And Every Day The Paper Boy Brings More

A friend of mine suggested I keep up with my writing, and I have been. Not that it is of benefit, but I do find it peaceful. I usually tear out and set fire to the bulk but every once in a while I’ll keep it to look at for a future date. The only real problem being that there isn’t a large multitude of topics going on in my life to write about – yet still I persist, even in the face of tedium. But only after a gem of a quote from Terry Pratchett, which is always of benefit to all:


“Come to think of it,” he said. “it wasn’t frogs exactly. It was the idea of frogs. She said there’s these hills where it’s hot and rains all the time, and in the rain forests there are these very tall trees and right in the top branches of the trees there are these like great big flowers called bromeliads, I think, and water gets into the flowers and makes little pools and there’s a type of frog that lays eggs in the pools and tadpoles hatch and grow into new frogs and these little frogs live their whole lives in the flowers right at the top of the trees and don’t even know about the ground and once you know the world is full of things like that your life is never the same.”

He took a deep breath.

“Something like that, anyway,” he said.

“Didn’t understand any of it,” he said.

“It’s a metaphor,” said the Thing.

No one paid it any attention.

Truckers – Terry Pratchett


There is something about the prospect of a spring clean that is ominous. It is an event that one always knows needs to happen, and yet – in my case, at least – probably rarely does so; certainly not at the turn of spring. I may have had a few half-hearted attempts in the past, but anything more than a slight spruce is a noteworthy event.

My room has no visitors. It is an L-shaped space sitting separate from the world. It is…chaotic. There is a lamp in the corner taking a large segment and memory fades as to when the bulbs within last functioned. Much of my time here is spent by candlelight illuminating what is close, leaving the stark walls opposite in obtuse darkness. The shadows that form peer back upon any observer who gazes too long upon them.

It has long since made up its own rules; something placed in one moment becomes transient and lost until a time as of yet undefined – almost certainly to re-appear unannounced at 3.30am on a winter’s morning. Have you ever seen something so clear disappear before you own eyes? In this place, it does. It is a honed mysterious science so advanced it is indistinguishable from magic. Occasionally, an item becomes something else altogether; I am awaiting the day my collection of lead becomes gold ingots.

Instead of riches, a metro ticket from a holiday in 2012; a sweet wrapper that evaded the Great Cleanse of November ’16; a charger cable for an item unknown. It is a monument to all that would have otherwise been forgotten; all purposeless and no longer useful for what they were once intended, and I question their function whenever I may happen upon them. Yet they persist ineffably – for every sweet wrapper deposited in the waste paper basket another three rise up to take its place.

It has its benefits – because of things becoming misplaced; lost; unfound, there is always space for new things to be moved in. Some I bring inside, place down, forget about; some are brought in and lost almost instantaneously; there are a few things appear I would swear to have never seen before. Its a slightly unsettling thought to see something completely new in your personal space; it usually takes a minute or three or four to figure out if it was me who, in fact, purchased a third box of gel pens and placed in the centre of the adjoining airing cupboard.

Having forgotten what the original shade of my carpet was, with it laden with detritus, my first thought was to close off the whole room with police tape and deem the area a disaster zone. I am a solution finder, not a problem solver. However, no matter how much I willed this into being, it was unabashedly rather unsustainable as a way of living. I will ever continue the endeavour to make this a reality I suspect.

The only thing to be done was have a cleaner come in and reset the board. It is something, on the face of it, that I felt rather guilty of needing, although, it is more of a done thing than I first considered, and its certainly not that I won’t keep things tidy, I have long since acknowledged life would have been much simpler were this possible – the dark magic at play is definitely something someone with a more professional eye for detail.

I spent rather too much time cleaning about the place before they arrived and even sought advice on the best way to do so; it seems rather vacuous when you think about it. One of the most pointless exercises I probably engaged myself in. There would have been no chance that this effort would have been worthwhile, but a distinct possibility that my feeble attempts would have been noted. A fear that took little time to be confirmed.

It was strange watching someone cut through the overgrowth with clinical precision and without emotion. As an intellectual exercise I was fascinated – even as I saw huge chunks of my life get stripped out in front of my eyes. It was not just a case of search and destroy, I am genuinely questioning what sorcery this Merlin had brought to the round table.

The curtains had never been opened; whenever I am within, the outside has always appeared as dark as the interior, so there has been no cause to have them open. I guess it makes it feel like the outside world is a prize on a game show yet to be revealed; something one has to earn (or be lucky) to win. During the big clean up, these curtains became damaged, so no longer closed all the way. The uneasy fact is that now people can see in; it would make me feel exposed slightly, except that I’m quite confident most of the time that there is nobody, in fact, looking inside. It does provide a different outlook to see everyone walk past and have more perspective on the outside world, but at least there is no longer a mystery prize to be won.

As quickly as it had started, it was over, and I was left with a very different environment. Equal in so many ways to before, it had the same features, you could see where the pizza boxes had been…and where there would be another a week or so later; yet I didn’t recognise it anymore. I knew it was mine…I have a piece of paper somewhere to prove it…but it took quite a bit of time to get to know it again. At first, it was though its character had…diminished. It had less mischief and even became receptive to the laws of physics that dictate all other areas of the world. Time, the great healer, saw it regain its previous strength and we restarted our duel anew.

It is different now, though. The rules of the game have changed and the balance of power has shifted. A person like me, at least, can never truly conquer the behemoth, but I do have a greater arsenal now. It is always useful to know the carpet is beige and I’ve been taught the virtues of the Dustbuster.



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