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The Background Static Of Perpetual Discontent

Is this all there is?

In my salad days I spent a year in Paris, working as a teacher of English by day, and eating, drinking and indulging in other other life shortening stuff by night. Every working day I walked past Notre Dame cathedral on my way to work and always smiled politely (hangover permitting) into the lens of the many video cameras held by that day's batch of Japanese tourists.

I guess I must have starred in hours of boring home movie footage in Tokyo in the seventies.

Something else that always put a smile on my face was the plaster(of Paris?) gargoyles that were on sale in the souvenir shops by the cathedral. One in particular wasn't so much ugly or frightening, but rather gave the impression of being really brassed off with life. There it was, squatting on one of the most magnificent pieces of architecture in one of the most beautiful cities of the world... and it looked terminally fed up!

Architecturally speaking, gargoyles were part of the channeling system to disperse the rainwater that fell onto the cathedral roof. The medieval builders, in collaboration with the priests-never missing an opportunity to make sure that people were made aware of their station in life i.e. miserable sinners put on earth to suffer- turned them into nasty demons who spat and peed down on the great unwashed of Paris...charming. Our words gurgle and gargle are derived from these stone  creatures.

But I digress ... not like me at all!

I'm not sure I'll be able to link this one into Catstycam, the Outdoor Shop, other than to thank them for sponsoring this particular bit of nonsense.

What on earth is that title all about? Well, I found out that static, that fuzzy noise you used to get between radio stations on old transistor radios is actually incredibly stretched light waves which came into being at the beginning of the universe, the remnants of the moment of creation, 13.7 billion years old.

But it isn't meant literally of course, it's more that nagging feeling that you get that things aren't quite as they should/could be, that sommat's not quite right, something's missing, we just need to .... and then it will be good, whatever 'it' is.

We'll be fine, we're 'glass half full' kind of folk, positive, go getters blah di blah di blah.

Let's just make sure that what we want, what we are aiming for, where we hope to be next week, next year, at some point in the future is actually what we want, and not what someone else has persuaded us we should be striving for.

At my age I shouldn't be doing this, I should be ... .

When I get to ... I'll have... and ... .

When are you going to settle down and start... ?

Anyone who is anyone has ... , what's wrong with you?

By now you should be ...  .

A wise person once said that the only thing worse than not getting what you want, is getting what you want. Soon you realise that you want something else, something better, and it starts again.

Oh, by the way, has anyone ever actually found this place we call the future? The place where everything turns out to be OK, and we all get what we want after having put things off in the meantime. Somewhere over the rainbow??

All right, on a practical level we have to assume a future time so we can set the alarm clock, book the holiday, make the dental appointment...accepted. But the past and the future are just memories and assumptions... we can only ever operate in the present, there is only now.

It seems to be part of the human condition, at least up to now, that we defer our gratification, that we put up with being less happy, or even unhappy, in the present because we have this vague notion that it'll all get sorted in the future.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't worked it out, I don't go round smiling in that " I know something that you don't"  kind of way that certain 'spiritual' persons do. And I'm not saying that things will always be not quite what we want and never can be. But maybe we ought to work out that it's here in the present that that we are and always will be,

we can't be anywhere else in time.

To the best of my knowledge that gargoyle is still there, it's been over eight hundred years now and he's never managed a smile, I wonder what he's waiting for.

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