Friday, 23 September 2011

Life is worth exploring

No don't get up.  Stay seated.  This is your office after all, and may I say what an interesting office it is?  I may?  Oh thank-you.  I particularly like the claw marks on the legs of your desk, do you perhaps have an ill-trained cat?  An ill-trained secretary?  I see.  I see.
Who am I?  I'm Buddy, of course, your existentialist guide to the solipsism of inner-things.  I'm completely qualia-qualified and I know things about your id that would make your super-ego blush.  I'm also being paid for by your Company, who feel that you could use a life-coach.  At least in part because, it says here, that you leave the office so infrequently that there are suspicions that you're living here.
What?  I believe that your company policy is to fumigate the building if that's found to be true.  No, it probably wouldn't be very good to be caught in here while that was happening.  No, I'm pretty certain all the windows are sealed, in order to protect the air-conditioning.  Well yes, it is a good job you don't live here then, isn't it?
But still, your swipe card record says you came in two weeks ago at 11am and haven't left since.  Are you not aware that life is worth exploring?
Life is very much like an African safari.  It seems initially that a good one is something that only happens to other people, generally people rich enough to be able to go to Africa and take such a safari, while you are left with the urban version where you see a fox, two badgers and a squirrel while being mugged by a thirteen year old who's trying to get more credit for their stolen pay-as-you-go mobile phone to call phone-sex numbers while their mother is getting blind-drunk in the living room and their father is screaming imprecations at the greyhounds down at the track.  But it's simply not true, everyone is on an African safari if only they'd explore life a little further.  The Big Five are out there, waiting to meet you, if only you turn the right corner at the right time.
Who?  No, the Big Five are the five large game that they have in Africa: Elephants, Rhinos, etc.  No, not ostriches, who told you that?  Well I wouldn't trust National Geographic if you got to it via Wikipedia.
Consider this: just three days ago I was on the high street out there and I decided that I could take the back roads rather than the main road.  There was no real reason to do this, it would almost certainly take longer, and the shop I intended to get to was actually located on the high road, but I wanted to take the opportunity to explore life a little, so I turned right at the roadworks instead of walking round, and took a road I'd looked at in passing many times, but had never actually ventured down.
The road went round a corner, and then round another.  It was residential, and the houses hid themselves behind privet hedges and creosoted wooden fences.  Bedroom windows curtained with nets peered cyclopeanically at me – yes, it's a word thank-you – and somewhere in the distance I heard a roar.  No, it was a motorbike starting up, there are no lions roaming the streets here.  Which is a pity, it would certainly help keep crime down in the inner cities.
The road turned again, and I saw an old Ford Cortina rusting at the kerbside like a dead hippo slowly rotting in the shallows of a river.  A little further on the road branched and again I took the side road, hoping to find somewhere else I'd not seen before.  I took a chance that it might be a dead-end, one of life's little cul-de-sacs where you can pause for a moment, breathe deep, then turn around and carry on your way.
What are you doing?  No, breathe deep was a metaphor.  I don't think the air tastes funny.  Now, where was I?
Oh yes, I took the side road, and after a short distance it was partially blocked by those little metal limbo gates they put everywhere to try and kill unsuspecting cyclists.  I jinked left and right, sashaying my hips in a way that would make a salsa dancer weep, and came back out onto the high road, just above the shop I wanted to visit.
I was delighted that I'd explored life and seen the hippo... I mean, car.  I was pleased to see that people lived beyond the high road, that there was a life out there that, with a balaclava, a knife and something to break windows, I could be part of.  As could you.
You've gone a very funny colour you know.  Hello?  Hello?
Huh.  I think they've started fumigating the office already, I was sure that wasn't due until seven.  Oh drat, I'd better leave then.  Are you coming?  No?  Oh well, suit yourself.

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