Friday, 11 September 2009

Post number 29 random thoughts - the past

The leg improves. I am looking forward to getting out and about again. Looking forward is good. But what about looking back?

An email has arrived from the other side of the world – I was tracked down from this blog by a person I met at a party over forty years ago, and this prompted me to air some thoughts on looking at the past with my brother during one of our regular, long telephone conversations.

I see nothing wrong with looking back and learning from past mistakes and valuing old friendships and remembering friends and relations who are no longer with us; these activities give us a sense of perspective and values and are essential to the make up of a well balanced individual, except when this becomes obsessive. I think of this obsessive condition as wallowing.

A monthly dose of dreary wallowing is manifested in a publication I receive from my previous employers. This is produced by fellow pensioners on a home computer on sheets of A4 stapled and all in black and white. Much of the content concentrates on people reminiscing about the trivial detail of life in a bank fifty or so years ago (my role in the bank was in a more dynamic subsidiary). Typical examples range from remembering Jim Smith putting plastic silver coin bags on his shoes in lieu of galoshes to “…this was in the days of pen and ink, no ball points…” There are accompanying grainy and depressing photos of interior and exterior shots of the old branches, most of which were architecturally atrocious.





Every time I receive this well-intentioned labour of love I am briefly depressed and have an overpowering desire to get out into the fresh air and do something.

2 comments:

Barrett Bonden said...

This one's far from architecturally atrocious. In fact it's as unostentatious as a bank can be. The stone facing suggests a permanence and a stability that I suspect is not reflected by the activites within.

As to pensioners' magazines there is a strange reversal of roles: those who spent their life writing are silent while those didn't even fill in a canteen complaint slip during their working lives burst into song. Alas they do this without the benign control of a friendly sub-editor. The first aim in writing is to be read; it is clear that these johnny-come-latelies are simply intoxicated with seeing the words form - in any order - on the screen.

Sir Hugh said...

BB - At the risk of being called a cliché monger I say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.