Last Saturday I could hardly get into any of my reads just because there was something that bugged me. That something is something that I did not think was an issue and it has been made into an issue. I need to exercise tact and diplomacy with a hope that the matter will not escalate and instead dissolve into the consciousness of simply being part of being.
In the late afternoon, seeing that I could not get engaged with any reading, I decided to look for a car wash and brought a book with me. It was something that I had postponed attending to for months partly due to the lockdown situation. I first went to one carwash place in the neighbourhood and was told that I had to wait for an hour or so. I could have put off the car wash to another day but I thought I might try to find another carwash . I google searched for a carwash nearby. Though my location had been turned off, a few suggestions popped up. I randomly picked one and made a call. A man answered and was told where it was located and I knew the place as I had been there before. I drove ahead for another ten minutes or more and arrived at a place that had cars lining up to get in. By then I had resigned to the fact that I could wait seeing that the queue was moving at a steady pace and I knew it was just a matter of another twenty minutes or so. I had not had my car washed for months and it felt good to at least giving its body a good wash. After that I felt a little lifted by the evening.
I usually believe that things will somehow work out in the end. In the past, whenever something was worrisome and things somehow would turn out okay. But when issues seemingly new crop up, and they stem from old issues as a result of differing values and perspectives , I find my resolve running a little thin.
It is faith and hope that make us think that things will somehow work out in the end.
In my youth, I used to feel bored during school breaks or term breaks. There were less distractions then. If only I could store those lost time in a jar. Strangely enough when life finally caught up with you, you no longer had the luxury to feel bored particularly in this era of digital technology. I used to enjoy those long-haul flights when you know that you could leave your work and life behind as there is nothing you could do when you are in the air and there is no wifi or data connection. You just need that space and time to not think much but read, rest or catch a film. I would normally read, watched foreign films and ended up arriving at the destination feeling like a zombie and all I wanted was a coffee. But it was a good feeling to just focus on getting from one point to another in one piece.
These days you feel that you have to be constructive with every minute of your day. I do find that you have to be relaxed to be able to find a solution to a difficult situation or have a closer look into your mind. While meditation is recommended, most of us will find ourselves on the go and distracted with all sorts of things going on around us. Technology has gotten the better of us if we are not watching ourselves. It does help to make time to do nothing and not feel bad about it .
No matter how crappy I feel, I can never play video games and I cannot understand how games like Candy Crush can be addictive. It must be the idea of scoring points and how you can go to higher levels that makes video games addictive to some, it is instant gratification.
I love learning itself, whether it is a new word, a new phrase, a new fact or whatever. I want to acquire new ways of seeing things.I am interested in countless subjects, thus I can get digressed easily. It is time to prioritize and narrow down the subjects that I want to know more about since I only have this much time and energy.
When there is so much on the internet, everything is at a click you cannot help move and point cursor clicking since everything is at your fingertips accessible with a few clicks here and there. Why do I feel the need to stay informed? FOMO. The fear of missing out. That must be part of it. But the more I read up, the more I do not know. In essence, I believe in some kind of consciousness at work and I have to read and write with intent. Being mindful about our thoughts and experiences will help us to see things better bearing in mind that nothing stays permanent and change is the only constant.
I have multiple reads at any given time and I do read at least one fiction a week.
On Sunday I resumed reading Min Jin Lee‘s debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires. I had read it more than a decade ago, and I just wanted to read it again. I remember the ending is sad. Min Jin Lee is a keen observer and through her prose, she has crafted compelling characters and a storyline that makes you want to read it in one sitting. I found myself in tears within the first fifty pages. It is her narratives that make you feel the pains of each character. I look forward to reading her new book, American Hagwon .
I recently read Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver.
I’m a huge fan of Lionel Shriver‘s fictions and when I knew that she recently had a new novel published, I had to get it. The fiction is about Kay and Cyril Wilkinson, a married couple who are both healthy and vital medical professionals in their early fifties. After seeing too many of their elderly patients in the NHS in similar states of decay, they devise a plan to die with dignity when they have both turned eighty.
In the story, Kay watched how her own father’s mental health deteriorating before he passed on. By the time her father died, she could not cry but only had a sense of relief. Cyril proposes that they will swallow some pills and kill themselves when they both turn eighty. The idea is they do not wish to burden the state, namely the National Health Services nor their grown up children.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
‘He continued to track the steady rise of life expectancy in a spirit of dismay. ” In news reports about our ‘ageing population,”he pointed out over chicken pot pie, ” presenters no sooner mention increased longevity than immediately add,’ which is a good thing, of course!’ The aside is compulsive. But it’s not a good thing! We’re not living for longer. We’re dying for longer!”‘
Cyril laments about the increase in NHS budget due to inflation cost and medical services for the aged.
‘”People our age,” he observed whilst the couple were still in their mid-sixties, ” cost the service twice as much as the average thirty-year-old. But by eighty-five, that differential is five to one ! Five times as much dosh to keep alive some old coot who slumps half-asleep in front of Come Dine with Me all afternoon, compared to a taxpayer with young children who can still have a laugh on a fine day out and play a spot of footie.” ‘
Amidst contemporary issues involving Brexit, mass migration and the coronavirus, the author portrays twelve parallel universes, each exploring a possible future for the Wilkinsons from spending senior years in a retirement home to discovering a cure for aging and cryogenic preservation. The subject matter is grave but the writer has peppered her writings with some humour and wit.
Lionel Shrivel‘s prose is thought-provoking, relevant and contemporary.
We might not have visited Antwerp if not for a friend who was now living there. It was early July 2013 and the weather was cool and sunny. We stayed at an Airbnb apartment situated above a café in the old centre of Antwerp.
The Saint Anna tunnel in Antwerp is a pedestrian and cycling tunnel or underpass under the Scheldt river, connecting the left and right bank in Antwerp. The tunnel is simply referred to as the Voetgangerstunnel, (the Pedestrian Tunnel). You can access the tunnel using the authentic wooden escalators. I was truly in awe of the old wooden escalators with their beautiful woodwork. They were made in the early 1930s.
Antwerp is a quaint city worth visiting.