Monday, 19 October 2009


The inside of my head resembles spaghetti junction. I have been following this, that and the other path trying to work out the difference between defiance and rebellion. I have always seen defiance as: won't, shan't, can't make me. Rebellion turns up as a picture: for example, pulling a tablecloth from under the china and glasses, food, too, if I am feeling particularly got at. I sense there is a difference but I cant quite quantify it. For a lucid moment, there, I thought defiance may be seen as disobeying an injunction, and rebellion as resistance to authority. Is there, actually, any difference ? I'll give you a for-instance from real life. I have a condition which means I should not eat sweet things. I do - eat them, that is. Try as I may to analyse this, all I come up with is the above wont' shan't etc. In the same way, if I am having a meal with a friend who, as my Mother would have said, eats like a bird, I pile my plate high and eat as much as she should have eaten as well as my own legitimate portion. I catagorise that as defiance. Rebellion would be more like the example in the last blog post: throwing out the food- waste bin all together. Incidentally, someone whispered in my ear that I may be fined £1000 for not re-cycling food waste. Oh Dear: the choice seems to be between the Pied Piper, running the rats out of town, or finding £1000 of taxed money and throwing the scarlet swimsuit - see a long way below - out of the door since there would be no more money for holidays. (Should that have read "re-cycling the scarlet swimsuit"?)

There may well be an element of resistance to authority in rebellion: that is, one needs A.N.Other against whom to rebel. Defiance could be against perceived rules, either in society or in one's conscience. Is it that defiance is a feeling and rebellion an action? Then defiance may lead to rebellion. Oh dear,oh dear, clearly we do have a spaghetti junction scenario. I know that I have written pieces actually called Rebellion before. This seems a whole different semantic ball game. And, you may well ask, what does it have to do with being 40 in a 75 year old body, anyway. Well, the answer would be largely in the physical. I will keep trying to do physical things I would have done without thought when I was 40. Alone in the house I decided to move a couch in to a different position. It was defiance that kept me at it and back-ache that laid me low for two days thereafter. There was also some denial of reality: as in, 'I would have moved this piece of furniture without difficulty when I was 40. I will move this piece of furniture now'. If it were rebellion would it have resulted in throwing the damned couch out? I don't know. You work it out and then tell me. On reflection, it may be just that defiance is what is left to you in the crucible of life when you are 75 and have burned off all the more dramatic reactions. It takes less energy than rebellion and is more readily accomplished. You don't have to burn your bra: you can simply not wear it - or go on wearing it, depending which way your philosophy is taking you. You don't have to stop sharing meals with your anorectic friend, you simply have to go on eating more than she does.

You know what? I am going to go back to bed with the dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus and defy the world to interfere with my rebellion.

Friday, 9 October 2009


Samuel Johnson said, annoyingly in my view, if you are tired of London, you are tired of life. Now London, itself, can be pretty tiring, or, perhaps, frustrating would be more accurate. Anyway, coping with the everydayness of parking regulations and Congestion Charge and crowded underground trains and buses that start before you have sat down, would certainly drive the best equilibriated person to distraction and I am, at the least, frustrated if not exhausted by dealing with it. I wouldnt agree that I am tired of life as a corollary but the question I would like you to answer is this: what does it signify if you are tired of re-cycling? I am prepared to consider that that may well mean that I am tired of life because how can we sustain it if we dont recycle? I'll tell you what brought this heart-search to mind. In the borough where I live we have been issued with a number of different coloured bins in which to put our stuff to be recycled. So far, so worthy. Paper and bottles and cans and the like belong in the dark brown one and there is a green one destined for food and garden waste. Here is the problem: that green one is big so has to be kept outside, at the top of the path where it can be easily collected, but it is nourished, daily supposedly, from a tiny green one which lives inside in the kitchen. Get it? You fill the little one with potato peel and egg shells and uneaten greens and so on as things crop up and then go, no matter what the weather, and tip it in to the Grandma one which waits patiently to be cleared by the Refuse Collectors. Old ladies are not that keen on wet slippery walks up the garden path so daily is a bit of an ask. The Grandma bin is emptied only once a week. Food waste smells. Thus, you have a situation where the good citizen of whatever age is torn between saving the planet and feeding every rat and fly within whiffing distance. Dear Reader, I have given up. I am no longer recycling food, and, further to emphasise my rebellious disaffection with that aspect of saving the planet, I have put the little green bin inside a bin bag inside the black bin labelled 'miscellaneous' and thrown the b....r right out.

