Author Topic: It's a wonderful life  (Read 9533 times)

sam

  • irregular
    • @jollygoodthen
It's a wonderful life
« on: April 29, 2015, 07:10:09 pm »
I've deleted my thread "Hello (again)" because I didn't want it to be public - my fault for taking it too far off topic I guess. I was going to add the following story, because it's all of a piece, but I guess it will have to stand alone if it stands at all. It's just for fun.

sam

  • irregular
    • @jollygoodthen
It's a wonderful life
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2015, 07:10:25 pm »


A man stood disconsolate at the edge of the Serpentine, gazing down into the fractured moonlight reflected at his feet. Let's call him George; but he could be any man who has come to the end of desolation row.

A swan silently approached to beg crumbs. "I've got nothing for you," said George, who appeared to have made a decision. "I wish I'd never been born," he announced. There was nobody to disagree, or to stop him from what he did next. He filled his backpack with rocks. Then he retrieved the faithful bike that had brought him here, gave the kickstand a final kick, and climbed aboard. It wouldn't be Thelma and Louis, but it would do.

George and bike quickly splashed into the abyss. The abyss swallowed them up. Or would have done, but it's not much of an abyss. "Oh for crying out loud," he said, still only knee deep. With some difficulty he cranked further, then abruptly disappeared into the belly of the city's snake.

The swan paddled over to the lazy vortex which was shedding dreamless ripples. Then something miraculous happened: the swan turned into an angel, revealing its true self. The celestial being dove under the black water and resurfaced with George, who to be honest had been having second thoughts at this point. They struggled in tandem to shore, but not before George shouted "My bike! What about my bike?!"

"Cyclists…" the angel sighed under his breath, then went back to retrieve the bike. As George examined it for damage, the angel gently probed the mortal he'd saved. "Why did you want to end your life?" he asked. "It's such a precious gift to throw away."

Minutes ticked by, the only sound a drip-drip-drip from the bike, which had suffered a puncture wound but was otherwise OK. "Because the world would be exactly the same if my mother had a headache that night," said George finally. "I know feeling sorry for yourself isn't an attractive quality, but I don't even have looks going for me."

The angel took this in, then nodded. "So you agree," said George, a little hurt to have the bait spurned.

"No," said the angel. "I was listening to the boss." He pointed to the heavens. "He's just told me you're not on the register of births."

"What does that mean?" asked George.

"It means you never were born. Must've been a clerical error. Fancy that. It looks like I got wet for nothing."

George was nonplussed. "I don't feel nonexistant," he said. "I mean, no more than usual. Are you sure?"

"He doesn't make mistakes," said the angel. "Still, I can see how it would be a rough transition for you. How about I accompany you home?"

"Sure, thanks," said George. "If I still have one." He hopped on his bike before remembering the puncture. "I didn't bring my repair kit," he told Clarence. (Did I mention the angel's name was Clarence?)

"Lock it up and we'll grab some Charlotte Bikes," said Clarence as they approached the rental stands.

"What happened to the Boris Bikes?" asked George. "Are you showing me the future?"

Clarence looked at him with a twinkle in his eye. "No, it's still the same date on the calendar. But in a timeline without you in it, Boris never became mayor. He was soundly beaten by Charlotte, who only spent a short time as a dissolute libertine before trying her hand at politics."

"The two aren't mutually exclusive," said George. "I don't understand. In what way could I have possibly caused that to happen?"

Clarence explained: "Every choice we make affects the next choice. When you started your cycling forum, Charlotte was one of the first to register. Like many others who were escaping the Cycling Plus forum, she was in search of a new playroom. Yours suited, and she continued to pursue that life. Without your forum, she and many others would've either quit C+ and fora altogether, or moved on to CycleChat, which may be fun and friendly but doesn't have quite the same je ne sais quoi."

not to be confused with je ne sais koi

"Couldn't they have started their own forum, like I did?" asked George. "It's a lot of work, but it's not rocket science."

