Friday, December 24, 2004


Christmas story

This is a story about Christmas. Not the commercialised orgy of rampant consumerism that rips up your December pay cheque before you've even got it out of the envelope, nor even some pretentious new age B.S. about a pre-Christian midwinter festival, but the TRUE SPIRIT of Christmas.

That is not to say that these events necessarily took place during the Christmas period; as far as I can recall it might just as well have been February. What I do remember is that it was cold, wet and miserable, and there was an awful lot of traffic coming off the ring road and out of Central Six, so maybe it was Christmas, maybe they were doing their Christmas shopping. Who knows?

Anyway, after another day of counting sheep at my job I was coming up the steps from the station and on my way home. The scene that confronted me as I emerged onto Warwick Row was that of a clapped-out old Rover (possibly), stationary in the midst of the rush hour traffic. Its driver, a woman in (perhaps) her late forties, was standing forlornly beside it in the pouring rain, watching in mute appeal as the interminable column of traffic callously went past her, bound for home, some oven pizza and an episode of The Simpsons (definitely).

That's rather unlucky, I thought as I walked past.

It is a testament to the dehumanising effect that office work has on people that, on this occasion, I was able to walk fully 50 yards before my guilt overwhelmed me. I think the pedestrians coming toward me in the opposite direction must have been somewhat taken aback by the fact that I suddenly swore violently, then spun round and ran back the way I'd come.

In the TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS, I waded out into the slowly moving traffic and, with the grateful would-be motorist steering, pushed her P.O.S. car through two lanes of traffic and into the bus stop, probably not winning any medals from the driver of the number 12 in the process.

The moral of this story is that if you sent any Christmas cards to me this year, then you did the right thing, because I'm a nice guy. If you didn't, don't lose any sleep over it, because I didn't send you one. Nice guy I may be, but blessed with organisational skills I am most surely not.

Merry Christmas folks!

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