Wednesday, 24 August 2011

CSI: roast beef

As you read this, if you can remember how it goes, you should have the music from 24 or CSI something-or-other playing on your inner gramaphone, oops, showing my age; I meant hi-fi.

This is a tale of adventure, intrigue and blackmail if only emotional. It starts innocently enough but soon it snow balls out of control as these things tend to do, what starts out as a harmless exercise becomes a internicine game of cat and mouse.

I'm going to have to use actors in portraying the characters and change place names, even although no one reads these entries, someone might stumble upon them and track people down out of morbid curiosity.

We have three elderly players, one dupe and a piece of roast beef.

As is normal the roast beef enters the story via Tesco, uncooked wrapped in cling film plucked from a cooled shelf by the chubby fingers of our primary manipulator. This innocent hunk of meat has no idea of the miles it will travel and the costs involved both financially and emotionally, remember Jack Bower crying in his car in the trailers for one of the 24's? never watched them myself but he must've cried at some point, its American, well, there's our poor...

...Dupe who also has no idea at this point of his involvement nor do the other two as yet uninvolved but not entirely innocent pensioners

Lets be honest here, no one except the Dupe who's typing this knows what the internet actually is far less how to access it, I'm talking about my Dad the manipulator, my Mum the unknowing Mark and the opportunist pensioner; my Aunt.

Ok, deep breath. On Tuesday the roast beef is purchased along other sundry goods at approximately 13:40 hours, it's not cooked that day because Dad isn't feeling well so has decided to have two cream buns for tea instead, tommorow though is another day. The meat is put in the oven at 12.15 hours on Wednesday where it is left for 6 hours at a high temperature, at 18.15 it is removed, the foil surrounding it is peeled off and Dad realises the roast beef is now a charcoal briquette, no matter he thinks; I'll send it down to the wife because she eats charcoal briquettes (she doesn't) and anyway it might get me some attention. The Dupe arrives for an impromptu visit and is asked, 'are you going to your mother's tonight?' The dupe isn't that much of a dope so says 'no'. Now read the last three sentences three times because for the next three days the Dupe is asked the same question until eventually he takes the meat never intending to deliver it anyway because Jaws nor a pack of starved chihuahuas could get there teeth into this piece of obsidian-hard food.

Skip forward a day, the meat is still in the car, our dupe hasn't disposed of it yet. Mum phones and asks, 'where is the roast beef dad gave you?' 'in the car' says our Dupe, 'are you coming down?' asks mum '...your aunt would like to have it for her tea tomorrow, we were going to half it...' I'm going to stop refering to myself as 'the dupe' in the third person, its strange. I say ok, 'i'll bring it down' and I do. Mum puts it in the freezer, meat-miles done so far? pick up and drop off and incidental journeys around town: 80 miles.

Mum asks 'Hi, I hate to ask but can you take that meat down to your Aunts next time your down?' I say 'I wasn't planning on coming down soon...' 'Oh... Oh... She's hurt her back and can't get out... She was looking forward to some roast beef...' says Mum. '*Sigh*' Miles done to further transport roast beef? another 60. New location of (now frozen) roast beef; approximately 1000 yards from Mum's house, 60 mile round trip for a 1000 yard transfer.

A day passes.

'Hi, can you go to your Aunt's and pick up that meat and take it to your Mum's next time your down' says my Dad. 'What?' says I. 'Your Aunt got all of it because it was frozen when you took it down, they couldn't cut it in half, now she has and half needs to get back to your Mum but she's to polite to ask and I'm not having that.' Says my Dad. '*Sigh*' says I.

Miles: another 60 miles added on and the meat is back at Mum's, all of it, my Aunt decided it smelled funny so sent it all back up. Later that day, Mums on the phone; 'Hi, I had to put that meat in the bin, it was a funny colour and smelled a bit off...'

All in, because my Dad thinks he'll be able to somehow win his way back into his wife's heart with roast beef I drove 200 miles (i'm rounding it up due to too-ing and fro-ing in town.) Not including RFL and Insurance and my time, all in all; I wasted £50 worth of fuel on a crazy roast beef related whim.

