The Walk Down to Somewhere

I've been reading The Catcher in the Rye. Apparently it is inspiring. Who knew?

There are appropriate times for a story to begin at the beginning. To give you the backstory, the precedence, the proper introduction to a new place. It is perfectly ordinary, and it is the most appropriate thing to do in the majority of cases. This is not one of those cases.

Even if it was, I don’t much care for the appropriate. Appropriate is a gas mask on the face of the world, sucking out the poison of the air. And I don’t care too much for being protected by a mask.

Sally Johnson is watching me. I suppose I should’ve said hello when I walked in and saw her, but I must have deemed that too appropriate. She’s got an apple computer out. It’s got a pink cover, shiny like it’s covered in the dew of a rose. It looks awful.

Her hair is sticking to her lip gloss. She’s one of those kinds of people, the ones who try. She tries so damn hard and always breaks her baby pink nails, or spills coffee on her light blue jeans. She should maybe stop trying.

Or maybe she shouldn’t. I suppose a woman like that has a purpose; she reminds me never to try.

I’m leaving now. I’m in town, it’s quite a nice town really. It has a mayor and a pretty church and the chavs only smoke on weekdays. I don’t live here.

Does this count as backstory? As setting the scene? I’ve always been so kind and tried to explain myself. I suppose if it is the now, it doesn’t matter. And I do realise I’m not making sense, and I don’t care that you don’t understand. I don’t care about any of you.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that. I’m just tired. Ignore me, please.

I’m in town. I’m walking. I’m looking down at my shoes. People in books never tell you that. They never tell you that they’re walking to the party, or that they had to take the bus to school. And even if they do, they don’t tell you what the journey’s like. And that’s really the only thing that interests me.

There’s a group of young girls crowded around the bus shelter. They’re like that. One has on turquoise jeans and has numerous large holes in her ears. It always seems strange to me, to see a girl dressed like that. To wear an outfit that begs attention and then not look you in the eye. I know I’m not the first person to notice that. Or to comment on it. I’m just saying.

I was sat at that bus stop last week, and a crowd of boys sat and stood all around me as though I were a part of their group and talked about their drug dealers. They didn’t seem to do it to make fun of me, to invite me in or even to notice me at all. I don’t know why they did it.

God, see? I’m talking about the past again. I don’t want to do that. I’m sorry but I just don’t. Could you stop changing the conversation route for one second please? Thank you. No, you’re too loud. I’m putting my headphones on. Earphones, whatever.

I am the son, and the heir… Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar…

I bet you’ll think I’m trying to impress you. Look at me, I’m so cultured I listen to songs from the 80s. What do you mean you haven’t heard of Pearl Jam? God. I bet you think The Smiths are just your next door neighbours too, right?

Well I’m not like that. I just like the music I like. I’m not trying to suggest 1986 was any better than right now. Right now we have Tom Rosenthal, and he’s brilliant, but the only people in the charts are The Weeknd, and no one will ever remember him. No one will remember either of them, I imagine.

Do you know what the number one single was on May the 24th, 1986? Spitting Image, with The Chicken Song. I’m not kidding. It’s terrible. And that’s 5 days after The Smiths released Bigmouth Strikes Again. The point is, whatever’s at the top of the charts isn’t what endures. And it isn’t what’s remembered, and it isn’t what’s good. I don’t know why Sally Johnson can’t see that.

7 Years is at the top right now. I’ve never heard of it or the singer, and I haven’t heard of the other top 5 singers either. Only Shawn Mendez, and that’s just because Phoebe and James like him. And I like pop music when it’s good. Give me some Beyonce or Adele, they’re both decent. But none of it ever is.

I bet my kids will tell me I’m lucky to have grown up when Adele was alive. They’re just lucky they don’t have to listen to Someone Like You 6 times in a day. That really puts a downer on a song. It was a good song at the start, too.

I’m not telling you about the journey. I’m telling you what I’m thinking, sure, but that’s not the same. There are a thousand more things I’m thinking about on top of music. I’m thinking about the two old dearies trying to find a safe time to cross the road and failing, and I’m thinking at the same time how the traffic in this place is awful and no one ever looks where they’re going when they cross the street unless they’re old and then I’m thinking about classic cars and Christmas trees and my cousin and the fair and all these things at the same time and the tenuous links between them and how they’re not really related but they seem like it in my head and I’m thinking how I love books because they take the time to spell out and explain their thoughts so you can understand and now I’m thinking I guess I’m doing just the opposite.

Did you ever watch Gilmore Girls? Fantastic show, that. Perfect, right up until halfway through season three. I think the producer got kicked off around that time so maybe that’s why. It changed tone after that, and Rory went to Yale, not Harvard. I know it was meant to show that its okay that plans change and you don’t have to stick with what everyone expects of you. But they’re supposed to in shows, I don’t care about real life. And Jess Mariano changes and I don’t like that.

I love Jess Mariano. I love his cute eyes and his perfect eyebrows and the way he walks and his thumbs. It’s an odd thing to notice in a TV show but he really does have nice thumbs. I don’t have a fetish or anything, God. I sound like an utter idiot. I just mean he’s very cute. He’s the closest thing I have to a boyfriend, and he’s a picture on a screen. I guess that shows how sheltered I am.

I’m leaving the town square now. I just thought I’d keep you up to date.

I hope I meet a Jess one day. A cute boy with good taste in music and a distaste for authority and perfect black eyebrows. I really do have a thing for the tall dark and handsome and its very annoying because so does everyone else and I really don’t fancy the competition. I’m not exactly a person who’s a first choice. Why else would I be so sheltered?

Well if you’re so very entertaining, then why are you on your own, tonight?

I love the guitar string slide in that. Very cathartic sound. It’s like a calmer equivalent of bashing my head through a wall and out the other side.

Why are all the houses in England so bunched together? Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty and I like it. Who doesn’t love a good terrace? I’m just asking, why?

It makes me think of that A Knight’s Tale movie. God, that was good. Anything with Alan Tudyk is like gold dust. Course the female lead was terrible. Not the actor, I didn’t really notice her. I mean the character. I’m so bored of boys who are fascinated with women who are so fiercely submissive. It’s very tiring.


The End

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