Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Double Trouble

Those of you kind enough to keep up may remember, from a post or so back, that I crashed my car. In fact, that turned out to be the trigger which let in the black dog. Not only did I have to deal with the stupidity and the loss, but with the ensuing hassle. All this was just before the Christmas period, a significant factor because there was pressure - self imposed - to have wheels for the holiday period. Following a family pow-wow it was decided I should go for an automatic. I do see the logic of this since most of my driving is done in heavy traffic but I have never found changing gear a problem in the past. What problem there was started with provenance. Where was I to source a suitable replacement? Picture it: there was I, ashamed to admit I mourned my twelve-year old car, not at full physical strength and, as it turned out, emotionally challenged, too. That arithmetic added up to my going to the dealer who had furnished and serviced the crashed car. It seemed an easy option. A vehicle was found, at another branch so some delay in seeing it. You can imagine, festivities looming, wheeless and low on bother, that I put pressure on them to hurry things up. Several fraught days went by but we got there eventually and I took delivery of a cheeky little car, electric blue and automatic. I had not test driven it. Dear Reader, when I did sit behind the wheel  of this car I now owned and went to start off, I found I could not squeeze the gear-shift to move it in to 'drive'. Surely my hand was not that arthritic. It was. A comparatively short version of the story is that I presently found myself behind the wheel of a manual car that lacked the spirit of the other but was conventionally co-operative. A deal was struck  and I went off leaving the skin of my teeth behind in the hope it would be ready for Christmas. It was.

Here enters the 'you-couldn't-have-made-it-up' element. It transpired that the car I had tried was actually already sold to someone else. An identical was available so all seemed well that ended well. It didn't: end well, that is. The twin car was duly delivered, without having been driven by me, so test free, as it were. I sat, for the first time, behind the wheel of my second attempt, wrong colour, wrong gear system but acceptable enough, to find - deep breath - that I couldn't turn the key in the ignition. You have correctly understood. I had bought a second car which I couldn't start. No, not test driven neither because it seemed self-evidently identical to the one I had actually driven. There was apparently no explanation as to why it should be different. The dealer agreed the key was seriously stiff but he could turn it. As I tell you this, I begin to see why my only recourse was to the black dog. I had bought and paid for two cars I couldn't start. Since the humour in the situation is a bit hard to hold on to as I unfold my tale to you, I think I may have to leave it there. However, for those of you who, like myself, would always like to know what happened next, I can say that a new system for starting the car was installed, at a further stringent cost. It operates by pressing a button which starts the engine from outside the car: not only from outside but from inside the house when the car is parked in the street some distance away. Enough! I am using public transport and avoiding those areas which require more than one change of bus or more than half a mile walk. When the black dog and I are on much better terms I may find the mojo to drive again. Bore da

Double Trouble

Monday, 21 January 2013

Canine lore

Happy New Year! Liz is back, aware that five weeks have passed since the last post. And there's the irony: the last post does have quite another association, one that comes rather nearer to explaining why so many weeks have gone by since I was last at the computer. Liz has been suffering from what Winston Churchill used to call the "Black Dog".  This was an entirely new experience and I hold myself very blessed that I have gone well passed three score and ten without it.  Depression: a very extreme form of 'can't be bothered'. There will be so many of you out there - at least, I hope there are so many who have waited, faithfully, for the silence to end - who know only too well what I mean. That having been said, I'm not sure I know, myself, what I mean.  The manifestation was in a difficulty, amounting to impossssibility, to get up. Having forced that step, courage and energy had to be found to get dressed. Liz got round this by wearing the same jumper and over-jumper every day. (Don't worry, the well part of her did keep changing the things that went under them.) Thereafter, finding something to do that was do-able occupied rather a lot of the remaining day. The aim was to reach a time when it was realistic to retire back to bed and watch television mindlessly. All confidence, all self-belief disappeared.  When I sought help to understand and withstand this phenomenon, I was told that it was a direct result of the near-death experience I underwent in the summer. This makes sense. The body is ravaged by such happenings and, ultimately, the mind must work through it.

You can imagine what piled up on the desk during those weeks. If I count the cost in money, the fines for not paying bills on time would make a tidy sum. What a dilemma! The less you can be bothered, the more things are waiting to be bothered about. One nasty chore a day became the aim and once actually sitting at the desk, it gradually became possible to do a bit more. I am left with some clarity I should  have come to sooner. I have begun to understand the reality of old age. The body, the mind begin to give up, to lose elasticity. Some things can never been regained, can never be replaced. There is more loss than gain out there. Time is reversed, There is more what was than what will be. But there is love and music and humour and that's not bad to be going on with.  There hasn't been much space for the 'going on 40' year old in these last weeks but she is still very much there.There are now four parts to Liz's life,the more than 75, the 40, the cat and the black dog. There is much to learn from the latter, but learn accept and respect we will. Prynhawn da; a funny car story next time. PS Yes, I have noticed the swing between first person and third. Anyone care to suggest what Liz/I was up to?