known unknowns (& unknown knowns)


If in doubt, post pictures of cats — it’s failproof. This is Sylvie helping me pack. She’s giving me her anxious look. The so where are we going, then? look.

It’s been a wee while between blogs. I was going to write at the beginning of the weekend. The thing I was going to write was going to be called benevolent elephants. Then the weekend took a slightly different turn and all of a sudden benevolent elephants didn’t seem very appropriate, and neither did writing, full stop, at all.

It still doesn’t seem so right to write this, even now. Sometimes life just comes out of nowhere. You don’t expect your loved ones to have sudden freak injury visited upon them. It’s not a call you expect to receive. But it’s probably better to live without expecting it… because what kind of a mincing, hedged-in life would that be? Sort of like knowing the exact date of your departure from this earth and trying to stay happy-go-lucky regardless.

In the weekend I spent a bit of time thinking about helplessness and prayer. Helpless praying, I mean. Then I thought about helplessness on its own, and then prayer in its own right, too. I tried not to get in an argument about it, given that someone in our house (and it’s not Sylvie… she’s far to busy with boxes) thinks that prayer is for the weak and deluded.

As for me, I would like to be able to pray. In times of helplessness, at least, it would be helpful. I started out my early life with knees-on-carpet at the foot of the bed (and then graduated to shut eyes and steeple-fingers in front of my face once the whole kneeling kick wore off). And then somewhere early in the teenage years (with their now-laughable turbulence and all that OTT hand-wringing and bleating uncertainty) I couldn’t do it any more.

All those years of carpet-burned kneecaps and not a scrap of faith to show for them. I guess that might have something to do with why I keep worry dolls in the drawer beside my bed.

But still. You put in all that prayer time in your unformed years — sort of like misguided groundwork — and on the rare occasions when utter helplessness finds you later in life, when all your logic and girlguideness and life skills and rote-learned mantras fail you, it’s hard not to assume prayer as the fallback position. So, I didn’t pray this weekend, but I did actually miss prayer. It seemed like it might have been the most useful thing I could have done.

At the moment for school I am writing about known unknowns. How to know them better, etc. It seemed a bit dumb this weekend. Another example of words being all very well and good.

So I thought about unknown things this weekend, too…. the unknown, but not really in a sci-fi kind of way. I wondered why I woke up at 3am-ish this Saturday morning for no apparent reason in a state of fear. And when I sat in my bed and I felt the tremors an hour or so later, I did wonder why my whole body went cold, when night-time rumblings are hardly new to us. I could probably quite easily retrospectively attribute some kind of clairvoyant quality to this, but I won’t. The truth is that while I hadn’t had a night episode before Saturday morning for some time, I don’t think I’ll ever be entirely rid of them. I think I’ll just call it a fitting coincidence.

Shit — I just read over this and it’s got quite heavy (sorry) and taken an existential turn I honestly wasn’t planning. (Did I ever tell you how I dropped out of philosophy 101 because people tried to tell me that my dog didn’t have a soul? That’s a bit  irrelevant right now, but I dislike talking about existentialism in the same way I dislike contemplating Pavlova’s impossible soullessness.) I don’t really know how to U-turn my way out of this sombre little pot-hole. (Is that a mixed metaphor? Or just a slightly uncomfortable one?)

I know. I will end this with 1. biorythms and 2. SLUT graffiti. The slut graffiti, at least, is sort of funny. Let’s go out on a bit of a high note (well, compared with the rest of this dark muddle, anyway…).

1. When we got our first family home computer back in the very late 80s (or it might actually have been 1990) it had a biorythm programme on it. You typed in your birth date and it whipped up a graph with three lines on it — physical, emotional and spiritual — which spiralled away into perpetuity. On the days when two lines crossed it was supposed to be a bad thing. On the days when three crossed — look out — you probably shouldn’t leave the house. We spent a lot of after-school time back in the day trying to predict bad shit with that programme. 

Oh, and I just found an online biorhythm calculation thingy here, in case you want to work out when bad shit is going to happen to you. (There are millions of these sites – this isn’t special or anything.) I admit that (the crockness of) biorhythms did enter my head this weekend too, as well as prayer.

2. SLUT graffiti, Vivian Street. Say no more. (Although it is quite interesting to guess at what might have possessed the graffiti artist to pen this… Bad date? Overbearing mother?) 


One Response to “known unknowns (& unknown knowns)”

  1. 1 Nico

    Vivian St always has the greatest tags. I used to live there across from a wall which had “Period Pain” emblazoned on it in black spray paint. Maybe the best tag I’ve ever seen? It certainly made people uneasy at any rate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: