Part 125: Piglets Sucking Limes

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As a small child I was difficult to please. On my birthdays, gifted with a Polly Pocket, My Little Pony or a Sylvanian Frog Family, my excitement would wear off quickly as I noticed the inevitable flaws; a nick in the plastic, say, or minuscule, dark dot of uncertain matter, nestling in the joint between head and neck. My initial elation would give way to disappointment, melodramatic displays of frustration and the eventual discarding of longed-for objects inside a big red box. Because, once you looked closely, the things you really wanted almost always turned out to be crap.

I’d like to think I’ve grown out of this unattractive character trait – which boils down to wanting perfection, wanting exactly what I picture in my mind’s eye, even when I know it cannot exist – but I’m often accused of ‘expecting too much’, mainly by my mother (who is not a Buddhist – she’s too pragmatic and sharp around the edges to appropriate complex Eastern beliefs for her own comfort – but who does, nonetheless, lead the kind of honest, selfless, life without expectation that Siddhartha Gautama would have approved of). And then, a couple of weeks ago, I did the impossible. I expected too much of the internet.

It was a grey Tuesday evening in what had already been a long week. The rain was flying sideways in angry lines, smashing against the window of my Leeds flat, which, due to condensation problems, was mouldering in its frame. A baby was crying. Impending unemployment loomed like the solid, gunmetal clouds outside. There was a thick, heady, grassy odour coming from the stairwell – which could only mean that them downstairs had skunk-smoking company, who they had evicted to the public quarters of the building, so as to cause maximum irritation to the neighbours (i.e. me). I needed cheering up – and, in the absence of a lover with whom to engage in physical distractions, I turned to the internet for emotional support.

That is: I did what any 30-year-old professional would do in the throes of a mid-week funk. I used my iPhone to google ‘fluffy baby kittens’, and ‘dogs in hats’ and ‘tiny giraffes falling over’. It felt good – as looking at animals on the on the internet does – like the first sip of very sweet hot chocolate. And the hardness in my heart softened a bit, and I smiled and screen-grabbed the cutest kitten, so I could look at it again, without the aid of google, when times got hard.

But I soon grew bored of infant cats, and sausage dogs in Santa hats, and tiny baby giraffes with goofy, trusting faces. The cuteness was too predictable, and it made me weary. I wanted a different adorability buzz. What I wanted to see, I decided, was a little piglet – you know, those fat ones with mottled skin, covered in translucent white fluff – wincing, its snout pulled back at the sour shock, as it sucked on a lime. ‘Gah!’ I thought, as I clung to the precise appeal of that image as it appeared in my mind’s eye. ‘A piglet sucking on limes would be the cutest thing ever, and I need a picture of one in front of my face right now.’

It saddens me to tell you that google does not have any images of piglets sucking limes. At least, not on the first twenty pages of the search that I carried out, that lonely Tuesday in April.

I texted my friend David in alarm. ‘I need to see piglets sucking limes’, I typed at him, ‘and google doesn’t have them.’

His reply: ‘What? Babe, are you ok? That’s not even a thing.’

I had exhausted the internet.

I do expect too much. That’s why I’m alone at 30 and constantly rejecting blokes on Tinder because they’re called Gareth.

This whole sorry story serves as an important, watershed lesson. What you want will either not exist, or will be flawed to the point of crapness by the time you get it. Learning how to deal with this reality is an important life skill.

But let us look on the bright side. The next person googling ‘piglets sucking limes’ will find this blog. And they’ll know that they’re not alone, on this harsh, indifferent planet.

Darling, you’re welcome.

*The obvious picture with which to decorate this post doesn’t exist. So I’ve used ‘Cute Kitten’ by artemisphoto at freedigitalphotos.net

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