3rd Law Part 22 – do Buddhists get cold feet?

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It’s funny how little things can upset you. On this occasion I don’t really mean “upset”. I was going to use the word disconcerting but that didn’t seem right either. The word I really want is somewhere in between disconcerting and upset but I can’t for the moment figure out what it is. If I remember it later I’ll try and slip it into the flow. What has disconcerted/upset me is the fact that I was looking for something but it wasn’t where I thought it should be.

Apparently it was definitely there on Thursday though there is no confirmation of the same on the Friday but no one is owning up to having moved it or to its current whereabouts. This situation is part of the family of situations that includes when you walk into a room to get something and by the time you get to the room you have forgotten what it is you were after. You have to retrace your steps and start again in the hope that you remember the original objective.

I’m sure there must be other situations in that family but for the moment I can’t think of one. Perhaps that’s one too but possibly not.

So for the moment I am without that which I sought but could not find. Hmm. Ah well. Okay. Those last three sentences are holding sentences whilst I think of what to write next.  It isn’t often that situation occurs. Not nearly as often as me walking into a room and not remembering why, which has been happening all too often for most of my adult life, as far as I can remember.

Conditions aren’t turning out to be great for writing. My memory is on the blink and also my hands are cold. Come on sun, get ye out. Notice the occasional lapse into 17th century speak. Could also be attributed to other centuries of course but I have chosen the 17th as the most likely in my case. Maybe I am really a Buddhist and this current version of me is a reincarnation of an earlier 17th century person. I wonder who I was?  The fact that I said “ye” doesn’t provide much of a clue. May have to wait until the next reincarnation. It’s a possibility that at the point of death and before the next rebirth I get to see all my pasts. Of course it may not happen. Like I said I’ll have to wait and see.

Don’t worry about me though. It won’t dwell on my mind too much. You get on and worry about your own problems. Like whether you’ll be able to meet the mortgage payment next month or whether your wife (or husband) is having an affair! Sorry if that thought hadn’t occurred to you before. Have you checked their mobile text messages lately? Don’t do it. Better you never find out. Think of the kids.

Don’t know what took me down that line of reasoning. You just can’t tell with the 3rd Law. It just takes you places and you don’t know how you got there. It is amazing though how the 3rd Law helps you discover yourself. I didn’t know I was a Buddhist. I might have to look up one of those outfits they wear. At least the summer months are approaching. I hope they have winder outfits, especially for the feet. I imagine those sandals are freezing during the winter, especially in Nepal where there are a lot of them. They must have, surely!!!

If they don’t I would have to consider my position. Maybe they winter in the Caribbean mon. I could live with that. I’d put up with the hurricane season. After all the pirates of old did. They holed up in Inns and Taverns at docksides on different islands, especially Tortuga and Hispaniola, and spent the winter drinking and womanising and spending all their ill-gotten gains before having to set off out again in the spring for more. Avast there me hearties, aharr. I never said I was a particularly good Buddhist. That may well be because until a few moments ago I didn’t know I was a one. We all have to learn sometime. Or not.

We don’t need no education, as you know.  I went to see Roger Waters play “The Wall” last year. Very good it was. Really enjoyed it. Also saw The Rollign Stones (typo not actual spelling) who in all fairness were awesome though they didn’t have time to play “Satisfaction” because of a slight overrun and really strict music licensing hours at the O2. Never mind. We just about squeezed in to the last tube back to town. Don’t know what we would have done if we’d missed it. It was late on a Sunday night with thousands of people still milling around and no sign of a taxi.

Not a problem though because we didn’t miss it. Hey 🙂

The daffodils in the garden are a robust lot. It’s not nearly as warm today as it was yesterday but they don’t seem to complain. I’ve also noticed that the tulips are also out. It’s spring again though you wouldn’t know it from the temperature outside. I’ve had to put on a pair of socks! Won’t make a good Buddhist will I?

I’m pretty sure I’m not a Buddhist mind you though I did have a number two all over hair cut once. I used to use a home shaver and got my daughter Hannah to finish it off round the back. Unfortunately she didn’t hold the shaver properly and I ended up with a swath of number zero up the back of my neck. This was just before an important business meeting as well. I still have a photo of it somewhere. Hey. Such is life. Such is the fast moving close shave world in which we live.

No moss gathering here, no dwelling, cogitating unsurety. We live life for the moment and live it at a pace tempered only by my typing speed. Words per minute abound. Think that may be a new word, unsurety. I know what it means if you don’t. If you don’t know you’re not in my club, my gang, those like-minded people I hang with. My crowd.