Clarence shook his angelic head yes then no. "Coulda shoulda didn't, at the time. That's just not the way it panned out. Everybody on your forum was changed by their association with it, in ways small and large. Mostly small, granted, but as you can see, some of the ripples of that decision were profound. Think butterfly effect."

"Is she a good mayor? Is it a change for the better?" asked George, curious. They grabbed a pair of Charlotte Bikes and he nearly came a cropper.

"This is fixed gear!" he exclaimed. "I can't ride this."

"Sure you can. Just remember to keep pedalling," said the angel with devilish innocence.

They left Hyde Park and entered straight into Soho. This wasn't hard: London was all Soho now.

"Now I'm really confused," said George. "I thought she didn't run on a disolute libertine platform. What happened?"

"Call it an unintended consequence," said Clarence. "I won't be able to explain everything, and you wouldn't believe me even if I could. Suffice it to say the butterfly can flap its wings in strange ways."

They weaved their way through the city, at times passing other cyclists who had forgotten to bring their clothes. Clarence told him that now every day was optional naked bike ride day. George's brief sojourn in the drink had made him thirsty, so they stopped at a Hummers Pret A Venir (they were everywhere – "He bought out all the Pret A Mangers" explained Clarence) to fortify themselves with a Baileys Irish Cream and Kahlúa & Ameretto topped with whipped cream, which is moreish. Then they carried on, George still grumbling under his breath because he couldn't coast.

Presently they came upon Trafalgar Square. George half expected Nelson's Column to have been rebuilt as something more priapic than it was already, but the Admiral had been left in peace.


almost

The Fourth Plinth, on the other hand, featured an orgy in progress. George thought he spotted Boris's Johnson in the middle of the action. A man on a penny farthing rang his bell at Clarence, who had stopped in the middle of the road to blush mightily.

George lived quite far south of the river, so they had a good long ride, at one point mingling with a group on their way to the coast (did I mention this was a Friday night?). "Why are you going there?" George asked their leader.

"We're running away to join the circus," he said. "Where are you going with those rental bikes?"

George had forgotten about that detail. It was too late to do anything about it now. When the two of them arrived home they settled themselves on the meadow and counted stars for awhile, George in a contemplative mood, Clarence a little homesick himself.

"I'm beginning to think this has all been a dream," said George sleepily.

"It was," said Clarence, taking his leave by taking to the sky. "Good night, George."

He slept deeply and had another dream. Even while a subconscious player, he sensed it was particularly dense with allegory. It was set in London again, but not; you know the way dreams can mess with geography. He was sitting on a bench that had a big advertisement on it saying Better Call Paul, kind of like in that tv show. Sharing the bench was a jaded looking guy in a raincoat, and a woman. She was sitting on part of his raincoat. The guy was discretely tugging at it to no avail. Finally he said "Can you move over a little, Miss? You're on my mac." Meanwhile a sturdy lumberjack, absolutely invincible looking, was cutting down a tree across the road. "Timber!" he sang out as it tumbled forward, startling George awake.

He was surprised to find that he really was in the meadow in front of his house. The postman was coming up the drive as on any other bright new day. "Anything for me?" he asked.

There was. It was a letter from his landlord, asking if he wanted to renew his lease.


C-3PO

  • Human-cyborg relations
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2015, 07:39:29 pm »
The Office section of YACF is for forum introductions, suggestions and announcements. Threads which do not fall into those categories will be moved to a more appropriate place.

Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2015, 07:43:28 pm »
I suggest that's a bit of a harsh response to a few, well written, words.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2015, 07:53:31 pm »
Agreed
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Steph

  • Fast. Fast and bulbous. But fluffy.
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2015, 11:47:05 pm »
Hello Sam!
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2015, 11:47:52 pm »
If a mild admonishment for posting something in the wrong board is "harsh", what adjective would you use to describe the banning of half a forum's users?
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2015, 02:08:22 am »
Oooh. Is this gossip I wot not of, never having had a presence in certain previous places?

