes as you. And you don’t even need an axe – but the advert which made you feel inadequate for not having an axe, was very convincing. Hell, you might heven have five axes. Or six! And one with an updated operating system!
And so with your axes, now you’ve another need. A need to grind. So here I am! With my list of Things A Tory Will Never Know!
THINGS A TORY WILL NEVER KNOW
1. What it actually means to go to a Greasy Spoon after a heavy night out. (No Tory; it does not involve making deals with lobbyist companies to change policy. Nor does it mean having an affair on a Sunday with the housekeeper.)
2. A Tory will never know how, exactly, to sit down on a bus without wanting to sit up sardine-straight. Or not touch anything on the bus.
3. Sainsbury’s isn’t normal. It’s an expensive supermarket. What a Tory does know, is that it’s a status symbol to shop there. So actually, in a way, a Tory knows that Sainsbury’s isn’t normal – but they acknowledge that it is. Geddit? No, darling? Never mind, buy your Smart-Price basics. I bet Asda doesn’t do Smart-Price houmous. HUR HUR HUR HUR —- Now, you get it. Conspicuous consumption at its most basic level: scoffing and quaffing.
5. That when festivals are on TV – or Beyonce or big-name acts do a special show – on terrestrial TV, it’s a massive thing. It’s a massive thing because you can’t afford tickets and it usually means watching intently to soak up as much as you can. Sad? No – it’s a fact of. Going to see something – a gig, theatre, comedy – live, is always a treat to look forward to and not something taken for granted. And it certainly isn’t something you’d constantly expect free tickets for.
7. Coffee/chilled coffee from the high street is a rather posh coffee that you sip during a meet up with friends or family. Because £2.65 would usually buy you a tub of coffee. Or 180 – one hundred and eighty – teabags.
8. A Housing Association is not a group of wealthy individuals who club together to buy lots of houses. Similarly, Social Housing is not a hedge fund manager’s property club.
9. A Tory will never know what it means to employ administration experts in the public sector when outsourcing “service solutions” is just so damn cheap ‘n’ easy!
10. Wincing with pain while skilfully using a credit card to help wages stretch out a leeeeettle more this Christmas.
I may have missed things out. If I have, share please! Comment either here, on Twitter or on FB if you have anything to add and I’ll make sure it finds it’s way here, fully credited.
11. Mike T: How to look cool. Exhibit A: Oliver Letwin, Minister of State. Pictoral evidence here
12-14 from Elliot:
12. The unfortunate condition of being underqualified to do something you want to do and overqualified to even do something you really would only consider as a last resort. Lost, then comes the mind-numbing, soul-crushing feeling of impotency experienced when unemployed and living in a society which, as a consequence of centuries of unhealthy puritanical work-ethics, views you as scum despite the fact that you’re putting your degree or two on the back-burner as you desperately apply for cleaning roles.
13. Hunger beyond the “I’m really rather peckish, aren’t you?” The dread of finding not even base ingredients in your cupboards with six days to go before your next payment.
14. The joy in solidarity that comes with reading something by somebody who feels so similar to you that it feels like their writing was a personal letter; signed, sealed and delivered with gusto, aplomb and dignity. Daily Mail hate-rants don’t count. [Thankyou!]
*=Increasingly frequent epistemological crises: what I tend to get thanks to pervasive frivolous materialism (as in, buying loads of stuff – not the philosophical idea that all matter has no intellectural or spiritual existence) ; arrogant baby-boomers, and Douglas Coupland still being considered part of a 20th century literary canon rather than being recognised as the superficial, hollow writer he always was. Amongst other follies. Natch.