I have spent this weekend on the big island and it is this that leads me to this post. My location on the big island, as many of you know, is a pretty seaside resort in Essex. I am obliged now to establish that this is North Essex and not the Essex of spray tans and reality TV, just to be clear.
I have noted before that there is some sort of weird transformation that comes over tourists when they reach the coast, my conclusion is that it is sand madness. In some ways this madness simply takes adults back to their childhood and this was brilliantly, if annoyingly, demonstrated in the early hours of this morning. On leaving the pub and walking home some tourists spotted a grocery trolley tucked behind a building. In their defence I will say that this is something of a sight since the local supermarket only has 4 or 5 such devices in their entire armoury.
Leaving the trolley was simply not an option, sand madness had taken hold by now, and it became a toy of such amusement that I had cause to wonder why they ever went to the pub in the first place. The thing is that the group who chose to spend the early hours ‘riding’ a grocery trolley around the street were well into their forties. This is not something that they would have done at home I am pretty sure of that but I don’t think that it was the simple excitement of finding a trolley out past closing* I am convinced that it was sand madness.
Another example of this sickness is the sudden irrepressible feeling that the worlds entire supply of food is about to come to an end. Every time a tourist sees any form of fast food they have to make a purchase, this may look like simple gluttony but it is more complex, the sand madness is causing them to panic. This pervading feeling that they are in imminent risk of death by starvation brings out base instincts and it is these that directs the afflicted to fried food and other high calorie menu items, like a camel they are getting as much fuel on board as they can. It can only be madness that drives these people to push already oversized children into chip shops and feed them up, if they were not afflicted they would see that these kids wouldn’t starve for at least a month.
I genuinely witnessed a man proclaim excitedly to his partner yesterday “there’s a chip shop there” as if he had made an important discovery. It is the summer season and there is not a single place in town where you can stand and not see a take away but this bloke was already rolling his kids along the pavement yelling to the wife “quick let’s get in there and no empty calories if it’s not fried its worthless”.
It would seem that the irrational fear of starvation is a strong one but luckily locals have built a resistance, hence we see a drastic reduction in food outlets in the off-season. There is one thing that can break down the locals resistance, and it does so almost instantly, and that is snow. The merest sight of white stuff and the local population charges the grocery stores, indeed it is probably the only time that those few trolleys get used. Every edible or semi-edible item is scavenged and fought over because, without resistance, the sand madness kicks in and everyone believes that they are at risk of starvation. We all know that snow rarely lasts longer than a few days in the UK but that doesn’t stop the old lady with no pets stocking up on dog food and puff pastry after all there is actual snow falling from the sky.
*We don’t subscribe to that 24 hr opening malarkey out here