Friday, January 25, 2013

Garages and the Absence of Anything “Girlie” on the Coffee Table.


We all know that we should not judge a book by its cover.  I would like to add that we shouldn’t judge a garage by the limited variety of magazines on the table in the customer waiting room either!

Getting my winter tyres back on the car has been on the to-do list for the last couple of months but I finally got around to it.  I am confident that winter isn’t over.  We may have missed out on the really heavy falls so far, but it doesn’t mean to say that we will escape entirely.   And anyway, if the snow doesn’t come to Inverness, I can always drive somewhere that has snow just so Floozy can play with her tyres.

It would appear that garages, in my experience, operate like doctor’s surgeries.  One might have an appointment for a certain time but is doesn’t mean one gets seen at that time.  They were running a little late.

I lamented the absence of anything “girlie” on the coffee table.  There was a selection of car magazines – only to be expected in a garage.  I flicked through page after page of photographs of cars in different poses and locations.   If you have seen one car you have pretty much seen them all.  There was nothing in most of the magazines to hold my attention. 

Then I picked up the Jaguar magazine.   Spring 2012.  Last year’s truths still have value for today.

I can’t believe that I read a car magazine from cover to cover.  I can’t believe, either, that I dug out a pen and a bit of paper to take notes!  I know…who would have thought it possible?

The first article posed the question – “Do you ever feel that you are not quite living life to the fullest?  Time to do something about it.” 

“Aha,” thought I, “they are going to tell me that what I really need to live life to the fullest is to buy a new car – a Jaguar.”  I turned the page expecting to see a photo of the car they wanted me to buy.  I did not expect to see a double spread photo of a crowd of people covered in red dye.  Apparently if I want to appreciate Spring and new life I really ought to travel to India to witness the Festival of Colours, part of the Holi celebration for Hindus.  I could have been reading National Geographic.  The pictures were amazing and there was no mention of buying the latest jaguar to live life to the fullest.  Swimming with humpback whales, running with bulls, watching the sunset in New York and climbing rock faces without any safety equipment were among the other suggestions.

Another article quoted Lucius Annaeus Seneca.  'Slight is the portion of life we live.  All the residue is not living but passing time.”   We all have times when we feel really alive.  For most people it’s not all the time.  Too often we are just “passing time”.  It’s only characters in stories that seem to be really alive all the time.  The following paragraphs skipped through a lot of books that I haven’t read pointing out what the heroes did.  Natty Bumppo was one of the few names I recognised mainly because I watched the film “The Last of the Mohicans” many times over.  People can live vicariously through books, but being really alive is about what you do in real life.  Characters in books should stir us to do extraordinary things in our everyday lives.

It is the poets who seem to be more alive than other people according to William Cowper.  They are more sensitive to the world around them.   They are people who are alert to the moment.

It has taken a while for me to accept and embrace the poet within.   To be sensitive to the world around me, to be alert to the moment – the poet within will rise to the challenge.

I just didn’t expect to be challenged by the contents of a car magazine.   

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