I was running late this morning. Well. So surprising. Not. And I came blasting into the courtyard at the mews about mid-afternoon, didn’t quite spurt gravel into West Sussex as I spun Wolfgang into his corner, flung open the door and . . . almost stepped in a Gigantic Pile of Dog Crap.
I attained orbit a whole lot faster than those slow rockety things from Cape Canaveral ever did. ARRRRRRRGH.
Among other things I get so frelling tired of feeling that I’m permanently bent over in a posture of abject apology for having dogs at all.* And I believe there aren’t any full-time dogs at the mews/Big Pink Blot—which is run as a kind of Grangerford/Shepherdson cooperative—I think dogs may not be allowed in the articles of whatsit. But there’s at least one other regular canine visitor . . . whom I’ve yet to see on a lead . . .
And of course everyone around here gives me the hairy eyeball, because our multi-legged (and hairy) comings and goings are extremely conspicuous. I PICK UP AFTER MY HELLCRITTERS. AND THEY’RE NEVER, EVER OFF LEAD EXCEPT UNDER MY [EXTREMELY HAIRY] EYEBALL IMMEDIATELY OUTSIDE THE FRONT DOOR FOR A PEE BEFORE THEY GET BACK IN THE CAR.
People are slime. Make a note.**
On the other hand I had a rush of blood to the head and had a look at bobs and singles for St Clements minor and Colin and Niall and I had an Amusing Time this evening trying to ring touches of something besides plain bob minor. Of course Colin had to louse this up by splicing in plain courses of plain bob when I’m trying to grapple with the essential horror of ringing any bobs and singles on handbells. I don’t need any additional abominations of random courses, however plain, of some other frelling method. I am meanwhile welded to the St Clements trebles*** till further notice.
Yes. One might ask “Where is Kes going to sleep? Not even Cademon can guard against such antics as these!”
SLEEP? You think anyone is thinking of SLEEP in current circumstances?†
And WHERE is she? Is this really taking place in a house she rents? In the same world as the motel and the truck? Really?
Oh, now, let’s not get all literal here. Is Sunnydale any less Sunnydale just because the hellmouth happens to yawn evilly on a corner near you?
I also wouldn’t count on Merry being . . . normal.
There’s a corpse on the floor and a man speaking High Forsoothly, but I, like Kes, am most immediately concerned about bloodstains on her books.
Yep. Under stress we revert to type. Me too.
Oh wait, why didn’t we see Sid next to the body? Did she move out of the way in time? Last thing from last week was Sid biting the shadowy attacker’s arm, and now our shadowy attacker is bleeding all over the floor, dead.
No, no, no, no. Not to worry. This is a McKinley story, right? Can you possibly imagine that I would let anything dreadful happen to Sid? If I would defy the Story Council to give Kes a dressing-gown if she wasn’t wearing a nightgown, do you really think I’d let them do anything nasty to Sid?
Although this is another example of the weirdness of tiny-chunk serials. You’ll see Sid again this Saturday. I couldn’t get her and the books into last Saturday’s.
Watermelon Shoulders really isn’t terribly good at explaining, is he?
Well, High Forsoothly is very bad for the mental processes. Think of all the drivel Gandalf could spout when he reverted to Ancient Mage mode.
Dear me… poor Kes. If she knows how much blood is in the human body, she’s doubtless well aware of what it means when your sword has a name.
Yep. After all she writes that stuff.
And what a place to stop! “We have need of thee”!? … Can’t wait for Saturday!
Kes, on the other hand, would be very grateful to hide under the bed. If she had a bed to hide under.
Diane in MN
doing a serial in tiny chunks like this
No problem with tiny chunks. Big problem with tiny MEMORY!
Yes. Now try and imagine what it’s like being the author with a tiny memory. No—wait—no—wasn’t it urglfwiddy in ep 4012? Didn’t the attack mushrooms eat Gelasio’s new inamorata? Was Serena’s to-die-for crumble pear, plum, peach or rambutan?
There will probably be quite a lot of tidying-up to be done for the hard-copy version . . .
