Too much metaphysics

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

As a general rule, I like to waft gently through life in a pleasant sort of daze, without thinking too deeply about anything. I find this approach can generally be relied upon to reduce stress levels, although it was something of a disadvantage during my former career as a politician.

Regular readers will know that from time to time I can be a jolly deep sort of cove, fully capable of piercing analytical thought. But most of the time I prefer to write about toasters.

Today, to my increasing distress, the world has conspired to make me consider my place in the universe. Not 20 minutes ago Beloved Other Half, in a fit of high dudgeon induced by my near-terminal vagueness, demanded of me “what is the point of you?”

This was not a conundrum I felt equipped to tackle, but fortunately it was intended as a rhetorical device and I decided at once that an attempt to provide an answer would not be welcomed.

Not so the incident at lunch, when I paused over my noodles to see a hovering waiter with an unusual thorn-like thing stuck through his ear-lobe smiling encouragingly at me.

I performed a quick mental rewind, dragging the words he had just spoken up from whatever murky depths of my subconscious they were sinking into, and replayed them.

He had said: “Are you happy?”

Well, I ask you. What sort of a question is that to sling at a chap over a bowl of miso soup?

“Yes – as far as I'm aware – thank you,” was my cautious and rather startled reply, at which point he grinned broadly and bounced off to be cheerful somewhere else.

As he disappeared he fired a parting shot over his shoulder: “Oh! What a big question that was!”

Quite. It really is all too much.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.