Thursday, May 22, 2008

'The Gift'

Although this blog may give the impression that I am a saddo stay-at-home no-social-lifer whose idea of entertainment is staring intently at Statcounter until I begin to discern patterns in the data, like that geezer in A Beautiful Mind, I can assure you that nothing could in fact be further from the truth.

Why, only the other day I was round at the house of my friend S, whom I've known since we attended the same nursery school in the north of Scotland at the tender age of three, and who by some bizarre concatenation of coincidences now lives at the other end of the street from our new house.

S introduced me to her friend L, who was also visiting, and a pleasant three-way conversation ensued about the usual things: the 'usual things' these days being babies, epidurals, episiotomies (if you don't know, for god's sake don't look it up, especially not in Google Images) and the way one's outlook on life changes when one reaches one's late thirties.

S and L are more 'conflicted' about the latter than I am, because whereas I gave up my hardcore party lifestyle a good few aeons ago, S and L are still quite keen on getting out into the world and enjoying themselves in an, erm, uninhibited kind of manner.

(Only my friend S, for example, could go out on a Saturday night to play in a fiddle orchestra recital in a Cornish village hall, and return the following afternoon having seduced a Young British Artist - and for this I take my hat off to her entirely.)

L said that her fondness for partying combined with her status as a new mum had become untenable, and that she was leaning towards settling down and jettisoning some of her more bohemian friends. She no longer wanted to 'walk between two worlds,' as she put it - quite poetically, I thought.

So far, so Sex And The City Series 6. But then weird wavy lines descended across my field of vision and the next thing I knew the conversation had ceased to make any sense whatsoever:

L: Because it's a pain, you know. I just want to lead a normal life, but there are all these birds everywhere. Like the other day I was in the chemist's, and the shop assistant went all blue jay all over me.

S: What's blue jay?

L: You know, a blue jay - like a chough, or a linnet. You know. A lot of outpouring of emotion.

S (to me): L has the gift.

I nod dumbly and begin to wonder whether I've suddenly come down with a rare case of ergotism (I've been watching a lot of House lately, and if there's one thing that House teaches you, it's that you never know when ergotism might strike).

L: Yes. And like, you know, the other day, there was an owl moth in the house. You know those moths that have a pattern on their back like an owl? Well, my grandmother is an owl. And so I knew there was something wrong with my grandmother. And of course it turned out that she was ill. It's exhausting. I wish I could turn it off, but people need me.

S: You could just give it up.

L: I could, but you know, there aren't very many of us. I shouldn't waste it.

While I'm still wondering what the hell all that was about, not to mention whether there actually is such a thing as an 'owl moth', L decides it's time she went home for her dinner and bids us a cheery goodbye.

S later explains that L is a shaman, and is forever being called upon to escort unwanted bird-spirits from this world to the next. We agree that we wouldn't want to be shamans, although S goes on to claim that she inherited the gift of second sight from her grandmother, but doesn't like to use it.

I consider making some kind of counter-claim about my own 'gifts', but beyond the fact that I once passed Grade 4 piano, there's nothing I can immediately think of. I've always been the square one.


Tim Footman said...

If I were a bird, I'd quite like to be a red-kneed dotterel. Which sounds, oddly enough, like a village in Cornwall.

Dave said...

More like an aged clergyman, if you ask me.

Annie said...

Thank you, I've had a really pants day and that made me laugh a lot. (It has confirmed a lot of suspicions I had about Cornwall too.)

Spinsterella said...

Move back to London IMMEDIATELY P, you are clearly NOT SAFE!

(Is no-one else actively frightened by that post?)

Geoff said...

I don't know if my grandmother was an owl but a few of my extended family are tits.

patroclus said...

Tim: I love how the Greek name is 'erythrogonys' - red knees!

Dave: Is 'clergyman's knee' a known medical condition?

Annie: I'm sorry to hear you've had a crap day. I'm really only just scraping the surface of Cornish society too - there may well be many more such stories to come...

Spin: See above.

Geoff: African or European tits?

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Have you asked L about the Owlman of Mawnan Smith?

Dave said...

It is - identical, I understand, to housemaids knee.

Fortunately my inclinations tend more to a reverent sitting posture whilst praying, rather than a grovelling on the knees.

Billy said...

If I were a bird, I'd like to be a dove.

God, how up myself am I?

Smat said...

I've found my grade 4 piano exam pieces from 1984 and amazingly I can still play them. Just wanted to share that.

GreatSheElephant said...

different county I know but are you dangerously close to Totnes?

patroclus said...

OPC: I've now investigated the Owlman of Mawnan Smith *and* the Mothman, and have come to the conclusion that both of them sprang from chance encounters with an angry owl. Look at the eagle owl in its threat posture! Now look at the picture of the Mothman, who allegedly has 'eyes in his chest'! It's so obvious, Mulder!

Dave: That sounds like a far more civilised arrangement all round. Plus those hassock things are terribly scratchy.

Billy: What would it sound like when you cried?

Smat: Did you ever get beyond Grade 4 or did you give up (like I did) because of the theory exam at Grade 5?

GSE: Is Totnes known for being a centre of shamanic activity? If so it's probably on a ley line. Most things down here are.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

A little like Gillian Anderson in more ways than one :) Of course, you've changed your 'About Me' now... but anyway.

Sylvia said...

well, they do say that we're all psychic,it's just a case of developing it,that's all...