Grumpy Tigger

Sometimes I’m Tigger. Sometimes I’m not. Today I wasn’t. Today I’m not.

I still had to stand in a window for hours being enthusiastic. Looking on Instagram I clearly pulled it from somewhere as there’s videos of me bouncing and looking delightfully happy. It’s just as well they weren’t broadcasting sound though or my jumpy happy dancing would’ve been put into sharp contrast by my heartfelt cries of “FUCK YOU I’M COLD!” or “MAKE IT STOP!”

Nevertheless I’m likely one of the only human beings in my sector who were working live this weekend – despite lack of footfall and the desperate chill. Oxford Street is still deserted – usually such a mess of humanity. I avoid it at all costs normally as you get pushed into the buses on the road by angry walkers, by speeding cycles and by idiots trying to force their beliefs on you. Even the pigeons avoid it. This afternoon I strolled amid the empty grey shops failing to find a sandwich that wasn’t Pret à Manger, barely seeing another human soul. It’s a strange privilege to see the city so shut down. I still allow myself to think of it as unusual, rather than the new way. When it comes back it’ll come back different and it’ll come back slowly. It’s unlikely the landlords will be evolved enough to lower rent after they’ve spent so many years crushing out all colour, so things like Topshop will sit empty until they’re tenanted by some other monstrous arsehole and the whole faceless machine will start grinding into gear once again, and chewing us up with it because in the end we are lazy and will sacrifice our everything for convenience.

I ended up back at Pret because I didn’t pack a lunch. There I was, ordering a quick cheese and ham toasty for a fiver. Not much cheese or ham. But the only other options were Macdonald’s and Starbucks. Pret is owned by Macdonald’s. Starbucks is owned by Beelzebub. All of us are owned by Nestle. Or is it Facebook? I guess it’s split. Like the old belief that having your photograph taken splinters your soul – we’ve mostly been portioned out now, spoonfed bit by bit into the wet fat mouths of shiny looking brandspiders in exchange for a quicker lunch break or a sticker on our shoe.

I wandered back and I shoved my nasty hot sandwich into my face under striplights surrounded by plastic as Marie danced alone to cheer people up. If St Peter keeps statistics and you get them at The Pearly Gates when you die, I reckon I must be pushing 300 lifetime Pret Cheese and Ham toasties by now. I’d sooner not find out. But they’re warm, quick, easy to eat, and EVERYWHERE. And they aren’t a Big Mac, even if they’re basically the same. I need to learn to pack my own lunch.

I’m back home now and I think it’s warmer than it was but it hasn’t got through to me yet. I’ll be driving all day tomorrow. For now I’m just lying on my back with the fish bubbling to my right and Lou packing up things she sold on eBay. We had fish and cassoulet and now it’s chamomile and bed and chances are I won’t be such a grumpy sod tomorrow, and my feet will have warmed up.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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