Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Shrek and the Spider's From Mars

This morning - before I had even had a moment of sleep - I was accosted by a humungous spider that moved so fast that I think it actually rivalled the speed of light. Had I not managed to (valiantly) fight for my life and swatted, then it would have careened through the double-glazing and buried itself in my garden... Like an eight-legged Donald Campbell in Bluebird, or a turf-gouging arachnid version of Richard Hammond.

I'd had the window open all night because despite today’s slight chill, we've had surprisingly clement weather the last week (it shouldn't be surprising to have sun in June, but recent cold summers have instilled the tradition.) Because I am currently unfortunately nocturnal, I was faffing around with the curtains - trying vainly to block out all the morning light so I might sleep - when I caught sight of la araignee (only a blur, obviously, because it moved so fast.) My response to noticing the spider was to do that sort of girlie-panicky-swatting thing whilst cursing like a navvy and generally being ridiculous. By some miraculous fear-induced insect-homicide tourettes-spasm I managed to kill it. I should feel bad, but I don't. Someone once justified their killing spiders as being no different to someone who was afraid of tigers shooting one that was bearing down upon them . Now, I understand that a tiger is more likely to kill you than a spider (though you wouldn't be so sure of that if you'd seen the size of this one. It had more battle-scars than 50Cent.)

Anyway, I would find it far more difficult to shoot a tiger that was about to rip my throat out, than I find it to squish a spider that is about to induce a coronary. I do know that's stupid, but tigers are pretty. I couldn't harm a man-eating beastie that can purr.

The trouble with spiders is that - even when they have been dispatched - my biggest problem comes from my recalcitrant brain. Just when I stop feeling like I am going to shiver, and have checked every inch of the room and sprayed the window frame with insect repellent, I can't relax. As the paranoia subsides, and I think I can stop thinking about spiders, my brain will begin to torment me. It will start to picture horrible things: spiders crawling everywhere, getting in my mouth, being in the bed or in my hair.... Horrible things that I don't want to be thinking. I end up having an argument with my mind, telling the disgusting, creepy bit to stop sending pictures to the wimpy, high-maintenance bit. The disobedient part seldom complies with my pleading, and takes a schoolboy-ish glee in tormenting me - like a kid brother putting a frog down my party dress.

I'm not sure other people argue with their own imagination. It surprises me that it's not a common phenomenon, and surprises me even more that some people can control their dreams. I can't control the images generated by my mind when I am awake, let alone when I am unconscious.

Dreams are unusual things at the best of times, though. Lots of women dream about having a big wedding - and Coleen McLoughlin and Wayne Rooney have apparently realised that aspiration in the most extravagant manner. They have married in Portofino, Italy, and reportedly spent five million poundson the day. Hello! OK! magazines were covering half of the cost for exclusive rights to the photographs, and the bride and groom requested guests send donations to an appointed charity instead of giving them wedding presents, but I still find the total cost obscene.

It has been the topic of much discussion in the four days since the ceremony, and everyone has a slightly different opinion on the matter. Some think that as they have the money available, they may as well spend it. Others share my view that 'percentage of income' isn't the point - it's the hideously warped principle of spending that much money on a single day of entertainment for a few people, when there are so many imbalances that money could redress. I don't expect everyone with money to give it all away - that would be impractical and unpopular - but I can't understand how anyone can justify that sort of personal expenditure to themselves. On a house maybe... Or on the preservation of a great work of art for generations to come... But not on a single day of frippery and extravagant showboating in the name of everlasting ardour.

Their everyday lives are extraordinary and exceptionally luxurious - and so it follows that they would have to make a tremendous effort to eclipse that and make their 'Big Day' as momentous as it is expected to be. I just find it all so unnecessary. It turns the event into a circus. They weren't 'happier' because they spent £5m than they would have been had they spent £2m. A wedding is a couple expressing their commitment by bowing to tradition. Marriage is a ceremony dedicated to preserving traditional rules and boundaries of society, and has little to do with sentiment. Love may be the catalyst, but legality is the reason. The bigger the gesture, the more resoundingly its emptiness seems to echo.

Admittedly, I have never really categorised myself as the "marrying type" - possibly because I have seen too many divorces to consider it worthwhile, and also because I am quite fiercely independent and don't like to be categorised in any way whatsoever. (Having no distinct "first choice" career is a good example of that.) I dislike the notion created by the Bridget Jones generation that there is something pitiable in an unmarried woman. The idea that all women who have been with a partner for a year or-so (or are over 30) are dying to marry is an abominable one. It's appalling that we are still expected to enter into a religion-blessed union, and that we are perceived as being either ashamed of our partner, or in some way hard-done-by if we choose not to have a ludicrously expensive white wedding in front of as many simpering relations and sycophantic friends as one can cram into a church, or crumbling gothic castle.

I can appreciate the commitment of an engagement, because it is symbolic - one is retiring their single self and is both accepting and announcing the stable longevity of a partnership. It's an internationally recognised promise to remain faithful and committed to one person. Marriage legalises the bond but seldom strengthens it. I think I am too jaded. I would be much more secure knowing that my fiancée were returning to me through choice, than I would had I a husband who felt he had no choice but to come home. I don't feel any security in suspecting ones partner is trapped into remaining in a relationship. I've never once planned my dream wedding - not even as a child. I haven't imagined myself getting married, or ever dreamt of it. I've joked about it - such moments usually involve Johnny Depp and a diamond ring large enough to have been awarded its own postcode and head-of-state (a bit like that spider) - but I have never seriously considered it. I've had occasion too, but even when I should have given it the courtesy of contemplation, I could do no more than laugh. I don't rule it out, but neither do I have an unquestioning faith in the enevitability of the prospect. It would take a lot for me to consider it with any sincerity, but I think that's a far healthier way to view the whole affair than as a foregone conclusion.

I think it is this matrimonial apathy and general cynicism that makes it even harder for me to comprehend the spending of such large amounts of money as have been frittered away on the Rooney/McLaughlin wedding. After all the cash siphoned into their 'Wedding Fund,' it still rained.

I would give £5,000,000 to the person who can invent something that keeps spiders 100yds from me at all times, however. That is of infinitely more practical value than Mrs Soccer-Shrek splashing the cash on 'symbolic' pigeons and boxes of butterflies.

(...I hear one of the butterflies had an illicit liaison with David Beckham round the back of the marquee. Don't tell Posh. She doesn't mind his affairs - but she'd die if she knew there were beautiful creatures skinnier than her.)

No comments: