Tim Key: There's all this talk about living in the moment, but just look where it gets you...

 

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The Independent Online

I'm sat in my kitchen looking at a bag of rice. It's a large bag, and inside, hidden deep, deep among the brown grains, is my mobile phone. I'm hoping that the rice will draw out the moisture and it will start working again. Occasionally I tut or curse or slap my palm against my forehead. I blame myself for my sodden phone. It's sodden because I walked through a fountain last night.

You hear a lot these days about "living life in the moment". People talk about throwing off the shackles of modern life; doing something impulsive, feeling young again. And I can really see the sense in it. There's so much tawdry stuff floating about these days; everyone's always in a rush, or glued to their tablets, or worrying about the war or fads or boxsets. It's important to seize the day from time to time, just in order to feel alive for once! As a columnist, sitting on my swivel chair nine hours a day, I can see the sense in throwing caution to the wind and going mad once in a while.

But I must say, I do regret walking through the fountain.

There were about eight of us and we'd just been drinking on a roof terrace. Now we were walking on London's South Bank, and there, in front of us, was a fountain. It was an upwards one, where the water flies out of the ground, and I'd spotted it earlier on my way to the drinking roof. Children had been playing in it, laughing, splashing about – actually living life – and I'd applauded their spirit. And now here I was, on its threshold. The sun had gone in, sure, and there was no laughter in the air now. But I had my own merry gang by my side. It was time, I thought, for some adults to go mental.

I imagined charging in, en masse, splashing about like kids. In my head it would be a real highlight. Something to live long in the memory. I entered the fountain.

The first thing I noticed in there was the sheer quantity of water. I was drenched immediately. From outside it had looked magical. Inside, the water felt thick. The second thing I noticed was that it was chilly. And the third, and probably most demoralising thing I noticed, was that no one else came into the fountain.

Here is a list of the traitors who didn't step into the fountain: Sam Edwards, The Ptaszinski Sisters, Anne, CDG and another man.

I later asked them why they didn't come in – I was quite animated actually, excited to get an answer. They felt that it wouldn't be very nice in the fountain, and they didn't want to be wet for the curry. I hadn't really thought that far ahead, but as I squelched away from the fountain, it also struck me that I didn't want to be wet for the curry. But it was too late for that. Pretty much the main thing that I would be for the curry, was wet.

I cut a reasonably dejected figure in the curry house. My cuffs licked the poppadoms and fountain-water dripped from my nose and splashed into my lamb pasanda. Sat among my dry friends, I tried to remain positive about the fountain incident. I remembered other times when I had acted on impulse, where it had more or less been a success. I once snuck into a football ground at night and that had worked out. And, when I was 10, I remember me and my mates sleeping in a bivouac in the woods and waking up at five to go looking for deer and rabbits. That's one of my best memories.

But I deeply regret not having a bit of a think before walking into the fountain last night.

And now I'm staring at my rice.

The grains are doing their best to haul moisture out of my phone. My soaking-wet jeans are dangling from a door handle. I simply don't have enough rice to dry them. It's all very disappointing. I need to think before I act.

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