“How are you doing today mate?”
I looked out at the cracked grey ground, swooshing past the window. “I’m okay.” That’s how you get the taxi driver off your back, vague answers that don’t commit. Sometimes you get one that just doesn’t shut up about something you don’t know about and you feel obligated to engage with them. I haven’t slept in over a day, i don’t think anything i have to say will impress him. There are three types of taxi driver, as great musician Jack of Diamonds describes to his audience. The ones that let you have the ride, the ones that chat, and the absolute psychos. Thank fuck for the quiet boys.
He drops me off somewhere in the city centre and I walk around, looking for a Burger King. It’s not cause it’s my go to junk food when hungover, it’s just where I live they don’t have any. The last one burned down and became an Apple store, much to the dismay of cheeseburger lovers everywhere. They’ve got 5 McDonald’s in a 1 mile radius, but not one Burger King. It just almost tastes better than the golden arches of piss that they serve at Mcdo’ – the meat tastes of something instead of rubber. It’s all shit, but I know it, I’ve been on this train for a while now. They get you when you’re kids, all prime and ready for the drunk years where you soak up fear with multiple cheeseburgers. I know this BK is around here somewhere.
Behind me as I try pull up my pants, is a couple of men talking.
“That building there, you know how you see these places your entire life, always thinking about what’s in those walls?”
“The MacDonald suite?”
“Aye, yeah. I was in there on my graduation.”
“What wis it like?”
“It was everything I ever dreamed. We had Prosecco.”
There was a small pause. I looked in the windows of a bar I once visited, spying on the day drinkers. It’s Sunday, 2pm. They’re probably friendly now, but give them a few hours and somebody’s gonna piss off the gin blossomed regulars. The men behind me start talking again, and I realise that they must be a couple. They had that twee, high pitched accent of proud, quiet gays in the city.
“Don’t you think town is a bit dire today?”
“Why’d you think that?”
“I dunno, just feel like it. Maybe it’s not so dire.”
“You said it was.”
“I know, maybe i’m just in a wee mood.”
“Awhy are you in a wee mood then?
“Aw, I dunno. Maybe it’s cause I spent all day in my bed. The day before that too.”
I turn off and walk toward where the burgers may be, thinking that the guy felt the Sunday morning comedown that I feel. Maybe not as extensive as drinking all night in dark corners, but he felt that there was a lingering fog over the town as if it wasn’t as he knew it. Do we all automatically get that vibe from Sundays?
I entered the BK and ordered a couple burgers, sat by the window. I didn’t see anything there – for 10 minutes it was just me and a burger I know is made up from terrible, low quality products but it gave me a little glimmer of sun into this grey afternoon. I leave just as a teenage girl starts singing outside the window, a piercing knife through the ears of hungover parents everywhere.
The hungover dad hates his life. He cannot function without the escapism of drink, only barely able to hold on through the hangover. As i walked towards Queen Street Station, i saw a man with his son. I saw the kid first, whinging about something. I don’t know if it’s a dialect or if it’s just a squeaky kid voice, but i didn’t understand him. He was frantic, tugging at his dad’s coattails, running in circles, whining about something. I walked ahead to see the dad’s reaction. Here was a tall man, wearing some sort of wide brim fedora (but he wasn’t a neckbeard of course, he had a son) and a long trenchcoat. The son got in his way shouting, “I WANT IT” and the dad’s face turned into the saddest, angriest frown I have seen up close for a very long time. He didn’t say anything to his son. He just shoved him away, out of the way where he was trying to walk, so casually that his son must do this quite often. The control of the push signaled to me that he was not abusive towards his son, but it was a shove of necessity. He was so sick and tired of being this kid’s father, getting in his way, hearing him cry in a high pitched whine about minecraft and happy meal toys, one direction and slugterra (i don’t know what 7 year olds are into apart from minecraft, that i know for sure). His life in the central belt of our country is probably quite a safe one, if bleak. They might live in a reasonable suburb and have a nice car, but until that kid stops being an asshole, his depression will never end.
It felt strange, having such empathy for a stranger. You occasionally feel bad for homeless people, the ‘really fucked’ members of society, but only sometimes – because there is many occasions where you find that they can be aggressive or faking it to panhandle some dough. This father and son made me realise that my life, although at times full of frustration, hopelessness and pain, I can do more things that most people ever hope to do in their lifetime. I got back home, I ordered a takeaway, and I watched episodes of freaks and geeks, wishing to myself to have been born in 1960’s Midwestern America. I live in a bubble of cities, ready to be popped at when i finally look away for a moment and realise i missed the train. You’re all a bunch of cunts, but that doesn’t mean you don’t go through your own fair amount of bullshit. I can hate the world sometimes, but also try and make sense of it in the only way i can, calling anything that slightly grinds my gears a cunt. It’s not hateful or in anyway an attempt to destroy your confidence, i just feel good when i call people cunts, good or bad. This depression will never end for some, but at least i can treat mine while it eats away at my fragile mind.