Desire pt 1.
The desire to consume unnecessary material objects is no more illogical than a desire to consume human faeces. Neither acts contribute anything truly meaningful to one’s self, and yet both are symptoms of an abhorrent neurosis.
Every Christmas I wanted a Scalextric’s slot-car track. It didn’t even need the loops-the-loops and figures-of-8’s like the ones in the adverts, little pale-skinned kids with their pearly whites gleaming from behind joyful grins which only come from the fleeting moments of fulfilled desire.
Plenitude, they called it.
I only needed something simple; I would have been happy with a piece of plastic gutter, a cast-iron matchbox classic and a strong rubber band if that’s what it came down to. Nonetheless, I wanted it I wanted it I wanted it.
But I never got it.
Fortunately my best friend had one (a Scalextric track and cars, not plenitude). He had one, and yet for some reason (perhaps due to the complex construction mechanics) we hardly ever played with it. Instead, we would normally play Lego and sometimes – children being children – used to piss in his Lego box when he left the room.
One day his mum (we call her Auntie, as do many various-shades-of-brown cultures with one respectful filial noun or another) thought the dried ammonia smell a bit out of the ordinary, put ‘little bastards’ and ‘Lego bucket’ together and got ‘little bastards piss in Lego bucket’.
Maths isn’t all numbers.
So we were banned from Lego and told to go play with the Scalextric set – The Scalextric Set!! – what kind of punishment was this? Like Pilot she washed her hands of us, sent us to the spare room where those tracks lay in loose bitumen panes and metallic fragments, little electronic F1 cars strewn across the laminate floor in Senna moments.
It took about an hour to set up due to bent connectors. We seemed to use our teeth for the most part of the building, forcing pieces together in clamped jaws as best we could, although some tenuous gaps still threatened a smooth run. Upon completion the circuit stretched perhaps a couple metres, but in our joy-sparkled eyes it might as well have been the Nardo Ring. It was spectacular.
Round and round. And round and round and round.
After about eighteen minutes and as many derailments I found myself mystifyingly bored. I remained no so much disappointed, as confused. This should have been the best experience of my weekend – perhaps my life (next to urinating in Lego), and yet it all felt rather, well, empty. An act. Some strange parody.
And then suddenly a wash of realisation came over me and I knew what was missing. It was all so simple; had been clear from the very beginning. All we needed was that loop-the-loop. A figure-of-8 wouldn’t hurt either. That’s all it was. That was all I needed. If I had these things… everything would be just… perfect…