After cycling home from work this evening, buying pizzas for everybody from the supermarket and cooking them, I opened a bottle of fizzy wine and downed two glasses back-to-back. I’m off work now for 10 days. I don’t return until after the Easter bank holiday. I haven’t really had any serious time off since the end of last summer.
Although this weekend is spoken for, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with the rest of the time off. I expect most of it will be spent hiding at home – cutting the grass, helping re-arrange rooms, and so on. A part of me is tempted to go to Starbucks every morning and quietly empty my head into the blog – but that would also involve paying exorbitant prices for coffee.
Before any of that happens I have to survive a weekend away with our middle daughter’s rugby team – staying in a chalet (read: shed with bunk beds), washing in a communal toilet block, and and stamping my feet at the side of rugby pitches while trying to make conversation with fellow parents.
I’m not good at social events – I never have been. Of course you would never know, because I’m good at faking it. An old friend figured me out some time ago – realising that if I start a conversation, it’s typically engineered in such a way that everybody tells me their life story, and I get to listen. Either that or I start a conversation about a contentious topic, then sit back to admire my own handiwork as everybody else start to raise their voices.
Something else I’ve noticed recently – that I’ve become increasingly aware of – is general knowledge. I’m not sure if I know more useless rubbish than most, or if people generally know less than they used to. I guess we all think of certain stories or subjects as being “common knowledge”, and presume other people know about them too.
While out with friends in London a couple of weeks ago the story behind Gin being such a popular drink in London came up, and I was the only one that knew the back-story. It’s a good story too – about the laws being relaxed on Gin production because of a monopoly, meaning everybody that had previously been making beer switched over to making Gin – with predictable results. The drunken “gin riots” were the one and only time the “riot act” has ever been read. I remember when I was young there was a common phrase indicating that a final warning was being give – “they read them the riot act” – in real terms, it means the police and/or the army can be called to prevent a group of people from causing trouble by any punitive means available.
I sometimes wonder what other people have in their heads instead of the useless trivia I seem to have filled mine with. They probably have sensible knowledge, wisdom, and thoughts about everyday things that are actually useful to know – like how to set the clock on the microwave, or how on earth Snapchat works (what do you mean, you swipe left on this screen, up on that screen, and right on that screen?).
Anyway. Time is marching on. I’m heading to bed – I have a bag to pack in the morning, and an inevitable panic shopping trip to buy supplies for the weekend away (wine! lots of wine!).
I’m not sure I’ll have the opportunity to write anything over the weekend, so this might be the last post until late on Sunday night. I guess we’ll see.