Well, I am in shock. It seems the Met Office were just making up all that stuff about the volcanic ash taking down planes and the last week of no-fly-zone over most of Europe wasn't necessary at all. Those we entrust with climate change and other weatherly things, getting it wrong? Again?
You know, if I made mistakes with a fraction of the Met Office frequency and cost my clients a millionth of what the Met Office has cost theirs, I'd not only be out of business, I'd be sporting a new tar-and-feather overcoat with spikes on the inside. So how come nobody is sacked, no departments are shut, nobody is expected to do anything other than say 'Whoopsie'. Again. It's because they are immune to blame.
This culture of immunity is insidious and dangerous and potentially useful to a nasty bugger like me. It has spread into the general population. Every day I see people stepping out into traffic without a care, and it's not just the younger generations. People of all ages believe themselves indestructible now. Everyone regards themselves as the One of Ultimate Importance and the traffic will stop because they want to cross the road.
It's Teddy logic from the old black-and-white TV days. Andy Pandy and Ted were playing hide and seek. When it was Ted's turn to hide, he covered his eyes. "If I can't see Andy, then Andy can't see me" was the logic, and even as a child the lunacy of it was clear. Yet it is the same logic that many people apply to speeding lumps of steel these days. That programme should really be shown again and so should Bill and Ben the Flowerpot men. I want to know if they really did swear among the 'flobalob' language. Oh, and the Woodentops just for Spotty Dog. Still makes me laugh. Especially Mrs. Scrubbit.
In this progressive Labour world there are no consequences to being a total mindless arse. Those in high places have proved it and continue to prove it again and again and again. No matter what, there are no consequences. 'Progressive' derives from 'progress' which implies motion. It does not specify whether that motion is in the right direction. Evidently, Labour have not grasped this. As long as there is 'progress', they don't care where they are going.
Everyone is untouchable. Unless you do something a clone shouldn't do. That will get you into big trouble. Acting like you own the world is fine, but having a bit of fun is deviancy and will be punished.
Now, everyone is in a hell of a hurry, all the time, and nobody else matters to them at all. I was at Tesco earlier this evening. When I have the chance of a lift, I stock up, but I'm always out first and have to wait because shopping is not fun, it is just something I have to do like cleaning the toilet. It's unpleasant, but not doing it can result in something more unpleasant. Like running out of booze.
I finish my shopping fast despite the habit of too many people to use Tesco as a bloody social club. If you want to stop for a chat, do it without parking your trolleys like a barricade across the aisles and never, ever do it in the whisky aisle because you are in the way of the main part of my shopping. If you must stop and socialise in a supermarket, do it in the fruit and veg section. It has wider than average spacing and it's easier to get past you. There is a real social club just down the road from Tesco. Join it if you want to speak to people. Tesco is for rapid shopping, not catching up on the last fifteen years of trivia.
Tesco have stocked Lagavulin but they want £40 a bottle, so I'll wait until they realise nobody's buying it and put it on special offer. That's just a bit of incidental information.
While I was waiting, I watched a Big Issue seller at work. I didn't rush to buy because he had a Burberry cap and I thought, well, wearing a trendy cap while claiming to be poor doesn't really cut it. It looked new, too. The thing is, if you're trying to get people to approach you and reveal that they have money, then looking like a chav isn't a good idea.
He wasn't doing well. People drive those trolleys as if they are in a race. I'm going to have to get a chequered flag to wave as they pass. One woman thought it a good psychological trick to push her trolley very, very fast and straight at me in order to make me get out of the way. I stared straight into her eyes, she stopped and apologised and went around. People don't like eye contact these days. So I do it all the more. Try it, it really scares them.
I watched the poor bugger try to sell his magazines to the high-speed, phone-glued-to-ear blurs of things that shot past him. He'd taken the trouble to put them into a plastic cover, which I thought a nice touch. After a while he moved to just inside the shop doorway but out of sight of security (it's bloody cold here and I know how he felt). Still no luck.
Security. That's another thing. When did shops acquire bouncers? I seem to remember going into huge shops - if you've ever been in David Morgan's in Cardiff, which seems to span almost an entire street, you'll know what huge means - through multiple entrances and not a sniff of anyone who was at all concerned who came in or went out. Now, if I go into Homebase, there is a camera looking at me as soon as I go through the door. It's aimed at the door and here's the clever part - above the camera is an advertising screen. Look at the screen and the camera has a perfect view of your face. I have never seen what's on that screen. I've only seen it from behind and asked others what it shows. In Tesco, there is an imposing (fat and old) bouncer at a desk covered with little televisions. In case there is a fight over knee bandages when the pensioners come in a little tipsy. I shouldn't joke. A few Christmases ago, there really was a fight over the last bag of sprouts in this very store. Unbelievable.
Finally it was time to leave. That Big Issue seller had behaved perfectly despite his 'see you Jimmy' look. He had answered every 'no' politely, he had backed off when insulted, he had stayed calm against people I would have hit with a bottle (the wine, not the whisky. It might break). He tried no hard sell, he merely offered his wares and accepted that they were turned down.
So I bought one. It has Derren Brown in it. I'll read it sometime to see what the amateur psycho-tricksters are likely to try next. The seller was a decent bloke, as it turned out, apart from that silly hat.
The episode taught me more about the controlled, speedy people than about the seller who stood still. I can see how easy it is to control them. They are all selfish, spiteful and generally nasty to each other. They act as if they are, each one of them, the only tiger in the woods.
They think they are wolves when really, they are the sheep. Keep them moving fast so they don't realise and it's easy to control them. Every one of them is certain that they are the only important person on the planet and in that state of mind, they will listen to anything that starts with 'This is for YOU...'
Not for the plebs around you, but for you.
I think I can work with that.