The foot is plantar fasciitis (explanation too boring) but it’s unfair (I sound about six) because I have worn laceups most of the time for years. The burn is a scald, the lid came off as I faltered with a new pan full of boiling water and green vegetables. My son and I are not communicating with our usual clarity , he’s tired, I’m scared and the end result is stand back and wait. And the man on the bus threw me. We had been exchanging two or three jokey remarks – he said I sounded forbidding (I had said something to somebody else). I rejoined, looking at him and referencing myself, that he would find a woman with dark eyes and an aquiline nose forbidding, especially if she was older, coming from his culture. Never mind the “n” word: you mustn’t use the “c” word. “I think that’s racist, “he said. I was aghast. “I am sorry” I said, “ that’s not what I meant at all.” “Where do you get off talking about my culture ?” he asked. I said I was sorry, I was referencing myself and he did one of those bad tempered “convince me” shrug and mutter jobs. I said I was sorry and shut up. I was off next stop. I thanked him when he stood up for me, I would have done anyway. I am a founder member of the thankers’ union.
At the door leading off the bus, a short elderly man looked at me with wry patience and made the old gesture of the index finger, round and round, against the temple. I said nothing. We got off the bus and he said” You weren’t racist. He doesn’t know what he is talking about. He’s jumpy and easily offended. And anyway, you apologised three times. You wouldn’t have done that unless you meant it. Don’t worry about it. I heard the whole thing.” I gave him my hand, and asked where he was from. “Egypt” he said smiling. So I thanked him, and, shaken, went on to the emergency clinic which has been one of the two great finds of the week, where the wound on my arm has been cleaned and dressed. The clinic is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, as a walk in and it is obviously successful. How nice to hear two different NHS employees talk with pride about the quality of the care in their place of work.
The foot will involve orthotics and I have done a gait test, to see where I put the weight as I walk and why it is straining this foot and that. Oneself in underwear and unflattering lights outside the privacy of bathroom makes corsetry and a crinoline seem like a good idea and I had remind myself that I put on 10 pounds every winter, like an old bear. And that I like bears. But the podiatrist seems capable and the treatment of feet is very specialised.
And as for once words fail me (happens every so often, inevitably when I most need them to land well and clearly and precisely), I was thrilled to find an article hymning the analogue (from which I took this blog’s name) in the Sunday Times colour magazine (05.02.2017 – India Knight, Page 5). I had read that Eastman Kodak were reissuing products once discarded in the move away from the darkroom and the studio to the computer. Book sales – printed paper in covers hard or soft – are up. Vinyl records sold 53 per cent more in 2016 than 2015, yippee. And life isn’t all you or all me, black and white or even many shades of grey. Analogue is infallible, imperfect, slower, more fraught with problems (clearly), more interesting. You don’t have to have (or be) digital or analogue, you can have both. A friend told me that her written desk diary is much more efficient that entering, amending, losing track of her appointments on line. There it is, there’s the pencil, there’s the rubber if things have to be changed.