February is a shit time for many and it seems everyone and everything - particularly the God of car maintenance - has really got it in for us this year.
We started off in our trusty nearly new Renault Megane at the beginning of the month towards Avignon to see a movie. Just outside of the village there was a frayed little putter and the car dutifully coasted off the road. The motor was fucked and the bill three weeks later after tow number one was 2600 euros. Then the gaggia chrome coffee machine broke. Then Julian got the most horrendous flu. Then he chopped the handle of the wood-burning stove in half instead of the oversized log he was aiming for. Then, returning from Lyon together(where we happily consumed lots of strange têtes and innards of things in great bustling bouchons) after the last performance, thinking "We are finally on route home", J filled the petrol engine of the loaned car with the habitual deisel. Tow and drainage (by pastis swilling mechanic) and cost number two ensued.
Then there was the nasty cat who, taking a fancy to our pretty striped Manon, was squeezing through our hand crafted dogon style cat flap and eating all Oscar and Manon's vitamin healthful Cat McNuggets, making their hairs stand on end with terror and leaving the very undesirable odour of Ambient/Erotic Cat room-spray everywhere. J lay in wait for the rogue's next visit, caught it at its antics, locked the flap and, ignoring the advice of our friends to squirt it with a water pistol, he beat it around the room with a broom, venting all his rage on the poor creature. The next day there were 9 inches of snow and we never saw the cat again....Ouch.
We got our own car back two days ago with its spanking new wotsit head, and in celebration decided that I would drive home from Valence after the two gigs this week, and that we would have lie ins, lunches and breakfasts together like normal people. That God of mechanical things, however, decided he hadn't prodded us nearly enough with his fork. The car started veering noisily to the right on the motorway and I was left with a tyre burst waiting for tow number three.
There have been other little things but I won't go into that. You get the idea.
The thing is, it could have been much much worse and,though our mini break plans in Skye have been buggered, we won't be able to put the gallery window in or get the floor down until next year, or the new computer for J's web-design, no-one died. The other thing is that people will die, including us, so the question is, are we reeds weathering the storm or are we brittle sticks being broken by every gust of wind?
Yesterday, standing behind the crash barrier in the freezing rain waiting to be towed for the third time in two weeks, I managed to laugh. However, my poor battered husband is not laughing.
Can I be a reed with his rage just as I am becoming reed-like about matters Megane? Can I accept and not judge another person's 'undesirable' emotion about being torn to shreds on his journey just as I accepted a tyre ripped by something hard and unexpected on the road? Can I keep laughing? Can I still see the beauty around me which he has taught me to see even if he is blinded by anger right now?
Today is the First birthday of Shifting Light - Julian's phenomenal Postcards from Provence. Stop by if you have a moment, admire the beauty and wish him well. He could do with a boost right now.