Local Matters

I have been trying to read the Australian Constitution today, through a thick headache that I developed on Friday and which will not go away. I know many people find constitutional matters quite exciting but I have to say that as reading goes, I would rather read a Dan Brown novel, even though I found myself wincing a little at his style when I tried to read the Da Vinci Code.

It went a bit like that song, ‘Do a little dance/make a little love/get down tonight’ except in my case it was, Read a little bit/have a little nap/ and frown tonight. The good news was that I did start to see my way though some of the content and hopefully a research path will now begin to emerge.

Every now and then I would give myself a break and hop onto Twitter, which was a mistake as there was one image of the leering Nigel Farage in a golden lift with Donald Trump that was all over social media. It was so depressing. I should have just unplugged myself from the Internet and gone and sat by the river, but I didn’t. Like a moth to a flame I kept going back. When I was not reading about the multiple ways self serving people can screw up a system designed in good faith or current political news that depressed me, I managed to find a story about a man in the U.K who had sent out a plea on social media. His long time companion, a whippet called  Walnut was old and ill and he wanted to take him for one last walk along his favourite stretch of beach. He asked for people to come with him on Walnut’s final walk.

Of course, hundreds of people did and Walnut got one last chance to dip his toes in the sea before being euthanized out of his pain at home and in the arms of his owner. That kept me crying for a good while.

I think de cluttering might help. My house is full of crap and I am sure I read somewhere that clutter is stressful. On Friday I read a long piece in the New Yorker about Leonard Cohen. The news had just broken about his death – thanks again 2016 – and it was I think the last interview he gave before he died. The story recounted how he had left America and arrived in Greece. He lived very simply – a house with a chair and a table, sun, simple food and, as it happens, quite a lot of female company. But it was the simplicity and the solitude that had appealed.

I am sure all of us who live in cities must yearn occasionally for such a life. I know I do. The idea of ridding oneself of all the junk we accumulate over the years is attractive – I still have five boxes in my garage that moved in with us six years ago that I have not yet unpacked. A monk-like existence seems attractive when it all starts feeling too complicated. The space to really write – not just bash out diary entries, but take ideas and work them like clay and have the time to do that would be wonderful.

The next day as I thought about this, I wheeled a trolley full of more stuff out of the supermarket and into the carpark. I had bought crackers for Xmas and a box of maltesers that were half price. I can’t even eat them because they are full of sugar.

Then I realised my car had gone.

I had parked it near the trolley stand, I was sure. The carpark was not that busy but I usually park some distance from the shops because I do not have to fight for a bay and it gives me a bit of incidental exercise. How could my car just have gone? It is fitted with an immobilizer so it can not be started without the key that I checked was stil in my pocket. As I moved to a different row I raced through options of getting home and what I would have to do when I got there – report to the police, the insurance company – oh bugger I was going to have to buy a car and I hate buying cars. Getting to work was possible on the train but my dogs would have to stay at home on Friday when I visited my parents …

On the other hand, it was a start of a monk-like existence with at least one less possession. Or it would have been if I had not then found my car, exactly where I had left it but slightly further away than I had remembered and hidden by someone with a really big car who had parked beside me.

I guess monkdom will need to wait a little longer.

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