Sunday July 23, 2006
There’s a trap waiting for you when you’re not feeling on top form and need to spend large chunks of your day taking it easy. It’s not the obvious one of getting to feel sorry for yourself. It’s certainly not the less obvious one of sliding into a depression; leastways, it’s not for me—I can’t be depressed on a lovely sunny day. No, it’s one I’d not really worked out before this protracted period of staying home, taking it easy.
It’s the Grumpy Old Man Syndrome.
Hadn’t really encountered it before. It happens when every time, for want of something better to do, you pick up a newspaper, watch the news programmes or listen to them on the radio. You find yourself thinking the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and sit there Grumping away at it all, from wars to the world of shopping. It’s all down to the isolation, I suspect.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve been confined to home and forced back on my inner resources. Don’t suppose it’ll be the last, either.
The difference in the past is that I’ve had my library of books, music and movies to which I can turn when the weather has been against me. Cold? Peter Duck, or Coral Island, or My Family and Other Animals. Hot? Winter Holiday, or Ice Station Zebra… You get the drift. You could call it airconditioning for the soul if you were bent in a poetic direction.
This time, though, my library is in storage, out of reach. All I have is yet another novel by Dean Koontz, the TV and the radio. And none of these are serving well to help me stave off an attack of Grumpy Old Man Syndrome.
Cutting through to the quick of it, I’m being reminded, forcibly, that home is more than a pile of bricks. It’s far more important than that, and it includes the things you gather about you, inside the pile of bricks, the things to which you turn a thousand times a day for comfort, for remembrance, and for beauty.
It’s been suggested to me that I ought to go out and buy a portable airconditioner to help me survive the heatwave, cooling me from the outside in. Not a bad idea at all but I suspect I’d do better to go out and buy copies of the books and music which, along with an effective electric fan, serve to cool me from the inside out.
Or, even better, perhaps I should simply sit quietly and take it easy, secure in the knowledge that, sooner or later, the heatwave will go away and, shortly afterwards, I’ll be complaining about the cold.
Taking it easy