In which I learn sign language
I was down in the village yesterday.
I had arranged to meet with a friend at the coffee shop, and we settled down with our mugs out on the terrace. It was very pleasant. It wasn’t warm but it wasn’t cold either. It was very relaxing out there watching the world go by and enjoying the peace.
Then it started.
From nowhere we were suddenly assaulted by blaring “music”.
I don’t mind Christmas Carols and there are even a couple of modern pieces that are tolerable, However my Golden Rule is that anything Christmassy written since the last war [with that couple of exceptions] is utter shite and drives me into a fit of frenzy. Worst of all are the crooners. Bing Crosby is chief amongst these and any time I hear him singing about snow or holidays or any of that utter shite I go totally mental. And the cacophony that was assaulting our ears was of that last variety. It was being blared out through loudspeakers and completely filled the village with its grating noise. It was like a nail on glass.
We couldn’t hear each other speak and had to move indoors where at least we could communicate by shouting.
After we parted on our separate ways I had some shopping to do. I bought up a stash of baccy and some milk and then headed for the hardware shop.
Now I call it the hardware shop but it sells all sorts of weird stuff. It reminds me of Needful Things [see under Stephen King] where they always seem to have just what I’m looking for, no matter how outlandish. It has become a standing joke between myself and the young lad who runs the shop where I try to find something he doesn’t sell. So far he’s winning by a mile..
As I approached the shop I realised that was where the awful racket was coming from. There was a young lad on the pavement outside with a microphone, a powerful amplifier and a huge loud speaker. This was the cunt who had been assaulting my ears. I don’t know where the fuck he came from but presumably someone in the village had had the bright idea of jollying up the festive season with some horrible tacky crooning. I ducked past him into the shop.
My pal wasn’t there. It was his father. Young lad is a bit of craic and we enjoy a bit of banter. Father is a different kettle of fish altogether and no craic at all. He yelled something at me but of course I couldn’t hear him with the racket from the pavement outside, not helped by the perspex screen between us and the fact he was wearing a mask. He resorted to sign language and I realised he was upset that I wasn’t wearing a mask! This was the first time in two years this had happened and I was a little taken aback and frankly rather annoyed. I pretended not to understand his gesticulations and waved back at him. This pissed him off and he waved his arms around a bit more before giving up.
Now I was on the hunt for an SD card. This is particularly difficult item to mime but I yelled at him, fortunately just as the gobshite outside had finished one of his numbers. The message got through and he started gesticulating again, as gobshite had started on another number. He seemed to want me to move down the shop which I did. He started waving his arms around behind one of the display cases which confused me even more. He was doing a frenzied dance at this stage and I realised that he wanted me to look in a corner of the display. There indeed was an SD card in all its glory. I bought it and ran.
By the time I got to the vegetable shop at the far end of the village I was in foul mood. At least though I was able to communicate by talking loudly over the noise.
I went home. I could still hear the racket in the distance from over a mile away.
There are times I hate Christmas.
I’m glad we went to the coffee shop before your encounter with the cold fish!
We never know what excitement lies ahead of us?
I love Christmas (the holy day, not the vulgar, moneygrubbing season that seems to begin earlier every year), but I hate almost all Christmas music played in public places.
The low point for me was a couple of years ago on a December evening when my wife and I were in our local grocery store. While cruising the aisles for our necessities, I became aware that something was bothering me. Annoying me. Irritating me. Angering me.
And then it hit me. It was the music they were playing over the loudspeakers in the store. But not just any music. It was Christmas music. Sappy, syrupy Christmas music.
Being sung by Neil Freaking Diamond.
I was treated to listening to Neil Diamond, a New York Jew, singing “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night” and (it hurts to even type these words) “Ave Maria.”
The most craven, greedy, commercial, whore-ish display I can imagine. I mean, not only was the music itself execrable, but….how could Diamond sing hymns and carols about a Person in whom he does not believe and in fact has publicly mocked?
I was wroth. But not David Lee Wroth. I was sickened. And to this day, I’m never in that store without thinking of that experience.
When we leave our homes, we open ourselves to be assaulted by all manner of ugliness.
One of the great plusses of being housebound is that I can avoid shopping centres and in particular supermarkets [apart from the local “supermarket” which is more just a grocery store]. All my general groceries are delivered right into my kitchen thereby avoiding the crowds and – at this time of year – the awful crap they pump through their sound system, presumably with the intent of “putting us in the Christmas spirit”. Even at home the radio and television seems compelled to insert some aspect of Christmas into music and films. It is relentless and infuriating.
As someone who was raised a Catholic but who has great admiration for some of the old Pagan festivals this is indeed a special time of year, but a time for peace and celebration in a quiet manner. With great emphasis on the quiet!
Two birds, one stone (or in this case post).
I couldn’t agree more!