Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Beast Within

In a restaurant last week, I ordered a bottle of wine. The waiter dutifully delivered a £30 bottle of rioja, opened it and poured a tiny amount into my glass. As tradition and etiquette dictate, I obediently sipped the wine to relay to the waiter whether it was acceptable or not.

It was disgusting; I stood up, spat the wine all over the waiter’s white jacket and screamed:

“This is revolting! How dare you charge £30 for this bottle of rocket fuel.”.

I snatched the bottle from the stunned waiter and poured it over his head.

I didn’t really. In fact, I didn’t even go to a restaurant last week. However, I would love to have the courage to do just that; refuse a bottle of expensive wine because the taste is not worthy of the asking price.

Furthermore, there are numerous other things I would love to do if only I had the audacity.

The beast within me needs to be totally constrained as does the mischievous imp. I long to unleash these dark sides of my personality on people who wind me up; I feel like Bruce Banner containing the Hulk within. The urge to unleash the beast and vent my fury on people who anger me is sometimes overwhelming. And sometimes I can barely contain the mischievous imp who yearns to conquer arrogance and stupidity with suitable punishments.

Here are a few examples:

(1) You see lots of men with long hair. I can appreciate that, having had long hair myself. However, when men tie their long locks into a ponytail, it makes me cringe. It may look cool to some, but I hate the style personally – and sadly, I know people who do it. And what would I love to do to these guys? Cut the bloody ponytail off and then see the look of horror on their faces when they realise what’s happened. If I did have a pair of scissors, the urge to act would be overwhelming.

(2) At a football match, when a player dives and feigns injury, i.e. cheats, all I want to do is leap over the wall and stamp on the imaginary injury and say “NOW, you’re injured you cheating scumbag!”

(3) When stuck in a conversation with the world’s biggest bore, I usually listen attentively, nodding at the appropriate times and pretend that I’m interested in the plot intricacies of Coronation Street. If I were to unleash the beast I would say:
(4) Have you ever found yourself next to a loathsome businessman on an aircraft who sticks his elbows into your ribs as he attempts to eat, drinks huge quantities of wine and ends up disturbing you every twenty minutes to go to the loo, talks inane crap peppered with business buzzwords and phrases, is rude to the stewardesses and treats them like skivvies and then falls asleep facing you, breathing his stinking wine-breath into your face whilst snoring so loudly that it drowns out the engines? Well I have and let me tell you this: all I want to do is haul that man out of his seat, frogmarch him to the toilet, crowbar his massive belly into the cubicle and shout:

(5) A female friend walks into the bar wearing the most awful outfit you have ever seen. Instead of saying:
“Wow, you look fantastic”
Don’t you sometimes want to just tell her the truth? Wouldn’t it be better to say:
“You’re dress looks like a warped garbage sack and your lipstick makes you look like a tart. Your hair's a bloody mess and your perfume is so overpowering I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve left a trail of dead cats in your wake. I’m sure it took you hours to get ready but, let me tell you this, love; I’d just go back and throw on something simple – you’d look much better.”
(6) Picture the scene; you’re at an art gallery standing in front of a work of art by a contemporary artist, described in the media as a visionary. The piece is basically a pile of bricks thrown at random and covered with various colours of paint and has random bric-brac glued to various bits of it (eggs, jelly, cat fur, dog poo, feathers, tar, broken crockery, soup, dolls furniture, used tissue, mud and bits of car). It is called something like “Adventures in the Platinum Void”.
Two art critics are standing next to you. One says:
“It’s fabulous! It captures the essence of existence in a manner that is, quite simply, breath-taking. I feel privileged to see this beautiful piece. I’m moved to tears. I am a voyeur from an existential plane. This piece is the work of genius.”
The other replies:
“I totally agree. This magnificent sculpture explains the meaning of so many philosophical taboos on a level that is deeper than the world’s best thinkers can ever imagine. The intensity of splendour is daunting; I am but a microbe in its presence. The power is overwhelming and I am wholly inadequate, yet totally enthralled.”
One of them turns to you and says:
“What do you think?”.
Wouldn’t you just love to say:
“This is total crap! The artist is a genius but only in the sense of being able to con you two pseudo intellectuals that it actually means something. I’m sure the artist is laughing all the way to the bank. You are a couple of morons with more money than sense.”

(7) Back in the restaurant, I’ve survived the wine incident and I’ve ordered the gourmet dish, described in great mouth-watering detail. The dish has a fancy French name (that probably means “dustbin slime”). The waiter, having brushed himself down and changed his jacket, presents me with my main course on a huge plate; there is barely enough to feed a gnat. The meal is so tiny that I need a microscope to see it. And I’ve paid £25 for this useless gruel. Instead of saying “Thanks!” I long to say:
“What the hell is this? How have you go the gall to charge £25 for food that would leave a goldfish demanding more?”
I’m sure he would run for cover if I threw the plate at him.

(8) You’re in a queue at the ticket office in a railway station and your train is due to depart. In front of you is a man who is so dim it’s a wonder he can get himself dressed up in the morning. He says:
“So what time’s the next train to Liverpool?” he says. “I need to get there by 5:30. It’s now 1.30 so that gives me a few hours. How long does it take? I’ve heard its 35 minutes; is that true? How much does it cost?”
Don’t you just want to grab the idiot and shout:

(9) Don’t you just want to turn up to X-Factor auditions with a large bottle of indelible ink in your pocket? Why would you do that, I hear you cry? Well, you could stand up in front of Simon Cowell and when he asks what you going to sing, simply run up to him and pour the entire contents of the bottle over his smug head.

(10) You’re in a pub with your beloved lady having a wonderfully fulfilling conversation over a pint of the landlord’s finest ale, when all of a sudden, the place fills up with young people out for the Saturday night cattle parade and the barman cranks up the background music so loudly that you can barely hear yourself think. Worse still, the music is rap, r’n’b or boy band/girl band fodder. Wouldn’t you just love to walk behind the bar, lift up the offending music machine and smash it to the floor? Even better – walk to the pub with the world’s most powerful ghetto blaster and as soon as the music is cranked up, retaliate by playing a Metallica CD at three times the volume?

I’m glad that’s off my chest. The post may make me appear to be a savage, bent on the destruction of all that annoys or irritates me but I’m not really. I can tolerate almost anything; whilst my inner turmoil in trying to contain the beast and imp within is a struggle of monumental proportions, my outward appearance is one of calm and polite acceptance – just as long as the wine tastes nice.

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