sam

  • irregular
    • @jollygoodthen
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2015, 02:53:37 am »
…and this is why I posted in OR. However, I'm happy to reply to Mr Larrington and anybody else who wishes to chat to my infamous self here in the Pub or on any board management deems suitable, if it's an acceptable topic of conversation. C-3PO's blessing of a thorough rehash of old times would surprise me, but perhaps it may come to pass. If so, I'll take heart in #5 in the Yacf registration agreement: "Like Voltaire, we'll defend to the death your right to make your point, however unpopular it may be…" (My old "Before you post, think about the kind of forum you want" is still nearby.) Meanwhile I'm going out for a ride, then perhaps a bit of sleep. Perchance to dream.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2015, 07:57:13 am »
"The office is for announcements, introductions and whatever the other thing was, oh yes, suggestions" is reasonably clear and you'd have to be a complete fuckwit or shit-stirrer of the first water to suggest it's a blessing on a rehash. I'd be surprised if anyone wants a rehash, because this place is generally a happy place, but it is tempting to wonder why someone so particular about his arbitrary rules on his own forum isn't interested in the clearly-stated rules here. Stop thinking of yourself as special, Sam. If you want to be here, get on with it like anyone else, and remember that YACF didn't delete your thread, you did.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


sam

  • irregular
    • @jollygoodthen
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2015, 09:21:45 am »
Eccentra, I'm not sure where to begin, or if I even should, as your post doesn't scan as an invitation to a relaxed conversation. But I'll begin at the end. I can't just "get on with it like anyone else" because I'm not anyone else; I'm loaded with more baggage than everyone here combined. I don't particularly want a rehash – that time in my life was painful enough the first time around – but I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to defuse landmines once and for all. [Perhaps I should unmix that metaphor....] I didn't suggest that the moderator had given his or her blessing.

C-3PO was merely doing the job; god knows I moved enough threads in my day. It would have been nice if I was given notice before it was moved from an invisible board to a visible one (ie, one where you don't have to be logged on to view it), but I didn't kick up a fuss about that. I didn't want it in the Pub, so rather than argue my case I exercised the right to delete it. My opening post was to acknowledge that it was me who deleted it rather than a mod bod, and to introduce my little story, which was now missing its context.

The comment about my rules being arbitrary I'll let pass for now, though that subject alone has potential for an interesting discussion to forum anoraks like myself.

Hello Steph.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2015, 10:27:47 am »
We all have 'baggage'.

It is presumptuous in the extreme to think any individual has any more than anyone else.

Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2015, 11:15:05 am »
I enjoyed your story.

Can we not stir up past events, please?
<i>Marmite slave</i>

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2015, 12:47:17 pm »
If a mild admonishment for posting something in the wrong board is "harsh", what adjective would you use to describe the banning of half a forum's users?
Now that is harsh! ;)

"The office is for announcements, introductions and whatever the other thing was, oh yes, suggestions" is reasonably clear and you'd have to be a complete fuckwit or shit-stirrer of the first water to suggest it's a blessing on a rehash. I'd be surprised if anyone wants a rehash, because this place is generally a happy place, but it is tempting to wonder why someone so particular about his arbitrary rules on his own forum isn't interested in the clearly-stated rules here. Stop thinking of yourself as special, Sam. If you want to be here, get on with it like anyone else, and remember that YACF didn't delete your thread, you did.

This.

Sam, if you want to be here, then be here.  Take part, engage, discuss, ride, and be.

All members of this forum are special.  You just as much.
Getting there...

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2015, 12:50:59 pm »
Eccentra, I'm not sure where to begin, or if I even should, as your post doesn't scan as an invitation to a relaxed conversation. But I'll begin at the end. I can't just "get on with it like anyone else" because I'm not anyone else; I'm loaded with more baggage than everyone here combined. I don't particularly want a rehash – that time in my life was painful enough the first time around – but I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to diffuse landmines once and for all. [Perhaps I should unmix that metaphor....] I didn't suggest that the moderator had given his or her blessing.

