Sometime today I discovered a scratch on the driver’s side mirror of my car. I suspect I grazed the mirror on the keypad of the garage entrance. At first I tried to ignore it; it was after all an incredibly insignificant nick. But that cavalier posturing didn’t last long. Within hours I was at Devlin’s Collision Centre enquiring about what could be done to remove the unsightly scar from my precious vehicle. Besides earlier this week I had told the people at Meyer’s Cadillac that the car had no damage. I owed it to them and me to come clean or correct the problem. Anyway the good people at Devlin’s lifted the burden from my shoulders and gave me a rental car for the next twenty-four hours.
We drove the rental car to collect my mother at her new apartment to take her to inspect her former residence which is now for sale. As far as I am concerned the only thing the rental car and my car have in common is the colour – black. Nevertheless my mother, once positioned in her usual place in the front passenger seat, appeared oblivious to the alteration. I suppose my mother, given her current state of anxiety arising from the shift from a house to an apartment, could reasonably be excused for overlooking that I had a rental car, but it nonetheless reminded me of the male chauvinist slur against women that they choose cars based on colour only. The oversight also made me think about the meaningless of cars in general. As I puttered along in my rental car (insulated from the boyish competition which so regularly attends the driving of an expensive automobile), I eyed the various luxury cars passing by, thinking to myself how preposterous was the commitment to sheet metal. I was further disappointed to confess that other people probably cared as little as I did about what those luxury car drivers were driving. The philosophic implications staggered me!
Around 8:30 a.m. this morning we had travelled to my mother’s former residence to meet with Peter Schafer whom we had retained to remove my parents’ grandfather clock to our apartment. This mission was skilfully accomplished by no later than 10:30 a.m.
The installation of this large clock in our small apartment was not without its challenges. In fact it was as late as eleven o’clock in the evening that I returned from my mother’s house for the third time today, this time with a wall-mounted barometer in hand. I needed something to balance the visual weight of the new clock and the other ponderous furnishings at one end of the living room. Prior to resolving that the barometer would satisfy the cause, I had rearranged a number of paintings in a failed attempt to accommodate the new arrival. The clock was so hopelessly large and incongruous that it limited the compensating effect of the minimal changes I was able to effect. It didn’t help that I was determined not to buy any other work of art to achieve the desired result. Since we sold our house last year along with tons of superfluous possessions which we could no longer hoard in our apartment, it had become imperative to resist the urge to rebuild our stockpile. That is why, when I recalled the lonely barometer hanging in the hallway of my parents’ former home, I latched onto the idea of employing it to reach my ornamental goal.
Anyway all this is quite beside the point. What matters for purposes of this particular narrative is that we took a photograph of the clock and emailed it to a dear friend of mine with what was intended as an apology for having moved the paintings (which my artist friend had created) to the other end of the room. Laughably when my friend responded to the email, she not only never mentioned the new clock but even more surprisingly asked whether we had painted the walls of the apartment a different colour! Apparently her take on my email was that re-painting the walls had necessitated the removal of the paintings. It perhaps speaks to the height of clutter which characterizes our tiny apartment that even a grandfather clock can go unnoticed! Even if the decorative element were not to blame, the alternative is that other people (including one’s friends) could care a fig about your new clock! Once again the ramification of such blunt theory is bracing!
These admittedly petty instances of the blasé nature of humanity serve to remind me that the events of my universe are ultimately personal and best savoured if at all by me and by me alone. To presume that others are so attuned to one’s trifling affairs that they will remark upon any and every nuance is an outlandish expectation. It is also a lesson that others have no doubt suffered or relished their own transitions throughout the day; and that it would be the height of arrogance to imagine that one’s piddling triumphs would trump anyone else’s for attention or importance. Small wonder nobody even noticed!