Of late, each time I feel the inclination to cobble together a blog post, reflect on what’s been happening [or not happening] and review my camera roll since the last blog post, the words Albert Einstein wrote in 1922 on a piece of hotel stationery for a bellboy come to mind.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” ~ Imperial Hotel note paper, Tokyo Japan.
Checking my memory of the words of the quote for accuracy, I found anecdote gold from the Dull Men’s Club – Where we “Celebrate the Ordinary” (dullmensclub.com)…
“Einstein was on a speaking tour in 1922. When in Tokyo, staying at the Imperial Hotel, a bellboy delivered a package to him. In lieu of a tip, Einstein wrote the words shown above on a piece of hotel stationery.
Einstein advised the bellboy to keep the note because someday its value will be more than a tip.
A century later Einstein was proven right when the bellboy’s nephew contacted a Jerusalem auction house to put the note up for sale recently. It sold for $1,560,000.
Einstein endorses the lifestyle of dull men. A calm and modest life. A life that avoids pressures to constantly to acquire and achieve more —‘moreitis’.”
This advice is free for us to use. We don’t need to pay $1.3 million.”
Indeed, my life is a celebration of dullness.
Which brings to mind this, always profound but more so during these pandemic times.
“I like to prowl ordinary places. I feel sorry for us all or glad for us
all caught alive together and awkward in that way.
there’s nothing better than the joke of us
the seriousness of us
the dullness of us”
¬ Charles Bukowski
You’d think having spent the better part of 2020 and 2021 focussed on what we can do with the day-to-day materials that are and within our home-yard-village our desire for the divertissements of the wider world would be escalating. Yet, despite daydreaming about the delights of pre-pandemic good ol’ days it seems we’ve become quite appreciative of our bespoke Covid coping mechanisms and the space and simple quality of life they afford us. Accordingly, our everyday life rewards the attention we pay it. We don’t crave commercial outings, haven’t indulged in any kind of retail therapy at the shops [finally conceding to online-home-delivered supermarket shopping] or dining out other than one truly awful takeaway fish and chips at the beach recently.
Envisioning venturing away, I think of the birdlife in our garden faring without a top up of birdbaths and a little seed for the wild finches [and doves & pigeons] and if the weather warms up the plants drying out without us giving them a drink; wonder will the caretakers of the chooks let them out and in at the right times and give them treats, and if it looks like rain should I pack my trusty rubber garden clogs; of how we love the idea of not having to cook and wash up but hate contending with the populace and less appetising gastronomic offerings than I create in my kitchen; and what if we want a handful of herbs or strawberries, salad or spinach leaves, a glass [cup of coffee or tea] of tank water or water kefir, sourdough bread, yoghurt and other homemade foodstuffs that we’ve become accustomed to… even factoring in our fully equipped, self-contained home-away-from-home caravan.
As we approach a point in time we’re supposed to take up postponed holiday bookings and open up from Covid restrictions to a “new normal”, I contemplate the various appeals of home and away, finding in the balance of weighing benefits of both that I’m more attached than I had realised to the merits of home… even after doing a long stretch as a pandemic-driven captive audience.
And so, à la Erik Pevernagie, some offerings from my camera roll.
“What makes people tick? Life can be a trap of ennui, but imagery may be a redemptive escape from dullness. The iconic power and exuberance of images generate an inexorable addiction that needs to be gratified without respite. Here and now! (“Give me more images”)”.