This is, of course, not the author’s fault. But I am quite looking forward to some future date when Kes will be available in one BIG chunk
. . . toward that BIG chunk we are ALL looking forward to.††
I’ll also just add here that while forum members don’t rank in the millions or anything, if I posted a birthday KES for every forum member who had a birthday . . . I WOULD BE VERY BUSY WRITING KES.
Helpful comment: No matter how many millions of readers you get, you’d still only have 365 KES episodes to write.
Oh, another frelling literalist. In the first place there are weird odds and statistics about people’s birthdays: http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-22978,00.html
Never mind the logic of how you get there, twenty-three people doesn’t seem anything like enough to produce two with the same birthday. These odds however were made vivid to me in junior-high chemistry [sic] and there weren’t even quite twenty-three of us in that class—but another girl and I had the same birthday. So what’s the other end of that—how many forum members would we need to produce birthdays EVERY DAY of the year? And if there are more than one birthday person on a given day, will one episode satisfy them? Or if person x got an episode this year, would person y—with the same birthday—expect their episode that day the next year?
I prefer to reject the whole birthday-ep notion unilaterally. It’s so much easier. For me.
1. I am going to start calling someone, anyone, really, “Watermelon Shoulders”, cause it cracks me up.
Assuming that you will apply this to someone whose physique includes large powerful shoulders I hope you will tactfully ascertain in advance if the cognomen will be appreciated in a positive manner.
2. I am not sure whether to be glad or upset that I will never have strange apparitions in my house as I have not one, but two techies.
I’d go for grateful. Kes is not going to be having a good time for a while.
3. I am saying this quietly as to not get hurt, while I love Kes, I just recently reread Pegasus and the ending is a killer and I would really love to read Pegasus II. So please, Robin, please, keep writing both!
Hey. I want to keep eating. I have a desire so overwhelming to read PEG II—and PEG III—in their perfect, finished entirety that your mere readerly longing is comparatively speaking a rose petal drifting in the bottomless ravine.
* * *
* Let alone three dogs, which anyone but Southdowner might find excessive.
** Pav took against someone for the first time in weeks the other day. This jerk has three or four working-hunter type dogs, spaniels.^ Because he is a working-hunter type bloke he is clearly superior to the rest of us with our wispy pet dogs, and while his dogs do obey him, they are always off lead and he clearly doesn’t feel any great need to curtail their fun in terrorising the riff-raff. His big male thug doesn’t like my hellhounds, and they return the sentiment.
I saw this delightful crew coming toward us and I picked Pav up. I don’t need the hassle and she doesn’t need to be intimidated by testosterone-poisoned idiots. The human jerk sauntered up to me and said, in as sneering a tone as humanly possible, Are we frightened? I said in as neutral a tone as possible, There are rather a lot of you.
I think it was probably because he stank of ciggies, and Pav is passionately anti-smoking^^, but it may have been that I didn’t sound as neutral as I wanted to. But she went ballistic, which Jerkface, fortunately, found amusing. He sauntered off . . . and I staggered, with my ballistic bullie, to the nearest bench^^^, where we sat for a long time before she finally morphed back into my Pav and we could continue our hurtle. Meanwhile we’d lost the last of the daylight. I think Parliament might pass a law ordering more daylight in December. Christmas is fine# but I want daylight.
^ In his case this is definitely too many.
^^ Passionately enough I wonder if something happened with a cigarette-stinking human when I wasn’t around.
^^^ This only works if your exploding critter weighs under thirty-five pounds. I’m glad I don’t have to try and Hold a . . . Great Dane, say.
# Sort of. Christmas, for this still-new Christian, starts the countdown to Easter again. I know I got through Easter last year—and I know about the resurrection, thank you—but it still scares the frzzlmp out of me.
*** In the first big fat tier of ordinary methods, the treble only goes straight out to the back and straight down to the front again with none of the jiggy bits that make inside ringing so . . . entertaining. So if you’re ringing the one-two on handbells, the amount of mayhem that bobs and singles can cause is limited because only the two is affected; the one just keeps on truckin’. It’s still bad enough that the two goes doolally, because that changes the relationship between your two bells.
† Granted that the author/recorder’s difficulties with the whole concept of sleep may be muddying the ground here. OH LOOK. AN INARGUABLE REASON NOT TO BE ABLE TO SLEEP. MODIFIED RAPTURE.
