– THE FILTER –
Bridget Jones’ diary, a testament to the products of Cosmopolitan magazine and existential apathy, leaves me trembling with irritation. The calorie counting, the daily weight-check, the broken resolutions not to drink anymore, the obsessing about men, the ridiculous overuse of the word “shag”.
Yet its place in British film and popular literature has inspired me to make a single diary entry during this festive period. I worked out at the back end of my teenage years that one’s own diary is an achingly dull and cringe worthy rag with a wince on every page, thanks to the ridiculous teenage notion that in years to come our late night philosophizing will somehow make for a good read. I realized the only things worth noting are the moments that made you laugh.
So, here goes. Erica Buist’s diary. Merry Christmas everyone!
Alcohol Units: a lot less than Bridget Jones
Cigarettes: None, don’t smoke
Weight: of no interest to anyone, including myself
Everyone seemed to have their office Christmas party last night. So did we, except our Christmas party activity was going to see me do stand-up comedy, so I was working and drinking water all night. I was a bit jealous of everyone’s hangover, a reminder of a crazy evening of ale and merriment, so I shuffled around London popping paracetamol with a face like a smacked arse to fit in. It seemed to work.
Realizing I hadn’t bought a single present yet, I snapped myself out of my pretend-hangover and in a moment of utter stupidity, found myself in Central London, on Oxford Street.
3 days before Christmas.
It was like the first few minutes of Saving Private Ryan, but without any of the noble intentions or smart uniforms. I like Christmas, really I do, but what has it become when you overhear a mobile phone conversation that goes “Look, I’m in Fortnum & Mason’s, just tell me what the **** you want”?
I recently realized that I’m missing a trick by going about with my headphones in at all times. The only time I take them out, aside from when I’m talking to people or ordering coffee, is when I sit in a café window typing or reading Eat Pray Love like the pretentious tool that I am. I decided that I needed my ears free to help with my spatial awareness as I shopped in the centre of consumerist evil, and as a result I just laughed all day. Here are some of the things I overheard while Christmas shopping in London:
“Well if she doesn’t like it she can always go to hell.”
“Don’t get him that perfume. It smells like the aftershave of a workaholic investment banker whose wife is unfulfilled.”
“I hate Christmas cake. I’ll have a Twix.”
“Ow! Why would you bite an injury?!”
A day, though spent alone, filled with laughter. What a bunch of hilarious whingers the English are, especially in times of joy. Even I confess to having been whingeing like an Englishman for a week because nothing makes for a miserable day like cold, wet feet. Despite the fact that it snows every year in Britain, we have the collective memory of a goldfish and I was as shocked as anyone when the snow started falling.
How could this be? Snow? I know it’s snowed in England before but that was a year ago!
Of course the main advantage to icy weather, aside from it making for a lovely postcard, is that you’re less likely to be mugged. You don’t hear many reports of hooded men saying “Gimme your money, now don’t try to follow me” and plodding carefully away like an ice-skating toddler.
I slipped and slid from my tiny studio flat to the nearest shoe shop to purchase some snow shoes, and only then, with my feet warm and happy and my headphones discarded, did I notice that my fellow shoppers were funnier than any comedian I’ve seen.
So, as this diary entry is public, I wish to extend my thanks to those who go about being unintentionally hilarious. You provide a valuable source of warmth and joy to those around you, and we the eavesdroppers cannot thank you enough.
Keep whingeing, because to balance out your misery and irritation, someone is laughing.
Merry Christmas, one and all.