Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Ennui Away

Tide takes tedius times thither
  (+15, -3)(+15, -3)
(+15, -3)
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Every day the same routine. Every single day. An endless cycle of eat, commute, work, eat, work, commute, eat, sleep. It’s enough to bring anyone to the brink of despair, and it certainly was enough for old Jimmy McTavish on the 31st March last year.

It was a typical winter’s morning: the air was sodden with morning dew; the sun had barely tipped a tentative toe above the horizon and, with visibility at a mere six feet, the day was miserable. And so was Jimmy. He was retted and he stank. And, worst of all, he knew it. The humidity had brought a year of stale sweat, old smoke and mothballs to the fabric of his woollen trench coat and every time he dared twitch a limb, the foulest odour would waft free from the surface of the material and would fill his nostrils with its acrid smell. Like most days, and to ease his embarrassment, Jimmy spent the entire journey in the corner of the bicycle carriage. Unlike the huddled crowds in the seated cars, the featureless wooden compartment was shared only with a dozen or so individuals. Their dress – a medley of bright, nylon cycling shorts and shirts – was preferable to a ride amongst the professionals even though he, himself, was suited and booted.

Within five minutes boredom had overtaken his psyche. Catching headlines from his companions’ newspapers did little to help and he skirted his eyes endlessly around the carriage seeking something with which to entertain his thoughts. But there was nothing. As he resigned to counting the hairs upon his neighbour’s neck, there was an almighty bang! Every head in the carriage swung around to its source, eyeballs bulging with fear and anticipation of what would await them.

At the end of the carriage, the door hung from its hinges, wood splinters stuck forth from the torn ply and shattered glass littered the floorboards. In the door well, stood a band of five men clad in white shirts, jet-black trousers and wearing a peculiar length of red ribbon which flowed across their shoulders at either side of their necks, crossed at the chest at a large round badge and passed back again behind their backs at the waist. Upon their heads were straw hats, adorned with red flowers and sprinkling of smaller badges. The trousers, stopping shy of the ankle, were decorated at their hems with pieces of coloured ribbon and hung with small brass bells, whilst long white socks completed the outfit. Each and every individual suffered from an overhang of abdomen at the front of their trousers which further seasoned the image.

After a pause of some five seconds, the band let out a short shriek, pulled large cotton handkerchiefs from their pockets and burst forth into a gay Morris dance, made all the more difficult by the passengers and the placement of their cycles and baggage. During the three minute episode, irate passengers were frequently knocked aside by the caping dancers. Cycle wheels became crushed and disfigured by the dancers’ heavy hops and eventually the merry dancing broke into a scuffle. Jimmy watched in bewilderment as the scene unfolded before him.

A moment later, the group of men had scurried from the carriage, the passengers still shouting and cursing after them. As they fled Jimmy watched a flash of white fall through the air and settle amongst the grime upon the floorboards. Picking up the card he read aloud, but to himself, the words that were printed in script upon its surface: “Alan Castle and Co. – Monotony Disruption Services” and below in a smaller, serif font, “Randomness guaranteed – satisfaction assured.”

oniony, Aug 10 2005

Just what the doctor ordered http://www.improveverywhere.com/
They cause scenes. [RayfordSteele, Aug 12 2005]

See [n o b a]'s anno Brief_20Respite_20From_20Reality
[oxen crossing, Aug 23 2005]

[link]






       Hey oniony welcome back! Whatever happened? The day frightvert disappeared was a sad day I have to say.
fridge duck, Aug 10 2005
  

       lovely writing-not sure how to vote. the invention is not a new thing. sounds like a Steve Martin sketch from old SNL days.
dentworth, Aug 10 2005
  

       I too re-welcome [oniony]. A randomness flashmob of sorts is it? Very nice. [+].   

       Also, this may be slightly creepy, but you may be interested to know that you were brought up in the Halfbakery Graveyard idea.
hidden truths, Aug 11 2005
  

       I love it.
zen_tom, Aug 11 2005
  

       How did it go .."Onions"!
skinflaps, Aug 11 2005
  

       Guerilla morris dancing? Bun!
Slightly OT, the title reminded me of an AOL CD I got many years ago, promising the delights of the World Wide Web. The password? "Ennui matrix".
Suit yourself. It made me smile.
coprocephalous, Aug 11 2005
  

       Bike wheels are expensive. If someone danced on mine, I would disrupt more than their monotony...   

       Also, Bicycle Carriage? That's a fantastic idea! The only place I ever commuted on a train (Houston's craptacular "MetroRail") they had no such thing.
GutPunchLullabies, Aug 11 2005
  

       Thanks for the welcome back, guys. I'll try not to delete my account this time :).   

       The old slam-door trains in the UK often have a compartment where people stow their bikes. I doubt they were created for that purpose but that's pretty much all they're used for now.   

       And I think you're right [dentworth] and [hidden truths], it is suspiciously similar to flash mobbing.
oniony, Aug 11 2005
  

       Welcome back [oniony]! A respectful suggestion, if I may, change the chap's name from "Alan Castle" to something like "Max N. Tropy". Good to see you again :)
DocBrown, Aug 11 2005
  

       I held my breath. I was expecting a mutant ninja Mariachi band, but I suppose I'd be just as happy they soon enough ran away.
reensure, Aug 11 2005
  

       this is great. I actually came back to read it twice, just to see if it would be as funny the second time...it was. :) thanks [oniony] it's good to have you around.
babyhawk, Aug 12 2005
  

       Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch about "Confuse-A-Cat Ltd." in which a similar company would come to your house and confuse your overly-bored cat.
discontinuuity, Aug 12 2005
  

       I knew I saw this somewhere. See [not only but also]'s annotation on the roving band of actors, on this brilliant idea, linked.
oxen crossing, Aug 23 2005
  

       <Sung as Noel Coward>
When I'm out on a quiet spree
Fighting vainly the old ennui
And I suddenly turn and see...
  

       A group of rogue "Schuhplattler" dancers wearing Lederhosen and strange socks with the middle bit bitten out, hopping up and down, slapping themselves, each other and anyone else who gets too close rhythmically and letting out the odd "Yaahooo hooo" yodel.   

       How did I miss this? Niceynice
squeak, Aug 23 2005
  
      
[annotate]
  


 

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