Make it your mission to buy only what you really need. This will prompt you to enjoy simpler pleasures. Instead of going out to an expensive restaurant, cook your own meals. Treat cooking as an extension of your creative talent. If you’re tired, give yourself the gift of a scented bath, followed by a nap. Do you crave companionship? Spend time with a pet or adopt one. The less you spend money, the more you realise that contentment comes from within.
I love horoscopes, don’t you? Always so bright and optimistic! This is mine for today, courtesy of the Russell Grant horoscope machine via Yahoo! (apologies for the copyright theft, I’m claiming fair usage. Besides, it’s my horoscope, innit.)
1 Yes, I really need to get a grip on my extravagance. Before Christmas, I confess, I bought shoes. (Didn’t get the job.) Last week, I ordered four DVDs and two CDs – jazz, of course – just for the pleasure of getting something through the mail that wasn’t a bank statement or a newsletter from the local Liberal party. When you get nice things in the mail, it’s like somebody has noticed you exist. This is the brilliance of the Amazon business plan, that so many lonely, deracinated people separated from their families and with few friends just love to get presents in the mail, even if they have to buy them themselves.
So, a simple pleasure… and one I really need. Win-win, right?
2 Yes, I must give up going to expensive restaurants. Problem being, there aren’t any cheap ones! Restaurants are by definition pretentious and expensive, that’s why people go to them, to convince themselves, their significant others and their business colleagues of how well they are faring. The other problem is, I haven’t been to any restaurants at all in about a year – I seem to remember I let my daughter’s boyfriend pay for the last one, he has a job. Except a fish-and-chip shop occasionally, for the takeaway.
3 Aw, c’mon, I cook most nights when it’s not just picking at a block of cheese! I have this really great recipe, where you take any vegetable matter in the fridge that isn’t actually rotting, chop it in pieces, stick it in a dish with some water and a knob of butter, cover it with clingfilm and bung it in the micro for 8.5 minutes. Mmmm, yummy. But not very proteinaceous. For a change, every other night I crack a couple of eggs in a pan, stir in the vegetables and get an omelette. And the phthalates oozing from the hot pvc plastic will help you to grow your own breasts!
4 ‘If you’re tired…’ If?
5 Scented bath, nap. Okay, I’m bathing about once a fortnight in the winter. My son takes two showers a day, I don’t know where he gets it from. I bathe when I can’t bear to smell myself at night and the sheet needs changing. Then I change my T-shirt too. We’re a tad short on scent, however – there’s a bottle of Radox, it’s about a year old. I nap in the afternoons sometimes, or later in front of the iPlayer with a glass falling from my hand, watching The Bridge or something. Then I can’t follow the pre-show plot summary next week. I never saw that bit before, did I miss an episode? Have I lost a weekend?
(Incidentally, can anyone enlighten me as to what the castrato guy is singing over the opening titles? Like, ‘echo starters in farthest moon, children noises that comes too soon’… Or am I missing that it’s in Danish?
6 Do I crave companionship? No, and no. Would companionship crave me? Probably not after reading 5, above. Anyway, I have Hunzi, my lovely, non-judgmental dogfriend. I spend lots of time with him. He’s adopted, of course, not my natural birth-dog. And I am hating myself now, because I yelled at him on our walk this morning. He knows not to approach other dogs when they are on the lead, it upsets the other pink-monkeys inflicting their neuroses on their animals. I’d just reassured this panic-stricken old woman how nice and obedient he is, how he always leaves other dogs on leads be, and he only runs around the back and sticks his nose up her bitch’s ass…
So I lost face, and I took it out on Hunzi and I’m sorry, I normally shout at shaven-headed estate dwellers who abuse their devil dogs, and now I go and do it myself. Then I remembered it was only because I needed fresh material with which to beat myself up. So that’s okay.
7 The less I spend money… contentment comes from within. Well, okay, I don’t actually use money, I haven’t bought a guitar since last April, I cancelled my jazz week and there is no contentment remaining within to be coaxed out using phoney parsimony, just despair and seething anger at the way you are always wrong about everything before it’s too late to do anything about it. I’m learning now how ageing is about the loss of agency in the world. You’re still agile and mostly functioning, ambitious even, but struggle as you may, you seem able to do less and less to keep it all moving forward. The nearer you get to the end of your life, the denser time becomes, the higher the viscosity of resistance to expectation, like wading through some substance that gets thicker as you go (trying to avoid the treacle/molasses cliché…).
Hey, they really meant it, those annoying older people: do it now, don’t put it off, because now is easy but tomorrow IS too late. You’ll see, fool. You’ll learn. It goes on getting thicker until you hit the wall.
‘And everything… goes back to the beginning’…
I see I’ve been Posting quite a lot lately, and at length. It’s coming up to the nice round 300 number, while in exectly three weeks it will be the second anniversary of my starting this, muh li’l bogl. So with obsessive-compulsive order in mind, I’m going to try for a simultaneous climax – which means maybe no Posts for a few days.
Bate your breath, fellow depressives. I’ll be back.
– Uncle Bogler