†† Well, I hope many of us are looking forward to. Please.^
^ See: keep eating.
All right, this is not jolly upbeat blog tonight. Anyone of a delicate sensibility, leave now.
While the following is not my malfeasance, it is malfeasance of a mind-boggling variety and I’m still brooding about what I should have done or what I could do if it happens again. Hellhounds and I turned into the churchyard this morning behind an elderly gentleman and a terrier. An off-lead terrier. Hellhounds and I lingered to let this unwelcome pair get ahead of us. Only a little smoke was coming out of my ears at this point.
As we strolled along the terrier . . . stopped and had a crap. Gentleman was well in front paying no attention. He turned back in time to see terrier finishing its crap . . . and began to turn away again. I had just enough presence of mind to say, I hope you’re going to pick that up. Oh yes, said this piece of walking faecal matter, I usually do, I just have to go get a bag, thank you! —cheerily. And walked away.
I stood there I think literally with my mouth open, hellhounds waiting patiently beside me. Fortunately the terrier was not mayhem-minded because I would have been in no shape to fend off barrage and foray. Okay, what should I have done? I did have enough time to have offered him a frelling bag out of my lavish store . . . and I didn’t (remember I had to make my feeble, as-usual-short-of-sleep mind up quickly) because I didn’t yet know what kind of a caprice the off-lead terrier might manifest, and Darkness is in one of his touchy moods lately. I could have said, yo, you miserable stinking lice-brained toe-rag, pick that up with your bare hands if you have to, before I loose the forces of Darkness and Chaos on you. I could have said, I want your name and address so I can frelling report you to the frelling dog warden.**
I did none of these things. I stood there. With my mouth open. Till Mr Disease Bacterium toddled away with his terrier behind him. And his terrier’s pile of fresh crap left farther and farther behind him.***
People are amazing. Not in a good way.
But speaking of dogs, as I so often am, a forum member recently put this in her tag line (if it’s tag line I mean):
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” —Milan Kundera
Say what? This was another mouth-open occasion.† I copied and pasted this interesting remark several days ago to ponder upon. Now I adore my assortment of furry catastropes and as a pleasant fantasy I can see this as a tag line but . . . has Kundera ever met a real dog? They don’t know jealousy? He can’t have lived with more than one dog and watched them knock each other out of the way for the petting hand or the bit of raw liver or the best place on the sofa.†† He’s never watched the established regime watch beady-eyed every scrap of attention and/or food the young interloper receives.††† Dogs don’t know discontent? Listen to the yelping and baying if you get home later than they were expecting you to take them for their next hurtle. Darkness goes more for the enigmatic, but Chaos has a reproachful look that would melt case-hardened steel.‡ And evil? Eh. I belong to the love-wins camp of who God is. Evil is evil, but it’s also ultimately transitory.‡‡ Although I agree that dogs don’t know evil. They live in the moment—which is why they are such good company on a sunny hillside—but their focus is on themselves. You are a means to an end. Sure they love you. You’re still a means to an end. They cooperate with us and our weird ideas about leads and harnesses and coming when called and not eating garbage because we’ve made it worth their while. We’ve spent forty thousand years breeding them to be dependent on us and to believe they like it that way. They’re still mortal, and jealousy and discontent kind of go with the package as soon as your brain evolves beyond the medium-sized ganglion stage.
Maybe I’m not in a very good mood.
Maybe I should go sing.
* * *
* Sigh. It would be the first footnote that I cut, and forgot that I cut. I can’t face changing all the icons from the hysteria-prone WordPress window again. Sorry about that. THERE IS NO FIRST FOOTNOTE.
** Yes we do have one. She’s overworked. She covers like half of Hampshire. I went into this not long ago.
*** And if I see him again, what am I going to do? Good question. Since the terrier seems relatively harmless I can perhaps risk being somewhat . . . tenacious. What I wonder, because the creep is clearly by his accent posh, and picking up dog crap is for the lower orders^, if I asked for his name would he give it to me? How unplugged from reality is he? Does he have any notion of social responsibility and/or guilt? Or would he expect the dog warden to recognise his class superiority, pull her forelock, and go away?
I should call the cops. Someone on the non-emergency line could at least tell me what my options are.
