Tuesday 1 July 2008

Between the Centuries

I would like to start by inviting you, if you are new to this blogsite, to move down to the bottom and keep clicking the 'older post' button until it stops appearing. The thing is, there is a sort of theme to what I have been writing and some of it won't make sense unless you've read them all. Goodness knows how that is going to work if I get to 95 and am still writing, thirteen and a half yards later. Oh well; there must be a way. Currently, I am on post 9, I think. That should'nt be more than you can chew in one go, and, by the way, last is first in the upside-down world of the blogsite.

Now that is one of the ways in which I am between the centuries; in the 21st century I am writing to you on a blogsite. In the century in which I was born I would have kept a diary and, had it involved camels and long-distance travel, all alone except for a few bearers and a ream of paper, it would have been published as a book and gathered dust in antiquarian bookshops ever after. (Mind you, better that than lingering in cyberspace in a file marked "older posts").The more serious aspect of this is that I am in a sort of no-man's-land where I can turn the computer on, find my way to my blogsite and start to write, but, and it is a huge but, I can do very little else with any confidence. The other day I tried to book train tickets on-line. Try not to laugh. In the time it took me to persevere and then give up I could have taken a slow boat to the nearest main-line station and bought the damned things over the counter. Undeterred - determined is more like it - I tried, today, to re-insure my car on-line. Twenty two 'pages' later I was faced with making a decision: to go for it or not to go for it. I went for lunch. I know I shall end up ringing my last insurer who wants the same money NOT to insure my 21 year-old co-driver as the on-liner has suggested to include him, too.

Again, don't imagine I can't see the advantages of emails, but last century during which, amongst other things, I was 40, people wrote letters to each other. You could tie them together with pink ribbon - and then confine them to a file marked "older posts"! But the truth is, my little heart still leaps to see a handwritten envelope on the doormat along with all the brown or windowed ones that have either to be binned or paid. Actually, I can't truthfully see all that much advantage in emailing. I have to print things off if I want to feel sure that they can be safely kept.

I work really hard to think myself in to the minds of the young, where they certainly, were they to realise it, would'nt want me with my torch and my inquisitiveness, but the current world is nearly as inaccessible to my 75 year-old self as my "there's-a-war-on/put- that-light-out" world must be to them. Hang on:" Put that light out" is equally pertinent to them; ecology and all that. Don't you just love the arc of it?
Anyway , how it feels to be straddled between the centuries can be summed up by the way people address you these days. "Hold on Liz" I get from the 12 year old on the phone in accounts whom I've never met and will end up never wanting to meet. "Mrs. Mountford to you", hisses my inner voice . You can feel the grit in my teeth. Even " Elizabeth" would show a bit more respect for an elderly stranger in a new world of familiarity.

I can see that "between the centuries" is far from exhausted, but I am, what with the worry that the Wizard of Cyberspace will steal my post before I click 'publish', indeed, has already stolen eight of them, and the fact that it is 28 degrees out there and I DONT LIKE THE HEAT. See you soon.

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