Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Now We Are Three
I always remember being deeply disturbed by a book I read when I was still in my early teens. Called "The Crowthers of Bankdam" and written by Thomas Armstrong it was a West Riding family saga of the "trouble at' mill" type. The main character - Jos Oldroyd, the head of the family business - had smoked a pipe all his life. One morning, when he was in his sixties, he woke up and left his pipe unlit on his desk. He never touched it again. Within three weeks he was dead. Beware sudden changes in behaviour was the clear lesson, especially as you approach what we optimistically call "middle age". When people have encouraged me to change behaviour patterns with phrases such as "why not change the habits of a lifetime?" I have usually replied, "because you die within a couple of weeks just like old Jos Oldroyd". It was the negative role model of old Jos that kept me smoking my pipe for years after I finally accepted on an intellectual level that smoking might be bad for my general health. When I eventually put my pipe to rest just over two years ago I kept a careful watch for other behavioural changes. The other day I started wearing pyjamas again after a gap of about forty years. For most people this can be interpreted as a normal reaction to the cold nights, or the fact that the central heating is playing up, or just plain old age. But in my heightened state of watchfulness it becomes a sign of impending mortality. It depresses me. "Never mind", I tell myself, "at least you are managing to keep your blog going". But I have never managed to keep anything going: it is the fatal flaw in my character which has stopped me being Prime Minister or Chief Executive of Walkers' Crisps. Although I start a diary every year I have never managed to get past January 8th. And now this blog is in its fourth month......! It is a paradox : I started blogging to guarantee my immortality and by keeping blogging I hasten my mortality. So how on earth did I get on to this in a posting entitled "Now We Are Three". This is supposed to be about my third blog I have just started "Fat Dog To The Big Apple" which charts my virtual walk with Amy the dog from Los Angeles to New York. My trouble is that I can't stick to the bloody point. Never have been able to. No change there then. .... Thank Goodness.