She had to go outside. Indoors she felt the entire day roll up behind her like a scroll and ahead there lay only more of the same, only in the dark. The hangover was hard earned, the headache well deserved. Punishment was what she needed. Whatever was left of the sunlight was going to hit her, and now. Sitting in an electric blue fold up chair from Tesco (a gift from a friend a few years ago, she never went there herself), she wished she was wearing fewer clothes. Wait - a breeze - now she wasn’t. Then the breeze stopped, so she was once more. No - After a few seconds of vacillation she decided that it would be easier to accept that only the decent parts of her wobbly body would get the full benefit of the sun. It was so low now that soon she’d be looking for a cardi anyway, and since that entailed movement and activity, it simply didn’t bear contemplation.
On the grass (and here one stipulates grass, not lawn, as the description of this scrubby patch as anything such would be immoral) to her right sat a large glass of disgusting white wine. It was made even less appealing by the certain knowledge that she would indeed drink it in its entirety, grimacing at every mouthful if need be in order to assert to herself that whilst she may be imbibing a substandard product (wine product - they actually have that in the States, not over here though, how very vile!), she was at least aware of the fact and could proceed with the warming knowledge of her high level of discernment. This made her feel superior, not withstanding the inferiority of the libation. How many unfortunates would sip unawares! Not she. No such bliss for the informed.
The unromantic reality of the situation could easily be subsumed by the larger concept of “sitting in the garden with a glass of wine”, so weighed in the balance, the fulfillment of an act which largely matches the concept is weightier than the alternative of doing nothing, and merely contemplating the concept. This, she mused, would also account for the tolerance of years of bad sex. But in this she did digress. The garden was a mess. Her mother would hate her. The garden could wait. Her mother would find something else to hate her for.
That she should willfully persist in the act of drinking an unpleasant substance should direct any observer’s attention to the possibility that this woman may simply be indolent, too lazy to take the merest action to rectify her situation. She noted that any observer, however inattentive, would not need much more than a cursory glance at her surroundings to conclude that indolence may well be one of her attributes. “Allow me,” she would say at this point, “to rise to my defense and posit an alternative view; my apparently misguided persistence points to my far more admirable personal traits of humility and empathy. For who am I to insist on anything finer than that which I have; and surely any who find themselves in a position of lack would view with complete disdain a woman who, although not wealthy herself, would discard a perfectly potable beverage on the basis of arguably shallow perceptions of quality. Why, would not a stock maternal figure appear within the majority of minds, urging us to think of the starving Africans who would be glad to have our surplus, and compelling us therefore to knock that alcohol back?”
At this point she became overcome with loathing and a wish to slap herself for using the very real plight of starving refugees to construct some jocular turn of phrase for her own amusement. Thereafter, by a wave of bilious nausea. Having become so disgusted by her own overestimation of her meagre wit, she had no choice but to drink the remainder of the offensive wine as penance. Her guilt grew still more as she was forced to acknowledge that the self-inflicted punishment was no more than the action she would have otherwise taken; her only option to assuage the guilt was to remove any trace of pleasure in the act and attack the basis of her sense of superiority: to make herself thoroughly enjoy that nasty wine.
Having realised that the shadow of the house had encroached as far as her radiantly white right leg, she moved to the one-metre-square patch of sunlight left remaining on the scrub, leaving the now empty glass out of reach. At least it could no longer haunt her with reminders of her own selfish nature (she really was sorry about the Somalian refugees) and the mingled memories of bad sex and bad wine, and most tragically, both at the same time.
She started to wonder if some quantity of a thing, albeit of low quality, could be better than none of that thing at all. Of course, large amounts of that high-quality version of that hypothetical thing do not exist for most of us. It didn’t exist for her at least. Is it due to whether the item is a luxury or a staple? The starving Somalis (sorry) need water, but dirty water can kill just the same as having none can, though in different ways. So was her wine a luxury or a staple, and is bad but regular sex better than none at all? (She made a note to slap herself later.)
Obviously, she wouldn’t die without the wine, although she didn’t particularly want to attempt an experiment. As for the other… well, she suppose she was still alive. But if those were non-essential items - and of this non-essentiality she was still not entirely convinced, but she had committed to hearing her hypothesis out - then surely quality is an arbitrary value assigned in the individual instance.
Therefore there could be no such thing as bad wine, neither bad sex; merely different types or experiences thereof. Consequently, in order to further disprove the inference of laziness to her person, to salvage any claims to piety and prove the gratitude for the circumstances of her life which allowed her to sit haughtily in a free folding chair from Tesco in a half metre square of sunlight within a dismal garden in rural England (instead of trekking across the Kenyan border), she had no choice but to immediately pour herself another glass of disgusting wine. For as disgusting, disappointing or merely different it was, it was almost within reach.