Had a bit of a funny day today.
Today was the day for changing the car. We bought it on one of those three-year lease affairs, so it was time to change whether wanted to or not. Which is fine, because after three years of carting children with delicate digestive systems around Derby or to Devon, our car had gained a mysterious smell that no amount of scrubbing or cleaning could quite wipe out. So: time for some Miss-Marple lookalike in a knitted hat to buy ours from the dealer, allowing the faint smell of vomit to be masked by that of Mint Imperials and incontinent Yorkshire Terrier.
We had endured a day of looking at cars earlier in the week, sat in a few, and avoided the ones with a pricetag larger than our mortgage. Our limited budget clashed somewhat with my wife’s opinion on what age of car would be scorned by the neighbours – but despite this, we managed to find one. Curiously, it was exactly the same model of car that we were trading-in, but only six months old and blissfully odour-free.
So I go to collect it this morning. I was booked in to collect it at 9:30am, and arrived so early that I went to Sainsbury’s and had a cooked breakfast. To pass the time, I read one of the papers that Sainsbury’s provide for their customers. It was The Mirror.
Now … I suspect it is considered Bad Form in blogging circles to produce material likely to alienate a good proportion of your readers. And I understand that The Mirror is quite a popular paper. I see it left on the dashboards of builders’ vans all the time.
So I shall not attempt to convey what I think of it here. Besides, I’m not sure my writing skills are up to the job. Or even the English language, for that matter. I would have to resort to gestures, grunts, and crude diagrams in order to properly represent the magnitude and purity of the emotion I feel when reading that paper.
Anyway … I finish my breakfast, and head back to the dealer. Five minutes later and I’m sat in their reception waiting for a “finance representative” to come and see me – they wanted to have one last attempt at selling me extra insurances. He takes his time to arrive. “What could it be that is more important than dealing with an actual customer?” I muse in a hopefully philosophical manner.
Hanging on the wall in reception there is an LCD TV. It is on. It is showing the Jeremy Kyle show.
Suddenly, I am transported to an alternative reality. A cruel, twisted universe, where survival of the fittest has been turned on its head, and – as One People – we worship those freaks who had sex with their sister whilst on the rebound from an affair with their transsexual step-mother’s social worker’s Fung-Shuei consultant. Where Peroxide, too much eyeshadow, big earrings and a white tracksuit all makes up a uniform fit for the Finest Gentleman.
Truly: the pondlife has risen up, and evolved a crude mouth from which to gasp (like a fish taking its first breath): “WHERE’S ME GIRO?”
On my keyring I have something called a TV-B-Gone. It’s an infra-red circuit which knows the “off” codes of about 80% of the world’s television sets. Possibly the best tenner I have ever spent. I keep it for when I’m in the dentists waiting room. Fortunately, it works here too.
Now, I really don’t want to appear a middle-class snob. I’m not a pseudo-intellectual. Just because I enjoy watching “QI” doesn’t mean I’m high-brow. I like shouting “willies” at the top of my voice in a crowded shopping centre as much as the next man. But something is very wrong in the world if Jeremy Kyle is seen as entertainment. Jeremy Kyle – and Trisha, and anyone who appears on those shows – should be put into cages and studied. Children should be taken on school trips to see them, to act as a warning: “Now Jimmy, this is what happens when primordial ooze is given a baseball cap and a driving licence and taught how to send text messages.” “Yes, miss.”
Trash television affects me greatly. More than I should really allow. My time is so limited these days that any spare I have I want to spend doing something constructive (one of my projects), seeing my friends, watching a film, or catching up on the mountain of books I still need to read. So if I’m sat in a room, and a television is on showing crap like that, I take it very personally. It is stopping me from concentrating on what I’m trying to do/read/build. It is getting into my brain. It is raping my ear-hole. It is forcing itself upon my intellect without my consent. “No” should mean “no”, or possibly even “fuck no”.
There is another possibility … Perhaps daytime television is deliberately made as annoying as it is. It’s a Cunning Plan ™ to force the unemployed to go out and find work. It separates those who are just pulling a sicky from those who really are so braindead that they can’t do anything more complicated than those phone-in quizzes that happen during the adverts.
It’s actually the part I hate most about visiting the dentist, incidentally. It’s worse than the drilling, the pain you can’t get away from, and the inability to make conversation while a bloke you don’t even know has his particulars down your throat. The thing I hate about the dentists is having to sit in the waiting room before it all, while Trisha knocks points off my IQ via a crappy 14-inch portable. Far more invasive.