Me an’ the gang like to do stuff together. I’m not talking drugs though. I come from a fairly tame well brought up background and never felt the need to do that kind of stuff. It’s one of the aspects of me as a writer that means I will never produce the hallucinatory genius output that makes people think “wow how did he come up with that”. The John Miltons and John Lennons of this world.

I assume there are some others not called John but those are the two that instantly sprung to mind. It’s a good solid name John and not one that would necessarily be associated with hallucination though I’m not sure why not. Neither would Eustace really and don’t ask me where I got Eustace from. Maybe someone put something in my tea, which went cold on me a little earlier so I didn’t drink it all. Good job perhaps. If I’d drunk the whole cup goodness knows what might have happened.

It would certainly have made me go to the toilet. That’s the thing about tea. Goes right through you. It’s a feature of the 3rd Law that has never adequately been documented. “The 3rd Law means you are likely to go to the toilet less often because you will be drinking less tea because it doesn’t really appeal when it has gone cold”. Could have probably described it more succinctly but I will leave that to the philosophers of the future who will probably hold week long conferences where the precise definition of the 3rd Law will be debated to the nth degree. Of course it won’t feel like a week. That’s what the 3rd Law does to you.

They will come back from the conference wearing the free conference t-shirt or hoodie with 3rdLaw Conference, Miami, 2020 on the back and a picture of a half empty cup of tea (or coffee – you choose) as the breast logo on the front.

Now I know what you are thinking. “How did he know it was going to be in Miami?”. I just fancy going to Miami. Never been. You didn’t think I’d let them have a 3rdLaw Conference without inviting me along did you? They would ask me where I thought would be best.

I could also chose Antigua or some other such luxury Caribbean destination. Never been there either. Other suggestions will taken on board but please don’t suggest anywhere I’ve already been except perhaps New Orleans (N’awlins) which was a great place for a conference and I once spent 8 days there a long time ago. I’m not going to supply a list of where I’ve already been. It would take too long.

Not that it would be boring. I’ve been to a lot of interesting places. A lot of good bars and gin joints around the world. Never to Casablanca though, talking of gin joints – one of the famous lines that Bogey comes out with when he sees her. You know the scene I mean. If not I’m not going to tell you. You’re not in my gang.

It’s one of my favourite movies, Casablanca. Another one is Mary Poppins. I like nice films with happy endings. That’s one of the things I liked about Harry Potter. You always knew that Harry would win in the end. There’s no way JK could have him killed off and Voldemort winning. She didn’t disappoint. Not everyone is a Potter fan mind you. Some prefer The Lord Of The Rings. I didn’t mind that movie but it wasn’t very believable unlike Harry Potter who is clearly a real life wizard. If you don’t agree you’re not in my gang.

I have to be careful here. At the rate I’m going on there will be nobody in my gang.  I will have excluded everyone on the grounds of what is going on in their minds which smacks of fascism, or communism or some similar but different regime. Totalitarian probably. I’m not like that really.

Also I’m not a loner. I want people to be in my gang, though I quite like standing at a bar on my own having a quiet pint, but not always.

3rd Law Part 21 here

3rd Law part 23 here

The delay – 3rd Law 21

There is a technical fault and we cannot commence boarding. I am relaxed. Travelling on my own, en route but going nowhere.

This delay is now indefinite. Mm. Okay. I’m still ok. There is no rush, while I have power in my battery or can find a socket. I have with me a European power adapter. I can even switch on data roaming should I chose the extravagant route to the alleviation of boredom. At this time I do not need to. I am not bored and I note also that this airport, Schipol, has 2 x 30 minutes of free WiFi.

That is good. Better than Humberside whence I came, where there was a prominent sign indicating the presence of WiFi but no spectrum to back it up.  No bandwidth man. Nothing. No signal. Schipol is a real airport.

Here I am saving my free time for a time when I need it. At the moment I am fine.

They do not say what is the cause of the delay, beyond “technical fault”. I can see both engines so it can’t be that although visibility is no evidence of functionality. Maybe the spark plug needs changing, or whatever they have in aircraft engines. If it was the… (pause – see next sentence)

The captain is speaking. The brakes on the right hand side of the plane do not work. We expect more news in 20 – 30 minutes while they try to fix them. Fair play to him. There is nothing worse than being delayed but not being told what the problem is. Like the good old days of British Rail. I guess my position is that I want them to fix the brakes. It’s all very well being able to take off but when we land at the other end, Hamburg in this case, I want the skipper to be able to stop the plane, bringing it gently to a halt at the gate without causing me to spill my drink or my bag to be ejected from the overhead luggage compartment.