^ In which case he needs to bring his batman with him on terrier excursions.
† Although at least there’s no need to call the cops. The asylum for people who are too sweet and hopeful and kind to live maybe.
†† He’s also never been at the animal shelter when someone brings in the previously-beloved family pet because it keeps trying to eat the baby. Yes, that’s bad socialisation, but it’s also jealousy.
††† One of the few reliable ways of getting hellhounds to express an interest in food is to feed the hellterror. Unfortunately the interest doesn’t last long enough to do much to improve calorie intake—but hellhounds are both there looking alert every time I bribe the hellterror into her crate with a handful of kibble, waiting for their, as it were, door prize of a square of fish jerky each.^ Which they do at least eat.
‡ Pav, who is on her side incandescent with jealousy of the hellhounds most of the time, specialises in screaming a wide variety of imprecations and hurling herself repeatedly against the door of her crate. Or running up my leg like a banana-harvester up a tree with a particularly succulent bunch at the very top.
‡‡ Not nearly transitory enough however. As too many of us know.
I SO HATE OTHER PEOPLE’S DOGS. Oh, all right, some other people’s dogs. Or rather, some other dogs’ people.
Peter and I had our monthly tune-up with Tabitha today which means I have no brain and no physical coherence—which further means not only are my sentences at risk, getting the right body parts on the keyboard to create said sentences is an odds-against activity—but I make Peter get thumped first while I hurtle shifts of hellcritters while I still can.* Hellcritters and I have a standard circuit which begins with a public footpath running through a thin strip of wood with a private field on one side and a busy road on the other. Hellhounds and I hadn’t gone far today when we came round a fallen tree and there . . . was an off-lead unaccompanied meatloaf. Dog. Large. Looked like a [border] collie cross—collie/Godzilla, perhaps. I am not very good at reading dog body language but I don’t like alert and interested in an unaccompanied off-lead dog the general dimensions of a medium-sized tractor. We couldn’t get (illegally) into the farmer’s field through the hedge of brambles and nettles**.
. . . Darkness at this interesting juncture decided he had found the perfect place to have a crap. Darkness does not defecate quickly. I know you’re not supposed to stare at strange dogs so I edged around a little so the thing was in my peripheral vision and I should see if it charged.
It didn’t charge.
Darkness completed his endeavour.
I risked a look at Kubota***. Both its head and its tail were slightly higher and more alert, and it had put its second forepaw—previously raised inquiringly—on the ground.
I cranked my two in to heel position, left Darkness’ offering to the arboreal gods because I did not want to be one-handed and off balance if Kubota decided to charge after all—and we marched briskly down the bank and into the road.
We were not flattened by a runaway fourteen-wheeler but that we were spared, in a karmic† sort of way, may explain why my other road luck has been unusually bad lately.†† Our mysterious survival was not for lack of trying. We were having our ears/hair pasted back by the slipstreams of the stuff passing us. While Kubota trotted along on the footpath parallel to us, still alert and interested, and ready, no doubt, to repel boarders if we tried to climb the bank again. We must have walked three minutes—which is a long time if you’re being buzzed by juggernauts—till there was a break in the traffic and we could scuttle across and . . . I would still be there except a bounding hellhound in each hand gave me enough additional momentum to climb the wretched bank.
I looked across the river of flying metal to the footpath side and Kubota had picked up speed and was now cantering gaily toward a tall stooped tottering figure at the far end of the path, which turned around (still tottering) to greet Kubota, who was now flat-eared and waggy-tailed. SNARL. Does this joker, whoever he—probably he from the height—is get extra points for walking his beloved dog despite his physical limitations? NOT WHEN HE’S PUTTING OTHER PEOPLE AND THEIR DOGS’ PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS AT RISK OF BEING FRELLING ROADKILL.
