Thursday, 28 April 2011


In a way, this post is a follow-on from 'Loyalty' - see below. Committment is a huge subject in itself and I may well indulge in a more focussed observation later - that would be 'see above', I suppose. For now, I will stay with the superficial resemblance between the two. Having said that, my irremediable inner voice has offered a dilemma. Posting a letter: once I have put the letter in the Post Box, I am committed. If I put it in the one box I use habitually and in no other, is that loyalty? Perhaps the thesis should be resemblance/difference. Since I was very small, I have been struck by the finality of posting a letter. It is an act from which there is no return. One may hang around and wait for the postman and beg him/her to let one retrieve it. No doubt this would be an illegal act on his/her part. One could fix a hook on to a fishing rod and attempt to angle it out. One could blow the box up and then have to answer to the consequences. Or one could be resigned to inevitability. With hindsight, this seems to me to have been a seriously sound early lesson in taking responsibility for one's actions. Likewise, washing one's hair. Once one's head is drenched preparatory to applying shampoo, there is nowhere to go but on. A letter cannot be un-posted and hair cannot be un-washed. So there you have it: loyalty to the brand of shampoo married to you- can't- get- out- of -it equals : what? Committment, I suppose. Thus, I have talked myself in to the position where loyalty must be an essential component of committment.

I am having trouble with my car. The good news is that it is not the water pump which is going but the compressor of the air-conditioning. Good news because the car is driveable. Bad news because I do badly in the heat and don't relish driving about in a little blue oven the moment the sun shines. The nice man in the garage to which I am loyally attached suggests that it is not economic to throw more money at a nine-year old car which has required expensive attention already this year. He offered many alternative solutions such as downgrading to a smaller model, new, or a similar one a year old...and so on and so forth. I listened and reasoned as a reasoning and reasonable adult, but my inner voice was screaming "no" as I threw my arms protectively - and metaphorically, I hasten to add - around my beloved car. As a good Libran, I compromised. I bought time to seek the advice of the Father of my children who knows about these things, both motoring and economic. My instinct is to throw money at the air-conditioning and postpone any more radical decision in the hope that the Gods will throw me a solution: eg Lottery win or a bucket of common sense.
As I write, it comes to me that the most momentous experience I have had of a can't-get'out-of-this event is childbirth. I can see myself climbing up the stairs of the Maternity home where my first child was born thinking: Liz, you have managed to organise your life up to now to accommodate can and can't, will and won't almost one hundred per cent to suit yourself . This time, you are committed in a way over which you have no influence whatsoever. This one you can neither get out of nor dictate to. Put yourself in the hands of the staff and your baby. Work together with them all. (It was a long staircase). This I was able to achieve and on the day when someone first walked in space my firstborn arrived with a minimum of fuss. It was also the day in which loyalty and committment were both born in a way that had previously been just a poor semblance of the reality. Prynhwn da.

Sunday, 17 April 2011


The more I marshall my thoughts the more I see that nothing is straight forward. I will just have come to the conclusion that I am whatever condition I am contemplating when I realise that I am also the opposite. Take loyalty, for instance. Loyalty is a characterisitic - is it? - I take very seriously, indeed. I take it to the point where I can't take a different bus from my usual one, (honestly). Some years ago I changed haircutter. The one I had been going to for decades began to prefer angling. At the time, I was still working and not all that flexibile as regards availability. It became increasingly difficult to find a mutual time when he was not at one end of a fishing rod and I was not in my work space. It took me months but, eventually, I did make the change, spurred on by a friend whose hair cut I had always admired, to give hers a try. I then wrote a letter to the original cutter telling him I felt like an unfaithful wife and falling on my metaphoric knees with regret. My wardrobe is full of clothes I shall never wear again. My life, currently, bears no resemblance to my life erstwhile. I rarely go out to elegant places requiring elegant clothes. Those I have that would have fitted the bill have become like wall-paper. I am so used to seeing them I can't picture the scene without them. The sight of them reassures me. I can only imagine their feelings if I were to throw them away, now; feelings of rejection and disappointment, of not having maintained the grade after all these years and all the service they once rendered. Dresses and skirts are the hardest hit. For various reasons, I can't wear those comfortably, now. Alright, since you press me: a) I need to wear serviceable shoes, not designed for 'look-at-me' b) tights are a nightmare to arthritic hands. Old lady pop socks are not a good look with crossed legs under a skirt, thus, trousers and - sh- pop socks. When I was working, I had a superviser who was older than God. Nevertheless, her reputation and, indeed, her capacities, were phenomenal. Could I take her seriously? Could I damn it: only with enormous concentration as I did my best to keep my eyes off her mottled legs and funny old knobbly knees under a ridden-up rumpled skirt. Extraordinary confidence simply to get on with her no-tights life.

