Taxi

For the past few days I’ve been entertaining family who stayed here in York. Out of that time, the stand out moment was when a taxi driver expressed his dismay at another driver not moving when the traffic light turned green. His words were ‘you couldn’t make it up’, ‘you couldn’t write this’, ‘this is something absolutely unbelievable’ and my personal favourite, ‘from being a taxi driver for twenty years, I’m still stunned at how incredible drivers can be’. My take-away from his apparent level of shock was: Christ, you must have a really boring fucking life.

It was depressing it really was and that became so ‘incredible’ that I forgot about the initial annoyance I felt from having to wait for the driver in front to move. Moments like that remind me of why I came to university in the first place. It wasn’t to get a meaningful degree or to make some kind of impassioned difference in the world, it was to make sure that I had somewhere to go that wasn’t working a similar nine-to-five where some prick driver becomes something ‘you couldn’t write’. I’m up to my neck in debt and I think it’s a fair trade off because otherwise I’d be stuck in a dead-end town that Nigel Farage called a slum, working with my mother and step-father in a regional based vending machine company – quite possibly coming home every day complaining about how much of a bitch Carol is like they have for fifteen years.

I haven’t been writing as much as I would have liked recently perhaps waiting for some sort of inspiration without realising that I always have something to write about. That being every time I walk down the street, sit down in lecture, hell, buy an overpriced hot chocolate from Costa, I’m reminded that I’m not back home. It’s not being stuck in a purgatory made normality. Understandably, it makes me sound like a prick with a superiority complex the size of the US national deficit, but is that not the whole point of ambition whether it be to win The Apprentice or just to be able to live a life of one’s own choosing?

My mother keeps telling me to remember where I come from like every other clichéd escapist story who has left home to find pastures new. Yet I like every other cliché will be eating my words the day the debt accumulated by that ambition will land me in a nine-to-five. To be fair, from what I hear, Carol is a massive pain in the arse.

Taxi

The Waiting Room

I was in a hospital waiting room today and while I’m ever grateful for free healthcare, the hospital and people in it, made me feel like John Simm in Life on Mars. For someone who struggles with being grounded in reality at the best of times, it was a real struggle not to feel like Walter Mitty. It was also, in another sense, totally grounding – being faced with the lump that at the time could also be my own mortality. Now I know it’s just a blocked saliva gland and I was panicking for months over nothing, but the point still stands.

Those grounding moments that we all have put things into perspective like never before from appreciating the little things to the big things. It sounds wholly cheesy but for me, sat in that boiling waiting room with the world’s largest collection of elderly Northerners, I began to put things into perspective. I’m less stressed about looking for a job brought about by my realisation that maybe I’m overthinking it and overselling it like the bloody lump. Or perhaps my own job hunt was just a personal distraction from what I need and what I need is something to alleviate the boredom. It’s true that idle hands to the devil’s work because in my case it’s chewing my nails to shreds and the beds really need time to recuperate if I decide to hold on to my dignity and not go to the nail bar.

Just looking around in the waiting room with all the people and their loved ones made me think about the future and that dreaded horrible realisation that maybe I do want someone. I’m disgusted with myself, taking pride in independence – emotional or otherwise -, solitude and existing in a strange aura of ambiguity that I’ve been told I have. Problem is, I like perhaps millions in this situation, have no idea what I actually want from that. Maybe it’s an underlying problem with our own ideals of perfection within relationships and companionship that can never truly be lived up to. Or maybe perhaps, most of us are too willing to compromise rather than do the braver, selfish thing of saying no to compromise. As a partial-subscriber to libertarian beliefs, the latter makes way more sense. Lets’ consider for a moment the people who seem to get through marriages like toilet paper; are they happy? Fuck no.

It’s all one big journey and when it comes down to it, we all need to learn to read a fucking map. We may all look at the roads in different ways but in the end, they all end up the same way: a coffin (or an urn but that’s less dramatic). I’m not judging what people do with their time but when constantly faced with death’s door, like the fossils in that waiting room, why not inject some fucking spontaneity. Take a risk, take a road not travelled because why not? I’m sure I’ve definitely said something like this before but perhaps the repetition is the universe trying to tell me something. So, if I want to effectively tell my friend of eight years that she looks hot in her new Facebook profile picture in a weird cryptic way to not totally look like a creep, dammit, that’s what I’ll do. As long as it’s not hurting or bothering anyone else, where’s the harm in getting up and doing what the hell you want to do?

There’s my new mantra and perhaps one for us all: ‘why the fuck not?’.

The Waiting Room

London Film and Comic Con, 2017

I was at comic con at the weekend in London and learnt two things in particular: I never want to live there and that conventions are quite literally impulse-buy markets. Seriously, I spent so much money on things that I neither really want or need. The most telling part of this is the fact that you have to pay for the privilege of meeting another human being. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure Natalie Dormer is a lovely person but no-one’s that nice that a donation of sixty-pounds is necessary for her to write some hollow bullshit on a picture of herself.

In the aftermath, I am making the mistake of analysing the day and my purchases which is slowly ruining the memory considering it was over a fiver for a very mediocre hotdog. As I glance over to the fifteen-pounds bobble head I panic a little over the money I have and don’t have. Yet despite the obvious financial costs, comic con is worth it just for the sense of atmosphere and a strange unity that you might get from being at a football match, for instance. Everyone there had come to show support for something or someone whether it be a celebrity or an anime. Of course, if the words ‘I think Game of Thrones is over-hyped’ slips your lips then expect swift and righteous crucifixion.

Oddly enough, like a football match, I witnessed a small fight break out between a man running a stall and an oblivious selfie-taker. There was a large bust of Arnold Schwarzenegger that someone had touched and it all took a sour turn which was quickly dealt with by security. Yet unlike in normal circumstances, people turned away and made a point to avoid the confrontation rather than actively spectate. Maybe it highlights the fallacy of comic con: being absorbed in the fiction all around, actively trying to avoid the reality. Much like buying for the sake of buying, we do it because it’s all a part of the comic con experience and deviation is totally avoided. Just spent seventy-five-pounds to get a picture with Mads Mikkelsen? Worth every penny, pal.

The best moments from my experience this year came not from spending money at all but from – for lack of a better phrase – sitcom humour. It started around eleven in the morning when my friend bought some naturally overpriced nachos and a cola which ended up down him and the floor when he held back a sneeze. Honestly, I have never cried from laughter until that moment and his panicked words ‘what do I do?’ made it even worse. The whole frame of the somewhat stunned nineteen-year-old standing atop a mess of salsa and Pepsi, while the workers at the food cart all muttered ‘what the fuck’, was perhaps better than the last four seasons of The Big Bang Theory.

The second was perhaps the best and it happened some time later while we were sat waiting for another friend to get his picture taken with Natalie Dormer – again sixty-pounds is definitely worth it, why would anyone question if it was a waste? We were there for a long time and the only free element of the day being the Wi-Fi was spotty at best and required a field of personal details to be filled in, odd for ‘free’ connection. It was my same salsa-stained friend who, to pass the time, began singing ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver and began to rock to the tune. At the very same time, the person that he wanted to meet the most of all the guests there, Alyson Hannigan walked past. The face she pulled was similar to that of the food sellers – ‘what the fuck’ – and so, confused by his performance she quickly moved on by. My friend let out a little whimper and seemed to die.

Naturally I pulled out the classic: ‘it’s just nacho day’.

London Film and Comic Con, 2017