It took an outdoor food stand in a swelteringly hot Manilla market place to establish where my thrill for adventurous eating would screeched to a halt. I have never said, “No thank you” so quickly.
Selfie Statue, Georgia.
A snapshot of where my son Alastair’s life is currently.
His and her travel bags. You pick.
An excerpt from Goat Lips: Tales of a Lapsed Englishman, taken from tale 8, For the Love of Art.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with Home Depot. If it wasn’t for the mobile bratwurst cart out front, it would be hard for me to enter the parking lot and not feel overwhelmed by the task at hand. The fact that there is always more than one item or material that can be used for a particular job means the majority of my time in the store is spent jockeying for the attention of a dubiously qualified “specialist” clad in an orange apron.
To give the staff credit, they are nearly always friendly and try to be helpful. The problem is I can never fully grasp their rushed instructions. I feel guilty and pressured to hurry so as not to dominate the time of a person who is in such demand; a person constantly trailed by anxious customers, many of them clutching defunct pieces of hardware.
I think therapists around the world might consider recommending that anybody who is depressed, lonely, or feeling unappreciated should apply for a job at Home Depot.
An excerpt from Goat Lips: Tales of a Lapsed Englishman, taken from tale 4, Carpool
After a two-minute stroll, I found myself standing in front of the telephone box. There are few things as iconic as a good old-fashioned British telephone box—painted bright Royal Mail red from top to bottom, standing at attention, rigid as a guard, with seventy-two small glass panes and an inscription of the bleeding obvious just above the door: TELEPHONE.
I pulled open the door and stepped into the familiar and unmistakable faint scent of urine and vomit. One gravitates to a phone box when extremely drunk, because once inside their cozy confines it is impossible to fall over, unless you crumple like an imploding building and collapse straight down inside yourself.
Why in heavens name would this man remove his clothing on the roof of a large hotel in Amsterdam?
A drug deal gone wrong? Lost a bet? Or just because it’s Amsterdam?
Marketers take me for a fool.
Of course I am a fool. I’m constantly manipulated and influenced during vast portions of my days by the constant stream of media that is my everyday existence. But once in a while even I have to draw a line in the sand, stand my ground, and say, “Dammit, that’s enough. I’m not buying your bullshit anymore!”
I recently borrowed my wife’s relatively new Prius. Susan’s car is infinitely cleaner than mine so when I slopped coffee all over the dashboard I was greatly relieved to see a container of wipes sitting on the front passengers seat. I hastily grabbed them and was about to pop them open when I noticed the description on the top.
Refresh your car! Automotive wipes.
Perfect. Clear and simple instructions, exactly what I needed.
It was the next line that threw me.
Hawaiian Sunrise Scent.
Really? When I pop open this container of automotive wipes do you seriously expect me to be whisked away to the shores of a distance beach, and over whelmed with the smell of a glorious Hawaiian Sunrise?
It seems to me that the marketing department has set themselves a lofty goal for an automotive wipe. Especially when I am forced to consider the simple question of, what the hell does an ordinary run-of-the-mill sunrise smell of, let alone a fancy Hawaiian one?
I’ve been to the island of Hawaii but I can’t recall getting up and saying to my wife, “Smell that darling, ahhh, sunrise!”
Probably because sunrise doesn’t smell.
Have the marketers of the world run out of scents?
Is this why they are now creating new and exciting scents out of things that don’t actually smell? Are we about to be bombarded with Ebbing Tide Deodorant, Waxing Moon Candles, and laundry detergent with the great fresh scent of Erosion?
I parked the car at Common Grounds my local coffee shop and headed in.
I made a bee line to the bathroom so I could wash the coffee and the smell of sunrise off my hands before my client arrived.
I turned on the tap and grab the bottle of soap. I noticed at the top of the label written in blue was the word,
“Softsoap”. Perfect, just what I needed.
Below Softsoap was the word,
“Wowerful”. What? An uneasy feeling crept across me. I continued to read. “Trust the clean. Wow your senses.” Here we go, I thought. “Crisp Cucumber and Melon Scent.” Really?
Well I guess they are things that actually smell. But I wonder when confronted with an official smell test what percentage of participants can tell the difference between a cucumber, and a crisp cucumber? What is the quintessential smell of crisp?
In search for an answer I turned my attention to the ingredients. There neatly nestled between DMDM hydantoin and PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate lay my answer. The ingredient, Fragrance! Sounds a bit bloody vague to me, especially when considering the extreme detail of all the other ingredients, such as polyquaternium-7. Not to be confused with the less popular polyquaternium’s 1,2,3,4,5 and 6.
So here lies the answer to all of my scent concerns. Simply place everything conveniently under the all-encompassing ingredient of Fragrance. The fragrance of Crisp. The fragrance of Hawaiian Sunrise. The fragrance of Blatantly Making up Fragrances.
I guess I just need to relax, laugh and smell the wilting roses.