A Very British Apocalypse
[tweetmeme source=”awindram” only_single=false] With the weather now being all together more clement, I’ve recently made a couple of trips to Yosemite National Park where I can enjoy the scenery and fresh air as well as ponder on the possible reasons why the locals feel compelled to keep erecting wood carvings of Nazi bears.
As part of this mini-trip, for the first time in my life, I got to experience the joy and excitement of staying in an American motel. Now if horror movies have taught me one thing, it’s that American motels are always sleazy, roach-ridden dens populated by degenerates and drifters; a place where cheating politicians clandestinely meet with call girls and where the motel manager is invariably a psychopath who, rest assured, IS going to kill you. So, I was a wee bit relieved when I realised that your average Comfort Inn really isn’t something out of a Robert Bloch novel, but is instead a rather comfortably bland chain of motels with a slightly off-putting waffle obsession.
From their TV adverts to their staff, everyone and everything connected with Comfort Inn is keen for you to know that breakfast is free and that there’s a waffle iron in the breakfast bar – they really, REALLY, want you to know that there’s waffles at the breakfast.
So, after a night that didn’t result in me or any of my travel companions getting garroted in our sleep by a deranged motel manager, we headed down to try out the free breakfast. The somewhat cramped breakfast bar was filled with people of various nationalities trying to figure out for the first time – and possibly last – how to work a Comfort Inn waffle iron. The Comfort Inn breakfast is self-serve, so you’re on your own for figuring out how to make it work. Not being one to make a fuss and thinking I’d almost certainly look foolish by pressing the wrong buttons on the waffle iron, I instead took a coffee and an apple and waited while my friends very patiently, in that heroically stoic way only the British can, queued.
And so I watched as group after international group dealt with the joys of the waffle iron. The Germans worked efficiently as a team, one working the iron, while another sorted out the coffees and a third found a table. The Japanese looked intently at the waffle iron for some time and then decided they should start taking pictures of it. All of us seemed to be falling neatly into national stereotypes – none more so than me. With everyone hovering around the waffles, I had decided the whole process was too busy and too silly, and besides it was clearly a prime spot for potential social embarrassment. If I tried making a waffle (which I wasn’t even sure I was going to like) I ran the risk that my attempt at working the waffle iron would end in me bumbling the whole thing up. Better not to make a fuss in the first place. Don’t see why they couldn’t have put on a proper breakfast anyway – sausages, bacon and black pudding, lovely. Maybe, just a croissant if people don’t want anything too heavy. But, no, you’ve got to make it difficult haven’t you Comfort Inn? You’ve got to put a piece of machinery out there for me to operate, but you’re not going to leave me the instruction manual. Thank you!
So as everyone carried on hovering around the waffle iron, filling their voracious waffle needs with wanton abandon, it struck me that if any future post-Apocalyptic situation resembles breakfast at a Comfort Inn (and in my head, a post-Apocalyptic is almost exactly like breakfast at a Comfort Inn), we Brits really are screwed. More specifically, Brits like me (polite, a little too fond of cricket, occasionally awkward) are screwed. In the post-Apocalyptic wilderness that the survivors have to scavenge on, we haven’t a chance. We wouldn’t be able to fully assert ourselves in that situation. All the other scavengers would hover around the remaining food sources and we’d get nothing for fear of making too big a fuss.
“Oh, is that a carcass? Sorry, I don’t want to seem pushy, but do you know where the queue starts? Is it here? Appears a bit too much like a free-for-all to me. Really? No queue? There always should be a queue, you know. It’s a little unfair on everyone else if there isn’t one. Well, looks like I’m going to have to be the one to start a queue, aren’t I?”
Dealing with a Post-Apocalyptic world, just another thing we British males would be bloody useless at.