Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wherever you are, there you are

There are a few phrases in English that make me cringe, but this one never fails: 'finding oneself'. As in: 'I'm off to traverse Africa barefoot while living on a vegan diet and whistling the national anthem backwards. I'm going to find myself'.

Heck, if you have to go off looking for yourself you must be pretty dysfunctional, you know? Yes, I know its rude to put it like that, but really! I know where I am. I am here.

Sometimes I'm none too sure where everything else is, but me? No worries, mate! I always know where I am, and the answer's always the same. I'm probably one of the most directionally challenged people alive and I don't even have to look to find myself.

When people talk about someone 'finding themselves', they always make it sound so noble and challenging and wonderfully adventurous and deep, and people go to all sorts of lengths to find themselves: trips through the amazon, climbing mountains and all sorts of things which might or might not be fun, and fun is good, of course, although not necessarily noble or 'deep' or any of those things.

One thing I can tell you, and that's that they'd find themselves so much more easily (and economically) if they just remember the directions: 'Wherever you are, there you are'. Even I can follow those.

And now for more from the great literary mind which I possess (pickled in a bottle):

The Smell of Peaches (part the second)

The rusted vehicle was put through its paces: check lights, check indicators. Seemingly against all odds, everything worked. But what was that? A smell of richly fermented peaches emanated from the vehicle. Moonshine! He’d know that smell anywhere. That his knowledge had its origin in his own clandestine imbibitions mattered nothing. He was on duty now, and if this car or its driver was loaded with moonshine, he was in luck. He motioned to the driver to get out, and with a certain amount of huffing and puffing; the farmer did as he’d been commanded.

‘What’s the problem, son?’ quoth the greybeard without much concern, as if he thought it was the polite thing to say under the circumstances rather than anything to worry about. It was difficult to tell whether he was under the influence or not, for he spoke quite clearly and looked alert enough despite his relaxed attitude. Still, if the smell was issuing from the man, he must have more alcohol than blood in his system – the aroma was still there, more than a passing whiff of it too.

‘Have you had anything to drink, sir?’ he asked, playing it ‘by the book’ as he had been taught to.

The farmer’s grin spread even wider until it seemed likely that the top of his head would fall off if he grinned any wider, ‘Nary a drop son, have a whiff. You’ve been too long in the sun more likely’

He leaned forward and puffed into the traffic policeman’s face. His breath reeked of tobacco and rotten teeth, but that was it. If a man could be arrested for halitosis, then this one should be thrown into the darkest, deepest cells and the key thrown away. Sadly, bad breath is perfectly legal, and there wasn’t so much as a hint of booze in the cocktail of odours. The smell of peach moonshine still hung on the air though, and running booze was illegal.

‘So tell me, sir: what’s in those milk cans I see on the back of your pickup?’ there was good arrest afoot now, he was sure of it. The farmer had stopped grinning, and his face, as far as it could be seen behind the wild, grey beard, became earnest before settling into a mildly puzzled and aggrieved expression.

‘Milk’ he said shortly.

‘Open them, please sir’. This was going to be a find for sure. Moonshine enough to make an arrest, and a bit to spare for the lads at the office.


Ah! How you persevere! Next and last installment tomorrow.


  1. Glad to see that it's not codgerism that has made me think that phrase is such a massive piece of bullshit. It's on a par with "getting closure". Hate hate hate "getting closure". If something'shurt you, learn from it: don't tell yourself that the matter is "closed". A closed mind (and heart) never learns.
    Liking the story...

  2. Yes, there are tons of these cliches that people spout without ever wondering if they actually MEAN something. Closure? Oh dear no, only imagine what it would do to one's digestion!
    Thanks for taking the time to read my scribbles!

  3. Wish I could have read these directions before I left- I could have found closure much sooner. (Just kidding.)