Monday, July 02, 2012

Dousing The Flame

Plainly I am a miserable bastard.

I am one of those wretched people who take no joy whatsoever in life’s special events but hide away, griping and sneering, and looking down my nose at the hoi polloi.

The conjunction of Venus and Jupiter back in March? I preferred to sleep in.

The Euro football thing? Past me by. Couldn’t care, didn’t care.

Wimbledon? If I wanted to watch women in short skirts grunting at each other I’d... hold on a minute, I might programme my set-top box to record that one.

Yesterday the Olympic Torch (or rather a facsimile of one of many Olympic Torches) passed through my home town of Leamington Spa. The route took it right passed my place of employment. The torch was on my very doorstep. Crowds and thronging masses lining the streets. Local celebs. Local dignitaries. The press. The police. The St John’s Ambulance brigade. The world and his dog all lined up to watch the world’s biggest Cornetto walked along streets which in a year’s time will not recall its passing. Or even care.

Was I there?

Nah. I couldn’t be bothered.

The wife had made cup cakes and they were fresh out of the oven and generously iced. I was on the sofa with a good book. The kids were playing happily together and not requiring adult involvement. The kittens had disappeared to their mysterious bolt-hole the exact location of which is still unknown to us.

This was quite possibly a once in a lifetime event happening in my own home town and I just felt nothing. Not a spark of interest. Not even a snifter of a fart. In years to come when people ask me if I was there and if I saw it I shall say no but my backside was grateful for the good scratching I gave it.

The most I have done is to check out some photos on Facebook posted by a friend who did motivate himself to go.

They are good photos but the spectacle of the event looks underwhelming. When you have seen one crowd you have seen them all. Unless they are armed, of course; crowds like that tend to impinge on the viewer far more personally. And as for the torch... well, I’ve seen it on the telly. I’ve seen it on the telly nearly every night for the last God knows how many weeks. I’m sick of it. It is of no more interest to me than one of those huge phallic pepper mills that Italian waiter’s grind over your lasagne in Bella Italia.

I’d like to put this indifference down to Olympic fatigue but the truth is I just don’t care enough about big “social” “all inclusive” events of any kind. They make me want to down tools and run off in the opposite direction. I even get some kind of secret thrill from spurning them and not being part of them. I don’t even see myself as a lone wolf or one-man-alone or anything cool like that.

I just don’t want everybody else’s bag to be my bag.

I don’t want to be part or included or one of the many.

And for some strange reason I feel bloody proud to have discovered that about myself.

Where was I when they shot Kennedy?

I was doing my own thing, Mac, doing my own thing.


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22 comments:

Nota Bene said...

Rebel. I mean rebel not rebel. If you see what I mean.

P.S. any of those cakes left for me?

Hannah Denski said...

Grumpy 'old' man? Or just proud to be introvert? ; ) (there's a post on that topic coming from my end very soon!) We love you the way you are! Don't let them bring you down... : ) x

the fly in the web said...

I don't turn out for such things either...I can never see what it has to do with me.

Re Kennedy....I can remember hearing the news on the radio and my father remarking

One dirty bastard less

libby said...

I am so so with you on this Steve...I had to drive to Leamington and back yesterday and even through Kenilworth there were signs and railings and the beginnings of a crowd....and for what? as you say to see a person with a stick with some fire on the top of it...........

Rol said...

You're such a misery guts, Steve. When the torch came through Barnsley, I was there proudly photographing it.

(But, erm, I was being paid to be there.)

Katriina said...

orright Steve!
You know you're finally a grown-up when you can choose not to follow the crowd and feel better for not having done so.

Steve said...

Nota Bene: I am and I'm going to continue to do so.

Hannah: thank you.

The fly in the web: sadly I look at the UK Parliament and we're back to too many dirty bastards.

Libby: exactly. A person with a big stick. You can see those is the local park. Or in a riot.

Rol: if someone had paid me to turn out I would have gladly gone. However, I have written about it now so who do I send my invoice to?

Katriina: looks like my Peter Pan years are over then. ;-)

Gorilla Bananas said...

I would say your disaffection is the goat-like caution of a man whose beard might get singed by a naked flame. I think you should embrace those pepper mills, though, sneezing would be good for your pulse.

Steve said...

Gorilla Banana: I have no fear of naked flames. The caveman in me still worships its eternal mystery. Sadly there is very little mystery about a glorified gold-plated bunsen burner.

Tenon_Saw said...

The torch came to my county today but we, as a school, did not go to out see it. Instead I spent a very wet day at Alton Towers with the choristers. Even if I had had a day off it would have been a case of 'CBA'.

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: Can't Be Arsed??

John Gray said...

oh steve
what a shame
do you gain pleasure from watching other people obtaining pleasure?
if so.. don't deny another occurance such as the arrival of the olympic torch....
you may hate the thought of it..you may hate the effort it takes to go, but after reading your blog for so long.. I dont believe for a moment that you do not obtain vacarious pleasure in the enjoument of others

Steve said...

John: bah humbug. ;-)

Nana Go-Go said...

Only dead fish go with the flow!You keep on being yourself, my son. You're good at it.Have a good week.

John Gray said...

ok even I can be wrong xxx

Owen said...

People are always trying to fill the vacuum with something, anything, in order to belong somewhere, anywhere. Honestly, football, how can anyone actually take that seriously. Yet it is a multi-billion dollar/euro/pound business. Daring to declare the majority to be fools gets one branded an outsider, a anti-social sociopath, or worse. I'm with you, or away from you and the other outsiders, far from the madding crowd, the farther, the better !

Being Me said...

It's how my Steve has lived the past 20 years that I've known him. He is unwavering. Sometimes it's downright annoying. But ultimately, it's impressive!

And the once in a lifetime event occurring in your home town was, surely, all those things you listed (the freshly iced cupcakes, the kittens happy and not causing distraction, the kids playing unassisted.....), all happening at once. THAT is an absolute miracle and is certainly a sign to stay on your couch, my friend!

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: does that make me fish bait?

John: but not often.

Owen: there are days when I would quite happily raise the portcullis forever.

Being Me: funnily enough my wife laughed and said the exact same thing when she read this post.

Marginalia said...

When you're old and grey, sitting on your own thinking "Where did I go wrong?" you'll realise that you expected too much out of life. It was all such a disappointment, it wasn't what it said it was on the tin.

You're so underwhelmed by life you didn't know you weren't born when Kennedy was shot!

It could, of course, all be down to you "living" in Leamington Spa.

Steve said...

Marginalia: I'm well aware that I wasn't born when the grassy knol became famous... but metaphysically and spiritually speaking my atoms were already existing in the universe and I was very definitely doing my own thing. But you're right about living in Leamington Spa.

TimeWarden said...

I can tell you where I was the day after Kennedy was assassinated... watching the first-ever episode of Doctor Who!

Steve said...

TimeWarden: that sounds a much better use of your time.