At the End of the Day

???????????????????The more sharp-eyed among you may have noticed that I took a day off from blogging today. The more cheerfully sane among you may have heaved an enormous sigh of relief….which is fine, because I did too. Also, there were Things that needed to be done.

We all read those tragic articles about old people found rotting away two months after their death, surrounded by filth, a mountain of newspapers, and cat excrement. Without help, that end is coming for most of us; and if you are vain like me, the smallest sign of it creeping up on one is enough to generate action. I woke up this morning (cue bottoms blues chords) and realised that for five days now (with three stories on the boil at once) I’ve been plonking used clothing on bedroom surfaces, chairs and rugs – and the room itself hadn’t seen a vacuum cleaner for a month.

Toddling to the bathroom (the way one does of a morning) I saw a sink that looked overcrowded and bachelor-grubby, and an informal rush-matting carpet idea from the early summer that clearly hadn’t worked. I went downstairs to turn on the heating, took in the kitchen table covered in the detritus of phone messages, hubs, wires and a router the way any good hack’s desk should be, and then I wandered into the sitting room and put on the auxiliary pump. This is a piece of equipment fitted around 1956 that helps the ch system push water uphill into the the far bedroom. It’s about as effective as the Hungarian revolution of that year, minus only the nobility.

On the way out of this messy salle séjour, I noticed the main dining table also covered in informally arranged technology, boxes and files…testament to my keenly felt desire to organise and then progress stuff tomorrow. (There was a Nazi SA marching song called Tomorrow Belongs to Me, and it may well help explain why Germany lost the War. Do it today, Dummkopf).

On the candelabra above the table, by the way, three of the candles had bent themselves into an interesting but not entirely attractive shape suggestive of post-coital droop. I think it was probably around 2009 that I noticed this effect, and quickly deduced that in the height of summer heat, it’s what candles at window height do. I’d had four years to assess the options open to me re that one, and done nothing. Realising this, I felt like a Greek functionary given the task of reforming something.

So it was that I shuffled back upstairs in a glum frame of mind. And while under the shower, I said “Right”.

Let’s face it, I am saving the world from itself here, but every now and again a chap has to do something about the personal micro-environment too. And when that time comes, we say “Right”.

It took, I kid you not, from 7.20 am until 2.50 pm for my Wehrmacht tanks to Blitzkreig their way from bedroom fluff and bathroom hairs all the way through the Ardennes of table detritus to the Dunkirk of filing. But my God, when one sniffs the Channel air, it is a marvellous feeling.

“Every day,” the Buddhists say, “Do something you don’t want to do”.

As in so many things, the disciples of Buddha are on the money. Or rather, eschewing the money option to ensure that karma continues to run over dogma. (That isn’t original to me, but I wish it was.)

It’s a funny thing with blokes left on their own, but the vast majority of us don’t do Everyday Neatness is good for a Person. Of course, the male of the species exploits this feature to suggest that he is incapable of reform in any size, shape or colour (the easier to persuade gullible girlies to do it for him): but this is no different at all to the female who bursts into tears when stopped by the cops, or flutters her eyelids at garage grease-monkeys to get better and quicker service. These are not dated examples: ask anyone involved….they are a daily occurrence.

I don’t like living on my own. It’s OK, because I can talk to myself…and, speaking for myself, I have to say I find myself a most engaging housemate. But the thing I miss is that daily wonder at how little I understand women – and vice versa. Far from being a frustration, the Mars/Venus thing is one of life’s great joys….and a greater generator of shared laugh-out-loud fun than any other single thing…or person.

As Einstein said, “The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know”. I have been (almost continuously) in medium to long term relationships for forty years now. I will leave the last words to Rodgers & Hart:

When love congeals
it soon reveals
the faint aroma of performing seals
the double-crossing of a pair of heels.
I wish I were in love again…

No more care
no despair
I’m all there now
But I’d rather be punch-drunk…

Believe me sir
I much prefer
the classic battle of a him and her.
I don’t like quiet and
I wish I were in love again…in love again

…except that I always have to have the last word, and so I will say that the only way to hear these lyrics in full mid-20th century flow is to do so via this track.