There are several things in this world which serve as therapy, and one of the most important, and intriguing, is displacement therapy. That is, when one spends an entire lunchtime telling, even ordering, someone to do exactly what you know full well you ought to be doing yourself.
Well, it’s never quite that simple, nor is the match ever exact, but I sit here under Paolazzi’s Newton, a man bent double measuring the universe yet failing to look upwards to the wonders of the heavens, and things become, inexorably, just that little bit more plain.
I have issues, problems, conundra, mental and emotional blocks. Today they are rendered meaningless, pitiful, mundane and, dare I say it, self-indulgent.
I haven’t been to the library for months, so long that my card has expired, and to renew I need seventeen pieces of dna, the usual addresses … all for a library for which I have held a card for nigh on ten years, and which won’t allow me to take out any books. Where do I live? Not at my address, that’s for sure … I await removal. But this is positive, for where I go next, I stay. It will be my place, in the widest sense. And under Newton, watching the detritus wander in and out of the library, I feel at home, at ease.
They also serve who stand and wait. And I wait, as I do so often. What for today? I know in physical form, in intellectual form, but not in emotional form. Though I can guess. A loose end after lunch invites coffee.
My partner for lunch is a special woman to me, one who is finally emerging from a period of mourning, and slowly understanding that her time in metaphorical black is done. And quite right too. I encourage, even berate her into taking the steps she wants to take, to get back into life and enjoy what it throws at her. I encourage her to allow herself to enjoy, to experience, to have fun … to live. And she will.
It occurs to me more than once during our conversation that I am, in effect, speaking to myself. Like Newton, I’m looking at the wrong thing, measuring and analysing when I ought to be feeling. The German passenger on the train behind me (that’s right, one hiatus mid blog due to the friend for whom I waited under Newton’s statue arriving and our drinking much coffee – at a coffee shop called Wot the Dickens, a crap name which gave the lie to the style, attitude and coffee served within) suddenly wonders whether he’s at Gatwick because of the word ‘International’ at St Pancras. Looking at the wrong thing – the qualifier rather than the qualified.
Bacon tells a different story, of the philosopher so intent on looking at the stars that he walked into the lake, when all he had to do was look into the water and he would have seen the reflection of the stars while keeping his feet firmly on dry land.
Where one focuses one’s sight makes an awful lot of difference.