The Art of Doing Nothing
Anthony remained true to himself, despite the pressure he was under from friends. Their problem was that they didn’t understand him. They saw him as someone who was refusing to conform just to be bloody minded. But he knew that deep down they were jealous. At the age of 33, Anthony had mastered the art of doing nothing, if they gave out degrees for this, he definitely would have received a first and then probably gone on to do a Masters followed by a PhD.
Instead of just accepting his talents, his friends were constantly trying to persuade him to get a ‘proper’ job, get married, have kids, saddle himself with a mortgage, buy into a good pension scheme and plan for retirement.
Anthony sat in the pub and looked across the table at his three best friends. Jimmy looked exhausted. He had been the last to arrive saying he couldn’t stay long. Jimmy was a teacher. He was late because it had been parents evening and, as he kept on telling them, he still had 35 maths’ books to mark and tomorrow’s lessons to plan. On top of that the new baby was teething and neither he nor his wife were getting much sleep. Here was someone with a good job and a great pension scheme, thought Anthony, but would he live long enough to benefit from it?
Next to Jimmy sat Kevin. He looked much more relaxed but Anthony knew that was just a charade. Kevin was one of those people who did something in the City. Nobody knew just what but he earned shed loads of money. He had a fantastic Porsche in the garage and a stunning girlfriend, with legs up to her armpits, waiting for him in their posh flat, unfortunately the hours he worked and the stress he was under, meant that he was never in a position to enjoy either.
Finally there was Andy, a one time kindred spirit. Andy had been like himself, flying in the face of conformity, trying to master the art of doing nothing. Then he met Lucy and she was a homemaker, Andy didn’t stand a chance. They had been married for just over a year now and Andy was working in the local supermarket. Tonight he’d abandoned his pint of bitter for a glass of fresh orange, confiding in the group that Lucy wanted a baby and had worked out when was the best time to conceive. He had strict instructions that he had to be home by nine and under no circumstances was he to drink. Apparently tonight was the night! But to look at him, you would think he was under a threat rather than on a promise.
After each of his friends had left the pub, Anthony checked his pockets. He had just enough of his dole money left to buy half a pint, then a bag of fish and chips for his tea, before the lonely walk back to his dreary, one-bed flat.