So I was sat there in a small car park in my camper van (waiting for my pizza to be cooked) in Australia when a average looking mid 50ish man pulled up in his bland silver Toyota.
“That’s quite a vehicle!” He said.
“Certainly is” I replied.
“Did you paint it yourself?”
“No, but it’s been like this about 3 years now”
He then mentioned he best get his cider (there was a bottle shop right next to the pizza place…) and get home to his wife. So off he went and that was that, or so I thought…
A few minutes later and out came the what I thought at the time ‘normal’ man smiled and approached his car, opened it up and turned around looking at me.
‘You know, there used to be a cider brewery across the road over there.’ The man said
‘Really? That’s kinda interesting’ I lied.
‘Yeah, you could walk in and just get the fresh stuff as it was made, a lot better than this’ he said gesturing at his crate.
‘I guess it used local ingredients too?’
‘Absolutely, proper Australian drink, are you an Australian man?’
‘No, I’m from England’ I said in the Queens finest English accent.
‘Ah, OK, I’ve never been, but good man, my Grandparents are English’
‘Yes, most Australians have an English relative or 4 somewhere down the line’.
‘Have you had any problems with the van?’ He asked changing the subject quickly.
‘Apart from the exhaust exploding and starter motor failing it’s been fine’ (this is before the battery also died).
‘You shouldn’t worry, things will work out in the end, I know it’ He said, with a slight glint in his eye.
‘Well there is a point when it’s not worth repairing any more’ I replied, thinking he was still mentioning the Mystery Machine.
‘No I mean in life, all this bad stuff that has happened, 9/11, the war in Afghanistan. I knew it was coming, it’s been documented years ago, but soon we will be blessed with happiness and togetherness within us’. Starting his Jehovah Witness pitch as it were.
‘It’s all here in this book, wait a moment’ He put his cider down and reached in his car for a full colour book of some people looking happy and handed it to me.
‘Hmm’ I replied, now catching on with the fact I’m with some annoying religious person now, not just a friendly Australian chap.
‘Have a look! It’s all there’
So I looked inside and there just seemed to be pictures of people living outside looking happy with fruits.
‘Look see! They are happy, this book is always right, this is what our future will be. There will be plenty of grain and fruit for everyone, we will all be happy, and there will be no wars, and we’ll all be friendly to each other’.
‘I see. And how do you know this is going to happen?’
‘Because it’s good, and good triumphs evil, only good people will survive in the long term’.
‘Right… and when will this happen then?’ I enquired, wishing he would just go away now.
‘Soon. Within the next 100 years anyway, probably not in my lifetime now, but maybe in yours. You just have to be good and obey the rules and you’ll get there’
‘Did someone tell you this 30 years ago too?’
‘Haha, you’re a funny guy, everything you want is there’ He started to detect my sarcasm and scepticism now.
‘So beer is there then?’
‘No, alcohol isn’t there for good people, you have to stop drinking early to make sure you can contribute and help get to this state, it’s not needed for happiness’.
‘You mean, I can’t drink cider now either?’ I said, nodding at his crate of cider he just spent $40 on.
‘Err, yes, that’s not allowed’ he said sheepishly, not expecting me to notice a flaw in this books future prediction and his hypocrisy.
It was at this point I could not take anything he said seriously. I mean, at least practise what you preach when you’re preaching to people.
‘Here’s your book back, I have to collect my pizza now’ I said handing it back.
‘Oh NO! He said louder. That is for you. It is a gift, an example of how we should behave by sharing, make sure you read through it to help us all become happy, and don’t forget to share it with others too’.
‘Are you going to share a bottle of cider as well?’
‘No, I need to get going now, you enjoy the rest of your travels’.
‘Thanks, you enjoy your happy life’ I replied. On that he left in his boring Toyota giving me a wave as he went past.
I waved back and got out to collect my pizza, casually throwing the book in the bin on the way.