I wore my poppy this year, some may have thought I forgot, or perhaps didn’t fully understand its symbolic significance. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was taught History at school and my grandfather lost his life in El Alemain at the end of the second world war. I had an old friend called Mario once and we discussed whether wars are ever just. He is/was Dutch and proudly fled Holland to fight the Nazi’s in the RAF. We agreed that out of all the wars the second world war was a just war. Saving the human race from a Nazi dictatorship. Fighting for freedom or for peace, which I know is a contradiction in terms.
Now I like coffee and I like it strong and was sitting recently in a coffee shop window watching people go by and there was all sorts to look at and ponder. Where do all these people come from? Where are they going to? What are they thinking? What do they believe in? Lots of students, lots of Chinese people, lots of ordinary men and women going about their lives. Fat legs, skinny legs, fashion victims, fashion disasters, red, purple, blue, grey, pink, orange, yellow clothing all meaning something in their secret personal worlds.
Who keeps the peace? How does the man dressed as a right wing skin head walk down the same street as a rastafarian? How does that work in our so called civilised society? My grandfather died, (among many others), for this to be possible. My eldest cousin has his medals. We all have his blood in our veins and I am not afraid to stand up and “fight” if I believe something is unjust or unfair. Seems to me all people are about these days is take , take, take and I see plenty of desperation on the faces of people passing by my coffee shop window.
We’re in another financial depression so the media say, people living outside of their means. I remember an email going round when I was a t Uni in the 90’s. One of the wise pieces of advice was “Obey the absolutes” and in these wild and rule changing days, I understand this to be the maths. And my father used to ache on at me, “live within your means.” Well ok, what about the days when there is nothing? Zero. Zilch. What about when it doesn’t matter which way you fiddle your figures, the absolute proves to be a mathematical impossibility.
That’s when I would say you have to stop. Stop and reassess and change your priorities. As a nation we all lived on borrowed money, borrowed time and borrowed promises. It’s hard for poor people to maintain their human dignity in a world that sticks a price tag on everything. I say some things are for sale, but I also say that some things most definitely are not.
Lately my grief and my changing life circumstances have consumed me, consumed my ability to think straight, make a rational and intelligent choice. This is how it can be sometimes, reacting to emotions, living through a higher power in order to simply survive another day. Simply not fully understanding the world around my own head. Doubting my judgement, when really there was nothing to doubt. Bees only sting, when there is no other way out.
As for the politics; blue or yellow or red or all white, or red, white and blue? It will all come to pass anyway, so pour me another coffee and make it a strong.