Monday, December 06, 2010

Stupid, stupid, stupid

As we walked through the Pacific Place mall yesterday, an angry-looking man in his late forties scuttled out of the music shop that persists in selling people compact discs in this age of downloadery. He had the look of the sort of vaguely demented eccentric who asks irrelevant questions at the end of public lectures on science: wild hair, anorak, vaguely unkempt.

"Stupid shop!" he exclaimed with some rage and vigour. Then he dashed back inside the shop, waved what looked like a bank card at the nonplussed security guard, threw it on the floor and then stomped back out.

I was at once excited, curious, and vaguely terrified that I'd earn his wrath if I paid him too much attention, and besides, I was heavily laden with shopping and couldn't have physically defended myself if things turned nasty, so we avoided looking any more at him until he'd reached minimum safe distance. But I was wondering why a chap like him would be getting so cross with the shop.

Was it the archaic business model he objected to? We will never know. The only special thing about this incident was it was a white male; generally if the locals are angry with businesses, they'll stand outside them for the next two years with a tape recording of them shouting, if my experiences in Central are anything to go by.

If we'd been in Bromley or Croydon or any of the other suburban hells I previously inhabited, this sort of angry chap would be quite commonplace - was it just a performance artist, hired to make me feel more at home in the run-up to Christmas? That seems quite an inefficient way of drumming up custom for the music shop. Yes, it could even be described as stupid. So if he was a hired performer, maybe he was being quite accurate. I won't think on this any more, in case I get bewildered by it all.

Or rather, more bewildered, as this morning I was ready to get to the office nice and early, until I found I had mislaid my keys. Twenty minutes of frantic searching and they still weren't in my hand. I had dread visions of them lost at a winebar, down the back of a taxi, or bobbing up and down in the Hong Kong Wetland Centre, being shouted at by a tourist from Shenzhen.

That last one was clearly ridiculous: my keys are too dense to float.

When I get confused and can't find things, the only reliable thing I know to do is to take my clothes off. I removed my jacket and shirt to no avail. I tried calling my fiancee to make her confess that she'd swapped my keys for a handful of magic beans - she didn't answer. I contemplated taking off my trousers too, but I was worried that I'd frighten the cat. I called my fiancee again: no answer. Was she merrily dancing over the border, abandoning me, her pockets stuffed with the ill-gotten gains of selling my keys to a itinerant trader? Should I have written my address on my keys so people would know where to return them to?

My fiancee rang me back. I blethered down the phone at her. She suggested a half-dozen places I'd already looked. I contemplated taking the day off. Then at last I found my keys, down the back of the sofa, where I should have looked first.

Stupid sofa!

If that wasn't enough excitement for one day, after lunch I followed my coworker's example and walked up 14 flights of stairs to get back to my office after lunch. However, a short consultation of how work = force x distance and the relation between joules and calories tells me that this ascent only burned around 8 calories, which I fear was rather outweighed by the two mince pies I ate this afternoon. Will I never be thin again?

Stupid stairs!


Avalanche said...

Hmmm, mince pies?! Have you taken up eating innocent animals and your subdued guilt is manifesting itself through compulsory removal of garments when put under stress?

Mr Cushtie said...

Oho, not mincemeat pies, my dear Avalanche! These are just sweet, sweet pastry filled with raisins and sugar...

As for the stripping, that's a well known heuristic for finding things: take off all your clothes and thus eliminate some of the variables. Or something...

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