I realise that during landing I wouldn’t be holding a glass, full or empty, but I used that for effect. Just imagine a coloured liquid spilling over onto my lap. My trousers are brown and even if it was brown coloured liquid such as beer or tea it would still show up as a dark stain and make life quite uncomfortable until I could get to my hotel room, by taxi, to put on a clean pair.

I’m quite glad there is not a glass of beer in my hand at the moment. It is lunchtime and the last thing I want is to be delayed for a long period of time drinking beer, believe it or not. I have a long day ahead of me. Mineral water would be the name of the game. I’m ok at the moment though. Had a small shot of orange juice on the previous flight from Humberside. Did the job.

Old guy sat next to me started to talk to me in German. Ich spreche keine Deutsch, other than the few words I learnt in the 3rd form at Ballakameen High School in Douglas before I chose French as my language option for O’Level and lost the interest of the teacher. Don’t remember her name though I seem to recall she was a pleasant enough woman. Long time ago now.

It is now twenty past one local time. We were due to take off, soar into the skies, at ten past one. Everyone is calm. Nobody is at the point of asking for free food and drink vouchers.

They have now announced that the flight has been cancelled. Oh dear. “Please stay at the gate for further information”. Ah well. Switch on quiet resignation mode – that’s survival mode in the game of the international jet set. There is no executive lounge involved here though I did note the presence of a sports bar just a few gates back towards the main terminal.

The problem is that if I want to make it to a reasonably decent hour before collapsing in bed tonight I have to delay the onset of alcohol consumption. Also I’m quite happy tapping away productively here. It’s an alternative to surfing the internet and one where the Third Law can equally apply provided the creative juices are in full flow, which they appear to be, and I have battery power. It would be nice if they told us what options they were looking at. I don’t particularly want to spend the night on my own in Amsterdam.

I’m now booked on a 21.10 flight to Hamburg. That’s an 8 hour delay! No point in getting hot and bothered. A woman in front of me at the desk was complaining that she had flown in from Canada for two days and was now expected to spend one of those days in the airport. It’s a fair complaint but not one that any of the staff could do anything about. All the planes are full, apparently.

I’m currently sat in the food hall having consumed a wholly unsatisfying Burger King. Not quite sure why anyone eats that stuff. I’d far rather have been dissatisfied with a McDonalds but never mind. So this afternoon I am heading in to Amsterdam to look at the tulips, or whatever they have on display for my delight and entertainment. Probably take in a beer or three as well, seeing as I brought the subject up earlier.

People in this food hall come and go. Imagine having to sit here for eight hours, or a lifetime even, seeing everyone else come and go and move on to their ultimate final destination whilst you have to stay here. I imagine it would be a bit like being stuck in a lift for a weekend, but different. I’ve never been stuck in a lift. Obviously it’s not something one has ambitions of doing though I’ve often fancied feeling a minor earthquake. Not a big destructive one, just one that I can definitely feel enough to say to myself, “oo that’s an earthquake”.

Not one like the one that caused the Japanese tsunami. There were videos of that one on YouTube. Pretty frightening, some of it, where the earth was moving and water seeping up out of the ground in front of you.

As I write I look up and see a plane take off. Alitalia. Pronto. Prego.

This food hall is quite quiet. It’s 13.52 so no longer really a mealtime though I doubt that matters if you are travelling. When you are travelling to take whatever you can whenever you can. Caprisco?

Arrivaderchi, Amsterdam beckons…

Caught the 18.44 back to Schipol, 50 acorns tied in a sack. The men from the press said nothing, didn’t know I was gone. Okeydokey. Walked out of Amsterdam Centraal through the wrong door and found myself at the waterfront. I then found a long way round to get back to the touristy bit, which is actually most of it. Amsterdam ain’t that big – around 750k inhabitants apparantelement, to coin a Franglais word. After waling around a fair bit I realise that the Reichsmuseum, which was something I considered worth visiting, was a fair way away so I cut my losses and went on a canal trip for an hour.

It was ok and at least I was sat down. Afterwards I found a lovely little bar, Old Nickel Hotel, en route back to the station. Had a couple of Grolsch, availed myself of their free wifi and caught up with the Imps score. We won 2-1. Important as we were only one point above the relegation zone.

