Staying In

I think I’d have an excellent career as an agoraphobic. I’ve been thinking about going into it for some time but as with any horizontal career move, I’m waiting for the appropriate moment. I don’t have any formal qualifications but with a history of general obsession/compulsion and of various complex fetishes and phobias, I’m sure I’d make an excellent candidate.

The fact of the matter is that agoraphobia is a growth industry. It’s in the interests of the government and the pharmaceutical giants to keep you off the streets and popping the ho-ho pills. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get some sort of subsidiary for it. Yes. “Benefits,” I think they’re called.

It’s the way forward. Whenever I imagine ‘happiness’ I see myself idly playing the trumpet in the bath, with a fruity-looking cocktail on the side. You couldn’t do that in the outside world, no matter how laizez-fair your office environment.

I bring up this subject because I enjoyed a few days away from work last week. The thought of waiting workload is unappealing but far more unappealing is the idea of ‘going outside’ to get there. Outside is for wasps and weather. Inside is for towels and tobacco.

It’s always amused me when people have said, “Well, at least it gets you out of the house”.

What on Earth are they talking about? They’ll usually say it in response to the declaration that you’ve been at work that day; or at the hairdressers/fishmonger/bottle bank/public library/brothel/hardware store; or some other uninspiring everyday place.

Me: “I’ve just been standing in the street, shaking my lad at the pretty lay-dees”.

The plain people of cyberspace*: “Well, at least it gets you out of the house”.

What’s wrong with these people’s houses?

Why is labouring in an office or a factory better than being at home with your books and your microwave pizzas? Why is shopping at Tesco a higher state of activity than watching television in the warmth of your pajamas?

Those people are weird.

I imagine that being an agoraphobic “in this day and age” is far easier and potentially lucrative than being an agoraphobic in the nineteenth century or even the modern world as it were fifteen years ago.

We have the Internet now after all so we can do our shopping and trading and monitoring of business from our home computers. This isn’t even seen as being eccentric anymore.

You don’t need college or school when you have true, reliable, seldom-biased Wikipedia.

You wouldn’t starve to death. All of your food could be bought via the net and and books or videos or other consumables could be acquired likewise. You could even adopt a circular metabolism by selling the stuff on eBay once done with it. Not your food, obviously, but your books et cetera – the gods of eBay froun upon poopoo being listed for international auction (yet they encourage the listing of Dan Brown novels – there is no consistency in this world).

Imagine if everyone was agorobobic. Our carbon footprint would be smaller for one thing. I imagine the fashion supplement of the newspaper would be less interested in designer duffle-coats and would give promience to the latest pyjama and dressing-gown combinations. The showbiz pages would feature the latest photographs of celebrity stay-at-homes with oversized beards and kleenex boxes upon their feet. The new sports would be origami, sex and chess. The new motoring supplement would focus exclusively upon model railways and Scalextrick.

There would have to be a brave few who would deliver the mail and keep the electricity flowing and the crops in production. In fact the more I think about it, the more I recognise the importance of “non-agros” to my vision – or “Norms” or “Mundies”, if you will. Heck, let’s not beat about the bush. We shall call them “Morlocks”. Only the bin men can take our smelly garbage to an appropriate resting place far, far away.

OK – the agorophobes would have to be a new social class. We would sit at the top of the class system, god-like monarchs who stay at home, pushing our money around electronically and nodding approvingly from afar. Noble, we at once the the consumer market, the royal family and the government.

Me (Calling down to the quiet street from a high window): You there! There’s been no mail delivery and my pants must be sent to the laundrette post-haste! What day is this?

Bin man: Why, its Christmas day, mistah.

Ah, so easily we lost track. Our pipes and slippers seemed the heith of it all but at what cost, dear reader, at what cost?

< size="1">*The plain people of cyberspace. This is a reference to the excellent Myles Na Gopaleen – a humourist whose works I am developing an obsession with, largely thanks to . In his newspaper columns he will frequently publish imagined conversations between himself and ‘The plain people of Ireland’. I might continue to rip him off… um… homage him in this way for a while.

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