I would regard as a long-lost friend anyone who crossed my path years after our relationship had faded in to nothingness. I am great friends with the Father of my children with whom I have not lived for longer than I am prepared to record. There must be something wrong in the State of my Inner World. The stuff I hang on to, actual and emotional, does not bear rational loyalty- exploration. Perhaps I am loyal because I fear not being. I know! I am actually not loyal at all and rather than face it and re-paper my life, I leave the old, useless hangings in situ. How's that for an analysis? Let me know and I'll see if it gives me the strength to clear out three decades - you do the sum - of past mistakes and worn-out theses. Nos da.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


Checking below, I see that I have written about dottiness before. I may have used its more formal name,' Eccentricity', but there is so much of it about and I have become so familiar with it that I feel that, now, I can give myself the liberty of addressing it by its pet name: dottiness. In other words, were I to be writing in some other languages, I have come to know it so well I have earned the right to say "thou" to it instead of "you". For example,although I have retired, I occasionally see someone I used to work with for a sort of top-up, or because of a momentous happening in their lives. At a certain moment this morning the door-bell rang and there stood two young women, one behind the other. Oops! Oops, indeed! The one appointment had been set about three months ago and the other two days ago. How to choose whom to see first. I did know that one of them had a very formal professional appointment immediately after and was wearing a sort of uniform appropriate to that work. I asked if the other if she could possibly wait and she agreed that an hour doing nothing in the Thank- God- for- it sunshine would be as therapeutic as talking to me. Oh Dear! At least it underlined that I had done the right thing to retire. The inner world, mine and everyone elses, has never failed to fascinate me, retired or not, but also to stick out its foot and trip me up with a ruthless lack of humour or consideration. I relied so much on my memory, for life as well as work. What happens to it, to us? Why do the brain cells have to wear out? I expected to maintain them at their forty-year old level for ever. Further to compound the confusion, I forgot to go to a discussion group I attend even though it presents one of the few situations where I can exercise my abstract thinking cells now that I no longer delve in to the inner worlds of the troubled and the inquisitive - anyway, no longer for a living. I should say, though, that I do still have some supervising role. Even that skill is going. Last week, I was guilty of saying, "well, obviously....". My supervisee replied, rather drily, I thought, " It's not obvious to me". It does seem to be taking me rather too long to drag myself from the idea to the reality; the idea being that I am forty: the reality, forty in a more than seventy year old carrying case. (I have an image of an ancient early cello in a hard case; the inverse of my situation. I am a modern cello in an ancient carrying case).

The examples are legion. Having spent a restless night, I stripped the bed this morning to find a purse full of small change and a bumpy wallet under one pillow. This non-princess had left them there as a security measure before going out with what the Welsh would call a 'tidy' handbag which had no room for them. In the freezer I found a bag of potatoes. Hours had been spent looking for them. In the end, I had had to run - I use the word loosely - down the road and buy more. What were they doing in the freezer? What had I put where potatoes should go instead of in the freezer where whatever should have gone? Dear Reader, we shall never know. The Guru, who, as you may remember, has often saved me from the worst of the danger I put myself in, has found a place that suits him to move in to. Watch this space for the chaos that is bound to ensue when he has actually gone. The worrying thing is the normality of how things feel. I have no conscious awareness of the ironic, the careless, the bizarre. Conscious awareness is what I am supposed to be good at. What phenomenon lies behind my parking on a Disabled Parking Bay and failing to display my entitlement badge? Age, I hear you say; plain and simple age. You may well have the explanantion. I begrudge the £120 it will cost me for that particular lapse of efficiency, that particular display of dottiness instead of the appropriate document. As you know by now, reality figures highly in my philosophic struggles. The issue of being more than seventy while still operating - at most levels - as if I were forty forms not only the basis of this blog but also the basis of my way of being in the world. It is fascinating to me that a comment left on the last blog post suggests the very opposite. My commentor seems to accept as a given that we all see our 'reality' as what we want for ourselves. In other words, relevant to that post, the reality is that you are a size 12 if that is how you see yourself. There is no relevance in what a manufacturer calls your size. Now, is that dotty or isn't it? Perhaps we are all dotty and friends are those whose dottiness suits you. Until soon....