What diluted the sunniness of the day was a struggle to settle mundane domestic matters involving perfect strangers. In other words, matters bordering on business. My native impatience worked against me when it came to wrapping up these vulgar details. I am chronically anxious to put things behind me! In this context all the talk in the world about basking in the moment is completely wasted upon me. Frankly I characterize it as perverse to fathom extracting pleasure from household undertakings. I know what it is that I enjoy and that - I am sorry to say - does not include accommodating other people's agenda (which pointedly are frequently contaminated by extrarodinary delay or negligent oversight). The progress we made was not without effort. Nor did it help to have to endure the commercial platitudes of these inexperienced entrepreneurs who are painfully slow to recognize a seasoned participant such as myself. Youth! I confess too the explosive eruption of curmudgeonly behaviour. "Grumpy Old Men" for example flashed through my mind. Oh well...
The palliatives for this intolerable interference was the immortal E. F. Benson's "Mapp and Lucia" series (having the added advantage of being beyond copyright), recollecting anecdotes about ancient friends and a profound afternoon nap. I also relented to the persuasive influence of my imagination. That included unlicensed meanderings into the tranquil harbours of anticipation. At my age there are incrementally fewer opportunities to revel in the prospect of the future. The days of eat, drink and be merry are long gone. One must of necessity be judicious about one's ventilations. There is invariably the risk of lapsing preposterous (as old men are at times comically wont do in matters sartorial or in the choice of automobile or companion). Barring such ludicrousness however there abide certain private indulgences which are neither indecorous nor unrewarding. A telescope may work for one; a camera for another; or perhaps a stick of furniture, a chunk of crystal, a gold-nibbed fountain pen or an antique volume.
In the end it is but a diversionary tactic to amuse oneself with such initiatives. Neither the evangelist nor the hedonist will escape the frozen truth in the end. And I am not convinced that one or the other is better prepared for the result. Meanwhile life continues to serve up its vagaries, its contests, its bumpers and rapids. In the turbulence of one's daily life it is quite impossible to arrest the flow. I find myself shouting at the shoreline as I race by on my speedy descent to the falls. But whether anyone hears - or even if they do, whether they care - is open to question. We're all just a bunch of flies in a bottle and it hardly matters what is the distinguishing character of any one of us. Buzzing about and bumping into one another is standard fare. It is perhaps asking too much to expect anything from anyone. Whether I would even expect the same from myself is doubtful! And do we have the capacity? Can we possibly be prompted by altruism? Or is it all pragmatic survival?