The second instalment in the ever-so-thrilling series of observations of life (ye gods, I should write blurb for soap operas)—
BROWNS BAY 22 April 1994
Sign of the times — try a coffee, Parisian style — impossibility of an upwind table, smokers are early birds — but why bother, screaming children mustn’t be repressed. I think Edith Piaf may be singing, somewhere, I saw the loudspeaker quiver.
DEVONPORT 30 April 1994
Seagull on the wall, eye to eye as I sit with cooling cup. Do I know you? You seem to know me … did we sail together once, years ago when skies were blue and the waters erupted astern as we worked up to thirty knots? Or was it your great-great grandfather who hovered over our quarterdeck with arms outstretched, peering down as we sipped our rum?
Terracotta pots in the sunshine of a crisp winter’s morning, garden-centre coffee and a sparrow on my plate — who could ask for a greater miracle?
Cute kid — long blonde hair, big blue eyes and ninety billion decibels.
Rosco Rat is very fat, he likes to eat the neighbour’s cat.
The neighbour’s cat keeps very thin … … ‘lest he become ol’ Rosco’s din’.
To a fly, drinking from my cup:
— poor wee shiverin’ timorous beastie
— don’t move
Auckland weather report, springtime 1995:
— it’s stopped raining.
Auckland weather forecast, springtime 1995:
— it’s going to rain.
We seek novelty as relief for boredom and curiosity; but we try always to surround ourselves with the familiar (hence the frustrations of immigrants, sometimes).
The inevitable has just occurred. I sit at this table, musing quietly over a steaming latte — BONK!
Bonk? Of course — the infant at the table behind me.
The noise, when it comes, proves well worth the wait. My eardrums vibrate and the spoon in my saucer rattles — no wonder it took so long, that child was sucking in. Inevitable? Of course — whenever I have a quiet moment and a cup in a public place, I achieve the first two legs of a predestined tripod — and always some person comes along with the third leg, a child.
The other inevitability, of course, is the demon weed. If not a wailing infant achieving unbelievable prodigies of sound; a smoking parent or two. And always, always, always! — upwind.
Ever-finer resolution of period:
Millennium, century, decade, year, month, week, day, hour, minute, second, parglug. (Parglug? Yes, parglug. A parglug is the immeasurably brief interval between rain showers in Auckland.)
“… an’ he’s very henna pecked—”
“Yes. Very henna pecked.”
“Don’t you mean hen pecked?”
“Listen — he lives with his wife and two grown-up daughters, his Mother-in-law, and Granny. Even the shampoo nags him. That man is henna pecked!”
CAT felis catus (or felis domesticus)
Perfection on paws. Sacred to ancient Egypt, this animal has a mind of its own. Long domesticated, it has reached an accommodation with humankind — it tolerates us.
I come quieter than fate, I glide early or late; I lick at your ivory plate — pallid human, beware.
Unseen — unless I wish to be seen.
Unheard — unless I wish to be heard.
Unfelt — unless I wish to be felt.
Your friend — if I wish to be your friend.
You cannot buy me, you can only earn me. You may be my friend, my companion, my intimate, my familiar, even my ally — but you will never be my master.
I am cat …
You can own a dog, but nobody owns a cat …
Bullies dread cats. Dogs fawn at their feet, ever grateful for a meal or a kick, but the cat is honest. That steady stare from the unwavering eyes of a cat is a mirror to the soul — what a man reads in the feline gaze is but the reflection of his own opinion of himself. The cat is ever a comfort to the worthy and a scourge of the craven.
Golden summer, green grass lush in the fields, song of the grey warbler tumbling from the sky; God is in His heaven and the ladybird upon the stem.
Spots before the eyes — dalmations, leopards and ladybirds. Mother nature is generous with her brush.
A ladybird just landed on my arm — paradise upon my sleeve.
—and one more instalment soon should just about wrap ’em up for now. Unless in the course of weeding my computer I stumble across any others, but that’s not so likely. A lot of stuff I archived years ago is no longer resurrectable due to evolution of Operating Systems … but I posted on that too, somewhere (and left it with this question: what is permanent as a source of records? The only valid answer of course is chisel it in stone, but even that is transient, eventually. Those pyramids and runes have pixels beat by miles) …
* Cameo – haikus