Scraping ice from a windscreen
The damn windscreen was iced up, first time this year. I had to root around in my wallet for a little used credit card (no chance) or insignificant loyalty card (take your pick). Feeling smug, as if I was doing some actual physical labour, I scraped satisfyingly, peeling the ice from the glass in strips, forming a snow, swapping the card around when it started clagging or wiping it on the arse of my coat for a clean edge with which to resume my attack. In a surprisingly short time the job was done and I stood back to admire my work. There was no time to gloat, the nagging ache of an appointment I could not miss nor turn up late to was impressing its anxiety on my temples. I struggled into the car, cranked the ignition, put the blower on blast and the temperature as high as the buttons would let me prod. I asked the phone, my singular passenger, to tell me how to get to where it was I was supposed to be. Did I mention it was dark? Early morning drives are a rare blend of emotions. With the shonky eyesight it’s harder than it should be but I am at my mentally most unclouded early on and the thoughts I allowed myself to ruminate upon were forming clear ideas of such brilliance I was almost kidded, for a splinter of a moment, into thinking that the dawn would fail to illuminate what utter nonsense they were. Through country lanes, scared that I no longer knew the width of my car, we’d brake to tiny civilizations of sorts, places I couldn’t help but ask myself ‘why the hell would anyone choose to live here?’ Perhaps I should have posed the same question to Siri but instead pulled myself up for being such a sad, grumpy old man ( of which I am all three, fair play) But the wonder, rows of houses asleep, early shifts, vacated or on vacation, where the occasional rectangular flash of life would burst forward, a giant flat screen TV, revealing the banal soap-opera of a nobody’s life. Each filling me with a joy incommensurate to its reality. Was it joy? Yeh, I think it was, but one followed by such a profound fall - like the breathless rush of a bungy jump (like I’d have any idea how that would feel ) All these people. All these lives. All this hopeless, pointless existence. And this castigating loathing I felt for myself in letting myself think this. I know. Who am I to judge? But judge I did. The irony, which was not missed on me, of course, is that in my low moments, when I am struggling for some solace, for a place to escape into, to distract these bleak emotions - I’d picture such vignettes - yet in these scenes, the windows are portals upon a people who are struggling similarly to find a purpose. The writers, musicians, artists, poets finding their way, quietly, studiously, reassuringly positively, finding a way to, first, form this deep emptiness and, more importantly, what is needed to fill it, with some something, which will be to the benefit of us all.
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