Pulled a little cracker, sir?

Sometimes, the most innocent of actions can turn out to be unbelievably crass. I had already started to write a blog … on endings. It wasn’t going well:

  • It’s difficult to know what to say. Things end. And at the ending, the vultures always gather. I sit on a hotel bed, typing. The room is bland, with a strange bathroom which is cold and unwelcoming. Cold in attitude, rather than temperature – the room is sweltering. I’m tapping distractedly, failing, frantically, to apply myself to anything in particular. Hence my tapping distractedly.

Ironies abound. I’ve stayed on this floor of this conference centre for the past six tuesdays. I have mostly followed the same routine of pie and a pint in the student bar, a bit of writing and then sleep before up early, gym and day. The funny thing about routines is that something small always elbows its way in, and suddenly you’re left staring at something utterly incongruous … invariably something that’s been winking at you for a while, just that you’ve utterly ignored it. Tonight bears witness to the end of many things, not least my tenure at this august institution, of which I will be glad. Over the past few days, three articles I have written went from forthcoming to in press. A small distinction, perhaps, but it means a movement from potentiality to inevitability.

Obviously, perceptual bias means that we see what appeals – as Bacon pointed out, we humans are constitutionally prone to seeing order where there is none. But it’s more complex than that, as our gaze can create order where there is none, bend the randomness of molecules to our will. I am particularly sensitive to incongruity at present, so when my pie comes accompanied by a cracker, I have to wonder. A christmas cracker, that is. What, I ask myself, am I supposed to do with a christmas cracker? A cracker, correct me if I’m wrong, is designed for two people. It’s a kind of competition. Why, oh why, give a single diner a cracker? Is it to remind them they’re eating alone? Perhaps it’s an encouragement to make social contact. Forget can I buy you a drink … would you like to pull my cracker has a much better ring to it.

The cracker, naturally, stayed uncrackt.

Oh, and the irony? I commented on the bathroom before I’d witnessed it. This one was particularly strange. It looked like someone had stolen the bath. Typical. The one time you presume, the thing you expose to your presumption moves, like Schrodinger’s cat, into another form altogether. A superposition of ruddy showers, as one might say. It never rains, but it pours.

That’s my life, currently.