Thursday, February 15, 2007

Philosophising whilst cycling

I'm cycling to my radiotherapy appointments every day which is an hour of exercise so the diet has been binned. And cycling is wonderful, the flats you pass with tiny balconies, the houses with still-to- flower climbing trees, the cafes with scents of coffee and curry, the long nineteenth century tree-lined roads with families on their way to school, the beautiful parks thronging with bird song,(which I can't identify and wish I could) even in the rain . Then at the bottom of Pitfield Street you arrive in the city, at a junction I'm so happy to say adapted for cyclists with a crossing for us and the pedestrians. Then we all cycle the same route (they always overtake me) and the buildings get taller, the pedestrians more numerous, and the streets darker. Finally I arrive on Moorgate and waiting at the traffic lights to turn on to the Roman London Wall and the sound of footsteps is hypnotic. E taught me to say 'Ohm' in my head whilst meditating and it's so lovely to do it just there, where right in the thick of the action all you can hear are thousands of feet softly tapping quickly to their different destinations. And I'm overtaken again as I wonder how many millions of journeys have occured on that straight road and how it might have looked two thousand years ago.

Mum's best friend J's philosophy was 'to enjoy life as much as possible without harming anyone else'. I love thinking about thinking, nowhere more than on my bike where if I think a dodgy not-nice thought I can quickly think about avoiding hitting the pavement or how wet my bum/hands/legs are. I think about Dave Gorman and his quest to find other Dave Gormans. And my quest to find other A. Tattons. We found one last night - perhaps the only other in the country - on 'my tube'. She recorded a twenty second song 'Santa Baby'; coincidentally on my birthday. She's probably twenty years younger than me. Are they any thirty three year old, breast cancer inflicted, ex-Kylie-Minogue lookalike, NHS manager, expert patient trained, engaged, left-wing, feminist, cat loving, arctic-monkey-loving, food loving, aspiring writer/historians out there with the name Tatton? I think about feminism and its economic basis - equality of pay but not culturally.

Then I arrive at the hospital and you're in and out in 2 minutes, while they play 'Coldplay' on their ghetto blaster and you're zapped. Inappropriate I think, as not only is it too gloomy but 90% of the clientele are over 50. I ponder the merits of not only the 'gowns' they give you, but why they can't give you a bag to put all your stuff in each day as you trail round from waiting room, to changing room to the space age treatment room.

And the journey home. Empty streets on the way back as everyone's at their desks. Jeeves and Wooster take me back to the twentieth century and I wonder how people become butlers.
We had a lovely meal last night - at the Three Crowns on the High Street. High Standards and not too high a price - Phil got the champers and the roses. I bought the meal. We both ate, listened, talked and laughed. That's twenty-first century feminism for you.

2 comments: said...

Tattontastic clone? World big enough? Technology advanced enough? Not sure about that one. Cycling good. Cycling slowly so that every other cyclist passes you along the way even better. Have you noticed how boys/men cycle like moths on their way to the moon? Or rockets maybe, more accurately. Faster always faster. XX
Blag Lady x

Anonymous said...

Well done, Anna. This is good writing. You're better leaving behind that self-absorbed, self-indulgent approach and style as in some of your earlier reflections and comments.
Involved but detached, keeping a Buddhist aphorism in mind perhaps
'No self - no problems'?

Dan Del