I’ve always liked a good ruck, me. I was never one to shy away from doing battle. As a younger, more scrappy human being I have waged war on idiots, fuckwits, bullies and mealy-mouthed morons, occasionally using missiles and/or fists to hammer my point home. As I age, I find myself focusing on different kinds of important battles (like Mummy vs Breakfast Time) and my aching bones don’t allow the kind of pint-glass slinging gusto I once took for granted. That’s not to say that there are no longer any more fights, just different kinds. Having been increasingly selective over the sort of people I enjoy being around, naturally the people likely to piss me off have become a more focused too.
This afternoon finds me feeling an understated kind of anger. I’ve felt this before. I can acknowledge it and understand where it can go. It’s the sort that, if left unchecked, will fester into a FUCKING GREAT THUNDERWOBBLE of unfocussed rage. It is with this understanding that I will now go about lancing my anger boil via the medium of clackety-clacked words on a page…
My town is full of incredible people.
These people don’t sit around tables sipping insipid coffee, nodding, murmuring and taking notes. These people don’t feel the need to write agendas, split hairs and painstakingly pore over the irrelevant. These people are not constantly looking for opportunities for glory. These people have feelings. Big ones. And a sense of responsibility. They understand that SAYING the right things is not enough. So they dispense with the gobshitedness, roll up their sleeves and just get the fuck on with things.
I like these people a lot. But apparently, like hustle and bustle on the High Street, they do not exist.
“Hustle & Bustle in Maidenhead?”
“What the fuck is this bint on about? Has she been at the Tanqueray already? I heard she was a lush.”
I wish. A hefty gin waved in the general direction of Italy might just distract me for half an hour (maybe more, depending on whether I’m handed the bottle).
Over the last week, I have had word that Maidenhead Town Centre is being spoken of in far less than glowing terms. And that’s fine. I have no objection to that. There ARE lots of empty shops. It’s part of a national epidemic with much deeper roots than I can be fucked to go into here. What boils my piss is that chosen and elected representatives are speaking of the town centre as though it’s nothing more than tumbleweed and bad news. With my own ears I recently heard one publicly say that he no longer visited Maidenhead because it smelled of urine and there was blood on the pavements.
Fuckwits I can tolerate. Liars can just get to fuck.
The sad part about this is that these people don’t realise they are lying. I mean, how are you supposed to know what is going on in your town unless you actually spend any time in it?
Yesterday I hugged a friend as she cried because she’s working so hard on putting a town centre event together on a shoestring that the pressure was becoming too much.
Later, I hugged another friend as she grinned from ear-to-ear. She had delivered the first day of Maidenhead’s First Street Food Festival, attracting foodie visitors from far and wide and was absolutely buzzing. I understand both of these marvellous women’s feelings. This will be the eighth time I’ve gone through them myself.
In between everything and later in the evening I did another kind of battle – with my email. Art on the Street is less than a month away. This is the time where it’s not advisable to ask me how I am. The response is likely to be:
IT’S TAKEN ME FOUR FUCKING HOURS TO GET DOWN TO TWENTY FIVE BASTARDING EMAILS! THEY JUST KEEP COMING! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKK! AND WHY IS MY COCKING COMPUTER MAKING THAT NOISE??? THE BAAAAAASTAAAAAAARDDD!! I’M GOING TO FUCKING DROPKICK DROPBOX IN A MINUTE!
I might seem like I’m going off on a wonky old tangent, but these three experiences have one major thing in common. The crying, the laughing and the swearing are all voluntary. They are not paid-for emotions. None of us are paid for the efforts we put in. We are residents. Voters. And we choose to give our time, efforts and money to the town. FREE OF CHARGE. And yet still the hackneyed monologues continue from the one place that should be trying to maintain a sense of positivity around the town and encouraging pride in what we have.
If the thousands of visitors we attract aren’t enough to prove our existence to these people, what is? Who do I have to fucking stick in a half-nelson to get these incredible women the acknowledgement they so richly deserve? Like I said, these days my battles are different, but that doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to fight.