Everyone has bad days and it is at these times that I generally flee to some close friends for reassurance and comfort. Occasionally, when times are really bad, reassurance comes in the form of the age old expression, “Just take one day at a time”. A piece of relatively useful advice. Relative in the sense that it assumes that you will only have to deal with one particular day at any one time.
I try to take one day at a time.
But sometimes, on rare occasions, several days attack me at once. Like a well organised crime syndicate. Albeit, a crime syndicate composed of members whose preference is to sneak up on their targets, generally around twelve noon on a Sunday when a person is normally relaxing, and unapologetically bludgeoning their unsuspecting victim into unconsciousness with a splintery, wooden plank.
Now, based off my long and venerated experience watching truly terrible 90s crime television shows, usually your friendly neighbourhood mafia at least gives you a heads up; a ransom letter through the mailbox, a smoking gun left on the front porch, a round surreptitiously fired through your morning coffee by a marksman stationed in a hotel across the road. The upshot of which is, you will scramble desperately for the protective clothing stored in the hall cupboard and phone the police for backup.
Unfortunately, life is not so courteous.
Life seems to enjoy having tantrums. No matter what you do to prevent such a monumental blow-up apparently squarely directed at your person, life will not listen. Life is the maniac driver of the mafia’s very own freight train, who laughs hysterically as they gleefully scream down the highway completely ignoring all speed indicators. Therefore, reasoning with life is the equivalent of staring into the blinding headlights of vacuous crap. Anyone who thinks they are able to escape unscathed from a collision with life’s freighter, frankly, is an idiot.
The concept of dealing with one day at a time, is honestly so far beyond the realm of reason, that it’s laughable. Most of the time, I can be bumbling through my life, minding my own business and be completely happy with my lot, only to be abruptly pushed into the gutter at the zebra crossing. Usually, after such an event, the first response is to stare into space from the grimy tarmac, groaning in pain whilst the perpetrator legs it. Only after spending some considerable time contemplating the meaning of life from a horizontal position are you then ready to start testing that your extremities are still intact and attached to your person, never mind standing up.
And this response is perfectly fine and reasonable.
Unfortunately, not reasonable enough for most people. If I had one dollar for every time someone has told me a variant of the phrase, “It’s happened now, so move on”, I would now be writing this piece from the comfort of my deckchair situated beside the obscenely large pool in my Vaucluse mansion, instead of my comfortable yet severely cracked fake leather lounge wedged in the corner my 1940’s semi-house. This phrase really gets my goat. It’s the equivalent of telling a road accident victim suffering severe internal damage and several broken bones to just get up and walk home as per usual. Something which never happens. What does happen is the ambulance is called to take the poor sod to hospital where they can lie in a horizontal position, contemplating the meaning of life until they are ready to move again.
So I am left wondering, how it is so difficult for people to conceptualise that sometimes it is literally impossible to simply function within the present moment which has been invariably influenced by every other moment which proceeded it? This baffles me. Although not so much as the idea that telling someone to simply cope, right now, instantly, is in any way helpful either. In fact this concept seems more ludicrous.
I am reminded of a recent internet meme which commented on the trials of helping a depressed friend. The meme depicted a gingerbread shaped humanoid which builds and sits inside a pillow fort with his upset friend until they both feel better. Presumably, they both enjoy some time contemplating the meaning of life for however long they need before they emerge to face life again, without being disturbed by idiotic conceptions to just soldier on.
Getting on with it is something life is uniquely able to do. Humans, not so much. Sometimes, humans need to lie in a horizontal position, groaning quietly, whilst they contemplate the meaning of life until the perpetrator has legged it.