There is an old Chinese proverb which goes like this: ‘If you stand on the bridge long enough, the body of your enemy will float by … ‘. Good to know. I’m on that bridge and, believe me, I’ve got staying power! Meanwhile, back to my voodoo doll …
Positivity aside, I am acutely aware – following the Court of Session incident when one of my posts was handed to the Judge – that certain people follow my musings. Afforded a voice, therefore … Those without a moral compass are to be despised. The narcissist driven by self-entitlement untethered by parental responsibilities, intent on nothing more than a hedonistic lifestyle. Why? To dull the pain. Denial, however, is nobody’s friend and, ultimately, the road to ruin. A clear conscience, on the other hand, is a gift earned as is the respect of one’s children who, like elephants, will never forget.
Anyone for Brexit? Perhaps not. We’ll leave that to Halloween and the ghouls. No costume required … Even Question Time has given up the ghost with the endless repetition killing the ratings, no doubt. Anyway, starting to ramble. Not a good week. Someone has pressed ‘accelerate’ on the treadmill of life and my multi-tasking skills have been sorely stretched. Roddie and his wonderful eccentricity are disappearing into the distance as stark reality seems unavoidable. Removal and storage. Aside from the dreaded care home, storage must be one of the most lucrative ventures; the modern-day piranha feeding on those refusing to bow to minimalism. Cherishing momentoes of the past – the tangible stepping stones which have shaped one’s life – costs but, then, doesn’t everything worth having? So it is that Wilbur’s old bed and his treasured toys shall, unashamedly, accompany us wherever we go. Us? I guess home will always be where the heart is …
Well, I have storage units coming out of my ears, a date for departure and no fixed abode, as yet. Having packed everything a million times in my head, the clutter continues to grow as Becca and Manny circle the globe content that it will only take a few days to pack up twenty-six years. It will all fall into place … Yes, Pop, I’m counting on that! Requiring of every ounce of inner strength, I am thankful, now, for that inner feisty four year-old girl who moved her chair all those years ago. One of my earliest memories, actually, I was at Sunday school in Newlands, Glasgow and we were all sitting on little chairs in a semi-circle. Not happy with my allocated place, however – and preferring to be beside my cousin on the far side – I, merely, picked up my chair and carried it round to my chosen spot without request or comment. Job done. As I remember, there was no reprisal from the teacher, perhaps inwardly laughing at my gall.
It did make me contemplate, though, the lifelong character traits which are apparent from an early age. Becca was born with inner strength and determination. Never one to run with the crowd, her defining moment was at a friend’s party aged about five I would think. In a church hall, one of the games required all those who believed the answer to a given question to be ‘yes’ to run to the opposite end. Well, of course, they all looked to each other and followed suit … except Becca who stood firm, all by herself, and turned out to be right. The other parents were suitably impressed but that was just Becca. Meanwhile, Manny’s immediate comment, when I told him, was that she was just too lazy to run! Discerning, I would say.
As for Manny, he was nicknamed ‘The Judge’ by one of his teachers from Primary 2 onwards: a tribute to his quest for justice. Sadly, like us all, he was to grow up and learn that there is a price tag on everything in this world, including justice. On a lighter note, he did remind me, this morning, of a priceless moment related to me by his teacher when he was all of four or five. Learning to read and write, ‘homework’ usually involved going through specific words, each printed on a piece of paper, in preparation for school the next day. On this occasion, Manny’s words included ‘but’ and, when asked to spell said word, apparently he stood up, turned around and pointed to his posterior asking if she meant ‘this kind of butt’?! Speechless. Where did that come from? Never be fooled by Manny’s silence. Shy, he most definitely is, and, in many ways, an old head on young shoulders but he is an intelligent observer who gauges a situation and, somehow, remains desperate to see the good in people. A sense of humour a must, then!
Moving house involves so much fiddly stuff: cancelling direct debits, changing address on bank accounts, driving licence (that truly will be the end of my paper one), forwarding mail etc., etc.. However, to my horror, I realized last night that all my saved recordings will go – and I work on 20% max. Actually, that’s largely thanks to Becca and her ‘keeping’ of everything Roman since the birth of these brothers! For my part, I am prone to recording a film and then keeping the whole thing, set to play 5 minutes to finish, just because I like to re-live the sad/happy ending. Whether it be the music, the words or the outcome, itself … Is that weird? Well, maybe so but, to date, I have Marley & Me, One Day, We Were The Mulvaneys (now, that’s a real tearjerker) and The Railway Children. I watched the last twenty minutes of the latter the other night and that took courage. Pop loved that film and the poignancy of that moment when the father appears on the platform, as the steam dissipates, and Jenny Agutter runs towards him shouting ‘Daddy! My Daddy!’. Classic.
The End. I miss those two words. They are needed as a means of completing the emotional journey. There is something about them. Perhaps it is the emphatic finality which gives added weight to the ending; in fact, to the film as a whole. They were expected; a necessity. No more. Instead, one is subjected to credits, seemingly without warning, which are usually much too small and moving far too fast – that is, if they haven’t been immediately shrunk to enable some inane continuity presenter to announce the next programme! Why? Perhaps I wanted to see who was playing who or where it was filmed. Forgive me, but is that not the point of the credits? Don’t be ridiculous. Move on. No! Time is not disposable. Savour it.
One of my favourite films is A Few Good Men starring the inimitable Tom Cruise. Jack Nicholson, too, is in it but Tom knocks him out of the park! The ending is superb, greatly enhanced by the two words flashed up on the screen in big, bold letters heralding – in 1992 – the start of the credits followed by lights and the onset of the cleaners! Line in the sand.
Talking of The End, it is after 7pm and not a drop of wine has passed my lips. I seem to have been chauffeuring Manny around for most of the day and as he heads for London en route to Australia, Becca’s train will pass his as she heads home. I have a date – on the phone – with an old friend and so I will sign off on the day upskirting became a criminal offence in England and Wales! Apparently, it has been so in Scotland since 2010 … Brexit, upskirting? In a world gone mad, I prescribe – for all – a day in Samburu, Kenya watching elephant in the wild. We have got it so wrong …
‘Through the living bodies of animals
We gain an inkling of how things came to be.
As their dead bodies pile up
We are merely jostled towards our end,
Our fate being joined to theirs
In an alliance we cannot bear to acknowledge.’
Sacred Elephant, Heathcote Williams.
This is Trish, signing off.