COLUMN: June 15, 2017

Jacksons
The Jacksons – responsible for much of today’s blame culture
THE best thing about this time of year is the light nights. Never mind the sunshine; you cannot count on that. Summers in this country are so useless that if the Jacksons were born here the sunshine would not even have made it into the list of suspects alongside the boogie.

There is something entirely life-affirming about being able to leave your house in the evening and go for a walk without arousing suspicion or risking stepping in something.

But the worst thing about this time of year is the light mornings. You see, I have blinds in my bedroom which, when it comes to blocking out the light, are about as effective as cling film. I could trace a pencil drawing through them.

This means that the sun, while not in any way responsible for the fact that my baby’s always dancing, is entirely to blame for waking me at a quarter to six in the morning, which is not ideal for a person who mostly works nights.

And so, at the moment, I am mostly wandering about in a daze. My reflexes are shot – I beg you not to throw a satsuma at me, even if you think I would like one, as it would no doubt injure me – and my normally sketchy memory is even more unreliable.

All of this is to explain that what happened was not my fault, and I would be well within my rights to sue you if you suggested it were.

I realised I needed apple juice at 9pm. Most people would not consider this a pressing issue, but I am not most people. While I am not lactose intolerant, I refuse to tolerate lactose. Basically, I don’t like milk.

And so this leaves me with three options: 1) eat my morning muesli dry, as a hamster might; 2) moisten it with tap water, as, I don’t know, Theresa May might if she were feeling a little bit racy; or 3) soak it in fruit juice. I go for the third option every time, and needed to buy apple juice to avoid options 1 and 2 the following day, seeing as I could not just put a note out for the apple juice man.

I picked up some money and my house key, and headed out into the late evening sunshine. I might even have been whistling – it was that sort of atmosphere. In any case, I wandered to the shop feeling for all the world like one of those continentals for whom we are destroying our economy so we don’t have to associate with them any more.

I entered the shop, which was cooled by a bank of chiller cabinets, and went into my usual disorganised shopping mode. “Ooh, some peaches!” I thought. “I’ll have those. Oh, and I’m running low on teabags. And eggs. Some spinach. I like a bit of spinach…”

By this point I realised I would need a basket, so I went back to the entrance and set off the alarm, because of course I would. But it was resolved quickly, and I resumed my shambolic shopping, buying the things I had forgotten to buy the last time I went to the same shop.

“Oh, yes, shampoo. I need that because I have hair,” I reasoned. “Kitchen roll. I need that because I have a kitchen,” and so on and so forth, until my basket was so heavy I needed to use both hands.

Finally, I fetched up at the checkout. “Would you like a bag?” the checkout man asked me. “Hell, yeah,” I chuckled. “Hang the 5p expense.”

He started ringing up the purchase and bagging the produce, and it was at that point that I realised that, while I had certainly picked up enough money to buy two cartons of apple juice, I did not have enough cash for a heaving basket of groceries.

“Um, this is a bit embarrassing,” I said. I explained, and asked if he could keep the groceries behind the counter while I went home for my card. He looked pained, but agreed to my request.

Then I sprinted home, through the balmy evening, grabbed my wallet, and ran back to the shop, carrying all the perspiration such a feat implies, before lugging the groceries home.

And then I went back to the shop to buy the apple juice I had forgotten to pick up. I blame it on the sunshine. I certainly can’t blame it on the good times.

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