I am a naturally exuberant character: I treat the world as my village, and will talk to almost anybody but even I have soul searing moments! Can you imagine standing in front of the bathroom mirror, looking at your reflection then drowning in a moment of self-knowledge as the tears flow silently down your cheeks. You clutch your toothbrush ever tighter, fighting to control your sobs. At last you feel a hand on your arm and you hear your wife say, “What is the matter dearest?”
You turn to face her, and look into her eyes, seeking some relief from the awful truth which cannot be spoken but which is forcing itself to be heard. At last you hear an almost disembodied voice utter the words. “I cannot make puff-pastry.” “Sorry” says the wife, temporarily thrown off-balance. as you continue, “ I will never sit before the oven and see my creation rise above the baking tray in glorious mountains of taste heaven.”
Something like a shadow passes over her face, and without speech you can read her thoughts. “There are over three billion men on this planet, but somehow I had to marry you.”
Fair enough, each corner of our lives may not be covered in glory but we all have our moments. Later, walking along a beach bathed in sunlight I wish I might be one of those men for whom the whole place stands still: even the beach ball freezing in mid-flight as across the golden expanse of this holiday paradise you hear the thoughts of women folk murmuring, “He’s hot, ripped, shaped” or whatever their expression might be. Sadly with my body cased in nothing but my knee-length Harris tweed bathing trunks and a small sombrero, the only description I can hear of my physique is “He’s melted” which might indicate my stomach flows down in gentle undulations towards, and finally over my belt, but, do we mind ; no, because I recognise my wrist is still in spectacular condition.
This thought was with me as I walked over the sand to the café where the athletes among us size up the menu to decide which cake might go better with their latte. Being exuberant, as I said, I will talk to anyone, so I smiled at the man sitting opposite me at the table, and scowling at me, he began to speak.
“I hate all people”, he says.
“Everyone?” I ask.
” Yes, White, Black, Green, Orange: everyone.” That seems to cover most people on the planet and one or two other solar systems so I look for spiritual sunlight elsewhere. “What about music then?” and I pause to take a bite of my delicious almond and apricot coated pastry. “ I hate music,” he said.
Interesting point of view so I ask him, “Do you hate every note?” and he pauses before replying, “I don’t mind middle C.” Ok, it’s not a world of riches but it’s a start: I tuck into the experience.
“So are we allowed to change the volume? You know, one note, but louder, then softer and then suddenly louder again to keep the listener guessing:” I give a brief vocal rendition to make the point clearer to him.
That look I remembered from the morning bathroom conversation passes over his face and I know he’s thinking “There are over seven billion people on the planet but I’m sitting here with this idiot, and where did he get that hat”. Desperate to claw myself back into his good books I ask him if he is getting any wrist action?
For reasons known only to himself, he leaves the table without finishing his coffee.