Paper and Pencil

In my local pub, the march of progress continues its pitiful, pointless pace.

Rather than subject oneself to the iniquity of walking up to the bar and telling a warm-blooded creature you’d like a pint of Doom Bar and a Jameson’s, one can now reject such outmoded nonsense.

You can now shuffle through the pub doors, plant yourself in a quiet corner, pull out your smartphone, and order all and sundry through the app. Just a few taps of the thumb and the grog arrives at one’s table. Not a word uttered.

Of course, we are not that advanced. A human being still draws the pint. A human being still puts too much ice in the Jameson’s. A human being still waddles over to one’s table. A human being still offers what some dignify as small talk. ‘Raining out?’ No, mate. There’s another reason I am sitting here soaked through to my boxer shorts. You see, I shower in my clothes. Such ingenuity saves on detergent. Inflation! And, of course, I’m utterly mental. But you knew that.

Sadly, human beings with preciously pink lungs still populate the pub. No smoking. Studies have shown, you see, that smoking isn’t too good for you. And that ‘second-hand smoke’ is the vilest concoction since Agent Orange. Studies with more holes than a sieve ponced that little pleasure. It’s been 15 years. I’m not bitter. I digress.

Apparently, all this technology is evidence of the unrelenting advancement of enlightened beings. For decades, you see, ordering a pint at a bar was an exercise of the Socratic method, impregnable to all but shamans and savants.

Has shunting human interactions behind a screen saved us from the horrible inclemency of life? . . . 


Read the rest at Christopher Gage’s Substack, Oxford Sour. And please subscribe.

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About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist and a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Swig. Subscribe to his Substack, "Oxford Sour."

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