I do see that I have made a few complaints of the I-am-against-hassle kind in the last few posts. Perhaps the chronological me is getting a bit short of energy for the administrative side of life. Recently, I queried an item on my Bank statement. As a result, my bank card was stopped. All very fair and good for security. The replacement has not yet arrived so I am barred from holes in the wall and have to find a branch of the bank to withdraw cash. Innocently, I telephoned the bank to enquire what the card's status may be: had it been dispatched, had it been ordered, what about the current flurries of postal strikes? Fifty seven minutes later I lost my temper. I had been through security thrice, I had been cut off once and I still didnt know what or when to expect salvation. I asked for a supervisor and was told by one agent that they didnt take calls and by another that they were all busy taking calls. I shouted that I was a caller, too, and then hung up. I am certainly tired of that sort of scenario. But not tired of life, yet, because the story ends better. I dialled in again, pressed a different option and found a helpful person who offered to re-order the card ab initio, so to speak. I was back to waiting another between five and ten working days but I did have a bit of hope. It is hard to reconcile some things with the way they would have worked when I was forty. I was in St Pancras station, yesterday. At least, I think it is a station. It looks and behaves like a giant shopping mall. You cant see any trains at street level, there were no announcements to be heard while I was there and there was no recognisable staff. To my amusement, I was stopped by an Australian with a mountain of baggage and asked where there was an ATM. He and his brother could not even take a taxi to their hotel until they had some English cash. No staff, no ATM, no porters, what's a traveller to do? I hadnt seen an ATM but I had seen a Bureau de Change - now called 'Travel Money' in my local Post Office - so I was able to help. Why had he stopped me from the throng available? I looked like I'd been around a long time and, with no suitcase, must be a local. So there you are. I am not the only drawer of conclusions on the planet. But London, as typified by St Pancras had better look over its shoulder at past levels of service or I, and those Australians, will surely get tired of them both. G'day.

Friday, 2 October 2009


Now there's an irony: it came to me that it might be a good idea to talk to you about my old friend Tinkerbell, you know, the fairy who needed the constant reassurance of applause to affirm that she existed, when I realised I hadn't been here for just over two weeks. Obviously, the applause must have died down to the extent that I felt I had ceased to exist. I do exist and, as it happens, and as I think you know, I very much enjoy writing, communicating, via this blogspot. So, please, keep the comments coming and the SiteMaster clocking up and this particular Tinkerbell need have no fears of fading in to non-existence. You may say the whole Peter Pan thing is implicit in a blog called 75going0n40, but I don't really think so because 40, in itself, is mature enough. The predicament, as I see it, is not in the emotional discrepancy so much as in the physical. Eventually, it risks losing its funny sense when the Guru says he'll just go down the road and buy a parking ticket while I get out of the car.

The inspiration for Tinkerbell thoughts was actually my computer, or, anyway, its mouse. You will have noticed that the computer and I have, at best, an uneasy relationship. This very morning something locked so that I couldn't move the little arrow at all, in any direction and very often it is floating wilfully about, totally unresponsive to my attempts to give it direction. The Guru routinely insists I must have done something and I have determined to buy a video camera to record my time - and movements - while I am communing with the Wizard of Cyberspace, because, NO, I have done NOTHING. Things just happen. I have tried shortening its cable. I have tried lengthening its cable. I have tried picking the mouse up and starting again. I have tried setting The Cat on its trail. Nothing works. It does its Tinkerbell thing and vanishes off the margin of the screen up, no doubt, in to Cyberspace where it carves another notch on the bar of the Wizard's wand. At its most benevolent, it wanders off the line to one above. If, like me, you don't touch-type, you can, unwittingly, type a whole phrase bang in to the middle of a previous one without noticing. Example: uneasyCyberspeace becauserelationshipCat.

Now, I need to confess, that, as it happens, I do have a soft spot for Tinkerbell. Hers is a phenomenon I am familiar with, as are all of you, I suspect. It is to do with the difficulty of establishing, in such a way that there is never going to be any room for doubt, that you are a person capable of being loved. There is any number of reasons why this belief fails to gell. You may just have learned to trust that you are the centre of the universe when a little sibling arrives. How many people do you know whose search for perfect love and therefore security leads them in to serial relationships and permanent disatisfaction? Family, in the love and support sense, may never have occured for you. An early 'mistake' may have left you feeling worthless. You don't really need me to go on with the obvious, but, clearly, there is a way in which we all need reassurance from time to time that we are loved, therefore we exist and Tinkerbell's insistence that, for her, only the applause will provide that assurance and reassurance, is perfectly justified. Perhaps my little arrow does have a life of its own, or, perhaps it just knows that I cannot love it unequivocally...yet.