Today I have done something productive, I have taken my very good friend Maranda’s advice and had a pint in one of my favourite pubs as well as having a read of a good book. Naturally I didn’t take such a task lightly I threw myself into it with reckless abandon and somewhere near pint four I conceived the idea for a series of posts on the best emotion after happiness, that of course, being melancholy.
The pub I chose was not the usual soulless type of pub that seems to be seeping into the very fabric of our good times but a classic local, with an atmosphere, regulars and alcoholic beverages which happily diverge from the generic liquids which seem to flow out of every pub tap. A pub where the pictures are of local places, the wallpaper does its job and there is enough varnish on the tables.
These pubs are of course better in so many ways, once you get past the repetitive pop music that seems inescapable these days that is. Happily what they do give is an oppurtunity to study the diversity of real people going about their lives, the same as everyone does in train stations except that no one is in a rush and everyone is seated.
I observed my first bit of melancholy when I realised I had no writing paper or pen with me, just a very low phone battery and not much room to engrave stuff upon its memory, but then alas that is always the way. Happily by waving my phone around in a very noticeable way I kept its juices flowing enough to hammer down some notes.
So to pint one and I am happily tab hanging on some sort of to and fro conversation between a couple about jobs and benefits. It was very interesting the missus harangued her partner for being ‘all me, me, me’ before proceeding to tell him how she wasn’t getting enough from him working and how it affected her. Despite the obvious inconsistent hilarity this couples domestic was giving me, I quite liked the fact they were trying.
I didn’t trust my wallet with the aforementioned couple (a sign of the times I’m afraid), so I took it with me to the bathroom, then in double quick time I was onto pint two and now my attention turned onto the happy old people with their pints of mild and the 24 hour news and the slow teletext that renders the pictures and words unlinkable. Old people always make me feel sad, this worries me.
Onto pint two, and I am dividing my time between weather watching,( for I am English and that is another national sit down sport we can win at the Olympics) and watching the sad looking man with a paper in the corner opposite me. It’s a quiet afternoon with only four people left in the pub now.
The weather is, as you would expect intermittent showers with rain in between. Of course the rain is great if you are at home or not on a flood plain but at the pub it is a whole different state of affairs, do I time my pint to coincide with a break in the deluge? Do I stay here all night and trust the taxi driver to carry me home? Or do I give it up now as a bad loss and leave now. I opted for the ridiculously unpredictable first choice of course.
The man, he who has become my object of nosiness, is combing the paper with thorough attention reading everything on each page in an unhurried way. It took me a while to realise I was that man, except not trusting to modern newspapers I had taken refuge in a book and had not this blog idea occurred to me I would be mired in The News Where You Are (review soon). I therefore decided this man was not a man of melancholy loneliness but a true world hero, whom I will one day become.
Anyway somewhere I lose track of the number of pints I’ve imbibed and estimate that I am going to finish on pint four, you know the one, the pint where you have that fuzzy warm feeling where everything is great and you know you will ask that girl out and she’ll actually be interested….
So now I’m at home and musing on the microcosm of people and how their outward appearances rippled together to create a complex ever evolving landscape to be kept track of by intrepid people such as myself. the types of people who everyday collide sending out new ideas into the ether. Okay I admit it this started off as observing melancholy, but it has to be asked, how much of the melancholy (or other emotions) we perceive are in our heads and far from the real truth we so earnestly seek?