Monday, 15 October 2012

Intelligent human hotspots and volume problems!

You’ll get no sense out of me today. My brain’s gone whackadoodle in reaction to the Man Flu. While my physical symptoms are boring, more interesting and varied are the ways being ill affects my brainbox. This time there’s definitely been a-wandering. My brain has taken itself off into a place of idiotic fantasy, where long periods are spent contemplating the tiniest detail.

Stop the front page! Scoop ! Scoop! Charlie Adley is a space cadet.

In fevered nights I dream of a crazed Galway City, which has four hour Pay and Display Parking limits. It’s still €2 an hour for the first two hours, but then the rate drops to €1 an hour, up to four hours. Dangerous and radical stuff, allowing people time to both shop and have a meal in our lovely city.

Why on earth would Galway City Council want to let people enjoy themselves and spend money with local retailers and restaurateurs?

No, two hours is just enough to do nothing at all and return to your car. That way we can make sure that local traders can’t earn enough to pay their rates to the council.
Lovely. That makes sense.

But still the nightmares tumble around my fevered brow, insane images, not of notorious Intelligent Traffic Lights, but instead, the horror the horror, Intelligent Humans.

I know! Who’d’ve thought of such a thing!

Tossing and turning through wheezy sweaty nights of delirium, I imagine impossibly Intelligent Humans who actually test transport plans before implementing them. Humans capable of counting the number of exits on a roundabout before they demolish it. Humans who understand the insanity of bus lanes that have no buses and right-turn lanes inaccessible to those who need to turn right. 

Mad, these Intelligent Humans.

Just as well they don’t exist, or Galway would run like clockwork and make a fortune.
Another minuscule peccadillo spinning around my sick cerebellum right now concerns the bloke down the garden centre. His smile is endearing, revealing a gentility and complete absence of thought.

When I go down there I secretly hope he won’t be on duty, because I appreciate the greater experience of his colleagues. But sure enough, there he was, walking right past me as I dragged a huge wooden container towards my car.

“Hiya! Just wondered if you knew the capacity of these half barrel containers?” I asked him. “How many litres would it take to fill this?”
“PshooOOOOoooossshhhh….. Wouldn’t know. 150 maybe.”
“Great, thanks! So I’ll take two of those 75 litre bags of compost please.”
“Oh … compost is it? I thought you were talking about water. Sure you’d only need one of these bags of compost to fill that.”
“Oh really I er but oh, I sort of thought it’d be about the same, compost and water in litres?
“Oh no. No no, not at all.”

I bought one bag and drove home, my tiny brain spinning, just as it is now, fascinated not in any intellectual way by the obvious error of judgment, but more experiencing envy: I want to be inside his head.

I want to experience the universe through the eyes of somebody who thinks like that.
Not for long, mind, like that cruel old Dylan song, where he wishes that for just one day you could stand inside his shoes and he could stand in yours, so then you'd know what a drag it is to see you.

Except I don’t think it would be a drag to be inside that lad’s head. It would be marvellous.
“What mpg do you get out of your car?”
“Dunno, it’s red.”

I want to think like that, just for a wee while.
If it were plain stupidity there’d be no elegance to it, but from within my sick stupor something about it beguiles me; enchants me.

While I’m imagining looking through Garden Centre Boy’s Eye’s, I’m simultaneously captivated by a story by Will Pavia, writing for The (London)Times, that represents all that is magnificent about the human race, apart from the heinous truth that we have homeless people living in our so-called Developed World.

Each year Austin,Texas hosts a convention of social media and technology entrepreneurs called the Next Big Thing. Last month, while all the nerdy billionaires were inside the convention centre, the greatest technological innovation was happening outside the building, where the local homeless community had turned themselves into human wi-fi hotspots.
Clarence Jones, who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, declared that he accepted PayPal:

“I’m a 4G hotspot!” pitched the 54 year-old on the street, “You don’t have to go in the building no more. Homeless people are outside. We do the outside thing!”

 Forgive me if you’ve been led in any way to believe this colyoom is heading towards some kind of meaningful conclusion. To be fair, I did warn you. When I’m both physically ill and mentally incapacitated, these colyooms can’t do their regular thing of ending all neatly.
 With Intelligent Humans, homeless hotspots and garden centres, that might not be possible this week.

Although to be honest, deep inside me I do feel a strong common bond, a unique link that encompasses all these stories:
I love the human race.

We can conceptualise the beginning of time and space yet find ourselves unable to count roundabout exits or understand the nature of volume.

We live in affluent societies so cruel as to deny that most basic human right: of a roof; a home; a bed; of safety. Yet being human, invested with spirit and imagination, those that others disregard turn a tragic situation to their advantage, reinventing themselves as marketable commodities.

But they are neither products nor services. They are simply magnificent human beings, using their initiative and making an income by parodying the corporate culture that discarded them as expendable.

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