Compulsive Followers – those who are not still obsessed with the old Pages parked for convenience on this bogl and which I am considering taking down as they are of purely archival interest and a distraction from the main theme – will by now have resolved the many clues set for them in these, my Posts, into two key scenarios, that should (if all goes according to plan) assure me of the most bearable descent I can manage into inexorable madness and death.
Plan A merely requires me to sell my little house in the thunderous outskirts of a bustling seaside town, to take the money and acquire a retirement home somewhere in the imaginary land I call Portugal. So great is the disparity in property prices, that even after paying the sales and acquisition fees and removal costs I should have sufficient funds to swim in until I start receiving the State pension. I shall take with me only Hunzi, my best guitar and the permit I obtained last year, despite everything, to preach English grammar to the heathen.
Not mutually exclusive, Plan B is where I find work as a gardien or jardinier for the wealthy absentee owners of an agreeable chateau somewhere in France, where I do at least speak the lingo. The job provides a roof over my head and pocket money; in which eventuality, I can rent my house out and live well on the income, visiting louche cafes and jazz clubs, a boulevardier or flaneur. In a year or two’s time, I sell the house and buy a small retirement… etcetera, which I can rent out and live… etcetera, until I eventually retire there, and… so on.
You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult. But, as I have Posted several times – you may be getting bored with this theme, but hang on, because I am about to tell you something else about an extraordinary thing that happened, that only happens to be thematically related – it has been proving difficult to achieve either ambition.
Just slipping off last month’s radar is a Post in which I wrote you about how my estate agent fired me because they hadn’t sold my house, two weeks ago last Monday. Well, dear Reader, this week (despite being told to f- off) they dramatically resurfaced to tell me, as they are legally obliged to do, that one of the dribble of disinterested viewers they dragged round has come back to them with an OFFER! (Of course it is not nearly enough, I had to turn it down. Do total strangers really expect me to make them a Christmas present of twenty grand? – but the principle is the same.)
Immediately before the email popped into my in-tray, I was sitting here with my head in my hands, gazing in horrified fascination at the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – a bleak future involving self-mummification, perhaps gnawed by cats. At the very same moment as the email arrived, with its offer to buy my house, and I leant forward wearily to reply to it, the phone rang. It was a French voice asking if I was indeed me? who had enquired about an advertised job several weeks ago; and, for the next hour, we discussed the role of Gardener and Caretaker at his agreeable chateau.
You would imagine that fabulous coincidences – I have been waiting for over a year for either of these things to happen, but not necessarily together in the same minute – have positive outcomes. Not necessarily. Many, many years ago in London, a city of six million souls, I met a pretty girl at a party. I was too shy to ask for a date. Two days later, I got on an underground train at Leicester Square at the height of the morning rush hour, and found myself standing next to her. The date however was a disaster, she spent the night on the floor (which indicates how disastrously things had gone, as I am a gentlemanly sort and would normally have offered her the bed) and we never spoke again.
The head is a large one, and heavy. It is once again propped on my hands (okay, poetic licence – you can’t prop and type at the same time). I am gazing once more in despair at a future I have unintentionally created for myself: making poor decisions, succumbing to inertia, swearing at people in the street, wearing a woolly hat and scarf in the house… etcetera, that I cannot apparently change.
But I am a collector of nice concidences, and for these two opportunities – I’d call them ‘serving suggestions’, morsels pictured temptingly on the microwaveable twin-pack of life – to pop up completely out of the blue and simultaneously, and so much in tune with my desires at the time shows, I think, that string theory is not so far-fetched. It’s all tied up together. And so to science, I posit the quality of temporal knottiness in the Universal stringiness!
That is, if Someone Up There isn’t taking the piss – again.
Yep, they were. (27 June, 2014 – still here.)