Actually, Yes – That Does Make More Sense
One-year-old Favourite Son looks at his plate as if to say ‘It’s hardly a Fray and Bentos Pie, is it’ but – wisely – decides that it’s this or nothing. Poor bastard. It wasn't my idea. Begins to tuck in.
Me: Favourite Daughter, how are you doing?
She is staring out the window with a ‘fuck this’ look on her face.
She is nearly four, you know.
Tired Mam: Look! They’re only twelve quid!
Opposite side of the room. She is on eBay. Shopping. For shoes. Because we don’t have any – what do you call them? Footwear Emporiums? Oh yes, Shoe Shops – around here. This isn’t London you know.
TM: They’re Milano Blanik! Only twelve quid! From China, mind. There’s no chance they could me counterfeit?
Me: China? Oh no. That is where all the world’s designer gear is ACTUALLY made.
TM: Is that true?
Fuck me. My mind begins to wander.
Sometimes, a kindly foreign-agency will beam something directly into your brain that will make sense of some trivial little bit of nonsensicality that has quietly bothered you for years.
For example. I quite like the film Get Shorty.
There is a scene in which gangster-type character played by Delroy Lindo strongarms film-director-type played by Gene Hackman. Lindo says of Hackman’s filmic output ‘Man, I seen better film on teeth.’
Bothered me each time I watched it. Obviously the screenwriter had constructed a back-story in which the Lindo character was a disgruntled ex-dentistry student forced to watch too many instructional films and had turned to a life of crime to escape. Only to meet a sticky end when he started getting all in John Travolta’s face and that.
Obviously the back story never made the studio cut, but why leave that line of dialogue in? Just confusing.
Yes. I am that stupid.
Last year. It is beamed into my brain. Oh. ‘Film’. When we in Britain say that someone has un-brushed teeth, we say they have ‘fur’ on their teeth. In America they say ‘film’.
Actually, Yes – that does make more sense.
FD: Daddy, what’s this?
Oh. Now. Dinner.
Me: [peering] Erm. That’s seaweed sweetheart.
FD: SEAWEED!! Like at the seaside!!??
Me: Yeah. *sigh* Try it. You never know.
More than ten years ago now. Final year of my degree. I live in a pub. Not in a my-son-the-student-lives-in-the-pub way, but in a I-actually-live-in-a-pub way.
A bedroom. No rent. No bills. Eat from the pub kitchen when hungry. Two shifts per week behind the bar to cover it. Twenty quid a week from manager each week to buy cigarettes. Going rate for anything I work over-and-above the two shifts. I work almost all week.
The days when students still received government grants. I am fucking MINTED. I have not had so much disposable income before or since.
Camp Barman also has a room above the pub. I call him camp. He is in fact a gay. I don’t mean he is generally cheerful. I mean that if you offered to push your willy up his bum-place, he would give the matter some thought.
I am not a gay. I have children and everything. There are no gays in the world with children.
But. We become good friends. But not in a gay way. In time, we run two pubs together. Unsuccessfully.
They were not gay pubs.
It is about four in the morning. I cannot sleep. Ironically, the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins has not had the anti-insomnia effect I had hoped for. (Give me a break – I was a student. I don’t read that sort of shit NOW). I decide to go for a walk.
It was a beautiful city on the River Severn, not too far south of Birmingham. Much of the centre, including the pub where I lived, still original Tudor.
I walk down City Walls Road toward the 24-hour petrol station to buy some cigarettes.
On the footpath is one of those benches for people to sit upon. Usually have a plaque saying that such-and-such-a-person paid for it to be there for such-and-such a reason. They are always in odd places.
On said bench is Camp Barman.
Me: Oh. Hello.
CB: [startled] Hi. What are you doing?
Me: Oh. Can’t sleep.
CB: UM. Me too.
Me: [sensing he doesn’t feel too chatty] Anyway, I’m just going to buy some fags I MEAN cigarettes. See you tomorrow.
CB: See you.
Nothing specific. Just a bit odd. A strange place to sit - panoramic view of petrol-station, shit Italian restaurant and Star Trek memorabilia shop. Same walking distance in the opposite direction gives you the River Severn, flood-lit Cathedral and swans a-go-go. Oh well. His business.
Favourite Daughter throws approximately £400 of Scottish Smoked Salmon onto the floor and grinds it into the carpet with her heel.
Again. It hits me.
After 10 years.
Between the bench and the petrol-station was a public-lavatory block.
Actually yes – that does make more sense.
How naïve am I?
I bet he couldn’t wait for me to fuck off.
TM: What are you thinking about?
(They both ate most of it by the way.)