21 April 2006

Entangled In Angst-Ridden Prose

Not really; it's just that the song that line is from just came up on the iPod and I remembered how much I liked that line. Anyway, yesterday's griping about the weather seems to have reached the appropriate ears, as today is considerably warmer, and the sun was even making an (ultimately futile, it now appears) effort to put in an appearance. Walking past one of the cute little squares with which London (certain parts, anyway) is replete, and seeing the profusion of carefully tended flowers, I was even tempted to think that for all the dreariness and lengthiness of our winters, there is really nothing like an English spring.

It's something you hear quite often around here; in those years when spring gives us a miss altogether, people will alter it to say that there's nothing like an English summer. Which is not quite true; actually, when we do get some good weather in spring (or autumn), it's very much like an English summer. Sometimes more so than summer itself.

But fair enough; when we do get a genuinely lovely spring or summer day, it can be exquisite beyond compare, but I found myself somewhat churlishly asking today whether that's because there is something particularly ineffable about nice days in England, or whether it's simply that they stand out in our hearts and memories because they are so utterly rare.

Enough moaning about the weather, however; it is one characteristic of Englishness that I never meant to take on as thoroughly as I seem to have. Instead I wanted to respond briefly to Wesley's comment to yesterday's post, saying in effect, "I thought you said you weren't depressed that much these days?"

Well, I'm not. As I think I've written before, depression was a chronic and longterm issue with me for much of my life, but it's mostly lifted the past few years, especially since I stopped drinking. But that doesn't mean I don't have bad days, or sometimes even a succession of bad or at least not-so-good days. I don't think I'd be human if I didn't. It's pretty small potatoes, though, compared with the way I used to live, often barely even talking to anyone for weeks or months at a time for fear they would see what awful shape I was in (not that most people ever noticed that much difference).

Also, what little depression I experience nowadays tends to be more situational than existential. The weather's crappy, I have some stuff to do that I don't feel like doing, I'm not satisfied with where or how I'm living, I sink into a spell of laziness and procrastination that leaves me feeling non-productive and useless, that sort of thing. All of which, except the weather, can be changed.

I came home today to find a letter - yes, an actual letter, written and addressed by human hands and delivered to my door by a representative of the Royal Mail - from someone I was rather close to about 30 years ago. He's embarking on a project in this, his 50th year, to write a letter to 50 people who have played an important role in his life in which he explains what he is doing with that life and to thank them for having been a part of it. Naturally the egomaniac in me immediately started counting back to his birthday and wondering how many people he'd written to before me and who, therefore, must be more important, but once I'd banished that sort of stupid thought, I quite a warm glow from it. It's true, we're constantly affecting other people's lives in ways that we can't begin to fully comprehend, but it's all too rare that someone takes the time and effort to let us know about it. That brightened my day even more than a dose of rare English sunshine.

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