21. On slowing down
Or (as usual) trying to
What is the craic? Big week for weather. It’s hot out there, and I hope that you are all enjoying it sensibly. I’m in the library. I can hear someone playing piano at just the right distance. This is a good place to write.
I had great plans today – walk to the shore with The Muse, meet some new people about a New Volunteering Thing, come to the library, go for a dip. That list of plans is too long to be compatible with a slow morning of breakfast, coffee and chats in the kitchen. And that’s okay. I forgot my towel anyway, so I’d have to drip-dry in the breeze or drape myself over a railing somewhere. Or hang from the monkey bars for a bit.
I forgot my towel because I didn’t leave the house slowly enough. I think I know why – I’ve told you before about our childhood joy of getting seven people into a car made for four at ten fifty-eight for a five minute drive to eleven o’ clock mass. Good times. There’s no time for leisurely thinking about towels in that scenario. Get in the car! The fear of being late (when mass never started on time anyway) and the relief in being ready to leave on time (when our father (paternal, not theological) never was) always beat actual readiness. In that case, being ready for the skull-numbing boredom of listening to a priest ten times your age telling people how they should behave. But a child is never ready for that. Nor should they be. And that is not of course the worst thing that a child could endure in the presence of a priest in Ireland in the nineteen-eighties. We were never that close to priests then, thanks be to our mother and her gods.
It’s a sticky habit, steering clear of priests. As is prioritising leaving over readiness – make that train, make that bus, make that appointment. And for what? There’s always another one. And the time you gain by hitting the deadline is lost or maybe spent in going back again for the thing that you forgot in your rush to leave. Which I’ve been doing a lot lately, in my haste to get from place to place. (There’s probably some metaphor in there for writing too.)
So I missed the Meeting for The New Volunteering Thing because I didn’t give myself enough time to get ready and that’s okay because there will be another meeting later. And I didn’t get to go for a dip but I did get to spend more time in conversation with The Muse and the sea will be there tomorrow. And without making a list, I feel like a lot of the delights in life come from the unexpected occurrences that happen when you’re in the right place at the wrong time. Or the wrong place at the right one. Who knows? I’m going to slow down. Especially in this heat. Stay cool, everyone.
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