online: 19 april 2002

19 april 2002 no one knows why we're here

16:31 Outdoor cafe. Only a few people here. Half cloudy sky and almost no wind. I've just read a newspaper and regret the time spent unaware of being here while I read only of the trendiest and the most superficial things (and some of the most shocking). That may well be unfair to journalists but it's how I feel. How is it that intelligent and educated people write in that way, to deprive readers of life instead of conferring or sharing it? It must be the economic pressure they are subject to, not a lack of ability but pressure to narrow it. Oh dear. For journalism is one of the few activities that is not specialised, or which need not be, but sadly it is - it's limited to what sells... But enough of that. It's an illusion that people are not intelligent.

I look up to see what is about me and notice a woman putting a coat on a person who is unable to put it on herself, or his. And then the woman helps the person to walk haltingly towards some steps and to descend them. We occasionally witness such sights but I doubt if we have any idea of what it feels like to be 'disabled' or live the life of a 'carer'?... But we are all disabled by our specialised jobs, and by our reliance on 'gadgets' (prostheses, all of them). The difference is that 'normal' people share the same disabilities (can't run at the speed of a car, can't eat soup without a spoon, can't shout to people to whom we can speak easily by phone, etc.) but 'disabled' people have inabilities that are rare. That is the difference. That's all!

And now I look up again and sniff the cool and relatively fresh air in this garden and listen to the low roar of a jumbo flying over. It does not disturb me. Nearly everyone has gone and I continue sitting here alone, and happy, half way through a walk of perhaps four miles (six km) through woods and across meadows, now used for walking not grazing. A pigeon waddles about by my feet, the waiter straightens the chairs at the tables, and the last-but-two customer takes a newspaper back to the cafe. A female blackbird (it is brown with a yellow beak) walks about on a table at which two blue tits perch and sing and eat crumbs. And I pause to look at these written words. We are lucky to have them, despite all our doubts about books, and each one is so modest and so useful and so beautiful (to use adjectives that speak more of me than of words). And each letter is so nice. I like all of them!

18.49 I'm sitting now on a seat in a meadow feeling the gentle warmth of the sun, soon to set. A man walks past talking quite loudly to a woman walking a few paces behind him. Further away a child seems to be trying to catch insects in a small plastic bag on a long stick. Someone else whistles for a dog that has disappeared in the trees and I look up to see the London Fire Service radio mast standing patiently there, twice as high as the the trees, against the hazy sky... unaware, you could say, of its purpose. The trees also. And all of us. No one knows why we're here!

Now the sun has moved behind trees and the air begins to feel cold. No it's me who feels cold. I decide to walk on. This language is deceptive.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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