“How to Survive this Wonderful Mad World of Contradictions”

On a Sunday, A Blogger likes to visit pubs with his Observer and to observe.  He has one eye on the football and one on the Everyman crossword puzzle.  He has no money so ekes out a pint and enjoys the riches of his environment…

Tom is in his eighties, frail and diminutive, and he’s walked five miles like he does every Sunday.  Why?  Because he still can at his ripe old age, and because he likes this town and hates his own, where he was banned from his local for… getting drunk.  “What do they expect one to do in a pub?!” he asserts with chuckling incredulity, not unreasonably and not to anyone in particular.
A fat man holds court at the bar while his friends’ feet point away because he’s a know-all who knows nothing of import.  He’s the one who dodges his round and privately his friends say he can peel an orange in his pocket.
A couple in their forties have just got together online and are disparaging respective exes in an attempt to convince each other and themselves that this time it’s the real thing – their past loves and lives are dead but this love is for life.
A thirty-something woman with Tourette’s asks every fucking minute what’s the fucking score and who scored the fucking goal as she ticks down towards the final fucking whistle.
A forty-year-old barmaid who’s pretty and pregnant looks pretty pissed that she’s pregnant.
A lonely man in his sixties is watching the match with an ill-matched toupee worn at a rakish angle, rolling cigarettes and nipping out every fifteen minutes for a breather.
A 20-something with anachronistic blond streaks ferries in his karaoke gear, bursting with smug anticipation that later, when the drunken “talent” have committed musical murder, he’ll hog the microphone and do My Way his way.
An elderly couple discusses politics, he reading the Mail and she the Mirror-opposite and I wonder how they’ve suffered each other’s pontifications all this time.
A bloke preens and checks his guns before checking his phone, which he loves more than his guns and his gorgeous blonde girlfriend, who isn’t oblivious to the fact that other blokes are eyeing her up and thinking “If she were mine I’d be spending less time at the gym or checking in to Facebook.”
A four-strong boredom of men sups lager with photographic knowledge of league tables and anything else statistics, including those of the aforementioned blonde.
A woman in her nineties is lunching with her daughters and grand-daughters who’re proud of the fact that she’s still sprightly and picking up the tab.  She bought her house in the forties for fifty quid and now it’s worth nearly half a million and even though they love her, they’re queuing up for a cut when at last she stops breathing.  And finally, in a corner a 53-year-old sits, monitoring his pint going dry and pinching his eyebrows over the Everyman crossword puzzle.  A man of diction and contradiction, writing stories, articulating, cathartic-ulating if you will.  He belongs here and doesn’t.  He loves it here but hates his life at times.  He was born here but doesn’t want to die like this.  He is a nomad still moving and still not moving very far, and wondering when he’ll travel the world and see paradise again.  He’s happy to be alone yet cries out for company.  And contradictorily in spite of all the madness he thinks to himself “What a wonderful world.”

Sent in by A. Blogger.


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