Nobody likes to trip. Tripping is bad. Tripping is the last thing a person would want, in fact. An average person, asked if they would like a trip would likely screw up their face in that incredulous way all would recognise and say in a shrill voice, 'Trip? Why on earth would I want a trip?' Or something like that. Anyway, suffice it to say they wouldn't want one - not at the time of asking, not in the future, not ever.
Seychelles, anyone? Costa Rica (just think about all that not-yet-ravaged rain-forest)? Lillehammer, (ditto skiing), sun, sea and sangria? Or maybe a psychedelic excursion, chemical enhancement, an out-of-body trip to higher states of consciousness. There are trips for every taste, for every predilection. Spiritual, cosmic (if you can afford the fare), transcendental, guided, solitary, hermetic, sexual. The possibilities are infinite. Well, almost
Of course, a trip to some place of your heart's content, perhaps surrounded by magnificent vistas or dusky maidens, might be your thing. And if chemical tripping does it for you, who knows? Maybe in this world where nobody is to be denied anything and all desires must be fulfilled, it may already be possible to combine the two. An ideal solution for those scared of flying. In fact, there must be an airline marketing opportunity just waiting in the wings. Get High While You Fly? Hmmm. Possibly. Most things catch on.
But a person of a certain age isn't interested in any of this. A person for whom the world is an affront and a danger would recognise the worst kind of trip. The bad trip. Not the kind obtained by way of dodgy pharmaceuticals, though - although it can only be imagined how bad that trip would be. No. The absolute nadir of tripping has to be the one alluded to way back at the start of this cumbersome examination. The one we all fear. The one for which the phrase 'trip-hazard' was invented. The unexpected, sudden, without warning and often totally inexplicable and heart-pounding kind, when balance becomes imbalance. Upright one moment, strolling along, enjoying the sound of the birds, the sun, the cool breeze, arm-in-arm with a loved one. The next, the terrifying lurch forward towards, what? Oblivion, perhaps. Extinction. A trip of death, maybe. Who can anticipate or predict the outcome? Swallowed up by a black hole, into which the unwary or the infirm can and do plunge, never to return. A dance with the devil.
I dramatise. With sobs and sighs, possibly, as in Shakespeare. Only because, as with the bard and his often dark events, a trip can be a tragedy. Not only a fall from one's feet, to the unforgiving concrete, but a fall from the mortal coil of existence. Call it scaremongering, call it pessimism, or the mindless ramblings of a neurotic. Whatever suits your view or your criticism. I imagine the worst case scenario/apocalyptic/tragic/ approach to be a kind of comfort. Expect doom and anything even slightly better is a cause for celebration. Call it pessimistic fatalism, for want of something better.
Never fear. A trip is more likely to have no such deadly outcome. The commonality of the thing proves the point. Walk along any high street at any time of night or day and you will see them. The trippers. Admittedly, some will be day-trippers. But alright, let's not mangle the meanings any longer. Let's let the definition be set in stone, if needs must. Trippers, tripping. Some drunk, lurching out of doorways, weaving towards inevitable collapse. Some just plain unlucky, or not taking care where they place their feet. Slippers, staggerers, tottering, twirling, falling like stringless marionettes. And there is even fun to be had as an observer, although it shames the intellect to admit such guilty pleasure. Needless to say, it is only funny if it happens to someone else. Schadenfreude. No-one is immune to it's thrill. A snigger can get a person through their dull day.
So, trips. They are related to puddles in their mindless malevolence. They await their opportunity to catch us off-guard. They strike without warning. They don't care whether you deserve their malice. Discrimination is not their thing. Your next trip may be your first or your last. Let me ask you. When you trip, where do you want to go?
A place of endless wonder without dragons. The home of the dodgy dialectic. A sanctuary for the frustrated and the terminally curious. Where debate meets damnation and humour lurks to surprise the unwary. From critical acclaim to diatribe. Don't be scared - come along for the ride.