Unblushing laziness

Life swarms with paradox.  In spite of my native though shamefully self-proclaimed allegiance to virtuosity I am occasionally inspired by trifling economy to acquaint myself with what I appraise to be the laudable accidents of Nature among them for purposes of this chronicle the purgative passage of copyright. I won’t even pretend that the posture and its dubious wildlife inference are but an obfuscation of what I fully suspect is a deeply embedded frugality within the Chapman family genes as exemplified by my late father and more recently my sister.  My sister for example rejoices in the find of a .925 sterling silver salt cellar or other heirloom at a garage sale or similar domestic enterprise. Admittedly my mother and I were affected by the feature of extravagance but always within a standard of excellence; that is, with the exception of once when she bought me an antique brass wall container for deposit of those silly candles that burn down before you get to the top of the winding castle stairs. And, yes, if you’re curious to know, I returned the oddity several weeks after Christmas to the antiquarian on Rue de la Montagne, Montréal. Laughably I ended replacing it with an equally preposterous antique mahogany box for playing cards and poker chips – neither of which I had ever used in my life! Wistfully for me in retrospect – though entirely without secondary remorse – it was that sort of wackadoodle which characterized many of our down-sizing items for auction when we decided to throw in the towel.  A small loss, granted, but a deprivation nonetheless.

Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyright is intended to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work, but not the idea itself. A copyright is subject to limitations based on public interest considerations, such as the fair use doctrine in the United States.

Unwittingly upon subscription to Apple Books I revealed within the results of my skilful on-line scrutiny the seeming contradiction that there was a boundless collection of classic literature available for free. Harbouring as I do the arrogance to presume that classic literature is as much a credit as classical music (which is to say a lot), this afforded me a serendipitous highbrow treasury.  More potently proved to be my absorption in the classic writers’ unmistakeable familiarity with lexicon; and this, in the case of Babington Macaulay’s “The History of England, from the Accession of James II”, quite apart from what to me was its collateral historic value. The compliment is even greater when considering that there are five volumes each of which is in excess of 1,000 pages. It is obviously an uphill adventure but I have yet to distract myself from each new page. Many times I have asked myself whether I am properly employing my limited occasion to read by embracing what is clearly anachronistic. Should I not instead familiarize myself with popular thinking? Was it cheap of me to avoid paying for a modern book? Reading the classics does not however seem conspicuously old-fashioned to me because the literary perfection is like any other well-baked cake, a constant delight. It is also alarmingly common to observe that the unaltered currency of social and political behaviour is never in doubt across the centuries.

“THE place which William Henry, Prince of Orange Nassau, occupies in the history of England and of mankind is so great that it may be desirable to portray with some minuteness the strong lineaments of his character. He was now in his thirty-seventh year. But both in body and in mind he was older than other men of the same age. Indeed it might be said that he had never been young. His external appearance is almost as well known to us as to his own captains and counsellors. Sculptors, painters, and medallists exerted their utmost skill in the work of transmitting his features to posterity; and his features were such as no artist could fail to seize, and such as, once seen, could never be forgotten. His name at once calls up before us a slender and feeble frame, a lofty and ample forehead, a nose curved like the beak of an eagle, an eye rivalling that of an eagle in brightness and keenness, a thoughtful and somewhat sullen brow, a firm and somewhat peevish mouth, a cheek pale, thin, and deeply furrowed by sickness and by care. That pensive, severe, and solemn aspect could scarcely have belonged to a happy or a goodhumoured man. But it indicates in a manner not to be mistaken capacity equal to the most arduous enterprises, and fortitude not to be shaken by reverses or dangers.”

Excerpt From: Thomas Babington Macaulay. “The History of England from the Accession of James II — Volume 2.”

I was awakened this morning at 11:00 am by the buzzing sound of a leaf blower. Nothing could possibly be more arousing. When I peered through the sheers of the bedroom window onto the balcony I could see that contractors were at the back of the building preparing the parking lot for resurfacing. This display of ardour inspired me to shower and have a prolonged breakfast of sliced green apple, cheese and ham followed by steel cut oats and stewed prunes, all the while listening to J. S. Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 43 – Bwv 57, 110 and 151. Thus replete there was no alternative but to relax from the urgency of ingestion by reclining on the patio in the unparalleled warm morning (or should I say, afternoon) sunshine. Nor is this entirely without mockery.  You see, we were informed days ago by the Board of Directors that the parking lot repair was to be undertaken. The singular detail of the endeavour was that the underground garage where we station our vehicles would be closed for two days during the process. We were told to make do or arrange for the temporary removal of one’s vehicle to the idle premises surrounding the nearby school grounds apparently, according to the condominium property manager, with the approbation of the District School Board.

This constituted an atmospheric modification of my life! I was about to be effectively corralled, shackled and confined for two days without the vehicular mobility to which I am accustomed. In an instant my knee-jerk reaction was a defence against the involuntary insinuation of superior command and narrative. It was a veritable psychological threat in the guise of providence. Let me remind you as well that the custom of having my car washed every day (“whether it needed it or not” as Baron Brocklesby so gleefully quipped regarding the car of his Mercedes Benz sedan) did not begin overnight or upon retirement. When I practiced law for about 45 years it was often part of my daily performance to get up around 3:30 am and drive to the Village of Stittsville to use the brushless car wash open around the clock.  Only once in years of doing so did I shockingly encounter another person ahead of me in line through the car wash. I even developed a camaraderie with the overnight staff and expanded my knowledge of the sometimes curious elements preoccupying the red-eye employees. The real rejuvenation however was the purgative cleanse and restatement of ownership and possession. It was as much an obsessive ceremony as anything else I do.  I prefer to enlarge upon the habit as a routine inspection thus implying a tolerable militaristic flavour to the otherwise sad composition.

In the event you have not already discerned the theme of this piece, it is that by necessity I was today forced to succumb to the inordinate torpidity I have above described. Nor indeed do I dismiss the value of the event by relating merely to its lethargy. It was rather an accomplishment of the cherished but oft-ignored advantage of indolence. It is an unequivocal luxury to arise unembarrassed mid-day from one’s virginal lair; to cleanse oneself with goat’s milk soap; to relish the refreshment of fresh fruit and steel cut oats; to dream in the garden; and to squander whatever remains of the day as one wishes to do. I have but another day of this boon before the sinews of my Protestant Work Ethic reunite and restore the allure of industry. I accordingly intend to make the most of this by doing the least possible.