Thursday, May 16, 2019

A very special day

Before I commence my trifling account of the day I must preface what follows by confessing my wholehearted suspicion that what transpired is to most people quite uneventful and certainly unlikely to warrant being remarkable. Yet it was so to me. By the end of the afternoon on my way homeward I couldn't resist inwardly gushing about the sequence of events.

Serendipity captures the theme of this little drama.  If by chance, dear reader, you flatter me to continue the pursuit of what I am about to say, my only reward for your endurance is the assurance that I have today succeeded to restore my personal ebullience - along with a broader embrace of the Universe, unqualified by philosophic contamination.  Where to start?

Serendipity, 1754: coined by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip , the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.

I am listening to an album entitled The Jane Austen Companion (Various Artists, Nimbus, 1996).  This is incalculable fortuity!  For years whenever I concluded my business day at the law office I relished the prospect of reposing in my green leather chair with a frozen martini and Jane Austen. Granted the indulgence - though magnificent - was ephemeral.  I was lucky to get beyond  two martinis and as many pages of Jane Austen before expiring.  Which is why I quit the cocktail habit over five years ago - but not without the fondest memories! I discovered this particular album earlier today when searching for a rendition of Bach's Brandenburg concertos which I had been playing on my car's CD player.  The CD was a copy of an LP given me years ago.  Apparently the duplication was waning.  I located the identical album on Apple Music. It was while doing so that I unearthed the Jane Austin number - among others by the way including most notably Cimarosa, Albinoni, Marcello & Vivaldi: Oboe Concertos, John Anderson, 1997 - reminiscent of a superb live oboe concert I had attended ages ago at the Anglican cathedral in Ottawa. More euphoria!

"Life" by Ludovico Einaudi

Hearkening backwards some forty years or more I then routinely visited Cape Cod around Labour Day for a late summer celebration with friends. My costume of the moment included Sperry Top Siders with white wool socks.  Normally the Americans (and perhaps the rest of the world) do not wear socks with boat shoes. I did. I still do.  But finding white wool socks is no easy matter.  Most are now synthetic.  Today however - having no particular imperative on my agenda and propelled by an uplifting early morning bicycle ride after a judicious breakfast of green apple and dry whole wheat Nann bread - I detoured from my habitual route to the car wash in Stittsville by going instead to the wool shop in nearby Carleton Place. There, among the horseback riding paraphernalia, I found whitish (actually more closely resembling vanilla) Merino woollen socks. So intent was I upon accomplishing this gnawing objective that I ventured to try on a pair before determining to complete the purchase. The size I chose was labeled extra large but it proved to be the correct size, the label was inexact. I bought two pairs.  What a positive enthralment!

If you winced upon hearing that modest account, you'll be moved to consider me approaching imbecility when I relate what followed.  As I drove into the city I noticed a KIA automobile.  What caught my attention was its colour. It was what I would call mustard (but which the manufacturer probably calls yellow).

The colour moved me the same way music sometimes does, evoking almost dream-like sensations. There was nothing disturbing about it; it wasn't a nightmare.  It inspired an odd formality and individuality.  It is not a colour I would ever choose for myself for any recognizable purpose; but I readily admit its provocative nature.

The middle of the afternoon was consumed by a search for a barometer.  We have an old one - with mahogany base and brass accessories - which no longer works.  I bought it from the estate of L. C. Audette, QC, OC and for that reason alone it maintains its motionless existence in our drawing room. Normally I won't tolerate mechanical inadequacy. I have also learned to recognize the inutility of repairing certain old pieces which are demonstrably doomed to destruction. Accordingly I thought I would spend some of my free time today hunting for a replacement. Poignantly I did not find one; and I am quite content to harbour the old barometer for the reason stated.  What however interestingly evolved when I spoke with most of the retailers (who were young or middle-aged women of foreign descent) was that they had no idea whatsoever what a barometer is.  Some of them were incapable of pronouncing the word. When - in a moment of inspiration - I later consulted my Weather App on my iPhone I noted with regret that Mr. Apple - in addition to labeling Sunrise, Sunset, Chance of Rain, Humidity, Wind, Precipitation, Visibility and UV Index - had summarily identified Pressure without employing the term barometric, thus effectively robbing the millennials of a more technical understanding of the import. All the more reason I suppose to retain the antique model.

The final fluke occurrence today was my evening meal.  His Lordship had called earlier in the day to ask me to purchase a Spanish onion for his own culinary concoction.  In doing so I bought for myself some vegetables and a bottle of Bragg's All Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning a "natural soy sauce alternative" made of soybean vegetable protein and purified water, significantly containing 0 calories per 5 ml (1 teaspoon).  I added a dollop of that stuff to my pot of veggies along with some olive oil, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, sliced Navel orange and a bit of Marmite (yeast extract).  To my utter surprise it all worked!  I simply combined the heated mess with a cold salmon filet.  No salt.  I punctuated my routine "dessert" of Kellog's All-Bran and Almond Breeze afterwards with several spoonfuls of peanut butter from Farm Boy, sans regret! All of which is evidence of the well-reported insight that diet is as much a product of one's mental condition as one's appetite.  The truth is that lately I have been succumbing to over-the-top consumption in an effort to cajole my festering anxiety about one thing or another.

Which reminds me, yet another chance incident today was an unexpected email from the neurologist whom I hadn't heard from for almost a year. Granted I had several weeks ago written to his office to refresh his memory but I had abandoned any prospect of reply.  Though I still don't attach any hope to today's communication, it at least assuages my frustration to know he is reaching out. I am increasingly adjusting to the conclusion that there is nothing that can be done about my neuropathy other than pain killers like Tylenol. Coincidentally the clerk at the ophthalmologist's office called today as well to remind me of our upcoming biometric meeting prior to the scheduled eye surgery. This too was part of the unwritten code surrounding today's serendipitous intoxication which for example included the casual observation in the shower this morning that the work of the cosmetic surgeon was adjudged successful.  The same applies to the performance of the endodontist.

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