Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Some humbugs

"The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm's way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly from one place to another - particularly when the place you arrived at had probably become, as a result of this, very similar to the place you had left, i.e. covered with tar, full of smoke and short of fish."

Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, p. 134.

I've been slowly rereading the Hitch Hikers books (whenever there aren't the Doctor's newspapers about for taking to the loo) and the above bit really struck a cord.

I don't like driving. I can drive, and not too badly, neither. But it's like washing up, or proofing technical and policy documents. I'd just rather not, if that's all right. It's tedious, repetitive and it's not often I fit around the steering wheel anyway. And I hate the attitude - especially in London - that driving's a war of attrition, where you try and out-do as many other road-users as you can, without letting them nip in front. Me, I'm quite content to sit on a slow wending bus, reading or daydreaming silly titbits for stories, or even just staring out the window...

Of course, keen-driving pals and family members have already explained - and in depth - why I Am Wrong on this, too. And in the manner they also sometimes explain that, 'Simon, quite a lot of Dr Who is not very good...'.

Yes. I know. But I reckon they'd still agree that the whole driving experience would be a lot more agreeable if not so many people were utterly sold to it. Drive when you have to, not when you can.

Anyway, for going to a chum's wedding in a few weeks' time, I've just had to hire a car. Had to apply for a credit card, too, because (unlike the last time I did this, two years ago), you can't hire a car without one.

Credit cards, and their whole mantra of "Hey! You, lucky fellow, could owe us lots of money!', can sod off too. Not had a credit card since my earliest days as a student - a period with an inevitable moral lesson on the virtues of self-will. Which has all been paid off, what with it having been - Christ - a decade ago.

One of the security questions on ringing to activate the card (which a cynic might view as an underhand method of attempting to sell more product to someone who's just signed up to your services, and getting them to pay for the call while they're at it) was age next birthday. Not 'How old are you?' but 'How much worse is it going to get?'

Cheers for that. Almost a year to go, and I'm already dwelling on it. Humbug 3: Cannot be arsed with birthdays either.

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