the state of things

 

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas #7 (School Holidays Day One)

by Douglas Lindsay - 07:33 on 19 December 2008

Yesterday was Day One of the school holiday. At the start of the day the three of us - me, One of Two and Two of Two - sat down at a meeting to discuss the day’s targets, in line with the recommendations laid out in the Report Into Running A Happy Family Life which we commissioned from KPMG for a sum of £350,000 earlier in the year. It was a long meeting. We consumed four litres of espresso; the air was thick with the pall of cigarette smoke. In the end, after we had pushed the envelope, thought outside the box in blue sky terms, and cogitated in the toilet of existentialism, we came up with a series of targets.

Soft Target - buy mince pies

Hard Target - have fun

Stretch Target - stop the genocide in Darfur, bring stable government to Zimbabwe, solve the world economic crisis, lead a military coup against Gordon Brown, and start importing Thatcher’s Dry cider to Poland

It was a pishing wet day. We sat in the car in awful Christmas traffic, the rain streaming against the windows. Even before we reached the shopping mall, the sounds of Step Into Christmas and Stupid Little Drummer Muppet seemed to fill the air. The car was heavy with tension. It was becoming apparent that the best we could hope for was to meet the soft target, and even that might be thwarted if we were to be stuck in a traffic jam for fifteen hours, or if the one shop in Poland which sells mince pies had run out.

We sat in the car for a long time. We missed lunch with TPCKAM. We finally arrived at the mall, and stepped into the mayhem. Last Christmas was playing on the tannoy, a bitter portent of the Hell that was to come. The annoying little chirping chicks at my feet were claiming hunger, so we ate junk food. We sought out the mince pies in the very Pantheon that is Marks & Spencers. And by God, not only did they have a varied selection of mince pies, all the boxes were 3 for 2. For one shining moment, for all the world it was like we were in Great Britain itself. (If you can call imagining you’re in a place with even pishier wet weather, the highest rates of cocaine use and teenage pregnancy in Europe, litter on the streets, a binge drinking and knife culture, and a corrupt and bankrupt government, a shining moment.)

Then we went home.

We achieved the soft target, but that was the end of the target-achieving. We never did have fun. But then, when they weren’t sitting in the car, the spawn played on the computer, watched tv and ate burgers... they probably considered it a fair start to the holiday.

Tomorrow...with linear inevitability, Day Two.


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