It’s the little things that count

Even if one fervently reckons each day of life a manifest privilege, there is no denying that some days are less action-packed than others.  Nonetheless it is equally patent that the trifling details of life are what constitute the loam of our existence. An account of those spiceless components, and sifting for the gems of life among its humble fodder, is I have discovered not without its modest gratification. As an illustration allow me if you will to relate the featureless events of today.

By way of apology for what is destined to be an uninspired tale, you should know for instance that we are no longer encumbered by late night society. This is important  because what follows are the ramblings of two old fogeys resigned to the vapidity of moderation. It is for example reasonably assured that on the breaking of any new day we will abandon the lair no later than 8:00 a.m. Graced as we are with an unhurried agenda, our matutinal routine has commensurately extended beyond the conventional ablutions. The customary morning ceremony now includes in addition to a breakfast of varying expanse and particularity – and most crucially to me – an 11.3 kilometre bicycle ride. Unless and until I have exhausted this essential, my day lacks impetus. Occasionally when it threatens to rain we slyly contemplate to contrive some cogent reason to avoid the morning exercise. But this fabrication is usually short-lived unless it is positively pouring. This morning we were caught ever so briefly in such an hiatus but rigour overcame lethargy and as always we proved ourselves the better for it.

Once efficiently soaped, scrubbed, combed and polished we resolved to squander the cloudy day by taking a motor trip to the City of Kingston, that bastion of Upper Canadian history, militia, higher education and republicanism. It also matters that we’ve discovered a casual restaurant there which serves a more than passable salad; and there are merchant emporia which tempt even the most disinclined shopper.

Following our meandering drive to Kingston along the pastoral back roads we were shortly installed in the restaurant at a table with chairs.  I mention this petty feature because a booth was not an option as it uncomfortably interfered with my protuberant belly. While we perused the menu we became disturbingly aware of a group of young girls seated nearby. What especially arrested our attention was the recurring use of the word “like”. It was interjected into almost every sentence uttered by each of the seven girls. The more animated their conversation, the more prolific the word. While I would have preferred to imagine that the girls were not university students, I suspect I am incorrect.  Apparently this hideous speech impediment has so insinuated society that either it has become ingrained as an insurmountable tick or it is being negligently tolerated by our educators. Its only advantage is that, like the stench of something close by, it repels any curiosity in the content of the conversation.  It does however power me into a fury of distraction as I am reminded over and over again of the quip inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1912) on the subject of the bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle: “Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter, condemned by every syllable she utters!  By right she should be taken out and hung for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue!” Luckily for us the quality of the food (and our appetite for it) trumped even that curmudgeonly brooding though I confess more than once I had crafted in my private connivances the plebiscite I would gleefully have delivered to the girls.  Alas! Just more of the pearls and swine motif!

After the repast we toddled up Brock Street for a gander at the local wares. One shop in particular lured me inside.  It is a gentlemen’s outfitters, a place of dark wood cabinetry and brass drawer handles manned by appropriately dressed clerks, none of that business of earrings and tattoos and staff who refer to everyone as “you guys“.  I know! I know!  Let it go! I enquired about silk scarves. Years ago I purchased two very fine and hardwearing silk scarves there and I was hoping to refresh my wardrobe.  No such fortune however.  It appears that the white and cream silk scarves have run their useful course and been replaced by the less formal cashmere scarves. While I accept the decline of the fashion it does not however address my preference for wearing silk rather than wool next to my skin.  The only alternative to the dressy white and cream silks I can recall seeing is the two-sided paisley silk/plain wool scarf which by virtue of its compromised integrity never appealed to me. The shopping campaign was not however an entire let-down as I discovered quite to my astonishment the precise belt I had been looking for in the past several months, right down to the SKU number!  It is this very sort of serendipity which elevates an otherwise tepid experience to one of innocent elation. Around the corner we fell upon yet another find, a pair of casual shoes to replace an identical outworn pair.

On our journey homewards in the new sedan we ventured to try an alternate route.  It is not something we’ll repeat. While it wasn’t by any stretch a hapless novelty, it was nonetheless fraught with gravel roads and construction delays which quite naturally we would have rather bypassed. Eventually we reconnected with the habitual route and profited by the indifference of it to reflect upon the current status of our personal affairs, taking stock so to speak.  Unquestionably we’re more than a bit smug about it all but even old fogeys must take liberties now and again!