India Doyle: Inspiration for the nation

I am writing this in the library. Opposite me is a boy who is eating a pack of crisps as if each bite is an epic voyage. It’s mystifying. His […]

I am writing this in the library. Opposite me is a boy who is eating a pack of crisps as if each bite is an epic voyage. It’s mystifying. His hand begins by creeping towards the packet; eyes fixed on his mac screen, the hand wanders tentatively like a pre-pubescent boy trying to execute the ‘yawn and stretch’ move in the cinema. At last, he reaches his target. The hand fumbles, rustling, disturbing everyone else – who eats crisps in a library anyway? – and he finally plucks his lucky victim from the darkness.

The hand then begins the ascent back towards his salivating mouth. All the while his eyes remain fixed on his screen. If I could make music play randomly in real life, like JD can in Scrubs, I would be blasting the chariots of fire song right now. The crisp goes forth, the hand rears slowly, slowly, slowly, only now, at the last second, do the eyes flick from the screen towards the approaching victim and finally: crunch. Never have I ever seen such a satisfied human being: the cycle begins again.

Talking of cycles beginning again, yesterday was my anniversary (thanks very much) and anniversaries are meant to be a big celebration that you made it, well done, we still like each other, thank god for that.  So, I wake up and I realise that neither of us could really give a shit about the fact that this day was meant to be a better day than all the other days we spend together. In fact, it was pissing with rain and really, really cold; this day was probably a lot worse than a lot of days we spend together. Anyway, whilst considering the implications of our anniversary, I got onto thinking about time and the meaning of everything in the world.

300 words in and I’m getting to the point. I was thinking: why do human beings have such an obsession with chronicling time? You’ve been alive for a year; well done. You’ve been married for ten years; well done. You’ve managed to stay in the same house for thirty five years; BIG CONGRATZ. Is our obsession with marking mile stones rooted in genuine celebration? If so, what are we celebrating? Do rabbits have a big party once a year to mark the date of their birth? No: they’re not so self-centered, they’re just happy to be alive. Are we celebrating the fact that we’re great or are we celebrating because if we didn’t celebrate these milestones, we would just fade into everything else and feel incredibly insignificant? 

Whilst watching this crisp chomper I have concluded that it is actually the latter. Having a date that we own as ‘ours’ – 13th April for anyone that wants to buy me presents – gives us a place in the world, a sense of pride in knowing that the world was blessed with our presence on that day. I’m not hating on birthdays; I fucking love my birthday and I think it’s lovely to celebrate the fact that my friends and family exist. It’s just the more I think about it, the stranger it seems that we all have this innate need to document ourselves and our achievements. What I am very inarticulately trying to say, is that really, we shouldn’t wait for one day a year to mark things that we’re proud of, including ourselves. Everyday should be treated like a birthday, like an anniversary, like an achievement. Today, ladies and gentlemen, I suggest that you go and buy yourselves/your partners/your friends a great big cupcake and revel in your own glory. Then come to the library and have a look at this guy.