Thursday, 8 May 2014

Thank You for the Days

I've had one of those elusive Good Days, today.  Not that my days are generally bad, or even uniformly mediocre, but a genuinely good Good Day is a thing to be noted, enjoyed, and -- if your toothwork is better than mine -- shared with the world by wearing a smile on your face.

Well, all right, let's not get carried away, but I'm put in mind of what Kurt Vonnegut said about his uncle, in various graduation addresses:
He said that when things were really going well we should be sure to NOTICE it. He was talking about simple occasions, not great victories: maybe drinking lemonade on a hot afternoon in the shade, or smelling the aroma of a nearby bakery; or fishing, and not caring if we catch anything or not, or hearing somebody all alone playing a piano really well in the house next door.

Uncle Alex urged me to say this out loud during such epiphanies: "If this isn't nice, what is?” 
Well, yes, and why not?  Let's see:

Today, I finally got my package of 82 photographs off to Innsbruck, having found exactly the right size of protective polythene wrapper in the Post Office to keep the whole monster assemblage dry.  I'd been worried about that.

Today, I had a medical appointment, expecting an unpleasant experience (the last nurse to water-board my ears was a sadist), but had a pleasant one instead.  Another worry gone.  And I can hear again... What a relief!  Then I discovered what I suppose I ought to have known all along: that prescriptions for over 60s, even those in gainful employment, are free.  Yes!

And, talking of gainful employment, today I spent a pleasant hour or two passing on the latest installment of my accumulated wisdom of 30 years to a junior member of staff, in anticipation of my retirement later this summer.  Few things are as satisfying as realising, yes, I do know something worth knowing about this  business, after all, and, for once, I can remember what it is.

Then I discovered, to my astonishment, that -- according to the real, final statement I received today -- all previous quotes of the pension I should expect to receive after August had actually been too low, which had me reaching for the phone in anticipation of a really good argument with the idiot who'd obviously sent someone else's inflated bloody salary to our pension provider, rather than my own.  After all, as is universally acknowledged, after a couple of hours of pleasant pontification, a really good rant can set you up nicely for the day.  But, instead, once the nature of the situation had been explained to me -- patiently, and several times, as I'm dense when it comes to money matters -- I came off the phone with that glow of benevolent well-being that can only be brought about by the discovery of a couple of ten-pound notes in a coat pocket (one's own, ideally). I may not be rich, but I'm better off than I had expected to be.

So, put it all together, and by lunchtime I was on a natural high that even the insistent downpour could only enhance.  I queued for the cash machine in the rain with a song in my heart.

If this isn't nice, I was thinking, what is?

I'll have what she's having, please...


Carsten Schultz said...

I would like to write something nice, but it is hard, because in this foreign language I am never sure which of the phrases that I have read often are usually meant in earnest and which sarcastically. Anyway, I am glad that things are good for you and I will try to remember the bit of wisdom that you have shared.

Mike C. said...

Thanks, Carsten -- I know exactly what you mean, as next month I will deliver an address in German, to an Austrian audience, and will have the same problem of getting the tone right...

The British, as a nation, enjoy and use irony at many levels, and even we can never be entirely sure when someone is "im Ernst"!


Martyn Cornell said...

I'm sure you're in Max Ernst.

Mike C. said...

Sigh... See what I mean?