I had been planning on responding to forum comments tonight.††
* * *
* Since the hellterror is easily amused in a wider variety of ways, this usually works out that hellhounds get a proper walk, and hellterror gets a thrilling sprint around a few fields and a bit of road she only sees once a month. YAAAAAAAAAH. If the 26-foot extending lead were a little bit longer she would leap over houses.^
^ And I may have seriously damaged a little old lady’s+ health this morning while I was chasing the hellterror around a sapling in the churchyard in New Arcadia. Generally speaking I make her—the hellterror, that is, not random old ladies—go the correct way around obstacles which is to say she has to come to my side because I am the hellgoddess and she is a minion.++ The rules change somewhat when hucklebutting is occurring. If we had more and better spaces for hucklebutting I’d enforce her using them, but we don’t, so if she takes it into her manic little head to hucklebutt in what would be a perfectly good space if it weren’t for some frelling TREE in the way—I may try and let her. This involves me pelting around said tree several times, including tendon-snapping changes of direction, and probably finishes with her doing her end-swapping thing, which usually gets mixed up in the last (or so) circuit, and may involve the both of us getting tangled up in 26 feet of (extending) lead. I was rather pleased with us today—even if I was a trifle dizzy—till I looked up because of the funny noise, and found a little old lady stopped on the path next to us, bent over her frelling cane and purple with laughter. . . .
+ that is, older than me
** By mid-November the nettles are probably relatively harmless, but I wouldn’t want to rely on it, and brambles are knife-wielding thugs all year long.
*** Makes a change from John Deere, which is the maker of the only tractorish machinery I’ve ever been on speaking terms with. http://www.kubota.co.uk/
† Turning Christian hasn’t stopped me considering other possibilities. As my monk says, us Christians may have some surprises when [sic] we get to heaven.
†† I had some woman with a grievance stop and get out of her car yesterday to yell at me for nearly running into her. I didn’t anything like nearly run into her; it’s a particularly brutal blind corner and you have to creep out at .000002 miles an hour prepared to slam on the brakes the moment you see something. I saw her. I slammed on the brakes. Maybe she should find an alternate route.^ And, speaking of slamming on the brakes, on my way to Nadia yesterday I had a near-fourteen wheeler . . . maybe twelve . . . change lanes into me. He^^ didn’t even signal. Just changed lanes. Fortunately Wolfgang’s elderly brakes are in prime condition. I laid enough rubber I should probably have the frelling wheels checked. Arrrrrrrgh.^^^
^ She was also totally blocking traffic while she indulged her inner banshee by shrieking at me.
^^ Yup. I’m assuming it’s a he.
^^^ It interests me in a cool, intellectual way that the adrenaline spike from that little incident was less than when I thought Pav and I were going to get eaten by the hairy four-legged barn the other evening. Maybe I was just more excited about being on the way to Nadia than being on the way to tower practise.+
+ Well . . . yes.
†† I do live in a small rural-ish village. I Street Pastor at the nearest small(ish) city with something resembling a nightlife.^ And if the weather gets rough I won’t be able to do it; I am not driving home at 4 a.m in anything the faintest bit inclement.
^ New Arcadia’s night life consists of the butcher’s delivery van arriving at about one a.m., bless him, since that’s one fewer delivery van clogging up the main road during the day.
I’m so glad it’s short Wednesday, I’m so tired I am in grave danger of falling off my chair.*
Also, I am in shock. Which is very tiring.
***MY BANK APOLOGISED.***
FURTHER TRUMPET FLOURISHES. IN FACT AN ENTIRE CONCERTO, INVOLVING SEVERAL ORGANS WITH FIFTY THOUSAND PIPES EACH AND A FEW OF THOSE HUGE JAPANESE TAIKO DRUMS THAT FEEL LIKE YOU’RE BEING PUNCHED IN THE CHEST WHEN SOMEONE THUMPS THEM.
It’s taken my bank nearly four months and they’ve still got both my name and my address wrong BUT NEVER MIND. THEY APOLOGISED. They’ve REFUNDED the substantial number and £££ of fines they charged me and have sent me copies of all the letters they wrote to all the people whose cheques bounced—including scary, credit-rating-ruining people like my credit card companies—saying it was THEIR FAULT. NOT MINE. THEIRS. THE BANK’S. THE BANK’S FAULT.
Good news. I can USE some good news.*** And I can continue to contemplate the goodness of this news tomorrow during the three and a half hours I am due to be in dentist from R’lyeh’s torture . . . I mean, chair. † I think you had better expect tomorrow night’s blog to be short too.††
* * *
* It was a bell-ringing night, one of those nights when there were only six of us so all of us had to ring all evening. You know retired people may still have some BRAIN left by the end of the day. . . .
