Gosh, time flies. It’s been four years since I last considered this subject, and so much has happened in the meantime; I’ve retired from retail shop work and taken up home hobby shop work, and I’ve officially gotten too old to give a good God Damn.
It’s a little frightening – this new freedom. As middle-aged citizens in employment we were required to be a pillar of the community and an example to the young. We needed to follow all applicable laws and apply for official permission on the correct forms. Now that I am 70 years old, no-one looks, no-one asks, and no-one cares. Other people are depressed by this but I am exhilarated. I feel like a kid with a box of limpet mines and a pair of swim fins.
I’ve given up nearly every activity that requires permission – shooting firearms, flying toy airplanes and sailing toy boats, entering prestigious photographic contests, etc. Having had as much success with these things as was ever likely to be, I can leave them – and their lets and hindrances – far behind. And I can be a lot smarter in the next few years about joining into things that require obedience.
Please understand – I’m not an old rebel. I was never a young one, and wouldn’t know how to do it. I am merely a person who is determined to consult their own counsel and take their own decisions. I shall not be a nuisance nor a danger to navigation – but I shan’t be a sheep any more.
The tax people have my complete respect and obedience – monitored and assisted by an honest accountant. The police also have my wholehearted support for civil law – I shall do all I can not to be a scoff-law in any vital matter. I shall be delighted to participate in the political process of my state and nation – but decline to be bullied by friends or strangers regarding my own vote.
Past this – I shall enjoy toy boats, cars, and airplanes – studio photography,writing, reading – interstate trips and whatever local amusements offer – and I shall not ask permission nor take scolding from anyone whilst doing so.
The chief care I will have to take is not to shock those who like to dictate and direct. I do hope my smile will be bland enough – I must go get my copy of Alice In Wonderland and practice Cheshire catting in the mirror.
We often see notices that say something – a pet, a piece of furniture, an old car – are free to a ” good ” home.
Good in this case seems to mean a place where the gift will be appreciated and cared for and loved as much as it was at your house. But the fact that you are getting rid of it calls that love into question. Okay, if you are about to be carted off to Pentridge for 3 to 5 and you want Tibby the pet liver fluke to survive and thrive – then the idea of a good home is sensible. Let’s hope Tibby gets lucky.
It’s a bit silly, though, when we can’t let go of the old couch or the out-of-registration Mazda without some strings attached. Seriously…if making it leave is the whole point of the advertisement, all we really need to concern ourselves with is getting it out of the place without scratching the door frame. Whether it becomes the centre point of an exhibition at the MOMA or is burned in someone’s backyard to distill corn liquor is not really our concern. Let. It. Go.
Likewise old ideas and old friendships. If they are so worn and weary as to be of no further use – if no further joy can be got – let them go and do not demand that they be given a bed and a plate of attention. Someone else may, indeed, learn to love them but they can do so on a fresh basis without your help or blessing.
The world changes. Every dawn that comes up is different from the last one you saw. By all means open your sack of life and take out the day’s experiences and use up some of the old ones the get the new ones going, but do not expect that other people will get as much out of them as you do. Empty that sack regularly, turn it inside out, and give it a good shake.
I am going to go visit a friend who lives in another part of our city. The distance that will be travelled is about 20 Km and by the time I get home it will be after dark. I shall drive carefully and expect to make the visit uneventfully.
In doing so I fly in the face of history, law, and human experience:
a. I need seek no permission from the Seigneur of the place where I live to travel inside or outside of his fiefdom. I have no Seigneur. I am a citizen of a free state in a free country.
b. I need no similar permission from the lord of another piece of land to cross into his territory. I need pay no fee for crossing a border. No-one will search me.
c. I need fear no banditti. They may exist, but they do not infest the roads of Perth, and I am very unlikely to be asked to stand and deliver. There are no hijack gangs operating at crossroads.
d. I do not need permission from the WA Police Service to make the journey. All they ask of me is that I be sober and moderate in my speed.
e. When I park my car at my friend’s house or at a hamburger place, I do not have to pay money to a street gang or a militiaman to prevent it being ransacked.
f. I do not need an expert driver to operate the motor car. It is within the capability of a person of moderate strength.
If you are reading this column from parts of the world where this happy set of circumstances do not apply, you have my sympathy. Is it time to make changes in your own country to better it?