I WAS… back in town. “How was it, Roberto?” “Good, Ken.”
As you know, I’m my worst critic and I blame myself for acting like an anthropologist every time I come back. But that’s what I do. I watch, like an alien. Often I am flabbergasted, sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way.
After filing last week’s ill-informed speculation, I had left my home for the five and a half hour drive to Embra, unaware that a terrible incident was taking place in the Hebrides which had shocked a community in his heart. I can’t discuss it now except to say that its shadow has been cast far and wide, darkening the minds of expats and people on vacation.
As for travel, I hate it. It takes a long time to be seated. And, on such a long journey, you’ll always have your share of hookers behind and willful speed bumps up front. This is me: never the meat in the hazelnut bread sandwich.
But the icing on the cake, uh, that sandwich came when I passed the outskirts of Edinburgh and reached my destination of Morningside. To my disbelief, all other routes on these pretty leafy streets were cut off by manky, red and white barriers with signs that only cyclists could pass.
It took me almost as long to get around Morningside as it took me to get from Fife to Edinburgh. Street after street, detour after detour, was cut off. Everywhere, motorists stopped in amazement or made unexpected U-turns. And the pleasant suburb looked like an expected riot, with filthy and ugly barricades placed at strategic points in preparation.
I was told the locals were stunned and outraged but, as this is a middle-class neighborhood, there are also cyclists (although still a tiny minority), dominating the roads with that ugly expression they wear, between frightened narcissism and, in the most sensitive (an assume), a look of doubt occasioned by the profound knowledge of the terrible moral degradation involved in their mode of transport.
Why the toon cooncil chose part of this quiet suburb for such madness is beyond me. I asked my buddy, kind of a green pro-cycling guy (but probably just to avoid their woke-style bullying), and he asked not to discuss it because he’d blow a joint.
Of course, the city is where you would expect to see humanity at its lowest. So there were joggers passing by every 10 seconds. I’ve said it before: If an ancient Spartan visited our company today, they would think we’re overdoing it with ancient exercise. All vanity of course. People as simple as mice, with boring bodies, trying to look slim. Like cyclists, you never see them from one hour to the next in working-class neighborhoods.
But, although it might seem otherwise, I didn’t let anything get to me. I would have a good time. One night, sitting on a garden bench with my host’s cat, full of gin (me, not the cat), a shooting star fell to the ground right in front of us (well, a bit up the hill I guess ).
Taking this as an omen, I decided to do the lottery. Lately, knowing that I was never going to win any money now, I had considered relaxing my lottery ban. My parents’ financial planning had boiled down to the pool coupon, and I was never going that route.
But what choice did I have? Unfortunately, I picked my numbers by dabbling, and they were all under 10, whereas I now understand there are around 40 or 50 numbers. So, I limited my chances for the next few weeks. Still, if I win anything, I’ll let you know and promise to read all your begging letters carefully. Before throwing them away with a happy laugh.
It took some time to adjust to the peace and quiet of the city. Oh, it was glorious. Admittedly, it was in the leafy suburbs. I avoided downtown, not least because of the international arts festival which, like most decent taxpayers, I deplore.
One day I was about to visit the National Museum, on Chambers Street, but at the last minute I went to the nearest Asda. The center is the last place many citizens go to now. Maybe it was like this in ancient Rome: “I won’t go to the Forum. It’s full of plonkers.
HERE is something that will amaze you. I was in… a bus. First time in years. Again, I berate myself for acting like an alien or that character in the comedy sketch (sorry, forget which). “So, I just put my bank card on this machine, didn’t I?” And I’m taking a ticket, right? And then I sit down, don’t I? And I sit down there, don’t I? And the bus is moving forward, isn’t it? And, later, I come down, don’t I?
I had the privilege, during the trip, of hearing the conversation of poorly educated young girls. What is Nando and why do lower orders always head there?
NEXT WEEK: I report exclusively on my shopping sprees and reveal the results of a scientific observation of the wearing of shorts.
Sorry, this is not my bag
Most people find women mysterious. Take their relationship with containers dangling from the wrist. The latest is the “mega bag” which, as the name suggests, is huge. What to put in? I can only suggest a jar of Brylcreem, a hair clipper and a box of Tennent’s. But maybe women have other, more mysterious ideas.
So it’s not just me. Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that Britons are extremely unhappy, with only 30% “very happy”. Who are these people? I find the idea of being “very happy” extraordinary. All the evidence suggests that we were put on this planet to suffer. Therefore, if you are not unhappy, there is something wrong with you.
Number of heads
The only way to cheer me up is to say, “Well, at least I’m not bald.” But male pattern baldness is now reaching epidemic levels, with 40% the latest figure. The new prevalence means that baldness is no longer a stigma. Bald people can now own property and even have the right to vote in some parts of the country.
A police social media website reveals that snowflake recruits refuse to participate in police chases because they are not “chased trained”. They also refuse to help break up street fights because it’s too dangerous. Yet at least we can sleep safely in our beds at night knowing that our pronouns are being properly monitored.
I hate funerals almost as much as weddings, and they’re about to get worse with AI holograms of the deceased speaking to the mourners. Think about the potential for embarrassing revelations: “Raymond, your real father was a scrap trapeze artist named Wobbly Willie.” Let’s leave this world as we arrived: with a bow and a banged bahookey.
Our columns are a platform for writers to voice their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.