Putrid Modern Hell #17

by HST UK on September 18, 2011

I’ve always been a daydreamer. I remember living a lot of my childhood inside my own head; zoning out in the midst of a monotonous Maths class at school, going from algebraic equations to the fervent imaginings that brew within an adolescent mind; or on a cold winter’s day midway through the Sunday season standing in the middle of the Football pitch, looking up at the sky and losing interest in the game, falling asleep awake. Within the confines of my skull I was whatever I wanted to be – an extrovert, a risk taker, a thrill seeker. However the reality differed. In the real world whatever people thought I was, that was sadly what I was; quiet, shy, conscientious, a young man who liked his comforts, a boy who lived only in dreams.

It could be said that I am stuck in some arrested form of development, still living in flights of fancy, assuming that one day the escapes into my own mind will merge with the hard road of tangibility. As an adult, more and more frequently I drift due to absentmindedness. I lack stimulation, so in order to take myself away from the drab and mundane. I switch off, tuning onto a different channel.

Take for instance on the way to work one morning, a week or so back. I was thinking about my job, and the Martial Arts class I had after my shift. Somehow these two thoughts merged together and before I knew it I was smack bang in the middle of some Bruce Lee-esque fight sequence.

Here’s the scene: A couple of hard-nosed Eastern European shoplifters wearing counterfeit shiny leather jackets headed into the Department Store. One has a wonky nose, which suggests he has been in a few scraps in his time. The other has a scar across his cheek, both stereotypical bad guys. Both guys look mean, and up to no good. They give off that bad-ass vibe; if they walked towards you on the pavement you’d go out of your way to cross the street.

The men enter a building that appears less like the Department Store I work at and more like a glass palace. In fact, in dreams my place of work looks like something from a Fairy tale. The setting feels like something from the underrated J-Lo movie ‘The Cell’. One of the men, the one with the wonky nose, pulls out a swag bag. Comically it has three ‘Pound Sign’ symbols on the front.

They stash a load of Jewellery into the swag bag, all sorts of things that the Store I work in doesn’t actually sell like gold doubloons, tiaras and miscellaneous shiny diamonds. I appear suddenly in a plume of smoke before the two men. The smoke settles, and the two men clench their fists as I confront them. I point at the bag and then shake my head disapprovingly. Oh, it’s on.

Before I know it we are going toe to toe. Punches and kicks are thrown. I’m moving like an agile antelope springing back and forth. I’m dancing, throwing out the jab, blocking strikes, landing punches with cartoon power. The Eastern Europeans are quickly disposed of. I stand in a celebratory pose with a foot on each back of my fallen enemies. The police arrive, a foxy local newspaper journalist arrives to take down a few snappy sound bites, a picture for tomorrow’s early edition front cover is taken and the men are carted off in handcuffs.

Perversely the older I get, the more vivid the daydreams. Worryingly these daydreams are also becoming more detached from reality. To the point that I am (or at least my day dreaming self is) performing tasks that I have no capability of doing. Such as singing, knitting, baking and flirting.

For instance I was on my lunch break and walked past a small baguette shop. I looked in and saw a cute looking brunette behind the counter, she wore geeky thick rimmed black glasses, but they seemed to be worn for fashion purposes. As I stood looking through the glass window I must have drifted off again. It seemed like I was having an outer body experience. I observed my suave alter ego walk into the shop; my own François Dillinger if you will. He’s dressed like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and a Shoreditch Hipster. My alter ego walks in to the baguette shop. Says to the brunette, “Excuse me, Miss” and then proceeds to charm the pants of her. She giggles, and goes bright red. Numbers are exchanged, and as my ego leaves the brunette looks on longingly, smitten with the handsome stranger that never even said his name.

Whilst all this is going on, all of thirty seconds goes by in real time. I rub my eyes, and walk into the baguette shop. Due to my dreamy daze I almost stumble over the front step in the doorway. Before walking up to the counter, to talk to the brunette, I move over to the fridge to get a drink. Unfortunately I can’t open the fridge door, I try to tug, and I try to slide, but the damn thing won’t budge. Ok, I’ll go without a drink. I walk over to the counter and the brunette smiles and asks me what I’d like. I’d like to slide my tongue…. No, play it cool. I ask her to stick a jumbo sausage in between a sumptuous bun, and then jazz some sauce over the top.

She potters about with her hands under the counter, then places the sausage baguette on the counter and says “That will be £2.50”. I hand over three coins, and that’s the end of that.

-RJW

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