The Art Of Doing Bugger All

It was the weekend and Laetitia was visiting a friend. She’d taken the car for the day. Well, for half a day, a few hours. And I was alone, if you don’t count pets, with leisure options stretched out in front of me. So many ways to amuse myself. Such fun to be had.

It’s strange in some ways, the way the complexion of the house changes when Laetitia is not around. For some reason I typically become quite serious and stern, and the pets react accordingly, knowing that they will be on the end of a decent tongue lashing if they misbehave. Not they stop the silly barking (I’m talking about the dogs here) at nothing in particular, and going crazy when our neighbour, who they know well and like a lot, makes noise as he wheels his garden waste bin up or down his driveway (I’m talking about the dogs again, about the going crazy, I mean; in fact these observations about the pets refer to the dogs really – the cat’s too cool to be altered by any situation: if he’s not having a good time, he’ll just leave) – no, it doesn’t stop, but somehow when they do these things it is with a muted quality absent when there is a quorum of humans (two) in the house at the time. The pets do become withdrawn when it’s just me. A bit anyway. As I become less fun, closing doors and telling them to be good, and turning off the TV, and going off and doing something on my own, the dogs tend to huddle together as though it’s very cold, even when it isn’t – and it never is – and the cat will often go and be on his own somewhere comfortable and exclusive, and hardly even think of walking on the keys if I’m typing something – although he may choose to do just that, later, after a sleep and maybe something to eat.

So I was being a tad grumpy – some might say it is redundant to include this observation – but was not in a bad mood at all. There were things I wanted to do, and knew I would enjoy doing them, and they didn’t involve rolling around on the floor with dogs’ paws and snouts and tails all over me. I had the newspapers, both of them – the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian – and there were a number of things to read in the comfy chair in the dining room with the chiming clock (a miniature Big Ben), with a glass or two of red wine, and classical music on the radio.

And as the shadows lengthened and the view through the window of our newly pruned hedge became less and less distinct, I found my little radio, the one with ear buds, and tuned into the footy, and cut a cigar, and poured a small whiskey, and sat down, reading articles, and listening to commentary with music in the background and smoked and sipped. It couldn’t be said that I focused completely on any one of these tasks, but perhaps the point is that, in doing them all together, I was so completely self-absorbed that all thoughts were good and the time passed not so much in the twinkling, like a beam of light, but more like being inside a luxury train carriage where all seems blurred outside but within all is serene and sedate and opulent. Was I wearing my dressing gown? I don’t think so. Perhaps I shall next time.

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Published in: on May 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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