I’m in pain, folks. Serious pain. Physical, emotional, mental… you name it, I’m feeling it.
Boo hoo, you might say. Stop your whinging, James. Dry your eyes. Everyone’s life is tough at times, so suck it up.
But seriously. Hold your horses. Listen. Let me ask you: how many of you spend your days with the frozen body of a dead turkey?
Yes, you heard me. A dead turkey. At the moment I seem to spend more time in the company of frozen poultry than with living, breathing humans.
Here follows a rundown of an average day in the current life of James:
1. Get up. The time changes on a day to day basis, and could be anything from 4 to 10am.
2. Get washed and dressed. Beautify myself in the mirror. I try to make the best of what God gave me.
4. Go into kitchen. Quickly eat the nearest thing to hand. I try not to think too much about the importance of a nutritional and healthy breakfast.
5. Remove turkey from fridge. Carefully place it into a bucket and pack the body with ice.
6. Leave house. Obsessively check pockets for keys, wallet, mobile phone etc.
7. Return to front door to make sure that I locked it.
8. Get into car. Set bucket on passenger seat, and wrap seatbelt around it.
9. Switch on Sat Nav and start driving to destination. This could be anything from one hour to five hours away. That’s fine though – I have the new Girls Aloud album to keep me company. “I don’t speak French so I let the funky music do the talking, talking” etc.
10. Drive, drive, drive. While I meander up the long ribbons of the lonely, endless M40 I find that my mind wanders onto the most random of subjects. I think about what might happen if I was stopped by the police: “Do you have a licence for this turkey, sir?” the officer would say, tapping the bucket with his truncheon. Or I remember a road safety advert that used to be shown on Northern Irish television in which I was informed that a passenger not wearing a seatbelt during a car crash hits the window with the weight and force of a baby elephant. I try to deduce if this would be the same velocity for a turkey in a bucket.
11. Driving. Traffic jams. Driving. Traffic jams.
12. I discover that it’s impossible to play ‘I Spy’ with yourself.
13. Call into Tesco. Shop for demonstration, buy yet more petrol.
14. Arrive at destination. I spend the morning or afternoon or evening in a cook shop or similar institution demonstrating to housewives how to perfectly cook their Christmas turkey in an Aga or Rayburn.
15. Demo done, I drive home again (anytime from 5pm – 2am). I quite miss my turkey. The car seems oddly quiet without him / her? How does one know what it is?
So, as I said in the first line of this snarky post, I’m in pain. I need relief. There’s only so much Driving Miss Turkey a man can take. Never mind the freezer burns from lifting the bird in and out of the fridge, there’s the residual bum numbness from sitting down in the car for long stretches.
Perhaps I am mad. I’m 30, I know more about what’s on the shelves in the average supermarket than most chaps my age. I know that Tesco’s own brand cranberries are a better size than Sainsbury’s own brand. And right now its 6am on Saturday morning and I’m drafting this on a flight from Belfast to Birmingham.
As it turns out, a colleague of mine is an expert in pain. No, he’s not a world wrestler – he’s a doctor of pain medicine. He diagnoses conditions, prescribes novocaine, that sort of thing.
Whilst talking to him recently, I was very tempted to ask what he would recommend for a man in my position. I doubt that he would have taken me seriously, but it would have been interesting to find out. Forget the candy canes, give me some novocaine!
The reason I do all of this, since you’re asking, is not because I’m mad (some may argue) because I have to. In the run-up to Christmas, my work largely involves doing cooker demonstrations up, down and across the country. I do this both to make an honest wage but also to generate buzz about my little business, Whisk. This year, I can also use this as an opportunity to gladhand the audiences and promote a selection of my cookbooks mix. and dinner.
If I don’t do this, if I don’t behave so shamelessly, then there’s the danger that my business will fade and wither and eventually pop its little clogs. To paraphrase Woody Allen in Annie Hall, “A business is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies.”
Well, folks, I’m sorry to say it, but the last thing I want on my hands is a dead shark. It’s bad enough having a dead turkey.
So, if you see me zipping along the motorway, singing along with Girls Aloud or talking to a bucket, give me a wave.
And while you’re at it, give a wave to my companion too!
2 weeks of turkeys to go. Phew.