A chap came to our house this week and a very nice chap he was too. I say this because it happens to be true but also because he was delivering a swanky new printer for Nikki. And for free by the way, courtesy of a YouTube clip that Paddy made when we were launching a fundraising campaign for The Brothers Trust.
I will explain this as best I can, but I warn you that it concerns a meme and despite repeated explanations, memes remain a mystery to me.
That said, here goes…
Nikki’s printer is a brand called OKi – I know, me neither. A video clip of a smiling man with an African accent saying ‘Okay’ went viral. Paddy made a video copying this ‘meme’ to praise mum’s Oki printer and this clip also goes viral.
Still with me?
The good people of OKI are so delighted with the unexpected publicity, they deign to give us a brand new printer. Thank you very much.
The chap arrives and the new machine weighs almost as much as a small car and so I help him lump it indoors and to Nikki’s office on the first floor – apologies. Meanwhile, Nikki pays for the chaps parking on our road to keep the circling parking wolves at bay while he sets about settling the new printer settled in to its new home. Printers are very sensitive types. They need to introduced to a PC carefully and hopefully they will get along with each other. An hours parking should be ample but there are new ‘drives’ that need to be downloaded from the internet…
On hearing this, I make myself scarce. I need to catch my breath, apply some Deep Heat to my back and think of how Paddy can do a meme for Porsche.
The printer is wireless obviously. Full colour, obviously. Extraordinarily capable and therefore fiendishly complicated. But fortunately this chap is highly capable. He’s that type who can turn his hand to anything technical or mechanical. Intuitively capable of fixing shit whenever it goes wrong. I can sense Nikki admiration and her wondering how marvellous it must be to have a husband…
Less laughs I might point out later – if I need to.
Different skill sets you see, which is the beauty of us diverse humans. We each have different proclivities and this presents us with different options.
While our printer chap continues to straddle all obstacles before him (to Nikki’s awe!) I need to head out to our local pet shop. As I leave the house, our bins are being collected by a gang of lads in the cold and the wet. And I think of the different jobs and our options again. Collecting other people’s rubbish is a gritty job and probably a role for people with less options than most. Certainly not a profession with shrill calls demanding equal gender representation anyway.
A shopkeeper is definitely a career choice though and a brave one. A precarious, insecure profession and a leap of faith. Self-employment without the security other jobs enjoy like sick pay, paid leave, annual holiday allowances, pensions…
Jane owns my local pet store. I like that I know her name and that the shop is her own. And I like being one of her regular customers on whom she depends for her business to be viable. Especially so in the harsh conditions of Corona 2020. It’s the same for other local shops that I like to frequent. I also know my butcher’s name. My wine merchant, dry-cleaner, postman, car mechanic…
As I arrive at the parade of shops, parking is difficult. Too little white paint (where we can park) and too much yellow paint (where we can’t). All the bays are full and I decide to take a chance despite having received two fines already of late – clipping a bus lane (Nikki) and parking outside our house with a permit but a foot outside a bay (me).
To avoid a hat-trick of fines, I’m in a rush but I’m not allowed in to Jane’s shop. Following a visit from two council officials the previous day, Jane has been told that she must now fetch goods for her customers and only serve them at the threshold of her shop. That it is winter and this is confining Jane to effectively standing all day in the cold is no matter. The council are keeping us safe and Jane will do as she is told. Relevant here is that Jane pays business rates to our council for the privilege to trade and to provide her service to the local community.
Armed with dog food and a treat for Tess, I am fuming as I hurry back to my car and relieved to find no ticket on my car. The wolves on mopeds have missed their prey this time while I had the temerity to patronise a local shop.
But when I get home, my luck runs out.
The printer man is still at work and on his windshield is an ugly yellow ticket. I rush upstairs where he is just finishing his installation and demonstrating to Nikki how she can print directly from her iPhone. Who knew?
Then I break the parking news.
He is two minutes over his allocated hour. No doubt the wolves have apps. Alerted to where a visiting professional is at work and most likely to be caught out.
I give the chap the cash for the fine. Not his fault and the least I can do. The printer is free, remember but the fine still stings.
2020 has been the strangest year of my life and yours. When work and life as we know it has been cancelled and with all the insecurities and health implications of such a thing. Not to mention the lives lost. Now we have a vaccine, we are told that there is light ahead. Let’s hope so.
Many people doubt what the authorities and our governments have done. Conspiracy theories are abound. That the whole thing is a plot by a super elite; a power grab and a money making bonanza. Others say it is a reset. A change to the way that we live.
I don’t have any truck with these theories although I am confused by the year that is about to finally pass.
But when I see a printer engineer and a retailer going about their business – both highly capable and providing a valuable service – but hounded and hampered by local government officials and their readiness and eagerness to dole out spurious fines, it strikes me that re-set is not a bad shout after all.