Lots of hen and stag trips on the prowl in Old Amsterdam. Not particularly attractive though the Scottish lot that turned up in the pub seemed ok. I could envisage a good trip here with the lads. Heading back to the aeroporto now and a couple more beers before hopefully getting on a plane bound for Hamburg.

I wonder if the burgers are good in Hamburg. You’d think so wouldn’t you? Holland seems a pleasant enough place.

I had been expecting to be in a bar in Old Hamburg by now. I assume there is an Old Hamburg. When I was in Dresden a year or so ago there was an Old Dresden even though it must have been fairly new having been flattened by bombing during WW2. I will find out later. I get there around 10pm – say 10.45 at the Sofitel. I feel a few late beers coming on – in a cellar bar somewhere with buxom waitresses carrying 10 beers at a time. I dream. My imagination is taking hold.

I am seven minutes away from the scheduled stop at the airport (o). I will have to go through security again. Pain. It was bloomin slow last time. We are passing lots of blocks of flats on the way. People live in flats here. Not particularly nice. Their problem not mine.

Back in Het Palais – bar/restaurant at Schipol. I’m flying out of Gate D66 which is a shortish walk away. I have around 2 hours to wait. Will have to pace myself. Drinking Heineken which I’m sorry to say just tastes like gassy cold liquid and not much else. Not sure there is much else in Schipol.

Just had a bit of a minor result. The laptop says it is 18.30 which means the flight is 2 ½ hours away. However the phone says it is 19.30 – 1 ½ hours to go. Now I’ve not connected to tinterweb or the mobile network using the laptop but I have with the phone which probably accounts for it. Otherwise the difference is Android vs Windows 8!

Music here ain’t bad. Beatles, Beach Boys. Of my time, ish. Saw the Beach Boys on one of their farewell tours at Wembley Arena before we got married. Long time ago now. Never saw the Beatles though I have seen Macca three times.

You will tell me if I’m going on a bit won’t you. You will have to leave a comment. Or just close the window. You know how it works. I may never find out I was boring you.

It’s getting towards dusk here at Schipol. The lights are starting to come on outside. The flight to Hamburg is not a long one.

Someone sat opposite me at the bar showing everyone a picture of the bloke next to jhim’s wife. The husband is a shrivelled old guy and she is a young Philipino or similar. Makes you smile. Good luck to him. He is wearing a baseball cap fwiw. A black one with white trim and some sort of badge pinned to the peak 🙂 fwiw.

Just passed the 1,800 word mark. I note this sort of thing since I’ve been planning Philosopherontap Book2. My target is 80,000 words and I suspect I am still shy of 30,000 at the moment. No probs. The words will come. Nuggets of literary beauty articulated in pixels.

Sometimes I feel I need to be able to type a little faster. I’m not bad, though I’ve never worked out my wpm (I assume that is a kosher acronym for words per minute). When I say kosher I’m not Jewish but I’m sure you know what I mean. Sometimes the words flow error free and with a flourish. At other times I am constantly correcting typos. It’s better to get something down quickly and worry about tidying it up later although that’s only the case for typed stuff. If it’s handwriting I often can’t understand my own writing after the fact. Strokes of genius lost to us all because I was never a very tidy writer.

Interestingly, or at least I think so, I have 1 hour and 19 minutes of battery left and 40 minutes before boarding starts, at Gate D66 as you know. This means no typing on the plane, unless I can plug in for a bit at the gate. We shall see. I’m doing without food prior to boarding. The chips don’t look up to much and I already had a burger and chips anyway for lunch, as you know. I quite fancy the chicken satay but it comes with sweet and sour stir fry veg and costs E18.50. I like chicken satay. Just sayin’.

There is a turnover of people at this bar, The guy with the Philipino wife has gone and in his seat is a Brit, by the sound of it. You can’t see it but I have my foot stuck through the strap of my PC bag. A token gesture to stop any thieving git nicking it as I sit at the bar here. The most valuable thing in the bag is actually on the bar – the laptop I’m typing in at as we speak/write. However it does have stuff that would be inconvenient to lose and there is the pair of Oakley shades (shakes hand in a cool way, fingers stuck out).

They seem to be playing a big Beatles tape here. Every time I notice it’s a Beatles song. Of course it’s almost certainly not a tape. They went out decades ago. Didn’t notice when. It just happened. They lost out to the CD which is in itself now a dinosaur though I still like to have the CD as a backup even though I upload the tracks to my laptop/phone whenever I buy anything which isn’t all that often.

