The other night I was walking home from work. I'm not too sure of the time but it can't have been too early because the day had not long had its light show stolen by the thieving fingers of the night; I suppose it was about 9.30pm or thereabouts. My walk home is normally pretty uneventful and the journey takes me about an hour or so. Usually I take the bus but tonight just seemed like a really pleasant evening so I thought I'd give my legs a bit of exercise.
A lot nicer when hot
As a bit of a treat for the walk home I had bought myself a giant sausage roll to eat and a two litre bottle of orangeade that I'd secretly stashed in the walk-in chiller at work, to ensure it was nice and cool to drink when I had finally left. I say secretly, more realistically I had asked my manager if it was okay to do so and she said yes. I still felt a weird sort of pride though in the fact that my fellow workers all thought I was blatantly stealing something when I went to leave. It wouldn't have surprised me if Jobsworth Jackie went and actually told someone in senior management about what she had seen. I hate Jobsworth Jackie - she's the only person I know who always manages to clock out of work dead on time. She'll also do anything she can to make your day at work as uncomfortable or unpleasant as possible. She has something to do with price integrity or something and if I'm asked to print some labels for something she'll always come out from the back and find you to start moaning. "Who authorised you to print those labels?! This is messing up my system and is increasing my workload!" is a typical screech from her - it's as if she's constantly watching the computers out the back, ready to pounce. Strange thing is, she's got no authority whatsoever at work - she's effectively on the same level as me. Awful as it sounds, I was genuinely quite happy when I saw her sent home crying because of the pain in her back once.
After about a mile or so of walking I started on my sausage roll, and delicious it was too. I'm sure that if I wasn't quite so hungry it wouldn't have tasted anywhere near as good but hey, I was enjoying it at the time so that was all that mattered. I took a huge swig of my orangeade, at least a third of the bottle, then grimaced with watering eyes as the pain from the almost ice cool carbonated liquid did the thing that it always does in that situation. This really was a pleasant walk home from work!
I have memories of this, even though I hadn't been born
I took a short cut that for some reason I really like walking through. It's part of the 'old' Stoke on Trent and it really fills you with a strange kind industrial decrepitude, that for some reason I've always liked...it's like memories of which I'm too young to have but they nevertheless seem to be there. One of my best friends once pointed this out to me without me even realising it myself first. He pointed it out in a lot of my paintings and drawings; images of industry, fantastical machinery that served no obvious purpose than just to move huge quantities of heavy stuff around, smoke and pollution, pointless labour, filth and grime. I don't know why I like this sort of thing so much but I think that's one of the reasons I like where I live because you can find past memories of that sort of thing all around this area. Most of my old paintings and drawings have long since be lost to time like sugar in sand. It's a shame really.
What is there not to like about any of this?
Looking past the orange sodium street lamps up at the darkening blue sky, thinking about nothing in particular but just sensing a feeling of happiness and peace within my self it suddenly hit me. Full force and from out of nowhere. "PHLOOOUGHHH!" was the noise I made as I blew it out of my mouth. Blew what out?! The biggest moth I think I've ever seen in real life. The big dusty bastard. The force I ejected it with made it look like I was exhaling the smoke from a cigar made of moths' wings and man, what a big cloud of smoke it was too. Then, the secondary instinctive and involuntary action happened. A bottle of orangeade and a giant sausage roll made their way back up...that dusty bastard had caused a gag reflex of epic proportions. There I was, throwing up on a busy street, revisiting something that I was really enjoying just five minutes beforehand that wasn't anywhere near to being enjoyable in any way, shape or form the second time round.
A few days later my Smoking Brother telephoned me.
"I heard you were pissed up the other night" he said.
"Eh? I haven't been out for ages" I replied.
"Yeah, right. Dan from work drove past you on Spencer Road and saw you. He said you were in a right state! Where'd you been?"
"I had been at work! I was walking home. A moth flew in my mo..."
Big dusty bastard
"Whatever," my Smoking Brother replied sarcastically, "listen, I've gotta go. I'm playing DayZ with a few mates in a minute. Catch you later."
Conversations with my Smoking Brother are usually like that. I've since spoke to him about the incident and he still doesn't believe me.
Oh, the moth? It flew off with no seemingly ill side effects. The big dusty bastard.