Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Have a surreal Yule

'Nighthawks' by Edward Hopper
I had the weirdest, most surreal Christmas moment today.  It was like being in a Yuletide version of that Edward Hopper painting with the diner. 

I was sitting in a roadside McDonalds (don't ask).  There was a Christmas tree with shiny red baubles. Every surface seemed to be covered in tinsel and twinkly lights.  A young couple came in with their little girl, who was perhaps 2 or 3 years old.  She sat at the table next to my booth and began hitting her dad playfully over the head with a pink dog made out of twisted balloons.  An old couple were sitting at the booth in front of mine.  They were the kind of elderly people who look beaten down, sucked dry by a hard life.  They were eating hamburgers and coffee as if it was a special treat.  It seemed an odd time for elderly people to be eating a meal, four o'clock in the afternoon.  Another older man came in, rotund and unshaven, with a baseball cap perched on the top of his white, greasy hair, its crown kind of collapsed and empty, where a younger man would have pulled it down to hug his skull.  He sat hunched over a paper cup of coffee, with his checked cotton lumberjack shirt stretched at the buttons over his vast belly.  The foil streamers in the window over my head trembled in the warmth from the heating system. A steady stream of traffic surged past as I watched.  The sky was drab and grey; it was just starting to get dark, and the curbs and verges were heaped with dark-stained snow.

And then over the radio came 'Fairytale of New York' by the Pogues and Kirsty McColl.

Happy Yule everyone.  Remember, the only way from here is up.

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