August 29, 2021

Big red blighters

How things are fleeting like quicksilver

Big red blighters
Speke’s Monument in Kensington Gardens, in the City of Westminster, London, Great Britain. Author Chmee 2 Creative Commons
Photo by Arthur Osipyan / Unsplash

How things are fleeting like quicksilver.

Today I met an old friend, who is moving away to fresh fields and pastures new. Someone who I knew in the prime of their life, but now looks frail and old.

It is a sad fact that sometimes life, and indeed people, never stay the same. Both things and people always morph into something different. I know that I will never see my friend again, and that is, I suppose life, even things carved in stone have a finite life.

Pythagoras was, as any school kid knows, obsessed with triangles, but he was also interested in something called Metempsychosis. He believed that the soul transmigrates into the body of another, either human or animal.

Some people live on, they say, through their children, and some live on through their art, or their deeds, good or bad. However everyone, or anything has a shelf life. For instance, in Victorian times, they had their people of the moment, they lived on through their historical efforts. Some Victorian heroes are forgotten to us in the modern age of today. People are either heroes or villains, and pretty much anything in between. Everything is transient. Everything. An example of historical transience is a chap by the name of John Hanning Speke. He was a Victorian explorer of some repute, who now is very much forgotten. If you go to Kensington Gardens there is a rather large obelisk there with his name on it, in big capital letters,'SPEKE'. An example of transience?

Also, be careful what you wish for. I remember working with an irascible chap who very often made me want to scream. Every afternoon he used to go for lunch in the same cafe and have his shoes shined by a man who used to shine shoes in Regent Street. One day he left, as always, at the same time, off to do his everyday stuff. As he left I said to someone ‘I hope he gets run over by a bus’. That day he decided to get an engagement ring for his partner, and wasn’t concentrating, he made an ‘uncomfortable’ step, and guess what? He got run over by a bus. It took him six months to recover.

I often think about him. How content he was in life and in a fraction of a second ended up under the wheels of a Routemaster bus. Maybe being out of his routine caused him to lower his guard?

People and things are like quicksilver. Cherish them while you can. And beware of Routemaster buses. Especially route number six. Survival tip they always turn up in threes. Never alone. Big red blighters.