Wednesday, 25 May 2016
He Travels the Fastest who Travels Alone
I 'm considering deactivating my Facebook account again. It's a time-wasting, infuriating, co-dependent malaise.
I use Facebook primarily to stave off loneliness. Which reminds me that my nan would use the Kipling quote above when any of us complained of being lonely.
'Have you lost your library card? Lonely, indeed! Lonely having tea with Miss Bates? Lonely on travels with the Pickwick Club? Lonely at the Horse of the Year Show with Rupert Campbell-Black? And furthermore, let's remember that the banding together mentality is all lovely when it leads to The Huddersfield Choral, or the Massed Bands of the Coldstream Guards or those monkeys with the typewriters who are one day going to finish Timon of Athens - but not when it leads to an epidemic of the illness of the moment...'
Serious illness was nan's thing - we had regular bulletins about complete strangers dying in lingering agony up at the Forty Houses in Gelligaer - and she had contempt for what she called illnesses of the moment.
'Fevers of the faddy!'
In her time she called AIDS an illness of the moment. ADHD, alzheimers, mad cow, bird flu and narcolepsy were all illnesses of the moment. Had she been in Kaffa when the flea-ridden Mongols routed the Italian merchants there in 1346, she would very likely have called the resulting bubonic plague epidemic an illness of the moment.
'Oh, yes, because a get together that starts out all joyful so often ends in disease running rampant. We're all going on a summer holiday...and coming back with dysentery. Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare, all along, down along, out along lea, for I want for to go to Widecombe Fair with Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all... and we won't expect to see Bil, either of the Peters or Harry again after the cholera gets them on the boat swings. After the Ball is Over...there were all those girls getting into carriages without their shawls properly draped and TB or not TB, that was the question.'
She would draw herself up by the handbag, as she did. 'You make the best of your solitary circumstances, now. Better to live by choice in a bedsit than by force in a leper colony.'
Facebook - the Kalaupapa of the psyche.