Misfortunes run in threes.

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My computer mouse disappeared last night somewhere between
six pm when I left home for a party and returned at 11 pm.  Its disappearance has left me with an odd sense of
dislocation.  
I could not begin to
use my computer until I had access to its insides.  
And then this morning when I woke to make my first cup of
tea, I found the pantry had been invaded overnight by ants.
I put these two events together as though they are linked,
as though I have been jinxed; and I start to look for a third mishap to make the picture complete.  So far I
cannot find one. 
I had feared this party last night, as one arranged by
good friends but filled with people who belong to a particular group of
old friends from the advertising world.  They tend to gang together and exclude outsiders.  
Last night, I was determined not to be left
out.  I was determined to gate
crash my way into any conversation that looked inviting.  
As it turned out, this became
unnecessary.  We wound up at a
small table on the periphery with a couple of friends outside the advertising group who go back many years
and a new couple with fascinating stories to tell.
 
It became a night of nostalgia about the day each of the
three couples met the other half of the couple for the first time.
 
One couple had been together for over forty years. My
husband and I for thirty six, and the third couple have been together –
unmarried, the woman hastened to add – for seventeen years.  
The third couple’s story seemed by far
the more glamorous in that they had met in Pakistan and lived an extraordinary
life before the roof blew off the halcyon structures of the nineties and no one
could live like that any more, even those in advertising.
 
At one point, there was a generalised complaint around the table about
the new world order:  It was so
much better in days gone by – education better, recourses better, thoughtfulness
better.
I don’t buy this line.  There are things that might be ‘better’ today and other
things far worse.  It depends on
your perspective. 
Maybe the third miserable event for me for the day can be the
weather.  
We are expecting
temperatures to rise again to the near forties, Celsius that is, another
scorcher.
 
All the leaves are brown, but the sky is blue.  Bright blue with a blazing sun and the
leaves have lost their green through sun burn, so the words of the song, which I presume were written to apply to autumn, do not apply so well here.  
Brown leaves and with a northern
orientation you’d expect to hear of the space before winter, but here it can
signify a hot summer.  
The burned leaves tend to be on the exotics, those plants that are not indigenous.  The cherry tree in our backyard is
stone dead.  The one in our front
garden survives, but with no green leaves left to cheer us over the summer.
 
The leaves on the star magnolia have dropped in distress but
there are still flower buds waiting to burst, so it might survive.  
We cannot use too much water and we
cannot wrap the entire garden in shade cloth.  One scorching day is enough to burn leaves to a crisp.  They will not revive till next
season. 
You, who live on the other side of the world, have other struggles
in the cold.  I do not wish to be
you.  I’m happy enough in my heat,
only sometimes, like most others here, I wish it were not quite so intense.
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5 Comments on Misfortunes run in threes.

  1. Jim Murdoch
    February 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m not fond of extremes of temperature. It’s not terribly cold where I am right now but then neither is it toasty hot. It takes me three or four hours to warm up most mornings these days which is so unlike the me I used to be who preferred to work in a cooler environment. Now, delicate soul that I’ve become, it doesn’t take much to upset my equilibrium. We have storage radiators in our flat. They’re not ideal but they’re also inexpensive and our electricity bills are nothing compared with what I hear people talking about on TV as their norms. As a child we had electric fires. Only the living room was heated in winter; the bedrooms, the bathroom, the kitchen were as hot or as cold as it was outside. You say you prefer heat to cold. The thing about the cold is you can always wrap up. Once you’ve taken everything off—or as much as modestly will allow—what can you do apart from sip cool drinks and position yourself in front of a fan? Both make me tired. It doesn’t take much to make me tired. Getting up can make me tired. But when it’s too hot or too cold it just draws any energy that I have out of me.

    Of course we have no garden—a precondition placed on Carrie if you remember when she was looking for a flat since I was too busy working to even think about stuff like that—and I’m fine with that. If I did have a garden it would have to cope with whatever Mother Nature threw at it on its own.

    I haven’t been to a party, a proper party in… thirteen or fourteen years and it wouldn’t trouble me if I never attended another. I hate mingling. I normally find the one person in the place I know I can have a half decent conversation with and back them into a corner. Either that or I hide in the kitchen.

    Carrie’s been married for forty-six years and I’ve been married for twenty-six—just not to each other. People tend to forget that when measuring time. I think that’s why we slipped into the old married couple guise so quickly; neither of us felt as if we’d just got married.

    As for the state of the world? It’s all subjective and it goes through cycles too. I was watching a documentary a couple of days ago which focused on Christmas 1977 which was a rough time apparently here in the UK but that’s not how I remember it. I was eighteen. I had my first real girlfriend—the kind that let you do stuff—and who cared what state the world was in? I had a job. I had money in my pocket and it looked like I was finally going to be able to get out of the house and be this magical thing called ‘free’. Yeah, freedom. That’s a whole other subject.

    Reply
  2. PhilipH
    February 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm (3 years ago)

    40C That would probably kill me!

    Anything over 20C and I begin to wilt, like the dead leaves on your tree.

    One man's meat is another man's poison; substitute 'heat' for 'meat' and that's ME.

    Reply
  3. Rob-bear
    February 2, 2014 at 10:06 pm (3 years ago)

    Ah, the contrasts. You're at plus 40, we're at, well, not quite minus 40, but "fresh, bracing, and invigorating."

    The new world order may be technologically better, but I find it less human and humane. Indeed, I was watching a program through TED today about counties with huge income and economic disparities, and how people in those countries do much worse than those in which wealth is more equally distributed.

    Perhaps that is your third "bad thing" — living in a land of inequality.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

    Reply
  4. River
    February 3, 2014 at 4:35 am (3 years ago)

    Near 40C is almost a cool change to us here in SA.
    did you find your mouse? oh wait…here you are on your computer, so of course you did.
    If I count both marriages, I've Been married for 31 years, just not consecutively or to the same man. I much prefer being single.

    Reply
  5. Tommaso Gervasutti
    February 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Dear Elisabeth, here on this other hemisphere it seems instead it will never stop raining, it has been raining uninterruptedly for one week, pouring rain…
    Your posts are Always intense, this one beginning with your mouse's vanishing act is just great..dislocation yes..there are absences, sudden, of things that really make us lose our bearings..
    and the ants, I found them filling my sink in August and I made the mistake of Killing them, since I was afraid they would fill the house, Crafty Green Poet wrote in her blog that it is better to let them be, they soon leave by themselves…and I felt bad because I love ants, as Derek Walcott said "They are giants"..

    Reply

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