Whereas usually I’d compose a blog post from the comfort of my own home, sipping a black coffee which began life in a cafetiere, today I’m writing from my office. It’s a bank holiday but I’m still working, which means that the cafetiere has been replaced by a white americano from Pret. That last sentence is quite unpleasant for me to write. Now there’s nothing wrong with Pret’s coffee, they just push the button and boom, there it is. No skill involved and every coffee is homogeneous, which is just how the company wants it. Unsurprisingly, my snobbery carries over into the world of black gold; I’d much rather be sipping on something artisanal…
Anyway, caffeine is racing down my throat and setting off a chain events which make me productive. It’s a very pleasant feeling, and should not be wasted on the tosh that has floated into our group inbox this morning. So I thought I’d whip out my laptop and type out a post for this series which I’ve been thinking about this weekend.
This weekend I was away in Bournemouth with my parents. Bournemouth is a seaside town with all the trimmings of the British riviera: ice cream, sunburns, dogs, and Punch and Judy shows. We spent a lot of time walking up and down the promenade, but since it was just the three of us I often fell into a meditative trance, which was aided by the soft wash of the waves on the shore. Then we would go and sit in some shade, order some beers, or perhaps a glass of wine for my dear mother, and “watch the world go by.”
Since I’ve been a child, I’ve railed against this phrase. My Dad says it all the time but until I started Daygame, I couldn’t understand how just sitting could be pleasant. But now I realise it is exactly that: pleasant. Spending time with girls who see nicities as wasted breath has taught me that if what you’re about to say isn’t meaningful, then it’s better not to say it at all. It’s put the comfortable into comfortable silence. Then when you do go to say something, its something that really grabs your heart.
Previously, I’d think that these silences needed to be filled, as if the silence itself was some kind of evil. So each moment became a rush to think of the next question, or the next conversation topic. I had my mind firmly planted in what was coming next.
I find myself more often contemplating the Now, with a capital N. Admittedly, I never finished Tolle’s book because I thought he just rattled on and never got anywhere. Instead I took the key message, memorised it, and moved on. Ironic. I reiterate: more often. Not all the time. In those moments I stop and sense what I’m experiencing at the time. How does the sand feel under my feet? Why does this building smell like chips? Do I feel as if I’ve built up enough poop to go for a dump right now?
Since I’ve started Daygame, pleasant is a word which has cropped up more and more, along with its antonym: unpleasant. Experiences have been apportioned to one of the two camps and I don’t think that there’s any better way to describe them. I can distinguish the small things in life which greater acuity, and most of them are labelled pleasant: a dog sitting obediently when its master receives a plate of food, in full knowledge that if it stares long enough it will get some too; a kid with ice cream all around his mouth; the condensation on the edge of a glass which makes it look as if it were a golden ice cube. In return, unpleasant seems to me to be the worst kind of insult.
I recall reading posts such as these when I began Daygame, and much like those emails in our group inbox, which have now grown to a sizeable chunk, I thought they were tosh. Too wishy washy. I imagine some people will read this and think the same thing, whereas others will read and nod. I didn’t finish Tolle’s book but I think I’ll pick it back up once I’m finished with my current book. It would be interesting to see the doubters read this post in a year’s time too.