Philosophical Discussions

“Life, to the interested, will always be interesting, regardless of your circumstances,” I tell myself as I work on the forecourt of my local petrol station, guiding customers to a fuelling booth or parking bay, depending on their purpose. Are they going to fill their car with gas or wander into the shop and play themselves a symphony by Simoné de Calorie, before buying a “Slimmer’s choice” chicken curry in readiness for a cosy evening for one in front of the television?

Of course, some people buy food for more than one, demonstrating a life full of emotional richness and a family who dote and live on their every word and glance but others, like me, exist alone, apart from television and a close friend called “Microwave.” Each day I yearn for a smile from the lady I work with, who manages till number four, and whose sense of life and tragedy seem to mirror my own. I’m simple yet complicated, defined and yet confused; a muddle in search of the perfect note but most of all I’m lost.

What can I offer her; with my lack of wealth and a sub-standard career apart from those insights into the experience of living which interest no one apart from those bored by the commonplace. She is beauty in my eyes, and her expression rich in that tragic awareness which speaks of a profound understanding. Can I risk telling her I want to know her, or should I do what I always do: smile politely at her as if she is a character in a film while keeping my hunger to myself?

Each life is a single brushstroke on the canvas of experience, lost within the body of the painting we call history, yet some of us, myself included, long to be seen as that touch, a contrasting insight, which  helps to define human experience. 

I have created a largely hopeless existence, apart from conversations with artists and philosophers of note, so that when I worked as a ticket collector at a provincial railway station I said to Descartes, “I think therefore I am, but I smile because I know” and nodded at him as if I’d added an extra cadence to his words, seeing if he understood my addition to his wisdom or just continued to sip his coffee at the Café Eternité without acknowledging my existence: perhaps he did or perhaps he didn’t, but we’ve no way of knowing either way.

Be that as it may, the object of my affections, to put it discreetly, was in a pub one Saturday lunchtime when I came upon her, me being somewhat the worse for wear, and ignoring the presence of her friends said, “If I were braver, and capable of time-travel I would whisk you away from this place to a café where Descartes, Monet and Gaudí were sitting discussing the importance of landscape, or the way the peripheral can become urgent depending on your circumstances, and introduce you to them as the defining beauty of our age.

She, as you may understand, just looked embarrassed, and explained to her companions that I was that odd man who worked on the forecourt at her garage. I smiled at them as if I had been joking, which is amusing given it was one of the few times in my life when I have been sincere.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Peter Wells, Romance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Philosophical Discussions

  1. Jack Eason says:

    If only the women we loners love, really knew eh Peter?


  2. catterel says:

    Poignant – thanks again, Peter, for introducing us to yet another of the shadowy characters peopling your imagination. Still waiting for them to get together in one coherent tale .


  3. beth says:

    aw, the twist of life – for some never the right time and place, just when they’ve figured it out


  4. Michael Graeme says:

    Ah,… been there. Heaven forbid we should ever start speaking our minds. Another terrific vignette. You launch us straight into a fully formed world in so few words, it’s magical.


  5. A very sad tale which makes one question (a) why we don’t speak our minds more readily and (b) whether self-preservation (by keeping fantasies as they are) can be fulfilling.
    Killer opening line, Peter.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Al says:

    I’ve used that very same pickup line myself, Peter. Never worked for me either.


  7. tiostib says:

    Wow! So much, so fast, so delicious and dangerous, smiles and tears simultaneously. Thank you for lighting up my day!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Scarlet says:

    I think he might have got further if he’d not been bogged down with Descartes et al. Keep it simple would be my advice.


  9. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    From Peter with love…


  10. judithhb says:

    Peter, Peter. Once again transported by your words to a place unknown to me but which seems like somewhere I have been. Thank you


  11. Such soul-searching stories, Peter.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So much said in such few words. You take us straight to the heart of things.


  13. usfman says:

    I would take comfort in realizing that you are not in immediate need to depend on others for your self enhancement in life. Yet you one gets older, it helps to have someone else pick up the slack.


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