I’ve only been back in London for a few days and already the grip of ambition and envy has begun to clamp around me in an uncomfortable squeeze. Gentlemen, all of us know where this pressure is physically manifested.
Every Porsche that drives past, or Primrose Hill house that beams across the park reminds the onlooker that someone’s doing well for themselves. A lunch meeting in the city had me scurrying back home to escape the feeling that everyone else in the city is suited and propelling themselves forward, leaving me in their wake. Advertisements and conspicuous consumption pervade, leaving even the most hardy Simpletom with a see-saw of perceived wants. Even being fully aware of these pulls and pushes, they’re exhausting to fight.
“Oh look, there’s one of those new [insert product with shiny poster here] – wouldn’t it be nice if…?”
Only to be tempered by the Simpletom jumping back into action:
“On reflection it wouldn’t be sensible to buy a new laptop given that I have a perfectly functioning old one in my rucksack, plus I could survive in Africa for 4 months in luxury for the same money”.
It’s pretty tiring being in London. There’s so much to do, so many people to see, so much to buy, so many people, so much to miss.
Which leads me to wonder, is it better to be in London and conquer these? Is the Simpletom greater who can live amongst the noise and find peace, or is this just another bit of ambition disguised as a good idea. To become the best Simpletom ever and dominate the world of Simplefolk [insert evil cackle].
Another thing wot I’ve noticed, being all wide-eyed an all, is how amazingly easy and good everything is (as long as we’re not eyeing up someone else’s loot).
You can drink from the taps, buildings don’t collapse, drinks are always cold, shops are fully (perhaps over) stocked, petrol stations have petrol, cars work, there aren’t cows and goats running across the road, the traffic’s not that bad, you can see a doctor free, and anything you could think of is at the end of our iPad-wielding fingers.
Yet people whine and whinge about the health service, inflation, politics, traffic, others ALL THE TIME. It feels, to someone who’s still just got the perspective of a far-flung place where all of this doesn’t happen so cleanly, that we are, in fact, just a group of unappreciative bastards, looking for things to moan about.
At least our politicians aren’t crooks taking bribes and running illicit businesses atop their already huge salaries.
At least we’re not going to die of an easily curable disease (tuberculosis) leaving five family members because we can’t afford the hospital fees, which sadly happened to someone in my neighbouring village two weeks ago (yes, I did try to help but sadly it was too little too late).
At least we can go into debt if we need to.
At least the sight of a police officer doesn’t induce fear.
Yet we whine and whine. It’s almost as if the better life becomes, the more things we have to find to point out that it’s rubbish. With so many problems at their bare feet, it seems that many Africans decide to enjoy the moment, yet we Londoners are in a permanent state of anxiety that everything is going to shit, even though it’s really rather spanking.
Is it wise to live in London and fight the good fight, or better to opt for a more provincial life, which might be, god forbid, considered somewhat boring?
I’ll keep you posted. For now, I’m off to goggle at some gadgets I never knew I needed.
Psst – If you liked this post, sling it on… Ta muchly.