Saturday, March 17, 2018

Middle of the Night Tea

Often in the middle of the night - at 3:00 am as it is now - we both myteriously awaken from our respective lairs at opposite ends of the apartment and - meeting in the hallway - agreeably decide to have a cup of coffee or tea together in the dining room (where we mess around on our computers).  My latest preference for a hot beverage is tea, decaffeinated. Though this habit must I am sure sound most peculiar its occurrence is in fact not extraordinarily illegitimate.  Last evening for example - after a day of matutinal walking upon the beach, an afternoon of traipsing about local department and grocery stores and generally being awake and active at every other moment throughout the day - I at last succumbed to my overwhelming fatigue and went to bed shortly after eight o'clock.  As far as I know the east wing of the apartment was similarly darkened not long afterwards.

The good thing  about sleeping when one is tired is that is normally assures a sound rest - as opposed to those rigorous situations in which one merely tosses about in bed, unable to disassociate oneself from the concerns of the day.  The corollary however is that once the catnap is complete the urge to return to the land of the living is equally persuasive. We have learned after having engaged in this particular midnight gambol on more than one occasion that the experience is destined to be ephemeral.  While it may last several hours until as late as five or six o'clock in the morning, it is fairly assured to conclude before much longer; and then we simply return to bed, prompted by yet another somnolence.

Admittedly there have been many other instances where the early hour activity hasn't been as social.  Yesterday for example I must have awoken at least twice throughout the night and all I did was sit in my recliner chair and read.  There is some danger for me in reading in the middle of the night.  Like a captivating film, a gripping book can completely absorb me and cause me to feel whatever anxiety the protagonist is enduring.  I confess that I prefer to spirit myself with positive thoughts; and I certainly haven't any compunction about inundating myself with glib or material immersion.

Confession such as this - which tends to authenticate the seeming paucity of one's character - is perhaps the natural product of aging.  There can be little doubt in my mind that with the effluxion of time I have become increasingly committed only to those people, thoughts and things that intrique me and I haven't any remorse whatsoever concerning the appearance of either shallowness or simplicity.  I do however maintain a vanity for a certain degree of outward form but the details are invariably promoted by the same convictions as drive me otherwise - personal attraction, modest expression, conservative character and fundamental quality.  This hasn't stopped me from growing my hair long, avoiding alcohol and public gatherings or confining myself to limited and restricted undertakings.

If I am to be perfectly frank I have to say that I suffer no small degree of smugness about my miserable life. Only yesterday afternoon I said to myself, "I am a lawyer".  This odd observation was purportedly prompted by someone lately having asked me what I did for a living.  It is not something upon which I normally dwell - and honestly I have never considered it any particular mark of distinction (I know so many lawyers) - but nonetheless I discovered myself adopting the mantle with a renewed enthusiasm.  I take immense pride in being able to account that even after retirement I am a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada (a privilege I understand is reserved only for those practititoners who continue until after the age of 65 years). I have besides always felt that nothing other than the practice of law would have entertained me sufficiently.  Certainly I have a literary and musical bent, but there is no question that the practice of law enabled me to achieve a level of success which would not likely have been available elsewhere.  I am also proud to have been a "country lawyer" (which I never fail to emphasize when asked about my professional preoccupation).  Recently I was asked by a friend in our hometown to contribute a reference on his behalf concerning an application for an award.  It gave me exceeding pride to introduce my own authority for the reference to say that I had practiced law in the community for the past forty years, a period which I believe is substantial by any standard.

There are apparently those who haunt themselves with concerns about the misfortune they have suffered compared to the luck which others have.  While there may be some basis for that despondency I must say that it has not ever been a model I've emulated.  In fact I can think of nothing more absurd than to imagine or to prefer what it might be to be another person.  It is not only utterly illogical but also offensive.  For one thing, no matter how glamorous anyone else's life may superficially appear to be, I have no hesitation in acknowledging that even they must have "their moments", that life is never as cherry for others as it may superficially appear to be.  I say this not to diminish others but only to remind myself to cling to what is mine and mine alone.

My current literary diversion is E. F. Benson's "Dodo" a peculiar novel about the meaning of romance and love.  It strangely reminds me of a woman I knew years ago in undergraduate studies.  She too was dedicated to money and society like Dodo.  From what I know of her, she too suffered the unfortunate consequences of those narrow choices in later life.  Last I heard of her she was acting as her own counsel in a messy divorce proceeding with her second (or third) husband (who I understand was a successful surgeon in Vancouver, BC). Knowing these details only makes me grateful about the outcome of my own romantic endeavours.  For one thing I am forever thankful that I did not mistakenly submit to marry the very fine woman to whom I was once outlandishly engaged.  I have of course known more than one gentleman who deceived himself to presume that marriage was the solution to his other personal dramas.  Apart from that regretful period, my other involvements have been generally worthy and memorable.  But nothing competes with my current affair with the person whom I unhesitatingly call the love of my life.  We have what I consider to be the best possible relationship.  Every day it improves, even after 22 years together. And most of that time has been spent in one another's company. I think it is fair to say that both of us sometimes worry about the loss of the other.  But that is not something upon which I choose to linger.  For the time being our focus is upon happiness not regret.  I am pleased to say that I often contemplate both the many delightful times we've spent together as well as the awesome times we plan to experience together.  God willing we have many more opportunities for midnight tea together!

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