Heading to the Cancer Research charity shop with my black bags, I have mixed emotions because any feelings of altruism I might have are overshadowed by the thrill of decluttering our home.
Outside McDonalds are tens and tens of scooters all parked up. Leathered riders, in-between jobs are smoking and jabbering to one another in languages I cannot understand. People who have come here from all over the globe to work; an emblem of our ever-shrinking world and the vice like grip that technology has over us. This is an American restaurant selling American food via American apps (using predominantly American phones), delivered by foreign workers to English people who can’t cook for themselves and expect their ‘fast’ food to be delivered. A commercial process and series of transactions which has far reaching implications. Good for the American companies and their economy, good for the delivery workers putting in a shift and getting paid, not forgetting the people cooking the food, but less good for the people eating it. In the first instance for their health because we’re told that fast food is ultimately a killer, so then very fast food is presumably an even bigger mistake. But bad also for their self-esteem and our economy because we need our people to be out working and not in-eating.
Back at home I can’t yet enjoy my newly acquired space because I have a workman to the house for a series of jobs that I am unable to do. His name is Keith and amongst his tasks is the god-awful job of relaying our patio. Having helped him carry the bags of sand and cement through the house, I don’t envy him at all. My lending a hand assuages my guilt, but the awkwardness remains as I sit indoors ‘working’ on my laptop, while Keith works outside doing real work that only real men do. At this thought, I press the small of my back into my sofa because I can feel a twinge and I fret that my help might be costly. I try to look busy and important, but I worry that I look pathetic.
Then something beautiful happens…
I answer my front door to a delivery driver. Still wearing his crash helmet, he thrusts a package at me which I sense is warm. My confusion irritates him, and he scowls which says – ‘…here’s your food, you lazy tosser’ – and fair enough, if it was mine, which it isn’t.
Back in my kitchen I establish that it’s a cardboard container of something hot and a bag of something deep fried. Keith brings his own sandwiches with him to go with all the tea he can drink. There is no name on the package and the angry driver can’t help since he is already on his way to the next ‘lazy tosser…’
So, somehow, I have acquired a pasta carbonara with a ‘side’ (US expression) of chicken nuggets. A neighbour perhaps? The driver got the wrong house?
Keith shrugs his shoulders too, so what to do?
Waste not, want not. I provide a fork for Keith and he tucks in as I share my observations on the wastrels too lazy to cook their own food.
Finally Keith swallows and he adds a morsel of his own…
As a scooter driver himself, he explains that the government provides foreign workers with free scooters so that they can work. I am dubious, but Keith is adamant. More likely subsidised, surely, although nothing would surprise me given the over-reach and craven nature of the modern politician.
Keith and I – two working men of a certain age continue to pontificate, agreeing that things are not as they should be. That somewhere society has taken a wrong turn and with the usual suspects to blame: politicians, teachers, university staff, social media, but the worst offenders of all being the parents’ of course…
And then the beautiful thing happened.
Retrieving my phone, I noticed several missed calls and a text from Harry –
“Can you please phone me?”
Which I do.
‘Hey, Harry, what’s up?’
“Dad, have you just had some food delivered?”
I smile broadly as I watch Keith polish off my son’s lunch. Quickly, I take a photo using my American (but Made in China) phone – to accompany the blog I will write on my American laptop and propagate using American apps…
And any chastening feelings I have because I am part of the societal problems railed against herein are replaced with glee at the tale I will now share with my readers. I’m an entertainer after all.
This is what I do. I spend my time observing and chronicling which I suppose is a job but it’s not real work, not really and my advice to any young people reading this blog is to set your bar higher than mine.
It’s April already – who knew that time in 2023 should proceed much faster than usual (or am I just older) – and this is the month that Takes on Life – the life changing podcast is scheduled to be donated to ears all over the world – stand by and prepare for disappointment….
But enough of my work…
Lets leave you with someone else’s craftsmanship – my man, Keith and my newly laid patio, Sure, its in need of a brush and a better photographer but still something to herald and marvel at. Jet washing this baby is the most fun a man of my age can possibly have.
To watch and listen to me reading this blog – head over to my YouTube channel