By Olly Buckle
That Sort Of Bloke
“It is a cliché that there are two sorts of people,” he said, “But when I look at the intellect I see three.” He was the sort of person who always wanted to be one ahead.
“I call them the thinkers, the understanders and the everydayers, let me explain. The everydayers are the largest number. Most of us are every dayers a lot of the time, we live in the present, the here and now, and there is a lot to be said for it.
There is also a large body of knowledge we carry with us that we didn’t learn from direct experience of the world, this is what the “understanders” have. It is all the stuff that people have told us or we read in books, or saw on the telly.”
He was good at supplying a list of places it could have been, I waved him on before he could discover the minutia of the media.
“Huge masses of experience that is all second hand, at least, maybe twentieth or thousandth hand. No not really that high, they say you are only seven people away from anyone in the world, I don’t know how it would work if you added a temporal dimension.”
He was the sort of bloke who liked to throw in an extra dimension and give it a fancy name.
“Makes you wonder how many people there were between Michael Faraday discovering the liquid form of chlorine and me reading about it. Anyway, like I was saying that is what I call the ‘understanders’ part of knowing things. Of course you can understand something like ‘don’t cut with the knife toward you’ because your mum tells you, or get the same message when you cut yourself.
That is where “thinkers” comes in. It may seem a strange comparison, but theorists like Darwin, artists like Leonardo, and the man who cuts himself with the knife are doing the same thing; They look at the real world around them, think of an explanation for it being how it is, and then see if it can be worked differently in light of that.
When people come up with categories like this they tend to delineate them, evolution as trees growing upward, ‘Starting with the first’, or ‘Starting at the bottom’, but that isn’t really the form. The people who would be classed ‘middle’ in such a system, intellectuals, experience the world vicariously, the others experience reality directly, but it is strange how we let our spatial concepts dictate the way we visualise things.”
I picked up on ‘visualised’ for ‘order’, but did not raise it.
“It’s so annoying, there is so much that could be done, and no-one is making it.” He was the sort of bloke who felt dreams were important. It wasn’t as though he was looking for a profit, people should take him seriously.
“Think of all that waste heat and water running to nothing down the drain, put your hand on there.” He touched the warm downpipe from the bathroom where the shower was running, “The cold water inlet runs up the house in boxing just behind that, if you took a branch to feed the boiler and combined the two so the branch spiralled up the inside of the downpipe you could supply water pre-heated several degrees, and those are the ones that make the most difference. Of course, what you really want is an insulated tank at the base that collects all the grey water and a heat exchange in that to warm the incoming water. One could so easily fit a solar heater on the front of it as well, mind a solar heater in the roof would do the whole job, but then the water needs pumping up there. It could be done with wind power easily enough, you could probably even use sun generated electricity so it pumped round whenever it would be warmed, but any sort of mechanical system has moving parts that will wear. There are some really good static systems, walls made of bottles filled with water, walls made of rendered hay bales, and septic tanks should at least be under the greenhouse even if they are not keeping the house warm.
“Of course there are times when the sun isn’t shining or the wind blowing, and you still need hot water, I saw a wonderful system a dairy farmer was using. He was cropping willow and drying it, then burning bundles of the sticks in a purpose built stove, but all these things are one offs, specials, you won’t even get the heat exchange roof units down the local builders’ merchant, someone ought to be churning them out.”
He leaned in closer to the single bar electric fire, wishing someone would run his life better than he could.
“Gosh that’s good, he got in front” his voice dripped with sarcasm, he was the sort of bloke who always knew better.
“I bet he’s still there in a mile’s time if he don’t turn off.” And he was, we almost lost sight of him briefly, but we caught up at the next traffic lights.
“They’re not really thinking about it, they see these adverts on the telly for new cars where they are all driving on empty roads and they want to get upfront there where the road is empty, only it isn’t, and they catch up with the car in front because they all drive a bit too fast. I drive at the limit, sometimes someone overtakes, but there are not all that many opportunities in the city and I always catch up at the next hold up. If you added it up I reckon it would cost me about two seconds every time someone pulls in front, but they always zoom off, I don’t have to drive just behind them until they are stopped and I catch up, I am the guy that gets the empty road, it is so much more relaxing driving.
“The drivers behind can get eggy sometimes, they don’t see you catch up, only that you are more than two car lengths behind, I have been hooted at and had lights flashed at me for driving at thirty in a thirty limit, stopping for orange traffic lights, and giving way to a bus. Sometimes I consider sending the footage from the dash cam in to the police, but illegal driving of that sort is so much the norm nowadays they might take sides against me.”
Sanctimonious, boring, git. He hasn’t even got a dash cam, and the only reason he sticks to the limit is because he can’t afford a pull. Mind you, it works, he doesn’t get them, or have accidents.
About the author:
The rebel from a family of teachers, Olly had a large variety of jobs. Now seventy three and retired he lives in East Sussex with his second partner. He writes a little poetry, short stories, and has an as yet unfinished novel.
He is the author of ‘A Read For The Train‘, a collection of short stories, flash fiction and verse. ‘A Read For The Train’ could as well be a read for the plane, the bus or the waiting room. This delightful book is available on Lulu. To read more of Oliver Buckle’s work visit his website www.OliverBuckle.com