A Day At The Races

Today began the same as every other day around here. I opened my eyes and found I was still alive and for this I was thankful. Not so thankful that I headed out into the garden, got down on my knees and wept buckets of salt water for granting me another day on The Ball Of Dirt, but I was thankful enough that I made it downstairs and filled the kettle in honour of the day that lay in front of me.

That's how we should begin each day isn't it? With a glint in the eye for what the next 24 hours might bring and a heart full of fire to bring It to The Table of the Gods. 

"Hey Bearded Ancient Ones! Come check out what I've got cooking in my pot for you today!"

I might try that out tomorrow. Today, a mug of tea raised in their general direction was about all I could come up with.

I strapped Hector up for the morning walk and together we went out to see whether or not The Gods were still at work in the world because yesterday, it looked like they had abandoned their post in favour of a Party on the Patio. 

It was raining when we left the house, which is a really British way to begin a story, but it was tipping it down. Neither of us wanted to go out much but that's what we do - every morning. No excuses, no reticence. We get ready and we go and today, I had a headful of work to figure out along the way:

I've got a magazine to start wrapping up, a book to finish writing, a hunt for an agent and/or a publisher to conduct and a thousand other little things all dangling from little pieces of string from the ceiling. I know, I know - I can see your heart bleeding all over the floor from here, but you know - these things mean as much as to me as your own thousand plus collection of things hanging from the ceiling do to you. That's the way the Ball Of Dirt spins.

We walk past the dogs behind the gate that like to fight each other when we go past. It's peculiar behaviour but it happens every morning and every morning, we stop, look at each other, look at the fighting dogs and carry on with our walk. I consider it's a microcosm of the world in general. There's always a couple of dogs being noisy at each other somewhere. A favourite saying of mine drifts past the back of my eyes like one of those banners towed through the sky on the back of an a glider:

When you listen to the world, it doesn't have to shout at you.

A few feet on from the fight of the day, there's a fork in the road. One way goes downhill, the other goes up. Hector always chooses the road that goes up, probably out of habit now but on the few times I've tired to tempt him down the easier path, he stops half way down and, deciding we've made a wrong turn, backtracks until we are going up the hill. There's likely something in this too but the rain is bouncing off my face and I can't figure out exactly what that might be. Probably something to do with taking the high road and being able to cruise along the low road when the hard work is over. That's usually how the world talks to us. It only has a certain amount of metaphors to play with - if you push it any harder than that, it tends to get confused and that's when things start getting really fucked up.

Anyway, we pressed along and because it was raining, there was no sign of his buddy who sits behind the gate at the top of the hill, no sign of the dog a few houses along who thinks he's his buddy but isn't really because he looks like Cerberus and not even a single cat loitering in a garden to sneak up on. That's right, when the rain is being evacuated from the sky, there are very few constants you can rely on. Where are all your friends now? Inside, looking out of the window, dry as a bone and dunking biscuits, that's where.

Almost an hour later, we arrive back home. He gets dried first. Two towels. Then I dry myself. One towel. That's all you need when you've been hit by the rain. A towel. It doesn't need to be the end of the world. Doesn't mean you need to stay inside and wait for it to pass. All you need is a towel.

There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.

I hang the towels up to dry (in the house - only a fool would hang them outside in the rain) and remember that I'm supposed to be in New York in three weeks. Three weeks today in fact. I have booked no hotel yet and no flight. I should probably do something about that.

A man who doesn't book his flight and hotel isn't going anywhere.

I like that one. It won't go down in the annals of history but it's mine and that's what I bring to the Table of the Gods today. Something for The Gods themselves to consider while they're stoking the coals on the barbecue and waiting for the sausages to cook.

My eldest daughter calls me up just before lunch. I forget she is old enough to do grown up things now. Scary. She doesn't know how to vote in the European stay or go argument - I don't know why she is asking me but I tell her what I do know:

Back in the early 1980s, Ace Frehley decided to leave Kiss. He might have thought he had enough collateral to make a really good go of it by himself and he did leave. This was something of a blow to Kiss but with or without him, they were still Kiss. Turns out that Ace didn't have enough to make it on his own but Kiss were never the same from that point onwards either. Nobody won and nobody lost because both sides said they had won even when both sides had lost. If both sides had won, they would simply say the other side was lying.

Such is the way The Gods like to make The Ball Of Dirt spin. Distraction tactics. The longer we are kept occupied with concerns about rain, politics and dogs with heads that are too big for their body, the longer they get to sit in the garden and sink a few more Desperados.

Which is actually not a bad way to conduct your life at all.