The stagnant flow of time between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve is a slow and wearisome passage through the usual course of life, eventually petering out into the greatest dust bowl day of all: New Year's Day, a twenty-four hour waste-of-time-a-thon of mind-numbing idleness and ennui; more tiresome, even, than a thousand Sundays strung together to form one huge mammoth Sabbath of dissipation and fatigue. Humankind is advised to start as it means to go on, so why in the name of Old Father Time do we start with New Year's Day? No wonder the world faces such insoluble problems and impending crises.
As if incarcerated within a plaster cast of oneself, ennui is an acutely immobilising ailment. Ask not, as John Kennedy might have mused on a particularly dreary Sunday morning, what your body can do for your mind, but what your mind can do for your body. The answer, apparently, is absolutely nothing at all at the moment. And why should it? So many times through this life the mind has been willing but the body been unable. So I think we can allow the mind to wear the pants for a little while, even if it only wants to take them off and lounge around on the couch all day.
I recently embarked upon a disorientatingly short excursion across the country to Seattle, ostensibly for work, but spent most of my waking hours gazing out of the hotel window, observing the mechanical and human traffic in the streets below: omnibus, quaint old tram, newfangled monorail, passenger car, motorbike including sidecar, pedal bicycle, pedestrian, infant perambulator and possibly even sedan chair, although I may have dreamt that last one.
Unfortunately, I rarely ventured outside myself. Confinement to a bright and beige mezzanine function room, listening to horrendous bores drone on and on about the patently obvious was the order of the day, as usual. Oh how I wished we could all board one of those buses or trams to the famous Pike Place fish market and then fling flanks of smoked salmon at our colleagues' heads all day. Perhaps we might actually have accomplished something and made the trip worthwhile.
I usually walk across a bridge that offers the possblility of witnessing a plane flying over a car that is driving over a train that is running over a boat. Although, of course, such a conjunction of transport options rarely occurs. Mostly there are just cars, pedestrians and bikes passing over skiffs and other varieties of sporting and pleasure craft. The occassional freight train does shunt along the track from time to time, but its haphazard timetable rarely seems to coincide with the desire of any canoeists to paddle beneath the elevated rails. I don't recall ever looking upwards and spotting a plane, probably because I am too busy staring downriver at the view of the city.