Sometimes a week is full of bad things. Lost bank cards, deleted emails, misunderstandings, sharp shocks and grey drifts of thoughts about the senselessness of it all. On a side note: there are no unicorns. They all died before you were born.
At such times I like to retire to my treehouse to meditate on the good in life. Actually, no, I like to get myself down to a questionable drinking den and deteriorate in raggedy splendour. Either way, it’s a glimmer in the dimness to consider the small and lovely things that are occurring all the time, every day. They may not matter at all. They don’t make bad things better. But they still happen. They’re still there.
Here is the Friday Happy List
This is your life, plus abundant rainbows.
Monday in May
If you work the ol’ 9 – 5, when May bank holidays start rolling in, it feels like the world is being run as if a motley committee of hungover layabouts had taken charge. Hey, let’s take this Monday off. The only way to make Monday acceptable is to stay off work. Let’s all go to the seaside. Let’s have a four day week. Maybe in a few weeks time, we’ll take another Monday off. This Sunday night vodka won’t drink itself, my friend. Pass me your empty glass, and let’s not overthink this decision.
Dressing like Katie Morag
Cosy. Chic. With a kilt.
Checking out saucy literature from the library, or ‘This is why I can’t go to nice places’.
It’s a Saturday. A Saturday morning. There are families here. These are good people; this is a library. It’s a nice place. I have in my hands a French classic of upsetting, relentless depravity, and there’s a black and white photo of someone’s naked bottom on the front cover. I’ll hide it under a Maeve Binchy novel. It’s cool; nobody’s noticed. Except the librarian, when I go to check out my books. She knows. She’s noticed.
The etymology of some favourite words
Darling – from the Old English, meaning ‘favourite minion’. (I bet you say that to all your minions).
Berserk – Norse warrior. Of course Norse warrior. From the word ‘berserker’. They wore bear-furs and threw manly tantrums in the midst of battle.
Boudoir – The sulking room. Where you go to pout about things. From the French, ‘bouder’, to pout. How frilly and ridiculous and covered in silk bows would you have to be, to need a dedicated nice-place for your daily sulk? Very. Very. Yes, I certainly want one.
Sending actual mail to a faraway friend. Hallo.
Dogs with human names.
Sometimes, nothing makes me happier than raging at strangers for their manifest awfulness. Calling your dog David or Claire is a weird thing to do, you weirdo. Dogs are supposed to have dog names like Fido. That way we can keep the terrifying chaos at bay, with simple rules and clear species differentiation. If you call your dog David, you are threatening the very foundations of what separates man from beast. For shame. Obviously if your dog likes to run away and you have to shout it’s name in the park, you must call it The Slaughterer is Now Amongst Us.
It’s time to cavort.
And lastly… wanting what you already have.
I have a well worn, beloved 1970s Dr Seuss book called Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? In it, a wise old man perched on a cactus, just missing the spikes with his dainty toes, instructs his young listener in the practice of negative visualisation. The book moves from intricate chaos (irreconcilable traffic jams, animals’ tails stuck in unsolvable knots) to the slow encumbering annoyances like machines that go Schlump in the night; and then on to visions of vast, lonely spaces: ‘Thank goodness for all the things you are not. Thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot …like a rusty coat-hanger, hanging in space’.
The book invites you to imagine surreal intractable misfortune in great detail, which I always found, when I was a little un, to be a grimly compelling exercise. This should be easy as an adult, if you naturally dwell in the gloomy caves of introversion and fatalism (or as we fatalistic introverts like to call it, realism). Imagine the worst situation that you could be in, and then compare that with you, here, right now. It may be contrived, but it could mibby also reveal anew the precious good fortune you are currently sitting on like a massive heap of gold. If you have health and love and a scone to eat, you have everything, and you are the winner today.