So here I am on another coach journey going from New York to visit a friend in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A young Chinese girl/boy with a mysteriously matte purple mohawk has just released what I can only describe as Gods punishment for global warming in smell form. In a desperate attempt to disguise the unpredictably vocal fart they then proceeded to force an over exaggerated cough as if caught in a sudden attack of asthma or perhaps the dislodging of a piece of croissant.
However the cough was delayed and sounded nothing even remotely resembling the high-pitched mini-trumpet-sounding toot they had accidentally clapped out seconds before. As if their attempt to cover it up wasn’t bad enough they then went on to nervously giggle and look around as if to suggest we all gaze at her/him endearingly as if they were a toddler who had just smeared their own faeces on the bathroom wall in the shape of a flower. Her childish cackle was met by a bus full of gassed-out strangers who mentally ousted her in unity with scornful glares and the angry tugs of shirt collars to cover noses.
Apart from that it’s going well. There’s a blizzard outside and although I’m toasty in the confines of the stinky bus, I am losing the muscles in my bum cheeks at an alarming pace and I hope there will still be remainders of le peach upon my early return to the UK in 9 days time. I am reading a very funny book. ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’ by David Sedaris caught my eye laying idly on the table of yet another second hand book store in Boston, the name rang a bell and I realised I’d read reviews on this very novel a few days previous on Goodreads ‘Must Read’ list. I paid the six bucks and dived on in during yesterdays coach journey from Niagara Falls to New York. Contrary to popular belief (mostly that of the few men who have managed to laugh me into bed with a well timed joke and the eternally hilarious skit of pretending to walk down fake stairs at the end of the bed) it’s very difficult to make me laugh. Stand up comedians are lucky if they achieve a small puff of air from my nostrils, while most will receive a blank stare of un-amusement. I find clichés irritating, slapstick ridiculous and ‘my wife in labour’ stories yawn-worthy.
But flicking through Sedaris’ accumulation of lifetime anecdotes has had cause for a few little scoffs coming from my occupied area of the Megabus and I must say his wit has entertained me some on this long asssss 9 hour journey. His stories are quick and clever, about poo and dwarf music teachers and the French and I love it. There are so many topics that are often left neglected, either because they are embarrassing or maybe perhaps the common writer feels it cheapens ones worth to discuss such everyday things. It takes a really good author to recount the panic of an un-flushable turd at a dinner party or to vilify The Computer in such an honest and simple way. It got me thinking about all the weird things in life that we just accept and rarely discuss but are actually really strange, let’s explore a few shall we?
I could really take this topic and run with it, viewing every single act we do as human beings from a dystopian point of view but I will try to remain in control.
Riding on merry go rounds. Am I the only one that thinks these freakishly colourful fairground staples are creepy and dated? Why are they still here? I understand the appeal back in the Victorian times when the simple act of extending dinner time by half hour was excitement enough to leave you with rosy cheeks and a tale to tell for the next fortnight. But in the age of technology where you can quite literally materialise your mates out of megapixels why are we still spending £170 for two minutes on a plastic horse while its greasy operator grins toothlessly from his caravan and a group of sweaty old men circle for a glimpse up the schoolgirls’ skirts? WEIRD.
Something I have recently discussed with a friend of mine who thankfully agreed that this act is simply barbaric and those who do it should be tested for psychopathic tendencies. Brushing your teeth BEFORE you’ve had breakfast. Dad I know you’re reading this and I’m sorry to say but you’re bloody weird and the knowledge that you fall into this category actually haunts me on a day to day basis. You wake up in the morning and your mouth tastes disgusting, I get it. But if you’re normal, the next step is to get up and make yourself a cup of tea or a coffee, which we all know will worsen breath however it’s common knowledge that you should remain at least a foot away from a person’s mouth before 9 o’clock in the morning unless you’re blinded by love in which case halitosis shan’t deter.
Then once the hot beverage has been had, breakfast can be served and all natural flavours from the foods can be rightly tasted and oddly enhanced by the sour tasting saliva that has been rotting in our mouths for the past seven+ hours. Why on earth would anyone want to consume a glass of OJ or a bagel post-teeth clean? Like a bit of mint with your cereal do you? I mean it, savages the lot of you. Only AFTER breakfast can you then complete your morning hygiene routine with a brush and a swig of mouthwash. Never before, I repeat NEVER before.
