Sunday, August 15, 2004

Books are such wonderful things

My previous posting sounded rather depressed. I'm sure that if anyone did have my page bookmarked (and I have not yet deluded myself into thinking that anyone has) they would have immediately deleted it in the knowledge that I can hardly provide further updates while I'm hanging from the ceiling by a rope.

But books are wonderful things. I recorded that passage because it precisely summarises how I feel. It is strange how sometimes it is possible to come across a passage or an odd sentence that entirely summarises your thoughts. It's one of the wonderful things about books, and I find it both comforting and disturbing.

For example, the loneliness thing. I live by myself, am single and have a small circle of friends. Certainly there are times when I get lonely. I consider it a trade-off, I like my solitude and can be quite happy in my own company but the inevitable down-side is that sometimes I have my own company when I'd prefer that of my friends. It seems like common-sense, but I find it impossible to (say) phone someone and say "I just wanted a chat, I was a bit lonely".

For example the following passage from Making the Cat Laugh by Lynne Truss.

An old chum, newly spliced, recently invited me to dinner in his new marital
home. Ordinarily I would have said yes automatically, but this time I heard myself imposing conditions.

"Is it a nice house?" I asked.

"Yes, very nice."

"And you and your new wife are really happy there?"

"Yes, we are."

"With a nice well-organised kitchen, and a big fireplace, and a patio for barbecues, and a little room suitable for Baby?"

"Yeah, sort of."

"Well in that case the answer's no."

There was an awkward pause.

"Did you say no?"

"That's right," I said briskly. "Not in a million years. Let's meet at Leicester Square for a pizza or something instead. Then we can eat and talk just the same, but afterwards I can come home feeling quite all right and not mysteriously depressed because your home life is so lovely. All right?"

If he was surprised by this outburst, so was I. I had no idea I felt so strongly. All I knew was that sometimes, after a delightful evening spent with perfect hosts in a full, groaning, family house, a single person spends the next few days dumb with misery, hating everybody, and bursting into unexpected tears during heart-warming re-runs of Flipper.

Although I've never burst into tears during flipper re-runs, I have experienced the mysteriously depressed attacks following a great evening and I felt astonished to find that this was not something peculiar to me. (By the way, Making the Cat Laugh is an excellent book, I actually laughed-out-loud at some of the passages).

On the other hand I once repeated the above passage to a friend, who gave me a look that was 50% slowly dawning realisation and 50% manic search for the nearest exit, so perhaps not everyone can relate to that thought.


At 9:20 am, Blogger Corgan Dane said...'re not in my favorites.

You are however linked from my blog...

Funny how interesting a boring man can be.


At 11:11 am, Blogger Rent said...

*slinks in after Corgy and makes a general nuisance of herself* You know. I agree heartily with this post by Lynne. But really, they don't even have to be married. 90% of the time when I merely associate with people that are happily in 'love' and they have that wonderful manner of joyfulness and stuff around them it makes me funk out for a few days if not weeks.

And I agree with you about books as well of course. *nods* It can happen with music as well.. but there are some books that can reach into the core of your person and rip out the very idea you were struggling to place into words.

*rides off on her pony into the sunset*

At 12:32 am, Blogger laphroaig said...

It's spooky when books do that. I remember a book referring to "a secret tightly-guarded belief that [the main character] had a special undiscovered talent" and I got quite a chill recognising exactly the same behaviour in myself ... but often it's quite nice because it means I'm not quite as bizarre as I think I am.


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