Darren Hoyland - Blog

Part-time social engineering

Seeing as though I'm still renting my place in Sheffield for a further 2 weeks at least, I stayed over in my old room last night. I found it telling that after a couple of weeks of getting in to work on time (whether it be in the office or at the desk at home), the instant that I'm in charge of getting myself up in the morning, I oversleep by about 4 hours. No really, I was meant to be helping Iona out by taking part in her experiment and only woke up when I got a phone call asking if I was coming in. That was at like 11 or something.

I blame the late nights myself - I went bouldering after work (first time I've been in ages, I'm still rubbish) then spent the rest of the night working on the much derided 'Hoylandism'. I'm actually trying to save the world here, but Charles still reckons I'm trying to start my own dictatorship. I need a name for it as well. If I go around calling it Hoylandism, then Charles may well be right. I'll have to do a bit of research to see if there's anything similar out there, but in the meanwhile, I was thinking of calling it 'openism' or something. I wonder if that means anything rude in another language? 'Optimism' might be more appropriate?

Actually, while I was waiting for the bus to come in this mor... well alright, this afternoon, a bloke in a wheelchair rolled up to me and out of the blue, said, "So where'd'you come from then?". After having a thorough check around me to make sure he wasn't taking to someone he knew, I replied, "Er... Grimsby.... You?"

"Lincoln" he answered immediately. Then he said, as if talking to someone he knew, "So where're you off to then"

At this point, I was feeling bemused but slightly uncomfortable, but then I started to appreciate the irony of the situation. I'd spent the night before writing about how we should all be more open and all that, and here was this guy doing just that and I was thinking he was a weirdo. Thinking that this was the ideal opportunity to put my new found open nature to the test, I relaxed a bit and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt on the weirdo front.

"I'm just off to work, how about you?" I enquired happily.

"I'm just off for a walk," he barked bitterly and shot away in his chair at high velocity.

Some part of my brain registered that something odd had just happened, but the rest of my brain, being a bit too British for it's own good, wasn't sure if that was a joke, and so I laughed politely in reflex - like you do when someone you don't know has just made a crap joke. And then I realised that laughing at someone who was in a wheelchair probably wasn't a good idea so I tried to salvage the situation by saying, "A walk? Where to?". Of course, by this time, I was talking to myself...

So as it happens, the guy was a weirdo. But maybe he was a weirdo because he didn't have anyone to talk to normally. There shouldn't be anything wrong with talking to strangers, it just so happens that in this country, its only weirdos that do it. I remember something in the news after the last world cup when people started waving their Union Jacks around. Normally, only extreme right wing people had a flag in their window and the government was trying to "take back the flag from the BNP" by encouraging people to be more patriotic. It didn't work, but the same could be applied in this situation - maybe we could "take back talking to random people at bus stops from the weirdos"?

That'd be nice.

Darren Hoyland, Friday 03 August, 2007
Tags: save the world!, sheffield, society, englishness, grimsby, general mutterings, if i was king, liberalism