I mean joy, take joy where you find it. Enjoy every little joy
For example …
Germane means literally of both parents, referencing both sides of a subject as in relevant.
Jermaine is a Jackson brother.
Germaine is Dr. Greer.
But Germaine is also a tall AfroCaribbean on the till at Waitrose and she is a tonic.
I’ve met her twice before and she does what the Celts call the craic – badinage, spiky, jokey, chatty – just this side of narrowing her eyes and getting stroppy.
Somehow this is the spoken equivalent of astringent, makes you wake up and run for the verbal ball. When I went in the other morning, she greeted me with “You’re very early –“ “Yes” I said, “I was hoping to find something you haven’t got. It was ever thus” and on we went, grinning for several minutes, laughing throughout what my mother used to call “rudery” (because it was a word that didn’t exist).
And it was as good as a clean salt breeze.
But then, the next day, at the morning bus stop there was a lapsized grubby white fluffy dog yipping and whining in between panting at his/her owner’s ankles. They weren’t great ankles and it is not kind weather for animals or children.
Then there was the accordionist at Sloane Square, the only person I know of who can make Nearer My God To Thee and the Cancan sound similar.
And the bus ride was dominated by two large Eastern European workmen discussing everything at the tops of their voices to the exclusion of the possibility of thought,
Not much joy in that but it’s three. Three, that’s the run. Over and out.
I spent a lovely evening meeting an almost new friend with an old friend of his who might become a friend of mine. And we ate and saw wonderful actors at the Latchmere (Frank Sent Me) – one hour in the sweatbox of pub theatre, hotter as hell, weight loss guaranteed.
And I saw (again) Espresso Bongo which gives me joy because it stars Laurence Harvey before he lost his edges, even if the piece is dated and awkward and strangely remote.
Then, coming back from seeing the end of term work exhibited by my friend and her class on a three year fine arts diploma course, I got into conversation with a woman who had noticed me waving to the driver and said nice things to me. In turn I was drawn to a strikingly limpid eye, clear cut features, strong hands with a particular confidence emanating from her. She told me she was Dutch. She talked to me about the body’s ability to heal itself, took my address, told me she’d send me the book she had written about it, that she had just joined a rowing club. And when I emailed a day later to thank her for the book, she told me a relative had called her first thing from Australia to tell her that they had lost a cousin and his wife and children (the Dutch lost 193 nationals) on Flight MH17 that was shot down in Eastern Ukraine. Which is why I say “take it when it comes”.
Joy is the soap bubble of emotions, soaring high, shining with colours – and gone in an instant
In conversation, a friend told me that his religious upbringing had instilled guilt into him so that if he felt joy, he expected to have to pay for it by his own or other imperfections and shortcomings. I understand that, of course I do, but I regret it for him, for any one who feels like that, because the world turns on such chance and if in a moment your heart soars, let it.
Like Stuart Scott (whom I discovered yesterday in an online magazine) speaking from illness, saying “You don’t lose when you die of cancer: you win by how you lived, by why you lived, the manner of your living “ and my face broke into a great silly grin. It’s the first time I have ever heard “fighting cancer” turned on its head and I loved it. Joy.
Probably lasted 50 seconds.
Every little bit.