Stick to it.
And generations of Australians will know that cheery little piece of uplifting advice was used to sell insect poison. It’s not quite in the same league as ” Eine Reich, Eine Volk, Eine Führer ” or ” Manifest Destiny ” but at least it only killed flies.
But how do you know when you’re actually on it? And how do you know it’s good? And is there a time when you should hop off smartly and go find a place to hide?
Leaving aside homicide and insecticide, let’s look at kinder aspects of daily life. Take clothing, for example. We all like clothing – it makes us look good, keeps us from getting too cold or hot, and prevents us from being arrested. And nearly all of us can recognise when we are onto a good thing, garment-wise. We get compliments from the family or strangers, wolf whistles in the street, or offers from Hollywood producers*. It is a wonderful highlight of the week when we wear an ensemble that really works.
And yet – so few of us wear it two days running, or repeat the success of one day in the next. We look like kings and then like paupers. We just never stick to that one good thong. ( Freudian slip…)
So few of us will find the perfect way to drive to work – in my case the war chariot with the scythe wheels had bad suspension. We go a different way week by week, gaining only variety in our traffic jams.
And orgasms. Take orgasms. They must be counted as one of the best of the good things, yet how many of us are organised enough to have 15 in a row? Even 2 or 3 would brighten up a working day in the lunch room…but no-one seems to be willing to make the effort. I put it down to the fact that the workers can hardly be induced to wash out their coffee cups, let alone wash out anything else.
It may be a case of a good thing, but no-one wants to stick to it…or to the upholstery, for that matter…
* No, Harvey. For the hundredth time, just no.
If you are playing to an audience you generally want to see their reaction. I can only think this to be the case when I see some of the vanity license plates on the road. The owners who have paid a stiff price for these plates want an audience to applaud them as they drive by.
But everyone is busy with the steering wheel and gear lever…or at least with their mobile phones and stubbies of beer – there are no hands free to clap. And so few people toot their horns or flash their lights. It must eventually be a source of the deepest frustration for the performers.
Tuesday’s random was a large SUV with I AM AD as the plate. Either someone is named Adam or someone runs an advertising agency. Either would be valid.
Some plates are fun. THE MOOCHER on a Mini is a clever cultural joke. PAYD 4 is another. KILLER or DV8 are not – they are a tin revelation of what is behind the wheel. Rather like an E plate* that someone paid $ 400 for but is in no hurry to lose.
I plan to ask for the heading image when I buy my gold-plated Maserati.
* Our local Plate’O Shame that marks the convicted drunk driver who has been able to cozen a magistrate into special dispensation from becoming a pedestrian for a year.
Barn finds are either a type of motor car or fresh eggs…the proper thing to do with them is to either fry them or repaint them. This thought came to me this afternoon on Leach Highway when a car pulled along side me at the lights.
It was a Mitsubishi of indeterminate age, and it looked like it had been shot down over Bougainville in the 1940’s. When it went down it was probably in need of a wash. Apart from tip trucks, I have not seen a vehicle on the road that was covered in as much rubbish.
The disgusting condition may have been a cunning plan to avoid the attention of thieves in carparks…though it carried with it the danger of being taken for a derelict and getting towed to the wrecker’s yard. Yet there may have been nothing mechanically wrong with it.
Some cars get that way because some drivers just don’t care how things look. I must confess that my first car eventually needed a re-spray due to the paint deteriorating, and that was because I didn’t have enough time in a week to give it the wash and wax that the paints of the day needed. Yet it passed the seven years that I owned it with only very minor mechanical repairs needed. And the interior was lovely to the last.
I do think we have been ill-served in automotive finishes during some decades…and particularly by some makers. There was a rush to metallics and clear coats with some Japanese cars that proved premature. The number of blue-green and maroon cars with severe peeling and fading shows that it was more than just owner-error. And we have thankfully seen the last of the vinyl roof cover that trapped water underneath it. Vinyl has gone the way of the contact-adhesive walnut dashboard and as far as I am concerned the velour seat can follow it. Along with the dashboard that lights up like the CIC of an aircraft carrier.
And then there are the good points. My little Suzuki Swift has arrived at the end of its first seven years with the paint work largely intact. There have been a few bumper scratches but these have been touched up and the glow of the rest of the of the shell is undimmed. As Western Australian sun has grown stronger during the decades while my cleaning performance has hardly altered, this shows a corresponding improvement in the paint. I was initially dismayed to see that my choices were limited to a metallic colour, but time has proved it to be fine.
As readers of this column may have gathered, I was given a timely reminder last month regarding the human condition. A mistaken operation led to an opportunistic infection and a hospital stay. There has been home time accompanied by medication, pain, and boredom.
