As I was walking Billy yesterday afternoon, trying to stop him from eating the remains of a discarded döner kebab he found next to some bushes, I got to thinking. And it was a thought that became a train of thought. A train with quite a few carriages.
Is it an interesting train? Well, I dunno; it was for me. I’m also interested in how this process works, and maybe if I write it all down here, I can work it out. Actually, I don’t think it’s that difficult, the brain just connects things that are close together and keeps on truckin’. I should point out that this is in no way a pre-prepared thing, I just happened to have my camera with me, so turned on the audio recording bit just so I could remember all the various tangents when I got home. Anyway, this is how my mind wandered from Celcius to the idea of Europe as a community to Diwali and to the state we’ve got ourselves into. I’m gonna write it in the present tense as that’s how it came out at the time.
Blimey, it’s actually really cold today. Maybe I should put my gloves on, and re-wrap my scarf around me neck. I wondered if it’s below zero. Must check when I get home. It must be. Huh, funny that; how I always refer to cold temperatures in Celsius, but hot temeratures in Fahrenheit. I guess other British people do that too… I reckon newspapers do as well when it’s a scorcher or when there’s a cold snap. Minus 6°C sounds way colder than 21°F. And when it’s hot, 96°F sounds a lot hotter than 35°C. I wonder which I should use on an averagely pleasant day…
I quite like that, though; that there’s these differences. I like miles and kilometres in different countries; I like that some countries drive on the left, some on the right; makes the world a tiny bit more interesting I suppose. That thought still doesn’t apply to the American abbreviated month/day/year date format, though. That’s just confusing when the format looks the same as the non-US day/month/year style.
I like different currencies, too. I like having a load of strange jangle in my pocket, having to work through it slowly to find enough kronas or pesos to buy some chewing gum. And the old Dutch money was so pretty before the Euro came in… I guess the Euro’s easier, though, when you travel around the EU countries. But, really, how difficult was it to do a bit of maths on your holidays? The Euro’s not for us, anyway, is it? It’s for big businesses. Note how the European Community became a European Union, sneakily rubbing out the idea of community.
It’s a shame that, really. I like the idea of a European community. I like our shared history, I like our differences, I like how we all say we hate the French yet still love so many French things and actually being in France. It certainly is a shame that a lot of people, certainly in the UK, seem down on the EU. I guess that’s cos the press have hijacked the concept of Europe and turned it into a Keep Our Beef British type of issue. Lower the portcullis, men! And prepare to fire the flaming arrows from the crenellated parapets at Fritz and Pierre!
There’s so many cool things about Europe that we’d all enjoy. We all go on holiday to other European countries and have a great time, why is it that suddenly when we’re back home with a copy of The Daily Mail or The Snu (sic. I just can’t bear to even write their name correctly) in front of us, we’re all anti-Europe?
(Here, have an advent calendar picture break. Consider it like a chocolate digestive biscuit treat for getting this far.
It’s the decorations outside a big shop that sells books and CDs and stuff. Nice decorations, I think. Shame the staff are quite often surly and downright rude.)
Okay, where was I? Oh yes…
I guess it’s so much easier for the right wing people in any situation to get attention for their cause… Since when was a nice, liberal idea like, “Hey, everyone’s kinda cool, let them do what they want” used to get people ready to fight for the cause? Especially when you can have psychotic, hate-filled loonies like Bill O’Reilly barking at you, reminding you that everything is the fault of some gay men who happen to want to get married to each other. That makes it easy, huh? Blame the other person. They are the ones who make your life shit, nothing to do with your own shortcomings, oh no.
And all this harping on about protecting Christmas from the liberal nutters… Yeh, like Christmas is under threat in any way whatsoever. Fucking idiots. How about this: you stop fretting about the non-existent threat to Christmas and just enjoy it. And maybe investigate the joys of the festivals of other religions. Every seen Diwali, Bill? It’s magnificent. (When I was studying, I lived in a part of Derby that had a large Hindu population.) Why would you not want that happening on a public scale? It’s no threat to you. Why try and demand that we all pay due deference to Christmas and Christmas only? Let’s all admire each other’s special festive seasons. Why is that hard to get a grip of? I know exactly why you don’t want to get it: cos you know if normal folks actually spent some time watching other cultures having fun, they’d stop wanting to blame them for all the ills, and where would their gaze turn? To you and your cronies, skimming as much off the top as you can get away with. (I guess the good thing about this, Bill, is that, as a Christian, you’ll get the the pearly gates, and yer man’ll whip his book out, look for your name, let out a chuckle, and then whisper, “You backed the wrong horse, Bill!” And just as the smile on your face is replaced by a look of horror, you’ll plummet down and down into the bowels of Hell.)
And, oh, doesn’t my heart sink a little bit every time I walk past the Indian restaurant on my street with all the Christmas decorations. I wonder if they really want to have those up there, or do they just feel like they should have them up? And if I’m thinking about something like that, is it any wonder that there are people who see the West as nations involved in some sort of – oh no, can’t believe I’m actually using this word, but here goes – crusade?
And what’s the upshot of that? Well, the more hardcore of those people might just wanna do something about it.
Which makes me quite sad.
And you know what? What also makes me sad is that I can’t just go for a walk with Billy and enjoy watching him running around with an Afghan hound, having the time of his life. I wish I didn’t have all this stuff in my head, I wish I could just stand them and watch him desperately chasing the Afghan and think to myself, I love my little Billy.
Post script: I cleaned up the text this morning, spelling, grammar, etc. But after writing the bulk of it last night, the first thing I did was go to the BBC site and check the Champions League results. All my doom and gloom disappeared as soon as I saw that Manchester United had lost and were bottom of their group. Bwah ha ha!