Why we are possessed by the contention that there are two ways to look at things (as opposed to three or more ways of doing so) I can only resolve by the comprehension that the proverb is designed to address a conflict or contrast between one side and another. This attributes to the adage a collective feature. In any event what I am getting at is that there are always ups and downs in life, some good and some bad, ins and outs, ons and offs, bigger and smaller, richer and poorer and so on.
Today for example is a grey day as opposed to the brilliance that coloured our world yesterday. Like the sky the river is grey not blue. There is a smoothness upon the river’s face; gone is yesterday’s bluster and squalls. The air today is likewise still. The surrounding meadow and distant yellow corn fields are shrouded in pacific hues and lacquered russet. The backdrop is conjoined with distant memories of a blazing fireplace glistening on shiny broad recovered pine flooring and a frozen martini à côté, a Jane Austen novel on the side table with the oysters and cheese; and my French bulldog snoring on the green leather couch. He too was eager for the ins and outs from the cold to warmth.
At the risk of touching upon a fragile subject, this lyrical look at the universe is oddly illustrative of the blithe conversation I had earlier today with Bonnie (whose name I only recall because she jested about “Bonnie lies over the ocean” as a way to remember) while I was tricycling aimlessly about the neighbourhood. Bonnnie is an avid gardener. I paused on the quiet street to greet and chat with her.
Anyway, what I was about to say is that we two somehow ventilated upon the delicate theme of companionship. At our advanced age anything goatish is utterly superfluous. Rather the keynote element is conversation; and maybe food and booze. But whatever the thread it involves two not one. This is a peculiar narrative in that it highlights the paradox of our ways of looking at things.
The late Louis de la Chesnaye Audette, QC OC frequently quipped that he worshipped dining alone because he had the best dining companion – himself. This in fact was an ambition he regularly pursued at his private dining club le Cercle Universitaire when his steward had the day off. Louis was a haughty soul. And knowing him as I do, he was probably truly satisfied – at least temporarily – with the indisputable comfort of a whisky and soda and a good book. In fact now that I reflect upon Louis’ numerous faults I am reminded of my own. About thirty years ago when “transitioning” between relationships I recall having stayed at the Ritz Carleton on Sherbrooke St W, Montréal (where by the way I was born). My intention was to indulge myself, not having anyone else with whom to do so. I deceived myself to imagine that I could surmount the feeling of deprivation by decadence. I dined at the boutique restaurant in the hotel, mahogany and nautical surroundings, white linen and silver service. I started with oysters on the half shell, lemon only. And a martini. Composure. Then a lobster bisque and dry sack sherry. Illumination. Maybe even at this juncture I ordered a relieving lemon sorbet. Frivolity. What followed was probably filet mignon with Caesar salad; and Champagne. Next, I don’t recall. I returned to my hotel room where I began drinking soda water from the bottle. I telephoned a dear colleague of mine and complained about my sorry condition.