There has also been attention from a governmental agency that suggests any real need that one may have will probably not be met. The agencies will churn and burn, but the chief product will be salaries for their employees and reports for their bosses. The patients they are tasked to help will get better or not, independent of any real help.
If you are laid up you miss going out, doing things, or participating in life. It rankles. There is only so much that you can do on a screen, even if you are an inveterate scribbler like myself. Eventually you long to take out the garbage and get a haircut – it may not sound like conquering Everest, but it is…
This week I started driving again. Slowly and carefully, but that is how I roll anyway. The little round of the shops, barber, and bank were a positive pleasure – so much so that I was courteous to the pests in the shopping mall who wanted to bail me up for promotions. That’s how much I have changed.
I daresay I’ll get blasé about it again in a few weeks, but right now I am appreciating life pretty well.
The week in the armchair has been productive. The leg heals, the mobility increases slightly, and there is no lowering horizon – save a growing list of things that I want to get done once I can stand. I think there is going to have to be some prioritization in the jobs list for a while.
If this sounds a little Pollyanna-ish you must forgive me. I won’t make myself better by worrying about what I might have troubles with – I’ll do far better to do what can be done and be pleased with that. To this end I watched pointedly useful YouTube shows all the week.
I also reorganised on paper what the rest of the year might look like. Sitzenzeit is good for that…if you can be honest with your plans and get a balance between wanna-do and canna-do. I suspect that there are a lot of times in the past when a week spent in the hangar would have led to some better flights of fancy afterwards.
One thing that hangar time forces you to do is to ask what it is you actually want to do in the future. If there are activities and ambitions that have been rather marginal in the past…but you’ve stuck to them from a sense of inertia…you have an opportunity to decently step away from them. You can streamline the wing load by unhooking the unwanted ordnance – without the necessity to drop it dramatically on someone.
The other thing that happens is you find out how many times that you go out on the road to the shops to spend money or some reason. When you can’t walk , you can’t drive, and you can’t go out and spend money. It is a bit of a shock to realise that this has not lowered your standard of living for the week. Or perhaps you are brought to the realisation that the book, bed, armchair, and convenient toilet are as high a standard as you really need – and the designer platinum-coated egg whisker that is being offered for a fabulous discount may not be for you.
I have not yet given in to the temptation of on-line shopping. I may advocate it or others, but I realise the danger of it for the bored or unfulfilled. I can wait.
a. To people who read my weblog columns and get the humour. And laugh.
b. To people who read the columns and do not get them and then grumble. This gives me an opportunity for laughter.
c. To people who still talk to me.
d. To people who have cut me dead.
e. To people who read my material in hopes that I will get better at writing. If it is any consolation to you, I hope I will get better as well. If there was a spell-Check for thoughts I might have a chance.
f. To the people who make Facebook as crassly stupid as it is. They do not raise any faith in mankind, but they let me feel superior to something. Not quite as good as canned chili but better than a suggested post.
g. To people who do not tailgate me at dusk when I am in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. May your tyres always maintain pressure and your seatbelt never pinch.
h. To people who keep appointments.
i. To people who help me with technical enquiries – but only if they are right.
j. To people who speak loudly enough to be heard and slowly enough to be understood.
k. To people who do not bring takeaway containers of coffee out and sip while we are in conversation.
l. To waiters and waitresses who do not hover. If I want another beer I’ll call for it; if I want a helicopter I’ll call Sikorski.
m. To book store owners who put good things on remainders tables at low prices.
I have decided to take up the life of a highwayman.
I found a long black cloak and hat with a brim that goes over my eyes. The local Parties-R-Us had a good selection of black masks. I’ve enrolled in a course of horse riding – and I asked specifically for a fiery steed. The lady at the riding school was a little skeptical, but has promised to put me down for ” Sparkles “. Apparently they have a lot of highway robbers in the Shetlands and have developed a special horse for them…or so she says.
My application to the Police Firearms Branch for a licence for a brace of pistols for purposes of robbery went in Monday so that’s all right. I’ve been practicing my flourishing in the mirror with a pair of large bananas and I think I can manage pretty well – provided Sparkles is going to stand still.
The only two things left to sort out are what the schedule of the mail coach is and where I shall bail it up. I believe the country mail for Albany and the wheatbelt is taken on coaches now that most of the rail services have been closed down, so that should mean good pickings. I am also hoping for gouty squires and aristocratic maidens with purses full of sovereigns. I plan to barricade the highway to force the coach to stop by rolling large rocks onto the bitumen. I’ve seen it done by a coyote in cartoons.
The thought has just come to me…I’ll need a highwayman’s name. Something to strike terror into the gouty squires and set the hearts of the maidens fluttering. Perhaps it would be as well to change from referring to myself as Uncle Dick and become Captain Dick – the Terror of Tammin.
I’ve seen Tammin, and frankly, it terrifies me.