Sunday, December 26, 2010

TRIPOD

21/12/2010
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This could be a Christmas present list or a diagram of a family tree that has fallen, axed as intended, on its side. Or, for a mean man, it could be a huge number of potential gifts, pared back to a minimum and gleefully recorded, (so that no-one could know he had given anything at all), one minute after the wretched festive season was over, when no more expense was needed.

Also it’s all that got writ by one writer on a recent Xmas.

Yesterday he was a tripod, propped up on two human legs and one lightweight walking stick on a hilltop suburban driveway, somewhere cold, where the melting snow had refrozen into scabby patches.

An unskilled space alien observer who might be fantasised to be hovering over Dollis Hill in an invisible flying saucer might have supposed he was watching some strange solo golf-like game below.

This was because the man who leant on the stick used it as a support, without which he would fall, but he also used it when he could, when he was near enough, to strike a green oblong plastic crate, driving it up hill along the short driveway from the street toward his black wooden garage door.

Assuming that the invisible, imaginary, flying saucer pilot was an intelligent, empathic, pseudo-telepath, as all little green imaginary men are known to be; then this psychic flying pookah, this leprechaun of light years, this jolly clever sky jockey , (about whom little is known except littleness itself, ( and what does that mean? It depends how big your relatives are and how long your present list is)), might have been tentatively, or tentacularly on the basis of what could be observed taking place on the drive way below, beginning to construct rules to explain what Tripodman was doing.

His striking of the green box with his cane might initially, seem to fit a golf/cricket/baseball/ hockey /hurling type hypothesis, matching a category of games where things are struck with sticks. However, this supposition could already have been jettisoned, or have gone out of the flying saucer’s window, had the FS had one. Even if the hypothesis had blobbed out through a psychochemical barrier and suddenly appeared in the blue cold midwinter suburban skies, it would have immediately plummeted to earth like a hippopotamus falling off a hypotenuse, or a second only instance of Adams’ falling whale.

But the crash and splat of these twin impacts would not have echoed across the suburban hills on Christmas Eve. Galactic hyper war could not have halted the migratory tides of traffic. This year blizzards had come unseasonably soon to the South East of England, but even six inches of driven snow had tried and failed to stop the inexorable consumer flood.

Nor would the dropping of an ideal that had not been nailed on to the flying saucer’s wooden, space barnacled, hull have distracted the three legged green box not-golf player.

Several features could have helped to discern that he was playing not-golf, (or possibly even cheating at it): the use of a large green box instead of a small white pillock ball, and also the fact the ‘player’ had earlier on picked up the green box and thrown it up the drive.

For the box-thrower, this was literally a staggering feat, and he staggered. After throwing the box, he took faltering steps, extended his walking stick and repositioned his grip on it; seeking places where the grey concrete driveway showed through the re frozen, once-melted snow and the rubberized walking stick tip would hold firm.

Then, not having fallen, like a Martian invader, imagined by H.G.Wells, his brain, atop its tripod, Tripodman could pause, assess the signals coming in, plot possible courses of action, send out for further more detailed information pertinent to these. Then move one leg of the tripod, then another, then another, so that he maintained the up-driveway course that would bring him to within striking range of the immobile green box that he pursued, slower than a cheetah, but faster than slime-mould.

To go back up a bit and get imaginary, if the entity in the spaceship had been a wild life commentator, an alien Attenborough televising over the equivalent of the plains of Serengeti or the craters of Ngorngoro, observing and televising the migratory flows of wildebeest and associated others below; whether then he might have said: “…..for this is no mere game that is being played out here, it is a grim aspect of a Vast Eternal Cliché, repeating itself on different scales like a sub-atomic pattern…, etc,etc.”

He might have said this because the green box thrower and hitter was not undertaking plastic crate pursuit out of festive playfulness, in fact Tripodman shared Leni Riefenstahl’s apparent viewpoint that sport was essentially fascist. Tripodman had set himself a goal of putting the green plastic box into his garage before phoning for an ambulance, which he hoped would take him to hospital to be treated for the COPD that was seemingly nearly choking him.

