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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Beat it, Beat it, Beat it!!

Its a rainy, miserable Monday morning, sometime in the 1990's. Middle lane of the M6. Usual traffic gridlock with radio 1 blaring. As usual the DJ banter is trite & uninspiring, nevertheless it's  dullness is broken by an absolute tune, it's 'Beat it' by Michael Jackson.
 Me, being a 'dancer not a fighter' (of course) and totally oblivious to the passengers in the fast-lane car to my right, I start mouthing the words to the song and doing some random seated Michael Jackson  moves, including facial contortions!! (MJ would have probably moonwalked out of the room). I wish I'd known the spectators were watching with such huge amusement, I may have refrained from grabbing my crotch and doing an MJ style shout. They were laughing mercilessly , I was looking like a freak but at least the traffic was now moving. How embarrassing!!!
As usual, the traffic made me late, nevertheless I couldn't resist telling the first colleague I bumped into and anyone else that came my way about how I got caught 'beating it' by the passengers in the fast-lane. Everyone thought the story was hilarious, especially as I demonstrated the moves that had made me look such a plonker!!

Naturally, my boss at the time, had his own take on the situation, he was more concerned at my lateness, irrespective of the traffic and my dance routine and began to gratify himself by divulging his daily motorway routine and how he managed to get to work on time.

'I leave the house at the same time every day, 7.15am. Any later and the rest of the journey doesn't work. At exactly 7.29am I get to Junction 5 of the M6, I then stay in the fast-lane until 7.45am at which time right on cue the traffic builds up and I strategically move into the middle lane, which always moves faster. I stay there until 8.10am and then move to the fast-lane for the remainder of the journey. My precise routine works like a dream, I arrive at the office at exactly 8.30am, give or take a minute.  Plan your journey Michael, or you'll always be late and always be laughed at by people watching you grab your crotch'

After that intricate, unnecessary and soporific explanation, I was mesmerised. Not by the clever way my boss arrives on time but at how dull life must be to have such a precisely anal plan, just to get to work.
Is that the truest form of the 'rat race', knowing the exact timings of which lane to drive in? To feel so content that you've out maneuvered other drivers and literally knocked minutes off your journey time. Or is that the very reason my life is so aloof because I don't plan every single detail. I'm not entirely sure, however I still favoured grabbing my crotch and contorting my face. The conversation with my boss made me believe those seconds of humiliation were priceless compared to driving your car to a set anally retentive program. After all,  I too could arrive on time,  by just getting my a**e out of bed earlier!!

That drive to work and the conversations that followed, further concreted the saying I've always admired 'Life is what happens when you're planning the Future'.
Let me put that into perspective, I thoroughly understand the importance of PLANNING, it's an absolute necessity in business and so many other things we have to do, in order to fulfill our lives and efficiently achieve what we want to. I'm totally on board with that principle, I suspect very little has been ever achieved without an appropriate PLAN.
My issue (and I have plenty!!), is centered around SEEING, TOUCHING, FEELING and EXPERIENCING the magic, wonderment and surprise of TODAY and not losing that delightful acquaintance and intimacy to tomorrow. After all no one can predict what 'tomorrow' will bring.

Recently, I confessed I had a vintage bottle of 1999 Cristal Champagne at home, worth no less than £400 and that I was saving it for a special day, at that point I realised what I'd actually said (helped and pointed out by the person I was with!!).
'What special day?, what day can be more special than the day you're in? What day can be possibly more special, unique and amazing than today??, you could be dead tomorrow' was the classic retort.
Needless to say, that bottle of Cristal is now long gone and was gulped ungraciously at the first moment possible and do you know what? It was probably the most enjoyable drink EVER because it was drunk with an irreverence for tomorrow and a gratitude of this moment NOW!!

So, go forward and plan all you need to but remember to get off that train and visit every platform, admire it's beauty, it's charm, it's sanctity....smell the flowers, converse with the people, taste the ambrosia all around you!! And don't forget to dance like no-one is watching!!

Me, I'm off to have a bottle of Cristal and 'Beat it' good and proper!!

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