I attempt to be interesting

The guy who gives me my coffee likes to chat. He asks me what I’m doing today. Because I am usually going to Tesco, I tell him that. I can’t help thinking that this is not the most exciting of replies. I am considering inventing scenarios to make my day sound a little more interesting.

I’m thinking that I’ll start with something interesting but believable. A hot air balloon trip.

“Actually, I’m going on a hot air balloon trip!” I will announce. With a hint of bravado. Just a hint.

And the next time, when he asks if I’m doing anything interesting today, I shall casually mention: “I shall be riding my motorcycle. Through a hoop of fire.”

And the next time, if he still persists in asking what I am up to, I shall explain: “A group of we Hoop Of Fire motorcyclists will be performing our synchronised interpretation of the ballet Swan Lake. In a hot air balloon.”

At some point, he is going to realise that I am inventing these stories for his entertainment. Or possibly, my entertainment. It could be at the moment when I describe my concerns about how we’ll get the hippo into the balloon basket in order to complete the Fiery Motorcycle Hot Air Balloon Hippo Swan Lake Display.

Sorry, slight diversion here while I ponder the spelling of “fiery”. That’s derived from “fire”. So, who decided: “Ok, we’ve got the noun ‘fire’. We’re going to make an adjective. By adding the letter ‘y’. Oh yes, and we’ll just switch the ‘r’and the ‘e’ round. And there we have: ‘fiery’.” I don’t remember getting the memo on that. What happened when they got to ‘wire’? “Ok, we’ve got the noun ‘wire’. We’re going to make an adjective. By adding the letter ‘y’. Now wait, we did something last time with a similar word… No, I can’t remember. Never mind, we’ll just take the ‘e’ out. There we are: ‘wiry’.” They probably took the word ‘dire’ and made ‘diary’ from it. No wonder people complain English is hard to learn.

I did have a stab at learning Esperanto a while ago. Now that’s a more logical language. All adjectives end in ‘a’. You just bung an ‘a’ on the end of the noun. That’s it. No exceptions. Clever people those Esperantonians.

Now. Where was I?

I suppose I have to admit it. I am not that keen on chatting to Mr Barista. I just want my coffee. The guy in the local shop asks me what kind of day I’m having. Am I going to tell him? Not likely. Am I going to invent some hot air balloonish adventure? Can’t be bothered. Ok. It’s official. I am Mr GrumpyPants. Or rather Sinjoro GrumblemaPantalono as we say in Esperanto.


I am purchasing a new baseball cap. I know how interested you are in the minutiae of my life, so yes, this is the exciting moment where I buy some headwear. The baseball cap has done rather well for itself. It has crossed the globe. I knew the baseball cap had truly arrived when I saw my father in one. He was never keen on things American, whereas to me, America was the source of cool. America had cowboys and Spider-Man and 77 Sunset Strip and cool accents. So to see my father in a baseball cap was official recognition that it had truly arrived on the world stage. Many English men of advanced years who always wore a flat cap now sport a baseball cap.

I remember when I travelled to his funeral, I still didn’t really connect with the fact that he’d gone. It was just as if he’d gone somewhere for the day and would be back soon. It was only when we went back to his house and in the hallway I saw his cap that it truly came home to me that he was no longer here.

Sometimes I still think I’m going to bump into him in the supermarket.


Or maybe not.


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