After an absence of almost a year – to be totally blamed on that PC disaster Windows 10 and continuous changes to the WordPress dashboard, both of which are getting beyond my skill set – I hit up my stats and discovered, hey, the past scribbles are still picking up a few readers.
While they probably arrived there by accident, I feel the great need to pose a Big Existential Question/BEQ.
After dealing with all the minutae of daily living, what are the big constants in this vale of tears that routinely provide us with large measures of happiness and pleasure.
Any sane checklist would probably focus on the following.
High-end material comforts and experiences eg a luxury auto, regular holidays in exotic locations or possibly moving to a more upmarket abode. Forget it. That’s all the stuff you should have consumed when you were young and stupid. In fact, with each successive decade you should be striving to strip your lifestyle down to bare essentials.
How about a well stocked drinks cabinet and a comprehensive pharmacopoeia of Old School drugs. I must admit to being a bit ambivalent on this one, since both are essential in any decade after the age of consent.
Hot sex with a really good looking partner. Now this is positively dangerous and should not be ticked under any circumstance, as it involves a high degree of predestination, also known in contemporary parlance as sociological determinism. In brief, marriage/de facto relationship/shacking up or however you like to characterise this coupling activity. Ten years down the track, what have you got for some transitory carnal bliss? Unending responsibilities, low-level sniping at the breakfast table plus ungrateful offspring who have appalling musical taste and a vicious appetite for expensive digital toys. If you have a rural address, you must also factor in a horse, expensive feed supplements and vet bills that would terrorise a Russian oligarch.
Gardening? Now this is a relaxing and rewarding activity and it also brings out the pantheist in one, so it worth half a tick.
How about giving back to rabbit ears the community rabbit ears? Okay, and speaking from experience – fire brigade volunteer (see banner above) and part of a fun diversional therapy team in an oldies home – volunteering has a lot to recommend it as it creates tolerance for others. That is to say you learn to get along with the simple folk who you wouldn’t normally include in your socio-intellectual orbit.
Still, our check list is looking a bit thread bare.
So much negativity and ambivalence KT, I hear you say. What is your bloody recipe for eternal happiness and pleasure?
The answer is simple. Get in the car and drive for thirty minutes through a scenic hillscape to the local town. Mine is set in a Hinterland (ie close to the Coast) and is a very nice place indeed. Friendly folk and full of dogs and their owners who appreciate compliments about their canine companions. None of those nasty Norman Rockwell/David Lynch-type tensions which have been done to death in American mini-series in this burg.
Now, even the most idiotic post modernist wouldn’t argue that all this people niceness, mixed with conversations with dogs and their owners, provides a full measure of pleasure and happiness.
For the latter, we have to visit the local library, in my case an elegant building staffed with great librarians, a coffee shop, community meeting rooms, a craft shop, tons of fast computers and, most importantly, a diverse and up-to-date book purchasing program.
BTW. According to a BBC report last night, the sale of Kindalls and their e-equivalents peaked in 2011. The global sales of old fashioned tree books are back bigtime, and not just reclaiming their market share, but actually increasing their overall sales figures.
This is great news and definitely better than any intoxicated carnal grope in a Garden of Eden.
Part One of a related series, if I can deal with some basic cut and paste issues/strong.