I Wish I Was A Wizz

Or should it be: I Wish I Were A Wizz? Suspect latter, but grammar purists free to comment/vote. Unlike UK Parliament at the moment. If I was or were a Wizz, I would no doubt be able to sort out what was going on, politically speaking. Or perhaps only a Sorting Hat could do that.

I always had a bit of a thing about wizards. Not witches, for some reason. I saw myself as a bit of a wizard, only I was a green (with stars) robed wizard, not a blue one. Suspect green is more elevated and wonderful than mere blue, in my imagination. Well, if you’re going to have fantasy fantasies, you might as well be the hero.

It’s been a funny old day. I was meant to go to some sort of ‘do’ at the Over 50s, which is now not, technically, the Over 50s but the Tea and Bingo Club, or possibly the Bingo and Tea Club. All ages welcome. As it turns out I didn’t quite make it to the meeting, in the Scouts Hut in the next village, but suspect 99% of the members playing Bingo and drinking tea will still be Over 70, just as they were when they were the Over 50s and met in the pub.

I did try to go, even though I didn’t want to. It was the Christmas one and would have involved purple tinsel, Christmassy paper plates with red and green elves and reindeer on, and Christmassy tablecloths. I know because I helped with the sourcing of these items in one shop after another in town, and the lugging of them around afterwards. And the driving of them home in the boot of my car, and later re-delivery.

I gave myself a good talking to all morning, trying to work up the enthusiasm.

You know you’ve got to go.

It’ll only be a couple of hours – or three, or four… time will soon pass.

It might be fun, you never know. There’s always a first time, in a fun-less lifetime, for something to turn out to be fun.

They might have made special vegetarian sandwiches for you, the only vegetarian. What are they going to do with a mountain vegetarian sandwiches if you wimp out?

And so on, and so forth. And I did set out, honestly. I drove all the way over to the next village, repeating the above backbone-stiffening mantras in the car, and wound my way through the snarled and tiny streets in the hope of a) avoiding loss of wing-mirrors and b) finding a parking space.

And there was a funeral on. Outside the little, scenic, Christmassily decorated church, a horde, a veritable Ghengis Khan’s Army of self-conscious, shoe-polished, black-clad mourners.

I did try the tiny car park outside the Scouts Hut but, as anticipated, it was clogged to the muddy fences with large, shiny mourners’ car, everything double-parked and blocking everything else in. With difficulty, I extracted myself from the car park and, with even more difficulty, got back out onto the village street again without losing a wing mirror or getting dented. Dented already, of course, but that dent was self-inflicted, which is different.

And I did look for an alternative parking space in the narrow village street, honest, but there was nothing I could get into without parallel parking skills or one of those cars that does it all for you.

And so I panicked and came home. Unlike the Prime Minister, I am not Admirably, but Quite Exhaustingly, Limpetishly Resilient. Or it may be that when I see quite clearly that something is not going to work – never, ever going to work – I instantly give up. Make a new plan, Sam. Hop on the Bus, Gus. Don’t need to discuss much… Etc.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

A Einstein

And so I went home, texted

(apparently only old people say texted, everyone else says, ungrammatically ‘text’. I text… the ‘ed’ which would have made it clear that I am not texting right this second but actually text some hours ago – being silent)

my plate-and-tablecloth buying friend and told her the plain truth, that the funeral had prevented me parking. Which she will not believe. Sigh!

And then, as if in retribution, the Jehovah Ladies turned up again – smiling, anxious, warmly wrapped up against the cold. I have written before of the Jehovah Ladies, who like me. I usually manage to deflect them into discussions of cats with three legs, the weather, my-mother-in-the-home (they had it on their secret card index system that she was passed or gone beyond or whatever and I had to correct them on that – still technically alive). This is where being probably ADHD is an advantage – your mind works on digressions and cul-de-sacs. A veritable quagmire, a bottomless pit of irrelevancies and non-sequiturs is at one’s command… Normally, the difficulty is to avoid sinking into it…

So I got my coat on and stepped out into the back garden to have the usual little chat and accept the limp leaflets – two, this time, because they missed me last time. I don’t actually listen to what they say, to be honest, but I value the fact that they care about my soul, and my salvation. No one else does.

A moment of inattention and they had managed to wrangle me back from three-legged cats, vets, mother-in-the-home, weather etc – to tell me that I need not worry. The world appeared to be in a dreadful state but God would step in. God was just waiting for his opportunity to step in and save us all from ourselves. Didn’t I find that comforting? I would find that comforting indeed, if I could only believe it.

