Marianne quells her internal critic in time to enjoy the view. And as someone who likes views and who also spends far too much time time distracted by his own internal chatter I’m thinking good for her.
I’m also remembering…
…late summer in London and a shorter than usual stop in between surf trips. Short enough that I’d not got round to getting a key cut for the front door of the travellers house where I was staying. The doorbell would do I figured. People would let me in. I did the same for them. It was how the house worked; enough give and take to enable a restless and shifting group of people to live together under the same roof.
Or, at least, that was how I saw it. Rhino the Sicilian South African clearly didn’t.
The exclamation mark was wilted; the weary anger of someone who was missing his sleep.
“Get your own key cut you lazy fuck. I’m not your doorman.”
“Sorry.” Words, especially retorts, fail me when I’m flustered. I pushed past him into the house.
Half an hour later I was walking down to Fulham, continuing my errands, seething in the smoggy heat.
What a jerk. I’ve let him in before. He’s such a weirdo too.
As I walked, concocting all the devastating retorts I’d forgotten in the heat of the moment, my mind drifted to a tale I’d read in a new-age book. In it, two monks came across a beautiful woman at the side of a swollen ford. Acceding, to her request, one of them carries her across. Later that day as they continued along their way, the other monk, troubled, asks the first.
“How could you do that? Carry such a beautiful women? Exposing yourself to temptation”.
To which the first monk answers. “That woman? Are you still thinking about her? I left her at the river.”
It’s a lamentably male-centric story, of course. But the message, I thought, wasn’t bad: it’s happened; let it go!
The trouble was, I couldn’t let Rhino go. The confrontation bugged and bugged me.
And so I stewed, all the way to High Street Kensington. What was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I learn the lesson of the monks. Why couldn’t I let it go. I was travelling, learning all these lessons, and I could never put them into practice. It was so easy I just had to stop thinking about him. And I couldn’t
Except that, oddly enough, I had. I was no longer feeling uptight about Rhino. I was feeling uptight about the fact that I’d felt uptight.
And perhaps, that was progress enough, for that over-heated August day.