New Year’s Resolution: adopt more causes. The problem is, there is a proliferation of them. A cursory search for something worthwhile threw up too many, causing me to furrow my brow, so I’ve decided to plough my own furrow and create my own list of (perhaps light-hearted) causes.
Cause Number One: Campaign to save spurned umbrellas. Have you seen how many umbrellas are left to die on street corners on the heels of a wet and windy day? It’s disgraceful. Horrifying. Especially those poor fold-up ones that have clearly been hurled aside in expletive-fuelled, thoughtless frustration. Broken telescope umbrellas left beleaguered, fractured, torn. Not to mention those treated with careless abandon, forgotten on buses, left behind in libraries, pubs and restaurants – may they find a good home. Take action: if it’s blowing a gale, protect the brolly and pull up your hood! Or fashion yourself a headscarf from a large square of polyester folded into a triangle, like my nana used to wear in the seventies and eighties to keep her hair good after she got it set, or to hide her hair under on the days when it needed set. And if you don’t have a hood on your coat or you’re afraid to rock a headscarf, then try putting a plastic bag on your noggin and tying it in place with a piece a twine. People will either talk to you or avoid you. Either way, you’ll achieve local fame. (Note to self: Come back to Cause Number One to work out fine detail around health & safety issues re: the wearing of plastic bags on heads. Also – for own general knowledge – check if women getting hair set is still a thing.)
Cause Number Two: Campaign in favour of dirty windows and cars. Do we really need all this window cleaning and car washing given how often it rains in Scotland? It wastes water and introduces excessive amounts of detergent into the ecosystem. Harness what nature so generously gifts us and give said windows and car paintwork an occasional wipe down with one of those plastic bags you’re going to use on your head, the ones that have been building up in the third drawer down in the kitchen since 2003 in such numbers that the drawer can no longer close. (Note to self: Come back to Cause Number Two and work out fine detail re: problem of unemployed window cleaners and car washers and review questionable motivations of entire campaign as fuelled by personal laziness and penny-pinching.)
Cause Number Three: Campaign for wayward leaves. For goodness sake, have you ever seen anything so preposterous? I’m talking about leaf-blowers. The time has come to point out the ridiculousness of vacuuming one’s garden. Further, let me highlight the Sisyphean nature of the task: you blow leaves into a pile only to have the wind laugh in your face by blowing them back at you. And there’s more… think of the beetles and weevils and aphids who, one moment are lying (literally snug as bugs) in their beds à la Dorothy in Kansas, and the next moment they are whisked (and I do mean whisked) away to Oz, except without clickable red shoes to magic them home again. Stop blowing! Rake – occasionally – do it slowly, whistle as you work, build up a sweat, and give those insects a chance. (Note to self: Come back to Cause Number Three to work out fine detail relating to never having actually seen anyone use leaf blower in Edinburgh; acknowledge fact I’ve become overly worked up about issue because of radio phone-in I listened to on extreme use of leaf blowers in Berkshire.)
Cause Number Four: Campaign for radical affability. Address every person I pass on the street. Mix up greetings to stay fresh: ‘hello’; ‘good morning’; ‘nice day’; ‘fine evening’; ‘I think you might have accidentally dropped your broken brolly that I just noticed blowing inside out in the wind’ – that sort of thing. Encourage young people and children to talk to strangers so they can: (i) size people up and understand that not all strangers are dangerous, and (ii) develop the ability to ask for help from someone they have never met when in a sticky wicket far from home many years from now, instead of just phoning mum. This campaign involves speaking to others even when it might slow you down, say, on the High Street in August when Edinburgh is playing one enormous game of sardines, or when I meet Old P. on Elgin Street on the way back from the library and he wants to talk for an hour. (Note to self: Come back to Cause Number Four and work out fine detail relating to management of Old P. so that I am not a hypocrite, again.)