Not wishing to go on, when he gets a bee in his bonnet about something my Dad becomes unstoppable, he sees something he wants but can't reason out the method of getting it or the realities once he has it. I took him out for dinner recently, he's been going on about some garden furniture down at the home he used to share with the wife these past few weeks and I've been ignoring it resolutely, twice during the meal he hinted at getting 'someone' to take the furniture apart for transport to his place and twice I ignored it, my dad doesn't sit outside, the reason he doesn't do so is because he has his heating up at full blast 24/7 and still claims to be cold, I left a thermometer in his sitting room and it frequently tops 90 degrees when I visit; it is truly uncomfortable. He's never sat in the garden, not atleast for the last two or three years.

The garden table is a huge round wooden affair with the chairs attached to the wooden frame, it weighs a metric fuck-ton but even then it'll probably get nicked out of his garden in town. It won't fit in a van so needs to be taken apart, he got some one to do that but is now stuck at transport... Guess what, 'Hi, I've had the furniture dismantled, would it fit in your car?' I told him it wouldn't (its a car not a Tardis) but somehow, and I consider this a personal failure, I said I'd ask around for a van.

The future looks bleak, I see garden furniture and skinned knuckles. If I'm not strong, if I weaken and say I'll transport the furniture it also means I'll end up building it back up. Hire of a van, the diesel, the hassle of it being taken apart then rebuilt... All of that for a fucking table and chair set he'll only look at from his sitting room window, until it gets nicked?

Am I a bad son when I say: I don't fucking think so?

I'm never going to tell you whether or not he got his furniture, it'll be like one of those trendy psychological thrillers but with roast beef and garden furniture.

Beech Grove Garden meets River Cottage meets Scream.

Or, I Know What You Did Last Summer... With that roast beef & Garden Furniture.

they're dropping like flies.

I am not a fashionable person, I'm not that interested in fads or fashions or being up to date. I take the view any attempt to improve myself in an external way would be like putting a hat on a veruca; what would be the point. Product in my hair? No. Fashion labels around my ample hips? Certainly not. The latest phone pressed against my sweaty ear? No.

We all have our kryptonite and mine is iStuff. Phones, pads, laptops or computers. I'm sure they're really good, better even than the many alternatives but here is the deciding factor, they make you look like a twat. If you're holding an ipad and are not a doctor or a crew member on the Starship Enterprise; you look like a twat. In fact, all this chat about 'apps', the ipad and iphones are apps in and of themselves, their soul purpose is to make the person holding it look like a twat, can we call it a twapp? I think so.

Here's the thing, I know people who own these things, two friends have just been taken in, erm, I mean, have bought ipads, these are good people, I like them a lot but now I'm totally conflicted because I imagine them standing on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise in those form fitting Starfleet uniforms, those figure hugging trousers... Ummm, I meant with their new purchases looking like twats when I know they are absolutely not twats.

I think Apple have turned a corner, two years ago if you owned an Apple product  it was safe for people who didn't to think you were a twat; no question/no compromise. Now though with the huge proliferation of products we can't really say it any more because it's our friends and family who are buying these products, don't get carried away mind, they're still ultimately worthless trinkets, mere toys without which you would survive; but they are now so popular and by dint of sheer numbers, have to be accepted by miserable non-materialist luddites like myself or, I have to dislike people I really like a lot.

With that in mind, I've had to rethink my views on ithings, I think many others have also had to evolve. On the first day we thought Apple products were crap, on the second day we thought people who bought Apple products were a bit arty-farty. On the third day behold the letter 'i' was placed before all products to come. On the fourth day the iphone appeared - if you had one you looked like a twat. On the fifth day the ipad appeared - see the fourth day. On the sixth day if you had an ipad, we jokingly say you look like a twat but still love you really. On the seventh day, unlike God we didn't rest - if you had an iphone we still thought it made you look like a twat because they probably always will.

To my friends who now own ipads, I forgive you, I still like you. I may not want to facetime you but I still care about you. To my friends who own an iphone, yes you... Hello? Can you pay attention? You're texting someone, an app you say? But I'm actually here now standing beside you... No, don't drift off...

Oh fuck off then.