Category Archives: Trifles

I can’t decide sometimes, whether or not my mother thinks she’s living in a sitcom…

The secret to humour is surprise.

Aristotle

27977_450287781040_191932_nA moot point perhaps, but oblivious in this case to the signifiers that make the ‘everyday’ flow seamlessly from one interaction to the other; if they weren’t, you’d find yourself hopping madly all day. Whatever it may be, obvious, deliberate, debatable, moot? A couple of years ago my mother discovered a reservoir of previously untapped ‘ridiculous’. It’d become, after a fractious few years— a pleasure spending time with her, if not for the first time— but the first time in a long time. She’d seemed to be a little more understanding and accepting of my foibles, and I of them, which makes all the difference in the world. It helps relieve a little of the ‘complicated’. The fact that my mother’d discovered comedy and was making me snort on a regular basis was merely a bonus.

But this is irrelevant, a long-winded introduction and steady build up leading to a crescendo of noise— which is not entirely bunkum as it happens. It’s a story involving balloons…

My nephew loves balloons, especially the kind that when released, fly around exulting a harrowing scream, flitter then drop excitedly with one good spasm before expiring. Louis and I had been synchronising the take-offs of them all morning, much to the delight of the little man and thought what a wonderful idea it would be to release even more. Amz was on her laptop, but my mother was hands-free…

So Louis and I filled some balloons, gave them to her and instructed her that under no circumstances was she to release them. Even now, I feel as though I should’ve added something.

Anyway, Louis and I expended what little breath we had left into the remaining balloons and poised at the ready. The scene was to be spectacular; six whirling tubes of shrill screech, dancing unpredictably towards an enthusiastic death-knell. However, I failed to entertain the one element of unpredictability.

‘Ready,’ I said, ‘on one . Three… two… one… release…release…release!’

Louis and I had a successful launches. But my mother held firm. Even upon the final release! Even though the room was filled with the sound of screaming babies Even though the launch command had become a desperate, personal plea for her to relinquish her grip…

‘Why the bloody hell didn’t you launch? We’ve just done this ten times … at what point did you not think I was talking to you?’ A reasonable question in the circumstances I thought.

‘Because,’ she said, ‘you told me that under no circumstances was I to release them.’

Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled…

Horace

Not unlike those sodding balloons!

Senses & Nonsenses…

One’s real life is so often the life one does not lead…

Oscar Wilde

IMG_0013Such are the senses, that we have more than five and fewer than six. Try tasting something without seeing it for instance; it almost always tastes like something other than what it’s supposed to and rarely anything other than chicken; listen to someone speak without seeing their mouths move or those unusual sounds that keep you awake at night when you’re trying to sleep that never turn out to be two thousand pound mice and you’ll forever be in that darkness— or even tasting something without smelling it and so on and so forth. Life is so much more than it appears to be, though it’s little more than it actually ever is. Unless of course, there is such a thing a two thousand pound mouse or you really were asked to shake and squeeze the band which gave King Tut its mildew…

My real life is far cry from the award winning, affluent, multi-faceted and admired jaunt and jolly through which my other self is no doubt enjoying somewhere where the senses are better understood and household pets and rodents are disproportionately large; but that’s not to say I’ll ever be to old to be everything I could have been-or too small for Autumn to call me sweetheart.

It puts me in mind somewhat rather of him— S; a splendid chap and so was his wife— K. At least she was when I knew her. She was smart too, in that sensible way that can get up the noses of people who try to sit down to quickly wearing tight pants, smoking whilst owning chest complaints and the intolerably foolish doing well, anything. She could and would point out the obvious with a style and punctuation, few of us would or could even dream about. I remember one such occasion at college, when she was trying to persuade S to disband one of his pro-radical movements— he liked to use meaningless compound phrases in those days— retro-activist-avist was his favourite— he said that it left dangling inferences suggesting guile and determination. K said it left an unpleasant odour in the air and a salty taste in her mouth whenever he said it. Her favourite saying on the other hand was, What’s with the finger E.T.? They were a charming bunch.

Anyway, he claimed the campus anti-everything lobby weren’t doing enough complaining about things that didn’t matter to anyone, so he founded the double A. E. B. The Anti-Anti-Everything Brigade, to which K merely pointed out that its tautology gave it ’all the noise of a harmless educational committee. Trying to point out the pointlessness of rebellion in the civilised world— is rather like an unwanted splinter’ she meant this quite literally; ‘a forgotten part of the Nation Union of Teachers perhaps’ she fancied, and besides, wasn’t it dishonest describing himself as a brigade, especially since he hadn‘t persuaded anyone else in actually joining him; that to disband an army of one was something that ‘reality just wouldn’t allow’ and perhaps he should try doing something useful instead like, drawing up a petition against himself and joining the N.U.T., ‘allergies allowing of course’, maintaining that she had read somewhere that ‘at least education had an ethos…’

S had missed the train again. It was the third time in as many days and he was starting to take the whole thing very personally. He wouldn’t have minded had it not been for the decrepit old fool in front of him who insisted on buying his ticket with an exact change he couldn’t really see; unless demonstrating the ability to distinguish the denomination of a coin by rubbing them against his eyeball counted as seeing.

As for me,I have a new cafeteria— reward for installing a utility next door, which brings me to my last point in a pointless exercise…

If you ask for and are expecting a cup of tea— but are given a mug of coffee instead…

It doesn’t taste well, and quite unlike either.