I’d never given it a moment’s thought. The word ‘eccentric’ had hardly ever crossed my horizon, and I’d certainly never imagined that it could apply to me. But there you are; we don’t usually see ourselves as others see us, and therein, my fellow bloggites, lies the whole point.
So when my friend Carolyn suggested that I write a blog, I said, “Why? Why on earth would anyone be interested in the ramblings of my life?” and I shook my head. Now that’s something I’ve caught myself doing recently; and I suppose it’s another of these ‘age’ things that float around in the ether, waiting until you reach a certain number of years on this planet and then they zero in and stick to you. It’s on my list of things to stop myself doing, along with the small grunt when I bend down to pick something up; and saying “phone” whenever the phone rings. Personally I blame Pavlov.
It wasn’t until I’d filled my mouth again with an over generous helping of heavenly ice cream, the sort you get at a certain pizza restaurant, that I noticed Carolyn was staring hard at me across the table. I smiled and dribbled. That’s another thing on my list, “People may well enjoy your blog because of your…. well, your….lifestyle,” she said.
“Huhh?” I said. Now Carolyn and I have eaten together at this restaurant many times over the years and she is well aware of my, shall we say penchant for their ice cream. She is also well aware that if she wants answers to any questions, or indeed any intelligible conversation after I have begun shovelling in the ice cream, she must work fast. Her time is limited. That is because this heavenly dessert has the ability to remove the faculty of speech from me, and freeze my facial muscles into a series of grotesque twitches,
“Well, you are eccentric,” she said sweetly.
“Shllowh?” I said, “Hosshhway?” and we both knew that the window of opportunity had closed, at least until I defrosted again.
“Look,” she said, “there’s your writing; the chickens; your trips to Nepal; the ‘spooky’ work you do; and then there’s Tod. He’s eccentric too, isn’t he?”
“Whooshy? Shubbell?” I said,
“Well, his beard isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence, and that hat is great, but maybe a bit unusual….” Carolyn said.
“Hummbloo!” I said.
Back home and waiting for the return of speech, I thought about the only memorable occasion I had heard anyone referred to as ‘eccentric’. I was in the green room at the James Whale TV show (ha!) and Sir Patrick Moore was waiting to go on. He was wearing a dark green jacket and as he stood up he turned to me and asked me very politely if I would mind smoothing it down at the back. I did so, and wished him luck for his interview. As he left the green room someone with a loud voice said, “Now he’s a true eccentric.” I have never forgotten that.
So we come back to the original question, am I eccentric? Is Tod eccentric? Having given it some thought I feel that eccentricity must be in the eye of the beholder. It’s how others see us. And as we left the restaurant that day Carolyn reached out and removed a piece of straw from the back of my pullover, “I know,” she said, “chickens!” and I swear she shook her head. I must have a word with her about that.
(Please have a look at the ‘About’ button, which may shed some more light on our way of life.)