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For the first time in my life, I cook bacon

  Tue 13th April 2021

I've got a few days in a works canteen. I'm on my own most of the time and the shifts are up to twelve hours long. I had got to the age of fifty-seven without flipping a burger or cooking bacon.

The pricing seems to be determined by the closeness of the manager's friendships with the individuals, and several people bridled at me charging them the published prices, so I've had to draw up a long list of concessions. I was told this morning that the manager likes me, unfortunately.

In Castle Park after work, the hot sun lit a model of social inclusion so inclusive it could have been staged.

It was great to see some of the familiar denizens again: the man who looks a bit like Jamiroquai was perched on his bit of wall and got talking to the peripatetic habitué of Wethers; the man who's overdone the henna a bit and who is left alone to sleep in between intervals of talking to himself and swinging a small bottle of vodka like a pendulum.

Two Muslim women sat on a bench next to an East European couple who were parking an over-stuffed pushchair, with a baby lost somewhere amongst the Wilko bags. We just lacked the sixtysomething who rides around on an Elvised-up bike with a large speaker belting out stadium rock classics.

Someone saw me struggling to get my cider open on a wee jut of stone, and hailed me. "I'll do it with my lighter," he said, before failing to find his lighter. From another group, a lighter was thrown to him and he took my cider and popped it like champagne. A man in a tight vest swaggered past and... asked to borrow a lighter.

Someone sat down with our shapely protagonist, who said he'd just got out of prison after five years. One or the other was trying to angle it towards drugs. "No, I don't really do that any more, well only you know, occasionally," almost apologising. An irritant -- "I don't really find exams difficult. I've never had an exam in which I've got less than 80%" - buzzed off once his time was up, to fret with Excel in an office.

Once the workers bees return to prison, the atmosphere loosens a bit. There was drum and bass from one quarter, house from another, and there was something else which I couldn't identify. Unfortunately it also loosens the bladder.

Hayley and boyf turned up and started snogging on the grass, because I like being tested for jealousy on a hot afternoon, so to escape the erotic tension I went to have a piss behind the old Bank of England building and laughingly, in cahoots with them, I had to wait for two girls to finish.

Yesterday, the pubs -- outdoor areas only -- were allowed to re-open in England, and with it the chance to dive down to my socio-economic level after a year of pretending I find walking interesting, and half-heartedly trying to identify trees. The weather made it a keen pleasure, but I stayed for three pints.

Every table was taken by half eleven. Couple on the table next to me had been there since half nine. How I've missed earwigging on other people's conversation, and the peculiar pleasure of being on your own with other people.

Man on table 1 to man on table 2: "Fucking 'ell mate, been a year when we can't go out and now you're sat there with your fucking headphones on. Why you doing that?" Another man from table 1: "Cos he"s a cunt."


Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I was thinking, is looby a vegetarian? then i realized you were talking about the job lol! I’ve been a french fry maker, pit beef server, steam boy in a crab house (meaning i tossed in live bushels of crabs and sent them to the void… and then ate the spare claws in the bottom of the steamer cuz i was broke), a bagel boy in a bagel store and a dishwasher multiple times… but i’ve never flipped a burger ;)

and the park sounds a right laugh and a bit annoying all at the same time…

and it recently occurred to me i haven’t had a drink in over seven months, not a drop… of course in that same amount of time i’ve eaten close to an ounce of shrooms and i won’t even speculate on my cannabis intake other than to say it’s voluminous.

Problem is all my favorite pubs are gentrified or gone… except for my favorite which i’d like to get back to but even then, it was the last place with a regular jukebox and not one of those internet shitboxes that you can play anything, it’s jukebox was filled with punk, new wave, heavy metal, and general weirdness, it’s what helped give the place character, the last time i was there and saw the internet jukebox i knew an era had ended… how did i become such a sentimental shithead?

Wed 14th April 2021 @ 19:10 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Blimey, eating claws at the bottom of the barrel! It’s all food I suppose.

I’d love to cut the drink down a bit. I’ve got a 9 till 9 shift tomorrow so if I can hold off tomorrow night that’ll at least be one day off. Baby steps!

Thu 15th April 2021 @ 14:58 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

I’ve never flipped a burger either. I don’t like them.
Ha, the snowman sums it up nicely - still too cold for me to sit outside a pub.

Thu 15th April 2021 @ 14:02 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I’m off down the pub now, but wrapping up for winter this time.

Thu 15th April 2021 @ 14:59 Reply to this comment
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

The park. i don’t know if i’ve mentioned it lately, but your ability to paint a scene, capture the characters, and tell a story is absolutely wonderful! Your writing is good!

Trying to lose weight here (down 20 pounds - a stone and a half - since January) so i keep my drinking to weekends only. If i could only just drink and not eat, but all this physical work requires fuel!

Tue 20th April 2021 @ 15:05 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well done DF, that’s a fair amount to shift. And thank you… you can come again.

Thu 22nd April 2021 @ 22:03 Reply to this comment

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 60 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

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