In our family there have been two distinct ‘species’ of women.
Species A – sensible, practical, organised, if possibly lacking a certain je ne sais quoi in the Imagination/Empathy department. English Sister and late Mum belong in this group. Also the Posh Snooty Cousins.
Species B – sensible intermittently; practical/organised when absolutely forced; otherwise veering between quite bright and disastrously dim, possibly because over-supplied with the je ne sais quoi. Canadian Sister and I – also late Nan and late Devon Aunt fall into Group B.
I quite often manage to be both quite bright and disastrously dim on one and the same day. I believe this unreliability may have annoyed more than one of my various employers. Thank goodness they are a thing of the distant past.
Take yesterday, for example. In my quite bright phase i finished re-reading Biocentrism by Lanza and Berman, in my ongoing search for the meaning of life – or at least a clue as to what might happen next or afterwards. I am getting to the age when afterwards becomes more than a vague worry, if you know what I mean. The Quest is becoming more urgent.
Biocentrism – the idea that life creates the universe, not the other way round, is a theory that makes a lot of sense to me, though it does take a quantum of mind-wrenching concentration to grasp even the edges of. One wonders whether LSD might help.
Having done that, I started on Panpsychism by Peter Ells. Panpsychism would seem to be the philosophical equivalent of biology’s Biocentrism. The only trouble is, philosophy is difficult. Philosophers seem to have invented a whole parallel vocabulary and set of concepts for everything. But, at the outer limits of Science lie Philosophy and Mysticism, and you reach a point where you are forced to venture there.
So – working from one reference to another in this subject area, I made out a small list of books to read, re-read or at least re-attempt – authors who have “said something on the subject”. On my To Read list are Origins of Consciousness by Adrian David Nelson, Walden by Henry David Thoreau and An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D T Suzuki. I remember attempting to get my head round the Suzuki when I was in my 30s, and thinking: If this is an Introduction, goodness knows what the real thing must be like. I am hoping time has either mellowed or sharpened the Little Grey Cells – whichever is required.
And YET – in the same day:
Canadian Sister and I had a long discussion about where to source Butt Candle Moulds. Yes, butt as in bottom. She wants one for her birthday. She tried Etsy but was frightened off by the mysteries of Paypal, and wondered if I could find one and – maybe include it in her birthday box? So – holding my nose and trying not to look to closely at a panoply of sexist and frankly pornographic candle-moulds (who knew?) I scoured Amazon and Ebay, and found one that didn’t look too tasteless. I think she is minded to make bottom-shaped candles for Christmas presents. Maybe Canadians have a different sense of humour.
And then – finally – I had a Light Bulb Moment about my washing machine. It’s a beast of a machine, German of course. I bought it thinking (but not taking into account built-in obsolescence) that it might be really strong in a rugged, industrial kind of way and might even see me out. So a good investment. Hearing it’s loud, protesting rattles, it screeches, looking at the thing, that seems unlikely now.
One of its little foibles is frequently deciding it has an Unbalance Load (‘Unb”) when it doesn’t — when it’s completely empty – and refusing to switch itself off at the end of the cycle because it’s suffering from an “Unb”. It will sit there for hours, all lit up, sullenly beeping at intervals.
When the men delivered it, they plumbed it in for me. Helpful, but they also plugged it into a socket in the wall in the alcove behind the machine. It never occurred to me -isn’t that a bit odd? The only way I could discover to stop the machine’s miserable whingeing because of “Unb” was to cut the power to it. But to do that meant dragging the Monster out of its alcove, which requires Herculean strength. And pushing it back was even worse.
So for years, when “Unb” happens I have been standing on tiptoe at the foot of the stairs, unlatching the awkward flap on the consumer unit (that tends to fall down and hit you on the head) and cutting off the electrics to the whole house with the Big Red Switch. This does solve “Unb” but also cuts off my internet connection, which then takes ten minutes of so to go from purple to green to blue, when finally my tablet may or may not decide to work again.
Then yesterday I thought – does that machine really have to be plugged in behind itself? No, it didn’t, because there was an empty socket on the wall above the machine alcove. I found a short extension lead, braced myself for one last giant Heave to get the Monster out – dodgy shoulder notwithstanding – and rearranged the plugs. The machine is back, though not entirely so because I could only push it half way – but “Unb” is solved.
I just have a bit of a sad certainty – that English Sister would have known exactly where to plug the damn thing in, or at least not taken six years to work it out.
I shan’t tell her.