The ties of friendship between Pam and me are reinforced by worldclass worriting.
She whose domain is dominated by possession – she never stays anywhere else if she can avoid it – has rented the house to a film company and is currently both appalled and impressed by the amount of work the location team are putting in, and the number of things that have had to be moved or changed.
She hasn’t slept for weeks.
Before this, she worried it wasn’t going to happen, that there was no work, that the lighting in the street had been changed and that BT really did stand for Big Tit (meaning foolish and ineffectual – check historical slang) and the computer was going to die.
You will be pleased to know that we laugh at how much we worry – I am up there with her with a slightly different list of worries – but last night we both laughed out loud when she remarked “Do you know, I think I have worried myself into serenity?”
Whatever else I am losing with age, nervous anticipation is increasing.
Sometimes as I lope through the darkened streets – before taking my life in my hands to cross the road already glutted with cars and killers on wheels (my experience of bikes is not good) I wonder why I do this every morning?
And I know – it’s to move my back.
And because I still enjoy newspapers – until there is a run of stuff so ugly and unkind that I wonder – do I need to spend this money?
Yes. Yes. For the exercise, for the crosswords and this week (23.10.15) for Peter Brookes’ cartoon in The Times (Page 31) which shows the PM, the Chancellor, Prince Phillip and HM all bending to form the steps into the aircraft, up which mount the grinning Chinese premier and his wife.
Cartoonists are clever and Mr. Brookes is among the finest.
So why, why a package of deals (including a nuclear plant) worth an estimated $40 billion to get into bed with China – when better heads than mine have been talking about the manufacturing slowdown in China, the dissident movement, the lack of accountability, the instability? A country which is singularly unpleasant to its own.
But the deals are done. Not a darned thing I can do about it. And what that highlights is neurotic anticipation – mine.
Anticipation as in looking forward, say, to Christmas, is one thing.
What we look forward to in that context is reinforced by what went before. But reading the future is not given to humans except the clairvoyant few.
Maybe this is the Chancellor at his most farsighted, ushering in improved if not full employment – bearing in mind that the impossible takes a bit longer.
Or maybe this is a gamble, a gamble with lives that don’t matter a damn to a man with private money. He can leave if he doesn’t like what happens. The rest of us will be stuck with it, unexplained.
As I have got older, anticipation has become less about what might be good and more about what might go wrong. I can worry myself into a black hole over a train journey I have never taken, over being too much of this and too little of that, on whether I can make that dish I have never made, and over what I will do if it doesn’t work.
There are still two or three memories which cause me to grimace with pain as I lie there not sleeping. But I don’t do a lot of repining.
Done’s done and the milk is spilt. Let’s hope there is a cat around to lick it up.
I worry about what might be.
I did this before to a degree but as I have become older and more powerless,
I have learned only one thing about what might be: it might, and we shall just have to get on with it.
Whatever is coming will come, I will deal with it as Pam is dealing with the location disruption – you gotta? you gotta. Get on with it.
Dealing with it – cooking the dish, making the train journey, surviving a future you can not imagine is easier than worrying about what might be.
I say “Into Thy Hands”, imagine the light on the sea in Crete and fall asleep. Eventually.