You can just get on with it like everyone else. You do that by getting on with it. Many people here have no idea who you are or what your forum baggage is, and those of us who do like this place and don't want drama or endless rehashings. Just get on with it.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


TimC

  • Bike pilot
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2015, 12:56:43 pm »
Sam, I enjoyed your little story - though I'm sure I didn't get whatever hidden meanings you may or may not have intended to impart. But please don't bring up past battles and wounds, even in hints or passing comment. We did all that at the time and we've moved on. Water under the bridge, and all that. Nice to see you here!

sam

  • irregular
    • @jollygoodthen
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2015, 01:17:26 pm »
If the water is truly under the bridge, that would be great. The story was just for fun, as I posted above; it was written as a final, light-hearted chapter.

mrcharly, a movie studio has expressed interest, but I'm not keen on their choice of Bruce Willis to play George.
PS. It doesn't look like HTML tags are enabled in sigs; you'll need brackets to be an italic Marmite slave.

Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2015, 01:57:07 pm »
I liked it too Sam!  (made me feel in my pocket for Zuzu's petals. )

Say hi to the downs for me, if you still have those nearby.

Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2015, 02:17:22 pm »
Many people here have no idea who you are or what your forum baggage is

Indeed, and though I now have a little bit of an idea it's just confirmed that I care less than I thought I might.

I suggest that's a bit of a harsh response to a few, well written, words.

If only.

<Searches for Ignore Thread button, as the most appropriate response to tedious drivel>

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2015, 02:32:25 pm »
"The office is for announcements, introductions and whatever the other thing was, oh yes, suggestions" is reasonably clear and you'd have to be a complete fuckwit or shit-stirrer of the first water to suggest it's a blessing on a rehash. I'd be surprised if anyone wants a rehash, because this place is generally a happy place, but it is tempting to wonder why someone so particular about his arbitrary rules on his own forum isn't interested in the clearly-stated rules here. Stop thinking of yourself as special, Sam. If you want to be here, get on with it like anyone else, and remember that YACF didn't delete your thread, you did.

EG for Mayor :)

Agreed, and reminds me just why I had put Sam on ignore...
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2015, 02:52:25 pm »
I can't just "get on with it like anyone else" because I'm not anyone else; I'm loaded with more baggage than everyone here combined.
So, "I'm different from everyone else & more important than all of you". Until I saw that I was quickly skimming & had absolutely no intention of getting involved, but that outburst of egotism got my goat.

Look at how many members there are here. Most know nothing of your 'baggage' (thus rendering it nonexistent, to them) & care not at all. Even some of us who were there missed most of it, & moved on, not being very interested or caring much. Claiming your 'baggage' is vastly greater than anyone else's, so much so as to outweigh that of 3895 others, is silly. Very silly indeed. It's childish attention-seeking.

The rest of us, have, between us, multiple divorces, bereavements, accidents, physical & mental illnesses, crises with offspring, and much, much more. Claiming that your personal issues are greater than all that combined, as personal baggage, shows a monstrous self-centredness & lack of both self & social awareness.

Get over yourself. Grow up.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

sam

  • irregular
    • @jollygoodthen
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2015, 02:55:40 pm »
Oh dear. I was going to let that lie, but perhaps a few words are in order. I only meant that in the context of foruming. My baggage includes having pissed off just about everybody on the old acf: a singular feat, I hope I can state without appearing to bask in distasteful self regard.

Say hi to the downs for me, if you still have those nearby.

Close enough!


Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2015, 03:03:34 pm »
I thought you might mean that, but even in the context of yacf alone, it's extraordinarily arrogant & utterly false. To most of us here, you're just another member. Your old fora were long ago, & completely unknown to most yacf members.

You seem to have a problem accepting that you aren't the most important person on yacf, that your personality & personal history don't shape it. That's your problem, nobody else's.

This isn't your private playground, & never has been. You're just another member, like 3895 others, some of them (unlike you) important to this forum.

Get over it. Grow up. Try to move on from the 'bask[ing] in distasteful self regard' which you seem so fond of, & are displaying again. It's very unattractive.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2015, 03:06:20 pm »
I've started cycling no handed on some of the quiet parts of my commute. I think I picked that up from riding behind you on a wet Dunwich Dynamo  :P

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: It's a wonderful life
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2015, 03:07:11 pm »
Nice to see how welcoming some folk are.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...