Again And Again

“It’s déjà vu all over again” – Yogi Berra

I was up a ladder, scraping and cutting with a knife and applying strong poison to the gashes I had created in the thick and thriving vine which has set about colonising our house. The theory is that exposing the lower layers of branch and tendril to the poison means it will more effectively soak in, and when the agent is applied with a paint brush this also means that the process is a more targeted method than merely spraying noxious liquid in the general area of the problem. This way you only kill what you are trying to kill – if it works.

It was a hot day, and I was a bit flustered, up the ladder I found myself inside a network of small and woody and spiky branches and it was difficult to get at the really thick parts of the vine, the parts with all the little branches running of them, and I was still forced to lean and strain, and I couldn’t quite see properly as my hair was in my eyes, and the poison was running down my hand, as it kept splashing out of the container when I dipped in the small brush, and down below Letitia was telling me to calm down, to stop it, to stop it and calm down, as people up ladders who haven’t stopped it and calmed down tend to fall off and die. And it was hot.

I was being unnecessary, there’s no doubt about that. Laetitia was right, as she usually is, but there was no problem. I was just having a not particularly fun time and being a bit grumpy and sweary and irritable. And it felt like I had been there before. Like we had had this conversation before, if conversation is the best way to put it.

Now it had been obvious for a few days in the lead-up that this weekend would be full of chores and I knew that I would find myself up a ladder, so it is not the most remarkable thing to have anticipated the potential for a gent prone irritation to become irritable and it isn’t really too much of a stretch to then imagine a lady with a bit of bossy in her becoming a bit bossy in order to calm said gentleman down a bit (or put him in his place). Fine: maybe we don’t have evidence of anything terribly spooky going on here, but what about the little boy in the front yard?

On Saturday morning, just as Laetitia and I were finishing our cup of tea in bed, and were about to get up, the dogs started barking. I looked out the window and saw a little boy with dark hair walk down our pathway and along the front of the porch. He then stepped onto the porch, very close to the window I was looking through, and took a few steps before he retraced his steps to the end of the pathway and began reaching up at something on the railing of the verandah. I initially thought he had come in after a ball which had been hit over the fence or something. But he had come in after Mr. Mu, and from where I could see the boy appeared to be poking the cat as he sat, sunning himself on the railing. It didn’t look friendly. Laetitia opened the front door to confront him and the boy ran.

She then walked up the street in bare feet to have a word with the boy’s mother. We knew where the kid lived and we knew he had two older brothers. Anyway the little fellow was shy and upset and cried a bit as his mum told Laetitia that he loves cats, and Laetitia said he was welcome to pat our cat, and that she just wanted to know that the boy was alright (he had run away so quickly) and make sure he didn’t think he was in trouble.

All in all a little street scene at once strange and somehow comfortingly harmonious. The interview with the boy’s mum and his brothers, on their bikes, at the gate went well, from what I was told, and it felt oddly familiar to me as I had imagined the whole thing a few days before. This imagining involved Laetitia and I confronting the dad, and I think in this imagined scene I may have said something a bit silly like, “In our culture you don’t poke a cat like that … but yes, it’s perfectly fine that you give him a pat. He loves being patted”. So I didn’t imagine it exactly as it eventually happened, but why did I imagine it at all? Why would I be thinking about something like that?

And a few weeks earlier Laetitia and I were at an Asian noodle market – it’s a little event they decided to hold for a few weeks in the middle of the city – and we’d eaten rather unhappily until we cheered up over a couple of scoops of gelato (which isn’t very Asian, but that didn’t bother us). We were leaving when I thought I couldn’t see the rather famous over-sized chess game which goes on at the rear of an entrance to the nearby underground train station. And as I was about to make this observation it occurred to me that this feeling, being about to make this comment, here in the park, with the people coming and going and making the crowd noises they were making, and the light looking this way, and being here with Laetitia, well, it felt as if I had done it before. But I hadn’t. And she said something similar. But that wasn’t quite it either. The déjà vu moment – far stronger than the initial comment and reply – was the brief chat about the moment and the reply. That was what we felt we had already done before: had a chat about an almost déjà vu moment.

And you have to say that’s weird.

But it wasn’t unpleasant at all. I enjoyed it. We both did. And we finished our ice cream.

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Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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