I like that small space of days before the Big One. When companies close early, when people flee from work. That’s when I enjoy driving around, turning up unexpectedly to get some unscheduled ‘stuff’ done. When everyone else has thrown in the towel or left early to get ‘ready’. It lets me off the hook. No pressure to get anything ‘done’, or not the usual kind. That moment when just briefly you may find yourself somewhere – else.
So I’m in the butcher’s. They don’t know me. And I ask: is it too late to buy a bird for X-Mass? The guy, tall, tash, traditional, looks at me, trying to size me up. Am I taking the piss? I add: not a turkey, a big chicken. He looks relieved. He won’t have to throw me out after all. Yes, he says, 3 kilos? Perfect, I say, not really knowing but imagining a lot of chicken sandwiches too.
That’s when the spirit jumps me. Next thing me and wife are driving around looking for somewhere to buy vegetables. What shall we get? EVERYTHING! I say. A fish suddenly dreaming of warm water. So off we go. Cabbage, sprouts, carrots, parsnips, pigs-in-blankets, potatoes, chocs and sweets and… We see a book shop.
Too late. I’m in there in a trance. It is not a very good shop but I can’t help it. Trance, wander, trance, pick up, wonder, wife says: I’m carrying on down the street. Call me when you’re done. She’s still waiting…