The trifling sorcery of life

Forgive me if you will the reporting of what is nothing but trifling details. It would please me rather to engage in the account of something of moment and interest. And while I don’t personally think that apart from Donald J. Trump and Thomas Babington Macaulay’s History of England from the Accession of James II there is anything which so intrinsically captures the mind of those who are innately inquisitive I accept that my biographical tedium is unlikely competition. Having said that the dreary enterprise evokes within me what is the substantive function of this amateur literary medium; that is, to fulfill my obligation to do so. Now I know that is turning the conversation on its head – rather like what my dear late mother sometimes said, “Because I say so!” – but quite honestly it abbreviates any other more dynamic explanation.

In contrast to the Hollywood musical and Gene Kelly’s memorable rendition of “Singin’ in the Rain” I peddled my tricycle about the property today in the rain. When I past a woman collecting her post from the street-side mailbox and exchanged the usual pleasantries I jokingly added I was “swimmin’ in the rain”.

Singin’ in the Rain is a 1952 American musical romantic comedy film directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds and featuring Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell and Cyd Charisse. It offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the late 1920s, with the three stars portraying performers caught up in the transition from silent films to “talkies”.

The performance by Gene Kelly dancing through puddles in a rainstorm garnered the song the third spot on the American Film Institute ranking of 100 Years…100 Songs.

Indeed after my 8.94 Km cycle I went for a swim in the pool. As much as I adore swimming in the sea it looked too cheerless today as I gazed upon its misty aspect partly hidden from the usual expansive view by the grey skies and distant rains. I prefer to swim in the sea when the turquoise waters glisten and the sandy bottom is clearly apparent. So today I dissolved myself into the waters of the nearby pool instead. Not unexpectedly in the rain there was nobody else in the pool or under the garden trellis. Swimming in the rain is for me a singular but not unknown activity. In any event my purpose did not relate to the distinction of the ambient weather rather to the routine of the swim.  Swimming has become one of my prosaic grooves. Nor is it entirely athletic, at least directly.  I find it a welcome collateral of the endeavour that it relaxes my limbs. And if I am to be completely honest – as if you did not already know – I am a hopeless beast of the millstone.  Habit and I are one and the same. Yoke me to custom and I am satisfied.

You must admit that repetition, routine and whatever other words one may employ to describe habit – even more elegant versions such as custom, convention and tradition – is a workable scheme upon many levels.  It has been graduated to commercial notoriety by Nike’s “Just do it!” logo. Those words copy the succinct fiat of routine which is that, once accredited to high-minded ambition, it is worth repeating.

In any event quite apart from the allegorical feature of routine, swimming is for me one of my daily activities.  This, combined with peddling on my tricycle, reading, music and amateur photography, now constitute the entirety of my entertainment. My days of achievement have long surpassed the goal of either utility or necessity. If nothing else it’s too late to worry. Meanwhile I won’t say I gloatingly consume the benefit of this trifling existence of mine but nor will I pretend to devote myself to anything more rapturous.