Each morning I awake to find that these incredible, unexplainable things have happened while I was sleeping. The bag of rubbish I put out on the street the night before will have disappeared. As if swallowed down a trapdoor in the footpath. But surely that cannot be. Trust me, I’ve tried to disprove this theory – by leaving the rubbish bag in a different spot each time. But still it disappears. Somehow. There couldn’t possibly be that many trapdoors, could there?
I walk down to the store and the bread shelf is full, every morning. The loaf I purchased yesterday has been replaced somehow. Is there a bakery in the roof? Distributing loaves to the bread aisle via a crane hidden above my head? Plus there would have to be another trapdoor involved. It’s too implausible to be reality.
The true mechanics of it all are obviously so far beyond me so I let it slide. Don’t sweat the small stuff right? I trust that the universe will continue to work tirelessly through the night. To ensure that all the small stuff is in perfect order for when I start living again. I guess I owe the universe an arm and a leg for the way it takes care of me like that.
Pause the video please.
In my world you’re not relevant until you’re in front of me, commanding my attention. If you don’t have my attention then you don’t exist. Or instead you do exist but you’re just another object, like a tree. Maybe you have done something, maybe you’ve changed my world. But if I wasn’t tuned in to the broadcast, it wasn’t you at all. It was the universe, working away again while I was sleeping.
Often I find that as long as I don’t leave the house, I’m the only person in my world. I find those days really wonderful. When Justmyselfthanksland lives up to its name and provides its one permanent resident with just enough personal space.
Even when I do have to go out, I usually have control over who gains entry into my world. In most cases I get to decide when to lift my head up and make the eye-contact that acknowledges another’s existence. When to open my kiosk and start stamping passports if you like. Self-service checkouts have been revolutionary for this way of thinking.
There are certain places where people think they can make a mockery of my border defences. Like the train station at 5pm; oh what a horrible place. Those inconsiderate people unlawfully grab my attention and so they get in. Rest assured, the illegals are all deported at the absolute earliest opportunity.
It’s not that I can’t stand other people. I just figure that I should be picky. The universe certainly didn’t settle for oh-kay last night. The least I can do is to try make this world, my world, the best world of them all. I think the universe would appreciate that effort. Maybe one day we can call it even.
So I do let people in. Entertainers mostly. Why afford my attention and my time to people who aren’t going to entertain me? For learning is done online now and companionship is a bit overrated.
It’s not as if that prerequisite seems to cull too many candidates though. My carefully curated happy-place is constantly bombarded with visitor applications sent in via big picture frames on the sides of buildings, the backs of buses, the internet; there's just so many people that want to spend a weekend out here, with me.
I do my best to weed out the duds but it’s not always easy. They’ve all got an attractive headline like “Just clocked up one million streams”. And most have won an award. I try to be meticulous but sometimes I get it wrong and my choice of preferred entertainer turns out to be a bit rubbish. I’m reminded then that awards are often subjective and that one million streams is quantity of next to no value. And it sucks, it really sucks. Because I’ll never get that time back; not in this world anyway. How must the universe feel? Seeing me tarnish my beautiful world with foreign mediocrity. And what about the genuinely talented person who was denied entry in favour of the con-artist? It sucks for a lot of people.
The great entertainers are the ones who know why I let people exist in my world. They understand that my debt owed to the universe is even greater than my student loan. They understand that my world is a wonderful place without them and it’s their job to make it a utopia. The great performers are aware that there are so many others queuing up at my border. So many other people desperate to enthrall me.
So they make sure that every second counts. They ensure that for every single second that I am present, my emotions are being accounted for. Because every second is theirs and theirs alone. Stolen from somebody else probably just as talented. They’ll never go rehashing something I’ve consumed before. Because I would have stayed at home on Youtube if I wanted that performance again. While they have my attention they make it feel like I am the only other person in their world.
I do wonder how the great entertainers occupy themselves in their own world, although I’m sure there aren’t many opportunities for that anyway. They must spend most of their time on the other side of their border – there must be many more debts to repay than performers with the ability to repay them.
I’d assume though that, when they do get home, these great entertainers don’t leave the house too often. Because social encounters strike an uncomfortable middle ground between performance and irrelevance. I’d say they prefer to live undisturbed in a utopia of their own, with just enough personal space. I’m sure they appreciate the universe and how it takes care of all the small stuff, for there's far too much dreary admin to tackle alone. And, if they do have to go out, I’m sure they use the self-service checkouts too.
‘Must Be Lucky’ is the lead single from the EP ‘In Theory’ out January 11