I was sitting in my favourite bookshop/cafe last week.. It was a wet day and trade was quiet, so one of the waitresses got out the ironing board with a view to pressing the mountain of staff aprons stacked up in the laundry basket. Well, it's one thing getting said contraption out, it's quite another to assemble it. Now the good lady is not lacking in intelligence or perseverence, but after a good five minutes of struggling with the board and its unco-operative legs, she threw in the towel and summoned assistance. A colleague came to her aid and had the thing assembled in a trice. I reckon she must have spent a lot of hours on english beaches assembling deckchairs. Have you ever tried that? How can two rectangular pieces of wood cause so much angst, not to mention trapped fingers and thumbs and all with the aim of having a nice sit down in comfort on the beach!
Life! Nothing is straightforward. Things that are meant to make our life better or easier or more comfortable should, in my opinion, be viewed with deep suspicion, because believe me, they never do. Generally they bring a whole heap of trouble with them. Kitchen gadgets like coffee machines, stick blenders, food mixers, chef''s torches and the like cause no end of bother - well they do in our house. Just take the stick blender as a for instance. You've made a lovely pan of soup and take the stick blender to it. Maybe your attention is momentarily diverted to something else and in that moment you slightly raise the stick blender and hey presto - there is soup everywhere, up the walls, the windows, in your hair. Everywhere but in the pan, so, so-long lunch and let's clean the walls instead. It's the same with the food processor. If you forget to put that little plastic top in the chimney, there you go again, food everywhere. And as for those chef's blow-torches for caramelising food. Yes, I'm sure you're there already. Over-enthusiastic use and you burn the food to an inedible mess, inattention and you set hair/curtains/clothes on fire and burn hands and anyone one else unfortunate enough to stand too close to you.
I asked the question in the cafe - do modern gadgets and digital technology improve your life? Oh, I so wish I never asked. The whole place erupted with everyone's pet hates - DVD players they can't work, remote control devices that are completely unfathomable, internet connections that don't, mobile phones that are a mystery to the user, washing machine programmes that are so complex you need a university degree to understand them and so on and on and on. As if it was all my fault. I only lifted the lid on the cauldron.
However, it is good to know that it is not only me that gets exasperated by all the new-fangled technology and gadgetry. I am not the only Eyore quietly grumbling away in my corner, 'life, bah' ,mystified and frequently annoyed by the devices I allegedly need in my life. I grumble quietly though; wouldn't want the washing machine or internet connection to hear me and turn their respective hogs out, now would I?
I have just tidied out my husband's wardrobe for the umteenth time. Is this remarkable? No. Do I have OCD with regards to cupboards? No. I do, however, prefer a modicum of order in my life and in my home. It just makes things easier.
Following on from last week's thoughts on the half-full or half-empty attitude, I am still contemplating the many different approaches people take to life. I was going to write about that, but at the moment it's the approaches dogs take to life and their entirely different personalities and attitudes that come to mind.
We had George, the border collie and Harry, the golden retriever. Both doggies species, but there the similarity ended. Their personalities and approaches to life were quite different.
George was a low-slung, slim-line speed machine. He was always cautious when encountering a new situation; obsessive when he'd singled out a new goal for himself, e.g. relentlessly rounding up sheep, people walking and also lawnmowers in action. He was dainty in his eating and drinking habits, like an elderly maiden aunt. He could not bear water, sidestepping every puddle and only reluctantly lapping out of a dish because he had to. Even the way he slept was unusual. He curled up in a tight ball and stuffed his head right under his tail, so that we were never quite sure which bit of him was where. He was always generous in sharing his food and toys and always ready for action, unless it was raining outside.
Harry was big-boned, with huge paws,a constantly swishing tail and smiley mouth. He bounced tigger-like into every situation, always confident of his welcome, ready to plunge into the heart of the action, especially if it was a stream or river to be swum in. He positive self-image was plain for all to see. He was a retriever by breed, but that was all. He did not share his food or toys. Poor old George never got a look in if Harry was around. Once retrieved, everything belonged to Harry. No curling up in a tidy ball for him. He rolled on to his back, stretching out luxuriously, taking all the available space and a lot more besides if he could manage it. Harry's cup of life was always more than half-full. He gobbled his food and sloshed his water everywhere, with huge enthusiasm, no delicate approach to life for him..So loveable, so loyal, strong-willed and totally exasperating.
Which brings me back to himself and the wardrobes. Why the big tidy out? Because the spouse has been looking for a clean shirt. I know, it should be a straightforward task. Only he takes the bull in the family china shop approach and in a few moments has wrecked the joint.
Now when I go looking for clean clothing it's not a big deal to gently rummage for my preferred item and them replace things neatly. I am George to his Harry. I plan and prepare, anxious not to leave anything to chance. He prepares inn the last nano-moments before departure, smiling and relaxed, not a care in the world. And, dammit, it always works out so well for him.
Should I take a leaf out of his book? A slice of his cake of life? Am I too old a dog to learn new tricks. Harry learned to open doors and throw biscuits in the air and catch them on the way down when he was of very mature years. Mmm. Who knows. It's worth a try.I have mastered the art of opening doors but the trick with the biscuits? I'm not sure. Now the flying trapeze or wing walking - now they really would be new tricks....