It is too late for the corner shop, it is quarter past ten
So I have to go on to Bargain Booze.
A dog walks before me, it’s attached to a man,
And I notice that it poos.
Instead of getting out a doggy poo bag
To pick it up and to dispose of,
The man turns around to to me and says:
“Careful shit love”.
“Oi you,” that’s what I’m about to shout,
“Oi you! That’s so not on!”
But then I hesitate before these words come out
Of my mouth and I walk on dumb.
After all it was nice of him to warn me against
A future I’m undeserving of.
The man had turned around to me and said:
“Careful shit love”.
Continuing my way to Bargain Booze
I ponder on the words the man had said;
Over its implicit philosophic substance I choose
A bottle of cheap dry red.
How great would it be whenever we did something
That our drinking is symptomatic of,
To have someone who turns around to you and says:
“Careful shit love”.
Colleague: You know ISIS, right?
I: Yes. What about it?
Colleague: You know this morning, yeah, on facebook, they said that ISIS is going to kill the Queen on the 15th of this month.
I: Why would they want to do this?
Colleague, after a moment of thinking: They want to take over the country.
I: The only people who would benefit from killing the Queen are the people in the UK. I don’t think anyone from another country would be interested in killing the Queen.
Colleague: You know, I was so scared this morning when I heard about this, that I didn’t want to come to work.
I give her a sceptical look.
Colleague: But, just imagine, what if they killed the Queen, they might kill the King after that!
I am about to tell her that this country hasn’t got a king. Then I realize that it is futile to destroy her fairy-tale illusion.
I: The Queen has no real power. She just shakes hands and wears pretty hats. She does not make the big decisions. If anyone would want to take over the power of this country then they would have to attack parliament… David Cameron or so.
Colleague: Oh. (Pause). Well, they can carry on and kill David Cameron, I don’t like him.
When the spoon goes empty to the mouth,
And jugular veins start to pulse,
Homeless people shiver under blankets,
And To-o-o-o-ries commence the culls.
This is the dawning of the age of austerity,
The age of austerity, austerity, austerity.
Tragedy keeps on expanding,
Bigotry and lies are mounting.
No more living dreams and visions,
Merely falsehood and derisions.
Greed exceeds throughout the nation
Under current legislation
Of austerity, austerity.
We give drinks to friends, we give drinks to women, we give drinks to someone who cannot afford a drink, and we give drinks to the person whose birthday it is. We even sacrifice a drink to the dead by tipping it on the floor. Why do we do this? – Because like any gift, a gifted drink is furthering social solidarity.
When someone gives a gift to someone, the recipient is under the spell of a ‘spiritual bond’ (Mauss, 1954/2002: 4). Subsequently, a social link is established that makes us part of a community. Occasionally people shy away from receiving gifts, because they suspect an ulterior motive, an unforeseeable development of an interpersonal situation, and an obligatory tie. The latter is due to the gift’s co-dependency of a return gift.
When we get a friend a drink, the friend might buy us a drink in return. When we tip whiskey on the floor for a dead person, we hope that there is an afterlife and that she will suck it up from underneath the floorboards or tarmac, and that when we die, someone else continues this ritual, so that we won’t go thirsty through purgatory. One of the main aspects of generosity is that we do not ask for anything in return: We do not anticipate a return gift. We do not assume anything, for if we would, the action would deviate from the category ‘gift’ to the category ‘trade’ (Van Baal, 1976). Nevertheless, the gift and return-gift ritual is a sustainable invention that has potential of rhizomatic growth.
Regarding the beverage buying for female recipients, I undertook an extensive field study in the last few years, where I always happily accepted the offer. Mainly other women, who identified this as a conniving trick of males who are aware that their action creates a vacuum of an obligatory return-gift, criticised my methodological approach.
There is also a historic tradition to buy women a beverage. This phenomenon arose as a result of women not earning as much money as men. We can still see this phenomenon happen today, and there is a threefold dilemma that women experience: Their own economic value, the economic dependency on men, and the fear of being classed as a floozy, should they accept. And if a woman hasn’t got any money to buy a return drink, she still has her body to give.
But because I do not conform to such simple capitalist solutions, I would not suspect anyone of being so stupid to conform to these also, especially when the gift that I have just received bursts the boundaries of the capitalist idea of economy.