Friday, 19 March 2010
Where would we be?
One of my neighbours made it clear that he had a problem with me working on OB in the communal garden. Fair enough, I said, I’ll get the boat out of the garden, but what exactly is the trouble? As I listened to his argument my eyes flicked between his jugular and the chisel in my hand. Where would we be, he asked, if everybody did their boat up in the garden? Unwittingly he’d chosen a line of reasoning calculated to get blood throbbing into my head.
‘Where would we be if?’ can be a good question. Where would we be if everybody owned a car? Where would we be if everybody ate tuna fish? Or cod? Or wanted levis and nike trainers? But it’s not the question to ask the small guy tinkering on his boat when he alone forms 15% of the local boat owning population and is the only person with a boat small enough to fit through the garden gate.
I made a list of all the jobs I wished to complete before the next weekend when I would get OB out of the garden. Sanding, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, sanding, painting, sanding, varnishing, sanding, varnishing and so on. And as the week nears its end I find that most of the items on the list remain to be done. Particularly the sanding.
Lists are amorphous things, expanding and contracting daily. More often they’re written to clarify rather than to follow and we list writers should retain the right to change and abandon lists as the situation requires. If not they can become the most terrible dictators.
So as the weekend draws near and the work on OB is far from complete I ask myself—Where would we be if we all followed lists to the letter? Where would we be if we all did what we said we were going to do?
But I do generally do what I say I’m going to do and so the boat is out of the garden and work is suspended until next week.