Friday, October 26, 2007

[tramvai] with whom does the cord communicate?

Strangely quiet end to the day – hard to describe.

For a start, though it was clear and mild out there, not especially chilly, the atmosphere exuded menace, maybe it was magnetically charged and people were definitely down – the young ladies an hour or so ago especially.

My goodness it was tough keeping their spirits up and I let them go early, then did the trek down to the tramvai, stopping in at the café for a bite and the management had made the girls dress up as some sort of Egyptian servant girls and they were suffering under these heavy mop top wigs in the overheated room.

Some young DJ was dressed like a pirate and on the counter were hallowe’en jack o’ lanterns. The girls said it was an early hallowe’en party – whatever moved them, I suppose but a bit of a mix of motifs.

It took a long time to tumble to the realization that I am now genuinely alone. I realized for the first time – I don’t know any of these people any more, the girls give not a glance, people go past on their business and I go home by tram to a home which is not a home. Even if I’d wanted to join their party, even if I’d been invited, I’d not fit in.

In the light of what is coming in Europe and America, it feels even more poignant, as if we’re at some crossroads, maybe the calm before the storm [to mix metaphors] and that nothing we’ve worked for or achieved before counts for anything anymore.

I think we’re going to be surviving on our wits, [as I’m doing at the moment anyway], only bigger issues are going to be hanging on it. I remember reading of young men in the Polish ghetto surviving in an animalistic way and I’m wondering if I’m too old for this or if it’s still possible for one such as myself to survive and if so, for what end?

Seems to me there has to be some ‘coming to terms’ required and so I’ve made a list of pre-survival requirements:

1. Get physically training again as soon as possible and continue eating healthily;

2. Come to terms with being alone and losing everything of value;

3. Suppress regret and self-pity over ageing – there’s little time for this and if encumbered by a true love – that can only be a weapon to be used against you –better not to have one;

4. Construct a series of concentric redoubts:

a. beef up and maintain your support network of protective people – especially important over here;
b. own your property outright but be prepared to lose it all and to have some haven to retreat to;
c. develop a sense of purpose, a clearly defined goal, rather than drift along into old age which I fear we’re not going to be allowed to do anyway – make that goal altruistic;

5. Get some sort of inner spirituality going and put your implicit faith in hope;

6. Practise, practise, practise infinite patience and see the value in doing nothing precipitate.

That’s maybe enough to be going on with for now. It seems I’m not the only one thinking this way – two separate people asked me where was the safest place to be in the next few years and I couldn’t help thinking either in South America or here.

“Here?” they muttered, “but it’s so boring here.”

“Precisely. Just as we want it.”

[Yes I know, I know, readers - I need to get more Mutley or Flying Rodentish and cease worrying.]


Sean Jeating said...

The final part (within the brackets) somehow "saved" the equilibrium.
What dark thoughts, James.

Yet, you may feel alone, but you are not lonely. Perhaps, you and me are thinking of too many worst case scenarios? :)

Hey, Mutley, where are you and the chain-smoker, when you are needed? :)
And with 13 days delay: Many happy returns!

. . .

(Not only) when you are returning by tram, James: The little details you are describing, and the associations they are calling up in your mind, sometimes let me think/feel I do witness all this, myself. Without any sentimentality: Great prose, sir. :)

Sean Jeating said...

The final sequence within brackets somehow “saved” the equilibrium.

What dark thoughts, James.

Yet, you may feel alone, but: You are not lonely. Perhaps you and me and others are thinking of too many worst case scenarios?

Hey, Mutley, where are you and the chain-smoker when you are needed?
And with 13 days delay: Many happy returns!
. . .
(Not only) when you are returning by tramvai, James: By describing the little details, and the associations they call up in your mind I do think/feel I am witnessing all this, myself.
Without any sentimentality: Great prose, Sir.

Colin Campbell said...

Despite the mood of this post, it is extremely moving. I think that we have all had lonely times in our life. I suppose being older and lonely is not so great. Your earlier post on going home on the tram was also very nicely written.


James, you are wrestling with your demon and you can overcome.

I have a quote from John Michell ("An Orthodox Voice", The Oldie, issue 109, April 1998) that I keep on my ageing Psion:

"The universe has no particular form or character independent of human imagination. There are an infinite number of ways in which you can see the world and an infinite range of data to support any of them. The universe is like a reflector, so your experience of life depends largely on how you choose to see it.

Turn off the television; ignore the world view broadcast by the media; summon up the data which indicate that here and now is our natural paradise, establish that model in your mind by reason and then go out and test drive it in the street. You will begin to see that happiness is the normal condition, and that heaven on earth is not a religious delusion but signifies the natural order of the mind and of the world around it."

jmb said...

Very poignant post James. I hope this mood doesn't last and that you get back to your usual buoyant self quickly.