It’s Monday. I am scuttling alongside the Thames in the traditional “worry walk” that makes me look as though I am inside a corridor made for tiny people. I am holding a cardboard cup of tea that is slopping out and covering my hand like a burning tannin glove.
And it’s all going wrong, and I am LATE. It doesn’t matter what I am late for. The client wants to invest everything in a new kind of unicycle, or the seven hundred eggs specially ordered for an Easter display have hatched in the factory and are even now running riot and eating the workers. My inbox is full. The phone is ringing. There are places that I was supposed to be half an hour ago and maybe, just maybe if I get there in half the time it is going to take me to cross the distance, I might avert disaster (the end of the world, the company, the commission, my job).
And then I round a corner past the Southbank Centre and see it. A giant inflatable bouncy castle. On closer inspection I can see that it is a bridge. The largest inflatable bridge ever built.
Up and Go have been promoting their new breakfast drink in style this last week, by bringing the Sydney Opera house, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge to London and inflating them on the lawn.
People are racing, pell mell into a giant inflatable obstacle course. They are jumping through inflatable holes and climbing slopes. They are sprinting along the top of the bridge and leaping from the edge into a pit of inflated and satisfied alligators. It looks like fun. It is.
So the question is; do I have time for this?
My phone is buzzing again. It sounds angry. Respectable adults with grown up phones (still buzzing) and sober work shoes do not veer off course in order to dash wildly through a bouncy castle.
But can I justify, or maintain a lifestyle that doesn’t allow me to be silly?
Does being “an adult” mean that I can never dive into a ball pit again?
I stop, queue for ten minutes and run the inflatable obstacle course. My score was passable; I wasn’t anywhere near the fastest, but I had the kind of fun that you can only have when you are doing something as ludicrous and pointless as launching yourself through an inflatable barrier reef.
Daily life is only sustainable if you are spending a proportion of each day, however small, engaging with the world in a way that is fun, and only fun (not character building or lucrative). So I pass the inflatable obstacle course test (there is always time for this), and lose a few adult points. But I suspect that adult points are like loose change; collecting too much can slow you down.