Life shouldn’t be a battle. So why is it that I constantly feel like the rope in a tug-of-war? It seems that this modern world has left me feeling torn. No, I haven’t been drinking at lunch time, I am actually trying to make a social commentary here.
Walking along the dirty streets of Hammersmith, my soul cries out occasionally like one of those mad beggars you see outside tube stations, telling me to pitch my sights a little higher. What it means is flee – find a job that involves milking the laughing cow or selling organic pastries off the back of a goat. Forget this 9-5 bollocks – you don’t even get to watch Neighbours on a weekday.
It’s easy, some people say. Just sell up and move to the country. There’s even a programme about doing it. But when it comes to it, I panic. As wonderful as the thought of homemade cakes and acres of grass to skip about in, who the hell is going to bake the scones and mow the lawns, because it certainly ain’t me. And therein lies the rub. I would have to be rich to make this country escape a worthwhile one. Otherwise, I’ll just be poor with a mouse problem. A London werewolf in Ludlow or somewhere, only coming out at night to avoid the farmers.
Another worry is that I might (whisper) be a little bored. My mind is fine-tuned to be incredibly lazy these days. Television, the internet and radio do most of my thinking for me. There is barely a time when I am not reading or listening to something. What would I do faced with the back-end of a farmyard animal, or worse still, a load of farmers?
Don’t get me wrong, I have lived in the countryside before now. I got by then – I frolicked in fields and had lots of pets. But that was the Dark Ages – no computers, no digital TV and no music on demand.
Would the scent of manure fill the void of Sky Breaking News? Probably. But what about all that information that I am accustomed to? I am intelligent enough to realise that the rat race would function pretty well without me. It’s not a system that cares. There’s plenty of hungry little rats to keep on running and even more so that don’t question why they are doing so. If I toddle off to the country like Dick Whittington, I am confident in the fact that ‘my world’ will carry on regardless.
So why stay? I could convince myself that I am destined for great things, however, no matter how hard I try, great things are just never going to transpire so long as I work in journalism. Salaries suck, jobs are getting axed – and the bottom line – I can’t really be arsed most of the time.
But like some kind of hardcore drug, I am hooked on this modern world. I hate its dependence on fleeting emotion, its triviality, its impatience. I am a product of it and, as ‘they’ say, you can’t choose your parents.
So unless I become a self-appointed evacuee, I am going to have to stay for now. I am just going to have to prepare myself, start my withdrawal slowly. I can’t just go rushing in with my Wellington boots on and the Wurzels playing on my MP3. I am going to have to get used to the idea. TV will be switched off at 8pm. I will try to avoid screens of all kinds (work are going to have to get used to this idea) and I am going to do test-runs into the country.
Under this plan, in approximately 12 years, I will be ready to face the country and its eerie silence. I will just have to beware of the moon, as they say on the moors…