Things You Pick-Up

When possible I like to jot down interesting things I hear as the aim is to give myself an aide-memoir for times like these. My four favourites that I have jotted into Evernote recently are:

  • Mental furniture
  • Running away from yourself
  • Dinner party invitees
  • Getting in references dictated by others

This isn’t really a post designed to weave a clever narrative through these idea but rather to expand on them a bit and explain why I thought they were worthy of record. They made me smile so perhaps they’ll give you a fleeting smirk.

To get an idea of my mental furniture picture an apparently disorganised room with various boxes dotted around it. The boxes are not waiting to be unpacked, quite the opposite. They are where I store various not so great memories. They are still in the room as on occasion I may need to rummage through one, drag out a less than pleasant memory and remind myself what it taught me. Perhaps nothing at the time but now running it through the mental mill might throw up lessons. For me it is important to acknowledge these as they are many and varied. What is life if you can’t learn from your mistakes, or at least understand that you are repeating the same, and the likely outcome? The rest of the clutter is all the stuff I need to run my life on a daily basis. Usually fine and at times stupidly self-inflicted chaos. Generally, I like to hang out in it. You’re welcome to join me there for a chat.

Running away from oneself is a hard concept to explain if you haven’t, or don’t realise that you are doing it. Being a reflective type at times I have looked at what I do, the way I act and the choices I make. Many of the structural decisions I make strike me as just this. The moment to moment interactions with friends and customers are quite different. They are not life shaping choices and I try to enjoy them for what they are. Then you meet a girl, your heart flip-flops and you feel all seventeen, impulsive, irrational and stupid. That’s happened before. The difference with age is that you have better tools (past experiences) to try and weave a credible narrative around the knee-jerk choices that accompany such emotional turmoil. When it passes it is easier to let go, not fun but easier than it was.

Dinner party invitees is just like it sounds and is the well worn concept of who you’d seat next to whom in a room at a dinner party to learn, smile, watch the sparks fly and generally get a kick out of the vibe. I have met many people from all disparate walks of life and classes so have a wide list of choices. The man advocating revolution that I mentioned in the last post was bright, quite nutty to me, but very bright so he made the list. Little does he know that he will be seated between a couple of Tories. Did I mention sparks? There will be at least one policeman who can also help calm people if required. It’s dinner after all.

Radio presenters, police officers, judges, priests, in fact anyone who needs to be heard speaking can play this game. If you sneer at it then you lack creativity and chutzpah, IMO. The trick is to be given a very random word by your contemporaries before speaking. Whether it is broadcasting on Radio 4, interviewing a suspect, passing judgement or giving a sermon the idea is to drop it into the conversation in a way that is not questioned. The fun part is that everyone else chooses. Snozzcumber is a favourite of mine, unless the topic is Dahl.

It would be interesting to know what you think. In the words of the Grauniad, for it is they, Comment Is Free.