Friday, August 20, 2010

Heaven and Hell

Berkley Lake is an extremely nice place. Sunshine, swimming pool and all we could possibly wish for. Even the wireless provider I'm connected to is named Holiday Dream. But just 400 yards away is an experience as near to Hell as its possible to achieve on earth. Its preparation for what awaits those who, in their lives, have done too many of the things that they should not have done - and who in due course will be barred from passage through the Pearly Gates. Worse than that time at Twickenham, sitting amongst tribal Englishmen, when Wales were stuffed out of sight to the sound of triumphant loudspeaker music. Even worse than being forced to listen to an unabridged omnibus of all of Gordon Brown's budget speeches. Yes, just 400 yards away is the Kissimmee Walmart hypermarket.

Made the mistake of accompanying Mrs D there yesterday on a shopping expedition. After a while I began to feel lost. A bit what it must be like to find oneself alone in a desert. I needed a rest, and said I'd meet her in the coffee area. The Kissimmee Walmart is so huge that there is not a word in the English language that does it justice. Almost as big as one of National Grid's 400kv substations (which for those that don't know is about 13 football pitches). OK, so I'm not great at supermarkets, finding the Welshpool Morrison's a testing experience. But Walmart is something else. Its like being lost in Tokyo (which I've been). Whatever, I eventually found my way to the coffee area, where everyone there was grossly fat. Too many cookies I thought. I ate three myself. Only ordered one, but I was given three, which I suppose is how everyone became so fat.

This relationship between Heaven and Hell reminds me of an old fable. A soul arrives at the Pearly Gates and is asked to which he seeks entry. He asks what's the difference, and is offered a day trip to each place before making his decision. In Hell he finds an unlimited supply of beautiful women, glorious sunshine, beutiful music, the best wines and more indulgences than are available at Walmart. In Heaven he finds a gentle quietness, no alcohol, harp music (which he'd never liked) and no excess. So he chooses Hell. But on his return he finds hideous women, garbage to eat, non stop Cliff Richard background music and only filthy water to drink. It seems that on his exploratory visit, he was treated as a tourist, but on moving in he was treated as an immigrant. Never trust first impressions.

No comments: