The universe must have sensed my impending departure from the call centre and so sent the Mayor of Wandsworth to bid me adieu. She did not actually say goodbye to me, she just walked around the room, smiling, mumbling and pointing. All the time wearing the biggest fucking necklace I have ever seen, and I’ve seen Jim’ll Fix It and the A-Team! One of the few things I heard her clearly say was that the necklace was heavy and hurt her neck. Of course, you can’t tell thick people in positions of power what the simple solution is and if you do the internet breaks and the world starts spinning backwards. You must dance around the subject and subtly gesture to possible solutions, so that they think they have come to the realisation independently, and they truly are a chosen one.
However, the people of England are growing impatient with the bumbling toddlers that govern them. The people of Bristol had enough of waiting for the council to decide on a plaque to put under Edward Colston and remember you can’t tell these people how simple it really is. If someone had suggested that they just write the truth on the plaque – he gave a load of money to charity which was nice, but, and it is a big but, he made his money from selling human beings and thousands died on his boats – if you just wrote the truth then I mean what’s next? We’d have to face up to more facts and we can’t have that, especially while EastEnders is off the air.
It would seem people have decided to act without the consent of their leaders, as if one can make an informed decision without knowing any Latin. Soon people will be going to the opticians when they have trouble seeing, when the official advice is to drive 260 miles to a castle.
But there is one more component that is essential in sustaining the status quo. This component is a group of people, and I shall call this group: dribblers.
Now let me quickly say I am not one of the great minds of the twenty first century. I prefer word searches to crosswords, come undone in pub quizzes, can name barely any countries, let alone their capital cities, and I wasn’t allowed in my GCSE Science classes because my friend Shuaib and I used to sniff the Pritt Stick glues and pretend to overdose on the floor. A dribbler, however, is something slightly different.
There have been reports of sheep so thick that they separate from the herd and circulate fields and hills for hours, not stopping to eat or drink, until eventually they die of hunger, thirst or exhaustion. And why do they do this? Because they have mistaken a cloud in the sky for their mother.
Now I just made that up and it is completely bollocks. If you believed it, then I’m afraid you may be a dribbler.
There’s a lady in the call centre who is hilarious, and I mean properly gut wrenchingly funny. These are not patronising comments, protective padding to be put in place before I ridicule her, but she did come in with the old ‘all lives matter’ chit chat the other day.
The room went silent. The manager of our room softly reminded her that yes, all lives do matter, it’s just the numbers show the police don’t treat everyone the same. She being a lovely person agreed that was wrong and hey ho everyone was friends.
But what would happen if I was to tell the Mayor she could alleviate the pain by simply taking her necklace off? Would she still be the Mayor? Would a couple of dribblers believe the next person they saw wearing jewellery was the new Mayor? I just don’t know. But I do know what the first stage in treatment for a dribbler is.
Once the dribbler starts to believe that they can ask questions without seeming silly and understand that change is okay, and that power can be good, and it can be bad, then they are on the path to getting better.
The next stage is a bit more difficult and I’m currently stuck on it. Once you have decided it’s okay to think for yourself, then you must start doing research and all that jazz. I mean you can’t just write a book on the first stage, unless you’re James O’Brien.
So, there we have it. I’m done with the call centre, I’ve graduated from dribbler to idiot, but am stuck on this level. It’s been a roller coaster ride and I hate roller coasters. I’ve heard some mad stuff but nothing quite so mad as what I’ve seen on the evening news. If I ran in to the social workers – who have supported us with difficult cases throughout my time here – and told them I have a man on the phone who says he is going to drive on the motorway to test his eyes, I know what they would say. Call the police.
Or if I went in there and said I’ve got a man who’s insisting on going into a hospital to shake hands with sick patients. They’d get him sectioned.
And you know just as I was wondering how the hell this Government hasn’t collapsed out of sheer embarrassment and confusion, in came a Tory councillor. She was here for a photo opportunity and so while the photo was taken, she answered my question. I didn’t directly ask her, it just came up in conversation. She said she didn’t like watching or reading the news because it was negative. She proclaimed she wanted more positive news, like this call centre. I said it had been sad, funny and strange, but I wouldn’t say positive. She smiled and left.