Also my beloved Celtic-knotwork-pattern-cover cushion is going—has gone—to pieces. There is no security in this insecure world where things wear out. I am sure I am much unsteadier in my chair in the mews kitchen with my chair cushion in SHREDS,^ whether or not I just spent an hour and a half on the end of a bell-rope.^^ And I’m totally failing to get my head around replacing it. There are gazillions of cushions out there.
^ It disintegrated all by itself, with no help from hellterrors whatsoever.
^^ One of the other ringers, whom I would have said I had never met before, stared at me for a minute and said, I know you. I rang a wedding with you at Ditherington last year. You’re the knitter.
** Pity they can’t make an itsy-bitsy further error, move the decimal place over six or seven or eight places to the right and make me wealthy.^ Then I could not only keep Third House I could build a conservatory off the sitting-room.^^ I suppose, having noticed one error, they might notice this one too. No, wait . . . I pointed their previous error out. I had to point it out. Hmm.
^ And for those helpful people telling me if I’d only write this or that book/sequel I’d immediately become wealthy . . . in the first place *&^%$£”!!!!!! and the frelling horse you frelling rode in on. In theory this blog nonsense—and the Twitter nonsense, and the Facebook nonsense, and the public email address nonsense—is so that public people can have some direct contact with their private readers/fans/supporters. And vice versa. Which seems to me to be mostly a good idea: we’re all human beings first and last. But shouldn’t there be some FAINT responsibility in that vice versa-ing, for paying attention? Which is to say HOW MANY RATBLASTED TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY I ONLY WRITE WHAT I AM GIVEN TO WRITE? I’D BE ON SUNSHINE SEVENTEEN AND DAMAR THIRTY-TWO BY NOW IF I COULD.
And in the second place . . . SUNSHINE and Damar didn’t make me wealthy the first time. There’s no reason to think that a second or a third or twenty-seventh book would do any better. Remember that for every GAME OF THRONES there are 1,000,000,000 series that only did well enough to bully the poor sweating author to keep trying.
. . . an autographed book sale? I’m sure that the hell-hounds and -terror would cooperate to place ‘official’ pawprints.
Sure. The minute I finish the last frelling doodle from the now-ancient-history Bell Fund. Siiiiiiigh. . . .
^^ Have I mentioned that one of the knock-on effects of letting Third House is that I won’t have the little summerhouse as a greenhouse this winter? I have therefore, with Atlas’ aid, brought the grow-light to the cottage and hung it from one of the big ceiling beams in the already-small sitting room, and in cold weather we will have to have handbells at Niall’s because my sitting room will be full of PLANTS.
*** There are way too many alligators in my immediate vicinity. As the saying goes.
† On Halloween.
†† And apropos of nothing at all, any of you folk on this side of the Atlantic have experience with Lovefilm vs. Netflix?
AKA, Not a Good Day 
I got up this morning feeling a little more like a live human being than yesterday . . . but it didn’t last. Well, we went to Tabitha today, for our monthly bludgeoning, I mean restful and inspiriting massage, and after these profound experiences even if I was healthy when I went in, I can just about make it home* before I de- or anti-morph into wet cardboard or an ihuman who has been allowed to run down to 1% battery.** Another afternoon/evening on the sofa. Playing that dangblatted iPad Boggle variant.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows what I’ve been doing the last couple of soggy, low-energy days: catching up on old magazines, especially the Guardian’s Reviews, and tweeting the best articles.*** It will probably not amaze you to hear that the ones that appeal to me the most tend to be either about animals or—er—women, in terms of their lives and futures and opportunities and things. So I will leave you with the one I just read, and that I haven’t got round to tweeting.
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/oct/07/computers-technology-sewing-sexist-stitch-up ‘Arc welding is almost exactly like icing a cake. . . . One might involve slightly more molten metal at 3000C and slightly less sugar, but they’re essentially indistinguishable.’
* * *
* Wolfgang knows the way, I just have to arrange my hands artfully on the steering wheel and make pushing motions with my feet occasionally. Although it’s important to get the pushing motions right, which is kind of a nuisance.
