The End of the World
December 12, 2012 § 91 Comments
I have been crap, for which apologies. My Times column didn’t come out on Monday for lack of space, so I failed to post yesterday.
For the past few days I have been doing nothing else, it seems (Christmas shopping? As yet, not one present listed let alone bought), other than listening to my friends on the subject of their shit and/or sexless marriages. The latest story – a husband conducting an affair while his wife, who was under the impression she was very happily married, was undergoing chemotherapy. The layers of deceit and lies make filo pastry look one-dimensional. I felt so blown out and haunted by the details, and the way this remarkably wonderful woman reached out to me, that I wanted to curl up into a ball and give up now. This story alone was enough, but coming on top of all the others (so many, I have even written a list, and I am not kidding!) in the past few weeks, I felt – feel – all hope is spent. To the point I even look at young people, with all their hopes and dreams, and think what poor, deluded creatures they be. Doom is heading their way, just as it was always heading ours.
Oddly, though, in the face of all this horror, horror, horror, I am not feeling suicidal. I love winter, I love Christmas, and I don’t believe, as Mrs Standard Bearer’s ten year old daughter heard, that the world is going to end in nine days’ time (even if the Today programme this morning, with its reports about North Korea’s nuclear testing, did its level to persuade me). Nor am I feeling in any way smug because I am the Plankton, that my so-called “smug married” friends – though none is actually smug – are having a bad time of it. It is very much in my interests that they should be having a wonderful time because it is that which gives me hope. When they are not, deep gloom about the state of human beings and the world tends to prevail, even if not at this actual moment because I have a large latte in hand and Slightly Younger Twinkle is coming to tea.
Still, all credit and elbow and what-have-you to the Standard-Bearers and their ilk, of which there are, alas, precious few. Thank God for their existence for their existence spells, All is in fact Not Quite Lost.