The lat time I bought music, and I did a buy a load of stuff, was for my 50th birthday bash. I got all my favourites that I didn’t already have digital versions of. Spent knocking on a hundred quid with Amazon. All good stuff. Donna Summer, The Jam, I can’t remember it all. It was stuff from my era. Had a great 50th birthday bash. Next one is our 25th wedding anniversary.

Believe it or not now stood at the desk at D66 charging my laptop. Didn’t inject much charge. Then on to seat 6C. Changed it from a middle seat to an aisle. Result. Apparently there are 20 spaces on this flight. The earlier one was rammed. While I think of it I believe I paid extra to have a choice of seat on the 13.10 which of course I didn’t catch. I think I need to look for a bit of a refund there. It’s the principle of it. They only gave me a tenner towards food and drink for the delay! Not good enough!

I’m tapping away as people board. Going to be looking for a couple of large gin and tonics after we have taken off. Seems reasonable. No sign of anyone tuning up for seats 6 A or B yet though there is still time. Might get a nice bit of stuff next to me. Overweight old slapper more like.

Woman cones on board with a couple of small kids and a cardboard container of fizzy drink. It looks like a medium rather than a large or king size or anything like that. They don’t come in “small” these days do they?

The staff at the front chat enthusiastically. Couple of girls and a clean cut bloke. One of the women has four stripes on her sleeve and the bloke has only one. Either she is massively more senior to him or he is on a different scale. His (smart) uniform is darker than hers. Maybe the stripes are like McDonalds stars. Probably…

Seems like most people are on board but there are still ten minutes before we are supposed to be taking off. If it was me I’d close the door and get on with it. Maybe we are not all here. Buggers. Can you tell I’ve been drinking? Just noticed that the second stewardess also only has one stripe. Those four stripes on the first look like serious seniority then J

There is still nobody in the two seats next to me. Fingers crossed.

The senior stewardess is a brunette. Fortyish. You wonder if she dyes her hair. Must do (bitch bitch). Smart looking woman still.

Couple of blokes (yooves, barely) just come on board and everyone springs into action. We are getting ready for the off. Engines rev, doors slam shut, with a relatively mild smalling noise. It’s all done with hydraulics these days. Smooth.

Cabin crew arm the slides. Slides? Maybe I misheard.

Airborne at last and the bright cabin lights have come on. I was quite happy with the dimmed ones. Ah well. Just blasting Dexy’s Midnight Runners Geno and Come on Eileen on the SGS3. You know it makes sense. The curtains have been drawn on the business class folk so that us plebs can’t get jealous at the champagne and caviar being dished out or the neat shots of Grey Goose vodka if like me they have been delayed by 8 hours. Our trolley has turned up. No G&T. Just some red wine called Terra Andina!!! Also some savoury pretzel type things, no doubt with high salt content. Ah well. There’s always the bar at the Sofitel Hamburg.

Moved on to Donna Summer. Hot Stuff followed by Bad Girls. She’s the tops, the mashed potato – yaknowworramean. Takes me back to my teens in the Isle of Man, The Cave Discotheque. No longer there. Memories buried in the bulldozed rubble of Summerland. I worked there one summer, in the cinema. All gone now. Sad times.

Still have more battery left than flight time which is good. Can plug in when I get to the Sofitel. Leave the laptop to its own devices. Reb.  2 minutes left in the air. The oblivion or happy landings. If oblivion is it you will never read this unless the laptop is recovered from the wreckage and returned to Timico for analysis. See if there are any last messages left by the dying man. KnowworrameanJ

Don’t worry. Not really being fatalistic. Just playing. Bit of playful banter. Like it or lump it, dump it. Amazed I’m still tapping away here really. Been travelling all day. Travelling being somewhat a loose term considering I’ve not been going anywhere. SOB. That’s how I really feel. That’s life Jim though not as we particularly want to know it. Godammit!

Can you tell I’m getting angry? Angry isn’t really the right word. I’m slightly annoyed but have to put up with it. That’s the way it goes amigo. Live with it. Now on to “I heard it on the radio” or whatever the song is called. It’s a goodun. I’m a Donna summer fan in case you couldn’t tell.

At least when I get to the burg of ham I’ll just be jumping in a taxi to go to the hotel.

Left home 7.30am UK time, arrived at Hamburg Sofitel 10.45 Deutschland time. 8 hours late.

Complete, unedited, unexpurgated.

Part 2o here

Part 22 here