Kissing. Kissing is so weird, so is hand holding and actually so is the act of human contact in general but let’s discuss kissing just now. I love a kiss but if you actually think of the logistics behind it it’s mind boggling. I like you, you like me. Let’s put these strange little strips of pink flesh that sit just above our chins and below our noses together and move them around with varying pressure.
Who first did this? I am imagining a cave man sitting before a woman trying to extinguish the unexplainable urge to put his face against hers and prod her tongue with his; glancing around nervously at his pelt-wearing pals to see if any of them are having the same dirty thoughts. And how can people be either really good or really bad at it? What is it that distinguishes a good kisser from a poor one? Is it the ratio of wet to dry, the ferociousness of the chomping, the soft whimpering noises that some men (and women I assume) find it acceptable to expel during a snogging sesh? Why is it we are as easily repelled by a bad kiss as we are turned on by a good one? I’ll leave that one up to the Peter Dyers of our generation to discuss.
Clapping. Let’s all sit in silence as humans and watch fellow humans perform or speak and then once they have finished let’s commence the action of banging the fleshy surfaces of our palms together in a cacophony of appreciative slaps. What a way to express ourselves! I imagine the first person to do this was so overcome by delight that the jolting excitement inside them could no longer be contained and was displayed via the act of smashing ones hands together, onlookers recoiling in horror at the sudden loss of control. I love it. And I ESPECIALLY love the people who clap when the plane lands, you lot give me life-keep up the good work.
Expensive crockery kept in display cabinets that we never use nor does anybody else give a shit about.
Calling all the grandparents and mobile home owners of the world this ones for ya’ll. You know what I never do, like NEVER do? Admire your fucking plate collection. I care none for kittens, or little men on horses, or bowl’s of fruit or whatever twee little design that may be embellished upon your decorative china, all I care about is that whatever it is it’s heavily disguised by the MASSIVE portion of food you will precede to serve me. Oh what’s that, these plates aren’t for eating off of? Oh okay Bethel, please tell again how us youth of today waste our money on piercings, tattoos, drugs etc. when you’re hoarding 30 plates with tiny wee birds on that touch nothing but the tips of your feather duster on a Sunday afternoon. Logical.
Sneezing and/or blowing our noses into a piece of cloth and then PUTTING IT BACK INTO OUR POCKET. Let’s take a minute to mull this one over. So we won’t borrow a toothbrush from the person we’re sleeping with or eat the brown bit of a banana but we will continue to shoot fluid from our noses into a piece of rag, fold it over into a sandwich of snot and pop it back inside our pocket. Great idea and absolutely not disgusting in the slightest. Let’s then keep this piece of material in its crusty, slightly yellowish state for a few days/weeks until the time comes to rinse it of its DNA and begin the cycle all over again.
I feel that Christmas crackers are underrated. Admittedly, if left un-reminded, I would quite possibly forget the existence of Christmas crackers all together. But there’s something to be said about that little paper hat, the highly unfunny dad joke and the useless little piece of tat tucked away inside a shiny cardboard casing. I just like that we feel the need to add a bit of blood pumping adrenaline to the otherwise tranquil atmosphere of a Christmas dinner with the ‘bang’ that undoubtedly leaves a member of the family with their hand on their heart in feigned shock AS IF WE DON’T DO THIS EVERY SINGLE YEAR AND HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT.
Now here’s an idea. Let’s get a handle of mini rubber bags and fill them with lungfuls of human breath until they are appropriately round and taught, and then tie them shut or to string and either display them in celebration or let our children play with them. Let’s keep these packets of breath for a few days so they can be enjoyed to full potential, and then burst them with something sharp in a mad frenzy with a grin and a crazed look in our eyes. They come in all colours, and there are even some talented individuals out there who can bend them into shapes of beloved animals and/or genitalia. They can be used for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries or even funerals if they are black. Hmmmmm so weird.
Well that’s me almost at my destination now- so pleased that I devoted two-and-a-bit hours of my precious life to coming up with those and please comment with more because I actually can’t get enough of them.