Monday, 21 January 2013

Warming myself on old flames

Today I went see if I can get the car out of the snow and make my way to higher ground. I did.

On Saturday night/Sunday morning, I dreamt that I watched an old girlfriend snorting salt like cocaine, and warned her that salt increases your blood-pressure (she has, in reality, got high blood-pressure), whereupon she dropped down dead. I managed to revive her - by pummelling her chest, like the old days - just long enough for her to scream one last insult at me before she expired for good.

I think this must have been sparked off by watching her neighbours sprinkling salt on the icy road where she lives, and where I have parked my car. Bath is a small place, and teeming with middle-aged women who used to be my girlfriends. Some of them still refuse to acknowledge me, all these years later.

I was talking to a 16 year-old friend of the Green-Eyed Girl recently, then suddenly realised that she was the daughter of a man who has not spoken to me for 35 years, since I pinched his girlfriend all that time ago. He is one of those men who take to fatherhood in later years - I don't know where he gets his energy from. The girlfriend in question is long dead, but he still hates me.

I was sitting in the pub a few years ago, when a good-looking woman came up to me and asked how I was faring. I wondered out loud where on earth I had met her, so she took one stride toward me and struck me full in the face. Turns out she was one of those old girlfriends, albeit a short-lived one. I have not seen her since.

The mechanism by which humans can recognise a face that they have only seen once - mingling in a crowd of thousands on the other side of the world - is complex indeed. Top scientists and anthropologists still do not understand it.

As far as a dog is concerned, we have two eyes, one nose and a mouth which is usually beneath it, but a very distinctive smell. We may all have a unique retina pattern, but I am not aware of trawling through my eyeball data-base to identify individuals, nor do I examine their finger prints. Scent may come into it, but only if we get close enough.

My abiding memory of that dead girlfriend is the appalling scent she used, but that came out of a bottle. Judging from the amount she sprinkled over herself each day, there were no instructions on the bottle either. She was one of those girls who - having small eyes - was never seen without a large amount of make-up, unless you woke up with her in the morning, before she refreshed it.

All cats the same in the dark? I don't think so. Calm down, dear.


  1. Names escape me, but faces, roads, conversations, houses, and old girlfriends, I never forget. Calm down, dear!

    1. Last sentence should, of course, read 'I have calmed down, dear'.