Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Diary of a glass-half-empty person 6

Actually, life in the ol’ teepee has not been all that tranquil. A remarkable number of people do actually come knocking at the flap. I had a window-cleaner the other day standing expectantly outside, with ladder, bucket, and squeegee. Useless pointing out to him that teepees doe not have windows. He offered to clean my reading-glasses.

This morning I heard the sound of a diesel pick-up pulling up outside, and a brisk knock at the flap. I opened up to find a couple of smiling Romany chavs.

“It’s about your drive,” they said.

I thought to myself, “Ah, how times have changed”, remembering the sunburnt woman who, regular as springtime, presented herself at the same teepee-flap at the beginning of April, peddling clothespegs and hothouse white heather, telling me I had a lucky face, and offering to scry my fortune.

“Kind of you to offer,” I said. “But I’m quite happy with the pink chippings.”

“No, no. We mean your hard drive,” they said. “We can clean your hard drive, get rid of Trojans and malware – half what PC World would charge you!”

“Good grief – times really have changed!” I thought.

Ah yes, then the day before yesterday I answered a polite chapping to find two young people dressed in suits standing outside. Each had a small, smart rucksack and a name-badge on his lapel.

“Good morning,” they said*. “Do you go to church?”

“Why yes,” I said. “As a mater of fact I do, quite regularly.”

“Well we’re atheists, and we were wondering if we could persuade you not to.”

There followed a very lively and not unpleasant discussion, after which they gave me a copy of their free magazine – The Siege Tunnel – and promised to call again next time they were in the area.

Y’know, I’m all in favour of atheists doing this. And why not! God is big enough to take it on the chin. Actually, I rather like God and Jesus. Anyone who doesn’t care about ranks and titles (Acts 10:34), who thinks it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a capitalist to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25), and inspires people to share their wealth equally (Acts 2:44, 4:32) gets my vote!

William Penn, late 17c early 18c Quaker wrote, of friendship: “Friends are true twins in soul; they sympathize in every thing.... One is not happy without the other, nor can either of them be miserable alone. As if they could change bodies, they take their turns in pain as well as in pleasure; relieving one another in their most adverse conditions. What one enjoys, the other cannot want. Like the primitive Christians, they have all things in common, and no property but in one another.”** Mind you, I recall that William Penn possessed two significant things, a) a classical education, and b) Pennsylvania.

Consuela (my Tejana maid) is grumbling at the moment. She says it is ludicrous for me to inveigh against capitalism so much, when I depend on investments for my income, and have tea-chest upon tea-chest of priceless antiques (my “loot”, she calls it).

* Remarkable to hear two people talk in perfect unison. First the Romany chavs, then the atheists. They must have been practicing.

** Seriously the chap said a few great things. My favourite is: “Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it”.

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