** Yes, I think she’s worth it. I’ve told you this before: it was Tabitha, vitamin and mineral supplements and homeopathy that got me up off the sofa again when the ME first knocked me over. I can feel the little lines and networks of spastic neurons firing under her hands as she gets out her meat tenderizer and whangs me with it. It’s worth a certain amount of mild AGONY and a lot of cranky neurons to be a little more lifelike the rest of the month.
Tabitha is also a lifelong committed Christian, and was one of my cheering/praying section for the last x years, and since that particular prayer was answered thirteen months ago, and aside from her necessary attention to what’s been having an effect on my health since the last time I saw her, takes an interest. I’m still working through the aftermath of Ms Off the Planet’s attack with the lightning bolt from headquarters I mentioned here, which was only about a week before that. It’s a bit like having your stabilizers/training wheels taken off and finding yourself in the Tour de France next week. YEEEEEEEEEEEP.
Most of this is nothing I want to put on a public blog, but for anyone who has ever had the indescribably delightful experience of someone violently and unexpectedly offloading a lot of abuse on you—the kind where even while you’re standing there bleeding you know it’s not about you, you’re just the poor plonker who was in the way—or any other similar wild, mind-boggling injustice, I do want to tell you that this prayer thing is the razzle-dazzle. I’ve got my own anger issues, thank you very much, and I’m not big into forgiveness;^ and I’m not looking forward to employing my new skills in my first major post-turning-Christian row in which I am as much sinning as sinned against. That’s going to be a whole other kettle of loaves and fishes.
But in the present circumstance—never, ever get into an argument with someone in fugue state who has identified you as the antichrist—prayer gives me SOMETHING TO DO AND SOMEWHERE TO GO WITH ALL THE RUBBISH. When I’ve been caught up in insoluble messes previously one of the worst aspects is that there’s no way out. There’s nowhere to go. You just have to wait it out.^^ Prayer gives you a door. Prayer gives you somewhere to go, something to do, progress, fresh air, forward motion. It’s funny because the old ‘give it to God’ sounds so insufferably pious—it sounds like the sort of thing someone who is big into foregiveness^^^ would say. But you can give it to God. He’s a big guy. He can cope. You can give it to him twice: you can give him the original lorryload of ugly crap, and then you can frelling well pray for the person who hurt you. You can give her (or him) to God. Yaay. You’re on your way to freedom.
You should try it. Fewer calories than chocolate too. So it doesn’t matter how often you have to repeat the process.
^ This is actually a major tangent which I shouldn’t get lost on when I’ve only got about one-third of my brain available. My problem with forgiveness as it’s usually presented is all those trailing incense clouds of condescension and the high moral ground. I’m not going there either as forgiver or forgivee. At the same time I certainly believe in letting go. But I have a little difficulty doing this, mixed up in the old adage about Trick me once, shame on you, trick me twice, shame on me. My life is littered with people I will never voluntarily have any contact with again . . . a substantial few of whom for cause I’m sure feel exactly the same way about me.
^^ And preferably not lose too much sleep over fantasies of running them through with your sword or merely pressing the point to their throat and listening to them gibber for mercy.
^^^ See footnote ^
*** The best articles that exist on line, that is. I still don’t know why the Guardian hasn’t died yet, since almost all its content is on line for free, but I’m happy to take advantage. And I’ll just have to tell you that the New Scientist ran a fascinating article last June called Are you sitting comfortably? Well, don’t, which says (um, roughly) that desk jobs kill you, even if you’re a gym bunny in your spare time. Long stretches of inactivity—even if you get your correct amount of ‘exercise’ as mandated by the latest government paper/fitness guru/talk show fad—are bad for you.
Okay, wait. Here it is, by another name smelling as sweet. You only get a ‘preview’ on the NS site. http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/8864907/Are-you-sitting-comfortably-Well-don-t ‘People who watch six hours of television every day can expect to die five years earlier than people who don’t watch any.’ Well, I don’t watch any, but I don’t know anybody who watches six hours a day either.
But having always been a fidget—and learning that fidgeting isn’t enough either—I’ve started standing up more, especially at the cottage, to the hellterror’s disgust. WHERE’S MY LAP? she says. I swear she can get all four feet off the ground when she starts climbing my leg.