Saturday, March 17

Saturday night dreamers and drinkers.

Saturday night, walking home, sober, clean, heading through town, the perfect time, of course, to judge.

Don't pretend you haven't been there.

My bitterness has been flamed ready. I had spent the evening at a comedy poetry reading and as ever, these things, far from inspiring me, lift me up and then leave me in despair as I realise that my own skills can never compare. A reminder once again that I am and always will be an amateur, scratching my words with a stick in the sand, as they, the voices of a generation, carve their thoughts into the cliff face in letters 6 foot high. When the tide comes in where do my words go? Does the earth take them back, as one day it will take back me, nothing more than a fading imprint?

You see what poetry recitals do to me?

I am an amateur. I lack the passion in my soul that the poets feel, and lack the grit in my spirit that drives the novelist onto the next page. I had the passion and the grit once, I think. But over time other things got in the way, and the dream faded, like my words in the sand as the waves climb higher. When had I stopped dreaming? When had I given in?

So you see I had a choice: I could be down on myself, or I could be down on others. I chose, I admit, to take refuge.

See them, the mobs of Saturday night, a unofficial St Patricks day parade from one pub to the next. The girls, in their dresses, wobbling on heels, squealing loudly, while the men, stand behind, watch them walking, comment on their wiggle, before leaning on a lamppost and coating it in vomit. I stereotype of course, but then I am walking through Bristol, and it is Saturday night. Look around you, and you'll see what I mean, at any city on any weekend.

Drunkards and thugs and sluts. How easy to forget the nights when people thought that of me.

But not tonight, tonight I am sober, and trying to understand, why we do it? What is it about Saturday night that drives us to try and have fun?

And I realise, perhaps for the first time, that these people too have dreams that will never come true.

That man, with the bald patch, and the Guinness hat, which he keeps taking off as the ladies pass, whilst taking a good look at their passing arse, what was his dream? Was he destined to be a rock star? A footballer? Does he dream of holding the kid that he's never seen, or of being a better father, or lover, or son? Maybe he dreams of being an investment banker but made the wrong choices and now works as plumber? Maybe he’s an investment banker who wanted to fix pipes for a living? Who knows what his dream is? But he does have a dream.

The girl walking past whose arse he stares at, she's on her 5th pub now, getting tired, but she knows her man wants to keep going, and so she tags along, because her dream is to have the perfect homelife, with the perfect man, and he isn't it, but he's the best she can find. (How stereotypical my thoughts are when they try to be philosophical.) 37 and getting so drunk that she can hardly stand up right on a Saturday night. This isn't what anyone imagined.

Is that why we do it? A moment to try and forget that things aren't the way they were meant to be, that our lives aren't what they were meant to be, that we aren't what we are meant to be?

Or perhaps, more likely the poet in me, jealous at the superiority of finer minds, wants to find something to pontificate about. Maybe, just maybe, the only reason we do it is because it's fun to go out on a Saturday night, and I'm just jealous that they're feeling alright, and having a good time, and are able to forget their dreams that they let go of so easily.

But for me, even to realise they have dreams, impossible dreams too, somehow, I find I no longer feel like judging. Let them have their party, they hangovers, their morning regrets. Sometimes, 'Tonight' is all we have. The future is a dream and there is always the worry we might wake up.

Ahead of me there is the sound of breaking glass. A beer bottle falls off a wall, smashing to the pavement. The beer foams and runs off into the road, another dream gone. A man pushes his friend, starts a fight. I walk past them, stepping into the beer puddle to avoid their eyes, and with a great sense of relief find myself judging once again.

Saturday night. Sober. Clean. The perfect time to judge.

Don't pretend you haven't been there.

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The Skoot said...

"You see what poetry recitals do to me?"

Err, something pretty awesome? The paragraph preceding that was beautiful, and the rest of it was interesting and well written. Don't sell yourself short so easily.

And oh yes, have I been there before. I've just about reached the age where I can judge the youth without considering myself part of them. Judging people in my mind is one of those ways I can entertain the bitchy side of myself (somewhat) harmlessly. Plus it's fun! :D


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It Will Come said...

When we stop judging others and judge ourselves we can look at others who are drunk on various forms of the material world, seeing that we were once there and hoping they too will one day come to their spiritual senses so the world can live in peace.

Anonymous said...

step 1: Google "spirituality for athiests"
step 2: click on this blog
step 3: noted, noted
step 4: read this article
step 5: hmmm, hmmm
step 6: "the girls, in their dresses, wobbling on heels, squealing loudly, while the men, stand behind, watch them walking, comment on their wiggle, before leaning on a lamppost and coating it in vomit"

reaction a: oh dear, the stereotypes
reaction b: on the other hand, this is pretty much Park Street on any given night when the undergrads are in town!

I stereotype of course, but then I am walking through Bristol, and it is Saturday night.



(I moved to Bristol last year from a silent rural university town. The British actually make me feel a bit unsafe on nights like these.)

But this was a nice antidote to solipsism. Most people don't recognize that other people are people, and that's why most people are so tedious.

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