Maybe I should try the back-stiffening mantra thing, as above:

God will fish all the plastic out of the sea…

God cares what happens to us stinky old polluting naked apes…

We really don’t deserve to make ourselves extinct, the sooner the better…

And then they told me the story of Adam and Eve, and how Eve ate the apple because the Devil was disguised as a snake. Strangely enough, I knew that. I remarked that people will always feel compelled to do the one thing they are told not to do, it’s like children. And cats.

And then I foolishly remarked that that would be all very well but it said in the Bible that God granted man dominion over all the animals, which was why man felt entitled to eat said animals and perform horrifically cruel experiments on them. They said ah yes, but dominion only means caring for. God instructed us to care for all his creatures, to love them as He loves them. I said I thought dominion didn’t mean that at all.

So they tried me on another word, subjection. They showed me the relevant verses in Genesis, though none of us had our reading glasses on so it was all a bit out of focus. And they said subjection also meant caring for. And I said, to me subjection meant more or less the same as dominion, it meant imposing your will on something or someone weaker than yourself because you felt you had a right to.

But no, apparently subjection also means caring for.

And then I think I managed to non-sequitur them back to cats, and the price of cat food.

Do you possess a Bible, by any chance?

Actually, yes. Do you possess a cat?

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…

You can either make people feel better about themselves, or you can make them feel worse. Some people excel at the former, some at the latter.

About six years my then-desktop-computer was clanking and spluttering its way to the end of its life. My then-computer-engineer broke the bad news and advised me to buy a new one. So I did. For me it was a huge expenditure, but I was so kind of involved with the computer, for email, for surfing the jolly old internet, and for writing my endless bits and pieces that I decided to go ahead. I went to one of those computer warehouse places; some nice lady in a blue suit came out, as if by magic, from wherever she had been lurking, and sold me one.

You see, I know about as much about computers as I do about TVs and cars. To me a TV is a box that lights up and brings me news of the outside world and the occasional half hour of entertainment. I do not know what is inside a television. It runs on electricity, that’s all I know. Similarly, a motor-car is a box with a steering wheel that takes me wherever I need to go and helps me lift and carry a lot of stuff. I would be lost without my car but I have very little idea what’s inside her. She runs on petrol, that’s all I know. And a computer is another box, usually black. I would be lost without it but have no idea what’s inside it. Furthermore, I have very little idea how the programmes it runs are put together. Something to do with zeros and ones. Terribly logical. Not my scene.

So, I was forced to act upon the recommendation of the nice lady in the blue suit. I was at her mercy. The computer cost me a lot of money, but at the end of the day it worked, it looked impressively big and black and shiny, and with any luck it wouldn’t make with the coughing and spluttering for many, many years.

When my then-computer-engineer saw it he stared at it, speechless. Then what I can only describe as a restrained explosion. What did I need such a mega-machine for? Did I have any idea how many mega-whatsits it contained? Why, I could… do this… and that… and… (I can’t even remember what all the this’s and that’s were – probably streaming fifteen movies simultaneously whilst calculating the Meaning of Life). I laughed it off at the time, but I felt really bad about my Computer Blunder, and have continued to feel really bad about it at intervals ever since.

How could I have been so foolish? What would a middle-aged woman want with this (I now discovered) hideously expensive Ferrari of a computer? What would a doddery old dear like me be doing with this Stephen Hawking of a computer, this HAL 9000, this…? Unbeknown to me I had been fooled into purchasing something Albert Einstein might have used, if he’d been born a bit later, and all I needed it for was word-processing, a bit of surfing, a bit of email and some internet purchases. I felt embarrassed. I felt bad.

Recently my now-computer-engineer came and took the humiliating purchase away with him and brought it back with Windows 10 installed. He had apparently rebuilt it. Rebuilding is another one of those mysteries. I was so pleased with his handiwork, so relieved that this was one fearsome task I wouldn’t have to attempt on my own, that I became quite confiding. I told him the story of having bought the computer, and the silly mistake I had made.

He looked at me, aghast. But don’t you see, he said, in buying this computer you have future-proofed yourself. This computer has enough memory to take any programme they are ever likely to invent for it. You will probably never need to buy another one. And then he said:

He was probably jealous.

And in that moment one weight at least fell from my shoulders. I had not accidentally done the wrong thing in purchasing a machine more sophisticated than anyone of my advanced age, inferior gender and limited intellect could possibly have a use for. No, I had accidentally future-proofed myself!

Things don’t go right for me very often. Life’s pleasures are small and increasingly infrequent: but this, I do believe, was one of them.