‘What’s the purpose?’ Bob used to ask of me writing my diaries, a non rhetorical and open question. He had the knack of asking the important questions. I didn’t know the answer, but kept the question as I wrote on through the years. He modernised the name and called them logs.Now they are called blogs, and it is such a delight to read through those early days with him. I’d forgotten much.
Bob has a name of ‘affection’ for me, and like the endearment of thousands of other lovers, it is an animal. He calls me Rat. He did not like the name at first, feeling that it was too hard and ‘unendearing’. However, he is warming to it. Last night no exception as I was most rat like. I returned home from work with very eyes tired from looking at a screen for days (finishing the Dioxin Special – stimulating but hard work). And then to Bobs. I was angry at living between 2 places, having just had 3 days at Linden Gardens and enjoyed pottering and working on my Mac. But he forced my ratiness out of me, by making me explain it. For this he has taught me much.
‘I get to know you through your logs’, he used to say, having found a reference to his bow legs. I didn’t like my own legs, so to have a partner with an equal weakness was not good. Who gives a fig now?
Here’s what he read:
Our tables have subtly changed in Ireland. Before Ireland, I was ‘one the top’. I had come kicking and screaming into this relationship, privately and publicly adamant that I would not get involved with Bob. He was unattractive to me physically – I did not like his fat belly, flat feet, bow legs. “Legs of iron” he describes them. I did not like the way he stuffed food into his face. Then one day in Norfolk, I looked at him again, surrendered and looked at life and him differently.
I came with all my social skills, my bridge parties, wacky electronic publishing career. I looked at him in Africa, and saw he could buy himself out of any awkward situation, but could not light a fire, or fashion a stick. Jokingly I sometimes call him Bulldozer Bob, as he went straight for the jugular.
In Ireland, however, this middle class toffee nosed attitude changed as I saw him quickly assimilate people and events. Unlike myself, Bob is focused, clear about what he wants, and unwasteful of his time and words. This means he often walks away from conversations he sees as going nowhere, or people who do not stimulate him – and I am left with my polite small talk, fuming! Yes I get cross, as I see him not doing things simply to please a situation; sometimes I feel like a fly, cornered in a room, buzzing dumbly from wall to ceiling, quoting middle class conventions, feeling trapped when the whole room is open for me to fly about in. In Ireland, the tables were turned, and I began to wonder what I had to offer Bob, as I began to appreciate the richness of what he offered to me.