I had a brilliant rant in mind about dichotomy - it was lightning strike brilliant, but alas I've forgotten what it was about. You see, brilliant just like lighting - a flash that impresses, then it's gone. Why, rathjer like me.

Walaubagaimanapun. The queers with gears gathered on Friday for a semi-public scrutiny of trip pictures, and there was much bargaining: "I'll let you veto this picture if I get to veto that one". However, Mayo-MY had the aces in his hand, and he trumped us all with his pictures (2000 whittled down (thank the Lord) to 195).

There was even a plaque presented to PJ - the title of which is far too long for me to remember. I shall leave it to JLM, who wrote it in his best professional handwriting, to write the title down in the comments section - should he ever actually read this post. And he won't, so you'll have to keep guessing what the title is. PJ was suitably impressed, although I did tell him that I didn't want to see him do to this award what he did to the last award he received - which was to hang it upside down in the bog.

Was that this Friday? Goodness, I can barely remember now. BK asked me on Wednesday what I did the previous weekend, and I could remember was slinking into No Frills to buy mushrooms and Sui-Choi. And garlic too. It was an evening of burnt garlic. The first time overly burnt, the second time just right, except once I got the garlic just right, I forgot that plastic bags don't behave like spice bottles and many more crushed chillies came out than I wanted. Red oil. Red in the night. Red in the eye. Red all over.

Saturday was a quiet day. I didn't do much except to trot around the seawall as is my wont. This time, it took place early in the morning because I couldn't sleep for some reason. Actually, I know exactly why I didn't sleep.

A combination of reading about "...stage IV with kidney involvement..." and pure cembura buta - and this is the first dichotomy. Two very different feelings of dread, so much so that you'd expect them to be separate, but somehow they merged, and I felt awful - remorse and guilt for feeling the way I did, and seeing the sadness, the pathos even, of the one juxtaposed against the other. 

It raised many memories in particular of one involving catching the Southwick train from Brighton station and a 5 pound note, and the Brighton Lanes, and the autobiography of Monica Dickens. I hope, I so hope, that I've managed in the intervening years to repay the debt - not out of obligation but out of love and true gratitude and because I wanted to. 

The past few weeks have been filled with ups and downs and I've been very unfocussed about many things. There are two grant applications to write, and I should buckle down, but part of me says, "Apa nak buat-lah, ada apa guna?", then all I want to do is create something beautiful and lasting -  beautiful to me at any rate. 

Other dichotomies - I do have to get my wisdom from somewhere: Game - in which case I've played all my cards; Truth - in which case let it break my heart; Fear - in which case lead to the dark. Is it a pain or a cure, or both.

It's funny how quickly respect, affection and liking for someone can change on the basis of a simple little event or word that doesn't fit well with your world view. I thought that I was becoming more tolerant of the little foibles and irritations of life but I fear (lead me to the dark please) that that was another delusion. Another illusion shattered. And so trivial in many ways.

Have started listening to La Clemenza di Tito again. Highly appropriate given that my state of mind is more aligned to the first act where Dame Janet Baker (it's the Colin Davis version) is going around outraged, seeking pretty much everyone's head on a platter. I hope to get to the second act soon where like Tito, I will show clemency, be empathetic and generally all-forgiving and accepting but it could be a while because like DJB, I'm raging internally. 

And yet while my mind is in act I of Tito, my heart is the second act of Boheme, where the coughing has become more and more serious and Mimi doesn't know what to do, and you know it's all going to end badly, but there's nothing you can do about it. Nothing and Helplessness. What horrific words. The pathos, the pathos wherein Jessica Mitford, before running away with Esmond Romilly, goes to say goodbye to Miranda, her pet sheep, who came running when called, and Jessica sees that she has foot rot, but there's nothing she (JM) can do for poor Miranda, and she catches her train back to London in floods of tears. 

It occurs to me that I should listen to my elders when they say that, when you're ready then it doesn't really matter any more. Then again, they've had considerably more years than me to prepare. Life goes on regardless, but however much it goes on, memento mori - remember, you must die.

As for doing more. How much more could be done, and what benefit would it bring. Dr. K says, that it's better to manage the present, rather than prolonging the dying process in the mistaken belief that you're extending life. 

I like it when things merge into recognisable patterns, and I've always been pretty good at forcing life into a pattern that makes sense to me: "This happened to bring about that thing which turned out to be good for me". A few too many things to juggle this time I'm afraid, and added to the mix is volatility of harapan-harapan - again that horrible word rears its ugly head. Because harapan-harapan is almost always followed by kechewah, hati-pelita and eventually a whole series of lagu rindu which is simply bad, uncouth, pathetic (in the pejorative sense) and a mess.

Too polite, too considerate, too selfless.

There's more, but it's an inchoate mess within and I'll take my time untangling it and until then, I'll just have to live with this double sense of dread within. One trivial, the other less so but in the greater world view, still trivial. 

The stars look down on Africa too - that was what I realised in Montreal. 

So there was dichotomy, but it was neither that brilliant, nor (definitely) that well-articulated, and that's just fine by me.