The green plastic box had been allocated to Tripodman by the subsection of government that controlled him locally, Brent Council, so that he could regularly fill it with some designated types of recyclable rubbish, (glass bottles and jars, certain types of plastic and metal food containers, newspapers and discarded pairs of boots). The Council’s hirelings removed the box’s contents, (and that of all other such boxes in the borough), once a week: they threw back the emptied crates into the driveways and onto the front paths of households.

An empty green plastic box on a driveway hereabouts could denote things. It was a sign, like a lump of caribou shit on a tundra trail being photographed on telly and transmitted into an empty sub urban sitting room.

To unpick this metaphor, it is necessary to crouch down over it like bearded TV expert wearing khaki shorts and exclaiming excitedly whilst picking out filaments, fragments and fibres from inside it; “Look there’s one of them and that this means that …, etc,etc.”

And the main thread or fragment contained within this metaphoro-turd is that a potential threat posed by a be leaving an empty re-cycling box outside a suburban dwelling in early Twenty First century Britain, is that someone else, (usually someone else from that particular street who has not been allocated that particular box), might take it.

Re-cycling box rustling might not be very prevalent; armed gangs of machine-gun waving militia were not yet following Council green plastic box emptying trucks, eager to seize the newly voided crates, (almost in mid-air), as they are thrown back towards home-owners. It’s just that a box goes missing now and then; and Mister Tripodman is going to make dern sure that it isn’t his’n.

The risk that he runs in attempting to ensure this is small, but real. He has an unmetaphorical Wounded Knee, arthritis, diabetes, cellulitis and COPD too, so he can’t breathe or walk too well. On a slippery, partially snow-covered, driveway, he could easily fall and not easily get up again.

In broad daylight on a clear sunlit (but cold), Christmas Eve morning in a populated capital city suburb, there’s a good chance that a passer-by might see a fallen body form in a driveway and do something citizenish about it; (like call an ambulance or the police; as opposed to say, rifling the pockets or attempting to eat parts of the “corpse”.) But you might just freeze to death at nights, this year, even out here, and lie semi-concealed behind plastic dustbins perhaps, until the urban foxes came and maybe treated you the way that they treat rubbish bags left out at night with food inside on cold winter nights.

However, none of this happened or even got near to happening. The Tripod is a stable shape and in this case, retained its stability long enough for the green plastic box to be struck so that it flew up the driveway and hit the black painted planks of the garage door. The non-player of the non-game of “Whacking The Box”, showed some quality or other, (seriousness, obsession, stupidity?), by then fiddling about with frozen fingers to open the bicycle D lock that he had used to secure the garage door. Once he had unlocked it, he took out the crosspiece and opened the door; but being scared of fumbling and dropping the lock crosspiece on the frozen ground, he re-locked the crosspiece to the U shaped part of the lock that it had been detached from. The exertion expended in doing this almost cost him an overdraft on his under oxygenated blood, but it didn’t, so instead of fainting, he clung to the lock with both of his cold hands and leant his forehead on the black garage door.

He thus transformed himself from being a relatively slow moving, but independently moving tripod to an impromptu lean to, a  human shed appended to his own garage door.

Even though it was a degree or two below freezing, he remained static in this posture for minutes, save for the hectic pumping of his lungs as he regained his breath.

After this he summoned the strength to kick the box into the garage, stop and rest, unlock the lock, stop and rest, close the door, stop and rest, relock the lock, stop and rest.

The green plastic box was mow secure, no could easily remove it from the absent custody of Tripodman. No one could take it away when he went away, it was retained in his own black-doored garage, securely, he believed.

He was ready. “First things first” he always said, then, he dropped down dead.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel

Anonymous said...

Hey, I am checking this blog using the phone and this appears to be kind of odd. Thought you'd wish to know. This is a great write-up nevertheless, did not mess that up.

- David