Tuesday, August 26, 2014

look, look, we can do it too

Part of the "Human Condition" is that sometimes people feel restless, with good reason, and sometimes we feel restless without any very good reasons.  Sometimes if a person thinks of it, he might realize that no matter what he's doing, he thinks he should be doing something else. 

No matter where he is, he might -- be somewhere else.

I think we have to "manage" this tendency, or phenomenon, and try to make it work

for good,

rather than

for mischief,

in our lives, and

in the world.

In Helen Fielding's novels,
Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones:  The Edge Of Reason,

the author's exploration of this phenomenon is embedded in the story-telling mechanism -- Bridget's diary...

[Bridget, like the characters on "Friends" and "SATC" and other popular shows, yearns for and obsesses about dating and relationships -- by June, in her "diary" she is seeing Daniel Cleaver -- she fantasizes about going on a "mini-break" {long weekend out of town} with him, but he wants to stay cool indoors watching the game -- which, since it's England, is cricket...]

------------------ [excerpt, Bridget Jones's Diary] -----------------
Sunday 11 June
125 lbs. (v.g., too hot to eat), alcohol units 3, cigarettes 0 (v.g., too hot to smoke), calories 759 (entirely ice cream).

Another wasted Sunday.  It seems the entire summer is doomed to be spent watching the cricket with the curtains drawn.  Feel strange sense of unease with the summer and not just because of the drawn curtains on Sundays and mini-break ban. 

Realize, as the long hot days freakishly repeat themselves, one after the other, that whatever I am doing I really think I ought to be doing something else. 

It comes from the same feeling family as the one which periodically makes you think that just because you live in central London you should be out at the RSC / Albert Hall / Tower of London / Royal Academy / Madame Tussauds, instead of hanging around in bars enjoying yourself.

The more the sun shines the more obvious it seems that others are making fuller, better use of it elsewhere:  possibly at some giant softball game to which everyone is invited except me; possibly alone with their lover in a rustic glade by waterfalls where Bambis graze....

...Maybe it is our climatic past that is to blame.  Maybe we do not yet have the mentality to deal with a sunny and cloudless blue sky....The instinct to panic, run out of the office, take most of your clothes off and lie panting on the fire escape is still too strong.

But there, too, is confusion.  It is not the thing to go out courting malignant growths anymore so what should you do?  A shady barbecue, perhaps?  Starve your friends while you tamper with fire for hours...?...

Envy summer life on the Continent,

where men in smart lightweight suits and designer sunglasses glide around calmly in smart air-conditioned cars, maybe stopping for a citron pressé in a shady pavement café in an ancient square,

totally cool about the sun and ignoring it because they know for a fact that it will still be shining at the weekend....

Feel certain this has been factor behind our waning national confidence ever since we started to travel and notice it.  I suppose things might change. 

More and more tables are on pavements.

Diners are managing to sit calmly at them, only occasionally remembering the sun and turning their faces to it with closed eyes, breaking into huge excited grins at passersby --

"Look, look, we're enjoying a refreshing drink in a pavement café, we can do it too" --

their expressions of angst merely brief and fleeting which say, "Ought we to be at an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream?"... {1996, Penguin}


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