After last evening’s rollicking rustic foregathering and superb al fresco dining in the Village of Ashton for Her Ladyship’s 31st birthday the initiation this morning of my routine bicycle ride was perfunctory. I did however first soothe myself with J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion performed by the Monteverdi Choir. The descent from pâte de foie gras, triple chocolate mousse and a squadron of youthful regeneration and manifestly indulgent old fogeys must of necessity provoke one’s desire for expiation.
My atonement was nonetheless invigorated by the incomparable early autumn weather we’re now boasting. The air was cool, dry and predominantly clear. I managed as well to extend for another day my new dietary breakfast menu of apple slices, steel cut oats and stewed prunes. The deprivations are baguette bagel and semi-soft cheese. And maybe some butter and peanut butter. Or maple syrup. Or both. You get the picture! My purification is an ascetic process though so far it’s reverent achievement amounts to “alteration of choice” or some such other namby-pamby psychological elucidation. The mystique of sugar and bread is a difficult phenomenon to defeat or ignore. The only reparation is dedicated critical thinking and total isolation from the erstwhile pleasures of the table. It is a posture most conveniently assumed in private or in congregations large enough for one’s paucity to pass unobserved or discounted.
Following this morning’s 7.23 km bicycle ride along the Ottawa Valley Trail (where we again encountered “Bear” the large mastiff and his petite owner) I predicated my late morning breakfast by reposing on the garden patio in the warm sunshine. If I hadn’t been preoccupied with the alteration of the face of my Apple Watch I would have had a more profitable extension in the sun’s rays. Yet after more than thirty minutes I accomplished an enviable dormancy. The mounting white fluffy cumulonimbus were an ineffable picture.
I have fulfilled the return of sunglasses left in the cupholder of the back seat of the car by one of my passengers last evening. As might be expected the performance was effortless for me, the consummate driver. Indeed my subsequent jaunt to Renfrew County proved exceptionally pleasurable, all the windows down, landau roof open, wind in my hair. I am now home, treating myself to a triple espresso. One of life’s small rewards! Plus I have the knowledge that once again this evening I am to be regaled with a preparation by another chef. Already my appetite is building in anticipation!
For the moment I distinguish myself by listening to the Bach Collegium Japan Chorus. It’s a tad more religious than I prefer but considering today is Sunday my buried Anglican upbringing responds accordingly. Bach preserves the exhilarating rhythm for which he is renowned.
Bach Collegium Japan performs frequently in Japan and overseas with the aim of presenting ideal interpretations of Baroque music centering on the religious works of J.S. Bach. In 1995 the ensemble embarked on a project aimed at recording Bach’s complete church cantatas in chronological order. This project was eventually completed in February 2013 and has met with lavish praise in Japan and overseas as an internationally outstanding and exceptional achievement of the first order.
This has been a day of unfiltered indolence. While I am not for a minute regretful – rather I shamelessly rejoice in the unfettered privilege that it is – I do however fashion that it would be an improvement of my time of earth to consider in addition what I might do to advance others. Granted I am an old car but I am yet on the road and my essential parts still work. It just seems a pity to allow possible resources to lie unused. It offends my innate objectivity. While this appears a laudable ambition, I owe it to my dear reader – and to myself naturally – to confess that the probability of my improvement is nil. Getting out of my little daily routine is an enormous inconvenience. My loving partner and I have spent in excess of a quarter century in the manufacture of this current euphoria. Nor has it been an objective accomplished without its threads of debate and accommodation. Effecting a transition of almost any consequence would create unanticipated disruption. It is revisitation of that dreadful image of the “Peter Principle” whereby one’s profit is diminished by unnecessary alteration. Eventually I have to quit going ahead and settle for what is at hand.
The Peter Principle is a concept in management developed by Laurence J. Peter, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their “maximum level of incompetence”: employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent, as skills in one job do not necessarily translate to another.
The concept was explained in the 1969 book The Peter Principle (William Morrow and Company) by Dr. Peter and Raymond Hull. Hull wrote the text, based on Peter’s research. Peter and Hull intended the book to be satire,but it became popular as it was seen to make a serious point about the shortcomings of how people are promoted within hierarchical organizations. The Peter Principle has since been the subject of much commentary and research.
I take this opportunity seriously. The opportunity is the fortuity of old age. Nothing further is required by way of credential for whatever I am capable of contributing to society here on in. Much of the lubrication is no more exceptional than the embedded ripples of knowledge, wisdom and experience which may be usefully shared with others. It may translate into an effortless display of interest in what the younger person is doing; that is, it’s my turn to sit back and be entertained.