Monday, 13 August 2007

Observing transient reflections through shards of pottery

Bessy spent most of last night building an observatory from the bricks lying about the garden. It would seem she wanted a closer look at her alter ego, residing currently on a piece of rock near Pluto. Margaret said I should check the view through the telescope before Bessy did, just in case said ego was frightening. I like Bessy as she is and had no wish to see her as anything else. So I left Margaret to do the scary bit and went to find Felix.

Felix is, he tells me, the alter ego of a canary known to float along the French Riviera on a polystyrene cool box and, at the same time, that of a professor of philosophy with bunions, buried in an Oxfordshire churchyard sometime in the nineteenth century. I asked if the two original egos knew each other. He said that was impossible given that the bird was incapable of seeing anything but its own reflection.

George was an astronaut once and took flowers with him in case he found a suitable recipient in space. I suggested the flowers would never droop if there was no gravity, which would be a good thing. George said there was no merit in that, since the drooping was an essential part of why we found them beautiful in the first place. I felt George was about to start his life-is-transient-so stop-wasting-it lesson, so I left for the surgery.

Cookie had covered Mr Barryparry's face with a special cloth weaved from the thoughts of all the nice people in the world who hold fragments of pottery together as the glue sets. Cookie insists it helps fragile people who come to the surgery. I asked Mr Barryparry if he'd seen his alter ego and broken into many parts. Cookie said that was perfectly possible given that Mr Barryparry visits churches built with movable parts. I'm not sure I or Mr Barryparry followed, but the allusion was charming, as ever.

It seems to me that, however hard you look for the other side of a personality, it'll always be obscured by glued-together fragments of one sort or another. Perhaps it's not worth looking for after all given the transience of life. Or perhaps it is, if it interests you.

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