When you write things what makes you tick? I love to create and write stories and enjoy looking at unknown people around me and weaving my own picture around them. You might be sitting on a crowded train observing the commuters, wondering about their worlds. We can cannibalize the things about us to create good or bad with use of words. We can get things off of our chest too.
Sometimes, when you are walking about, you see something that is very unassuming, but for some reason it flicks your own little switch and makes you wonder. It can send you along different and strange trains of thought and, before you know it, you are in doors tapping away on the keyboard, writing a rumlittledittie about something wonderfully trivial. Who cares, we like writing so we do these things.
Now I need to take a step back before I start to tell you of my rumlittledittie and ask the reader to accept me for what I am and if I say things that might seem offensive; they honestly are not intended to be. I just want you to see things through my eyes and would like all comments, even if you might be cross with me for writing this. I have odd hang ups and enjoy having them. I don’t like the environment where I work, so I make no apologies for coming at the reader from this perspective.
I suppose I could say that I’m one of those fringe type Essex persons that other British people make jokes about. If you live outside the UK, I would like to inform you that people from the county of Essex are often the butt of jokes pertaining to being a bit ignorant and having a limited perspective of things in general. If you are American, I would say chavy people are like your white trash except that Brit ones lives in modern run down council estates instead of trailers. Some Essex people are very rich and well to do, but they still have that same old stigma. I am from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, which is a rather nice place along the Thames estuary as it goes out into the North Sea. Most of us are home owners and there is not much council rented property there – some, but not a lot. There, I’m sounding a bit snobby and I suppose I am – just a bit. I am Essex and perhaps fringe chav because the houses in my area are different. By that I mean not all the same. They are older and have a little more character and we own or pay mortgage on them. When I go to work, it is in a town called Basildon. It is about twenty five miles from my town. Basildon is a modern eyesore to my mind. This is cruel to people who live there, but I don’t particularly like the place. It has a lot of people and some areas that are neglected and run down. There are many good and kind people in Basildon and there are a lot of bad ones too. As I go around, doing my work, I find it hard to like anywhere because it is all the same - modern yet run down, depressing looking maisonettes and terraced houses along criss-cross walkways. The pavements are often uneven and turf grows out of the cracks – settees and televisions are often dumped along walkways because residents don’t want to pay or can’t afford to pay to get rid of this type of rubbish. If it is dumped, eventually the council is forced to remove the item.
Sometimes, these items are dumped in community stairwells of maisonettes and because arsonists set fire to them, this can be particularly dangerous. Some of these residents are self righteous people who assume they have a God given right to dump things, while other more reasonable people are forced to live within the conditions and be surrounded by evidence of such bad attitudes. I feel sorry for the compliant people and am exasperated by some of the others with their ‘World owes me a living’ outlook. I believe the council is over tolerant with these anti-social people to the detriment of the more law abiding members of the community.
If you are a black man driving through Basildon and stop there for too long, you are liable to get questioned and searched by a policeman because you would be suspected of being a drug dealer selling from your car. If you are black and I saw you sitting in your car, I have to admit, I would assume this too. This is because I would wonder why the hell you would want to be parking in this chavy area. Can you readers get the type of picture I’m trying to show you? The place is horrid and modern, but it is not the fault of the chavy majority that live there. However, there is a minority of the ‘don’t give a dead rat’s ass brigade.’ who put in a dashed good performance for the rest and this makes Basildon an un-liked place for me in general. I can honestly say that I dislike Basildon with a passion you could only dream of, but for various reasons, I am drawn to the place. The shopping centre is good and I work there. I have an ex-wife who lives there and an ex-common law too. Two of my four sons live there and three of my four grand children live there.
Even the Gnomes are Chavy
Well, I came out of the one of the big super markets in Basildon the other day. It’s a place where severe looking young girls go with their hair pulled back in ponytails – you know the sort - tracksuit bottoms, designer trainers and little kids with names like Chelsea or Aaron, which the chavy mums like to shout at while wondering around the shopping isles. The young lads look similar with baseball or football caps turned side ways and stupid walks that they call a bowl. The elder guys might wear jeans, timberland boots, tattoos and an ear ring complete with regulation staff-terrier at home, leaving shit on the lawn or balcony.
As I walked out into the car park, I saw this man of about fifty to fifty five arm in arm with a lady in her late forties. He seemed very pleased to be by her side and she seemed content with him, but not as enthusiastic or loved up as he was. She looked almost ill at ease as though there was something she was not certain about.
This man seemed to be a correct and neat – reserved in some ways. You must have this feeling yourself sometimes, when you look at someone who seems very correct and proper. Nothing appears out of place yet you sense something is not right. It strikes you instantly but you can’t work it out. It’s perplexing in the most interesting of ways. I only had a few seconds of these two people, but I drank them in before passing them by at the bottom of some iron steps that lead to the higher level of the supermarket car park.
This man had the pretence of a regular looking Basildoner, but he was too neat – far too kindly on the eye – there were no rough edges to him and it screamed at me as I walked passed in my own little bubble of self indulgence. He wore a chunky woollen cream fleece zipped at the front but open enough to reveal a pure white round neck T-shirt. His also wore fresh pressed jeans and clean sand boots, like thick timberlands or similar. The body and the clothes looked right but the face and the hair looked different. He looked like the sort of man that would wear a suit, a collar and tie. His black hair was neatly combed and greased with a side parting and he wore thin rimmed gold framed spectacles. It was like looking at an accountant or bank manager dressed up as a lumberjack. The man just didn’t look right and I’m sure he would not wear such clothes if he had the choice.
As I reached the top of the stairs, I began to wonder if the lady had chosen the clothes and perhaps he might be wearing them to please her and that maybe she might have been thinking it was a bad choice as they went out. Perhaps that’s why she seemed less enthusiastic as he when arm in arm. Don’t get me wrong! I think she liked him but I’m certain she felt uncomfortable.
I don’t know why, but this thing fascinated me because of the environment I was in. It really seemed odd to me and I’m sure the man was not from Basildon, but perhaps his girlfriend was? I’m sure they had only just started dating because they were older people walking arm in arm and a little loved up as couples tend to be when they first start wandering out together. However, they must have got far enough into their relationship for her to select a rig out of clothes that he would wear. I wondered if she was trying to re-design him. Perhaps she will be looking at his hair and glasses next?
So now I’m wondering on to new areas of thought. Why does he not try to move her away from Basildon? Surely he does not want to become a Basildon bloke. Will he get his ear pierced next? He seemed a little high on the evolutionary ladder for that and this lady had bagged herself a bigger fish then normal because I am certain she is from Basildon. I can’t understand this man dressing the way he was and I can’t get my head around the lady trying to convert him into an old street urchin. I’ve been thinking about this all weekend and it has become a nice collection of thoughts that must be stored in the mind cupboard. This is all gut feeling I’m telling you, but I know that man is not from Basildon. He dressed like a middle aged council dweller (white trash) but he is not one – never in a million years. When you like writing stories and using the world around you to distort and create things; this sort of thing is gold dust and one day I’ll use this in a better way.
I would, however, like to hear from anyone who has had similar thoughts when walking about or if you think I’m being harsh in my outlook, which I know I am - to degree, and obviously over assuming where the lady is concerned, but I’m certain she got him wear these clothes.