I can’t help telling the truth. It’s like a nervous tick I have no control over. I’m like a Tourette’s sufferer when it comes to blurting out shocking, unexpected and brutally honest responses. If a woman asks me, ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ I will likely respond, ‘Not only does it make your arse look fat but the whole outfit is hideous.’ Only if it is hideous, mind. I’m not mean-spirited, just honest.
It’s part of refusing to play ball with social nicety. The back and forth of polite conversation has always left me cold. Dinner party small talk. All that pointless ‘how are you?’ malarkey. ‘How are you?’ is a wholly unnecessary starter. Like popadoms.If anyone asks me, ‘How are you?’ these days, then God help them. ‘Not great to be honest. Stuck in a rut, feeling like it’s Groundhog Day, my youth slowly ebbing away, and have you seen those fucking Halifax ads?’
When working in an office I was regularly asked on a Friday: ‘So what you got planned for the weekend?’And London being London, especially working in the media, especially being in your 20s and early 30s, it was de rigueur to have a cool response up your sleeve. You know the sort of thing:
‘I’m going to this great new comedy club in Covent Garden.'
‘On Sunday I’ve got to drop by Notting Hill market to pick up my vegan yoghurt.’
‘If I have time I’m helping out in a soup kitchen in Charing Cross.’
It seemed like my co-workers were trying to out-cool one another with their responses in describing their fabulously interesting, quirky and action-packed weekends. So when it was my turn, I got to thinking, fuck this for a game of soldiers, I’m not taking part in this futile contest. So I’d go the opposite way and exaggerate how drab it was likely to be.
‘No major plans but at some stage I will definitely try to find time to do my washing. A full load too, requiring two capsules.’
The act of being busy has to be the most pointless state of existence there is because you’re just frantically doing stuff for the sake of filling in gaping, horrifying segments of time.
On a Monday this ritual came to its logical conclusion as some bright-eyed, perky colleague would inevitably pipe up:
‘Fantastic,’ I’d answer with monotone sarcasm...
‘What did you get up to?’
‘I watched a repeat of Bullseye on Challenge in which Stan and Margaret from Barnsley won a speedboat.’
Oh yeah. I was a whole heap of laughs. As you can probably tell, me and office life were never cut out for one another and I was soon seeking my escape.
I may be an arch misanthropist but I maintain I had it right in telling it like it is. Slothful inactivity is the way forward. Why be reassured by the business of your life? It’s not as if we’ve been told we’ve only got a week left before a meteor wipes out the planet. The act of being busy has to be the most pointless state of existence there is because you’re just frantically doing stuff for the sake of filling in gaping, horrifying segments of time. Forever clock-watching. Forever fretting about being somewhere else. Desperately trying to squeeze in as much activity as possible into that precious 24-hour window of opportunity. In fact, I bet it was one of the busy ones who invented the repellent expression ‘window of opportunity’. What a rhetorical crock of shit.
Just sit around idly, occasionally blowing smoke rings at the ceiling in between having a good, long wank.
It’s like a badge of honour for some people. ‘Yeah, you think you’re busy? Bet you’re not as busy as me. I’ll see your christening and trip to B&Q story and raise you a 40th birthday party that went on into the wee small hours and cycle ride in the country.’ People who spend their days gleefully filling up their diaries with social engagements and who end up requiring organisers to help organise their organising, are the most tragic cases of human life out there. They are wrapped up in a hectic, activity-based life precisely because they are incapable of introspection. They cannot reflect for fear of what they might discover. They delude themselves that being busy is the most positive, productive state to be in, re-asserting their status as significant individuals when, in reality, all they are doing is concealing an inability to appreciate an essential truth.
I’ve got a message for you all. Your mindset is completely askew. Fact. Stop living in denial and accept the futility of your own existence. I’m very much of the Denis Leary school of thinking: ‘Happiness comes in small doses folks. It’s a cigarette, or a chocolate cookie, or a five second orgasm. That’s it, ok?’ That's why some of us have discovered the untold joy of doing sweet f.a...yes, that’s right. We don’t potter around garden centres. We don’t schmooze at summer barbecues. We don’t check if our Lotto numbers have come up. We just sit around idly, occasionally blowing smoke rings at the ceiling in between having a good, long wank.
So next time anyone asks you how your weekend was, take a leaf out of my book and don’t fudge a polite response for the sake of office conviviality but face reality head on and express your existential angst instead. Or better yet, just tell them to go fuck themselves.
Click here for more stories about Life
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook