So I'm busy today, copying files over to my new laptop from the one my wife and I used to share. I'm doing this because we're getting divorced. It's all very amicable but it's still kind of depressing. I'm copying over our photos: JPEG after JPEG charting the path by which it's came to this. Photos on our honeymoon, in which my wife is smiling, happy and full of love; photos from our last holiday together, when the love was still there, but visibly fighting on her face with a strong sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. The unhappiness of someone who knows what she'll have to say; but can't bring herself to say it just quite yet.
There's a knock at the door.
Probably the kids from down the street: they'll have lost their football in our garden again. This wouldn't happen if they played on the huge field behind the estate; but obviously this would entail them going beyond the tiny radius their parents have designated as a safe zone. I hope it's them anyway; rather have to kick a ball back over the wall, even with a knackered ankle, than explain to my neighbours that no, I'm not lending them any more money until they bloody pay me back...
But it's neither the kids nor the neighbours. It's a pair of women, smartly-dressed, carrying a leaflet. Religious nuts.
'Hello,' says one of them. 'Do you ever think about people who've lost loved ones?'
Does no-one ever ask if you want to talk about Jesus anymore? Obviously experience has led them to the conclusion that the trick is to approach the problem obliquely. Well, bollocks to that.
'I'm an atheist,' I tell them. I'm not actually, but I want to close down this discussion quick.
'That's alright, people have all kinds of beliefs,' the other woman says, in a patronising tone of voice, before the other one breaks in. 'But if you think about people who've lost loved ones...'
'What I think, ma'am, is that trying to foist your unsupportable beliefs on people by using their genuine grief over their lost loved ones is both intellectually dishonest and morally cowardly.'
Silence. These people hate it when you tell them off in an articulate manner, instead of just telling them to fuck off. But then...
'Alright, but when you think about people who've lost - '
What a feckin' cheek! I've just accused this woman of intellectual dishonesty and moral cowardice and she still keeps up her bloody spiel!
'Look,' I say, 'I'd like you to go away now, please.' And then, before they could respond, I, for the first time in my life, had to actually slam a door in someone's face.
Bloody religious nuts.