Stupid manhole. It’s always there on the way to work, this irritating little manhole in the middle of a busy road and as I wait for an aeon (whatever one of those are) for the green man to allow me to cross, I have to listen as car after car clatters across this stupid manhole. Each time it emits a sharp noise that startles and enrages me. Clat-clat, it goes. Day in and day out. I hate it. I hate it so much. Not even sure it classes as a manhole, more a sort of square drain, but manhole sounds better.
This annoyance plagued me this week, no matter where I was I couldn’t stop thinking about this manhole. At my desk, tapping away at my keyboard. In meetings, in the shops, in the pub as I stare at my own gaunt reflection in the dregs of my beer. It followed me around, it wouldn’t let me sleep. I lay there, staring at the ceiling, all manners of grey hues creeping about. I lay there, heart pounding, and sweat sticking my neck to my pillow. I felt like some sort of giant slug excreting a coat of slime. Clat-clat… Clat-clat.
It was when I was staring at it on my way to the bus stop that I realised just why I hated it so much. This manhole represents all the annoyances, the constant irritations, the anger inducing scenarios that we have no control over. I can’t move the manhole, I can’t get the cars to stop running over it, can’t alter the laws of physics to prevent the noise that irks me so. That manhole, that stupid manhole is life.
Then, unbidden a tidal wave of things I hate and cannot seem to change crashed into the side of my brain, which hurt. It represented petty people in positions of authority. It represented those annoying people you see at the customer service counters in shops, shouting at a poor young girl because they bought an iron and it doesn’t work, and no they don’t have the receipt. Before you know it, they’re making casual comparisons between the customer service lady and Nazis.
Represents the slow decline of the planet’s climate, which despite what the Green Party tell us, we are powerless in stopping. I read somewhere that all the recycling we are doing, all the measures we are putting in place to reduce CO2 emissions are primarily combatting pollutants sent up there in the 50s and 60s, so we have some way to go. Not to mention, that no matter how many tons of coke cans we flatten and reuse, how many jam jars we rinse out and put in our little red bins… America and China are still going mental.
Stupid crappy manhole.
That seemingly innocuous bit of infrastructure represents poverty, corruption and world hunger. We can’t do anything about it, we can’t. We’ve been trying for years and made no headway. It represents the endless stream of pointless shitty little wars that humanity seems intent on pursuing, displacing thousands.
It represents Donald Trump (cunt) and Boris Johnson (slightly less of a cunt, but still a cunt). It represents Isis and the ever present threat that some arrogant turd could blow you away in the name of some deity you don’t believe in, because no doubt they’ve been led astray by mad, petty men in positions of authority.
It represents my own irrepressible anxiety and impotent anger. I’ve tried meditation, it’s a load of shit. I’ve tried breathing techniques and I just start hyperventilating. I’ve tried all manner of pseudo-psychological nonsense. I’ve even had counselling, but I was kicked out my last appointment for questioning her choice of career!
Stupid Fucking Poxy Manhole.
It represents our constant grappling with the notion of our own mortality. The rampaging advance of time, which we are powerless to stop. It represents the very idea that we are all rapidly decaying, charging to the point of expiration on a planet that is dying. On a planet we played our part in murdering.