is my default position, it seems.
Not so long ago I promised myself that I would accept every invitation - well, ok, not the ones that primarily benefit others and cause me a lot of effort and mental and physical expenditure for little return - but my good intentions have already fallen by the wayside. And for nearly three weeks now I’ve paid the price - that is if you believe in ‘just deserts’. Which I don’t. If there were such a thing as just deserts in this world a lot of people would not lead the happy and prosperous and untroubled lives they live.
Back to me and invitations. A big 70s birthday bash came first. The hosts had hired a hall, caterers, musicians, drink, and everything that makes such things successful. The celebrations were to embrace a ceilidh, my first, and a slight source of nervousness. Country dancing and singing? In public? Without being drunk? Maybe not.
Then came an invitation to an 80th birthday bash, again with food and drink, music and lots of people. Again I found a reason why I shouldn’t go.
The last major invitation was to the wedding of a young friend of mine. It was to be a huge do, with a big marquee in her dad’s field, sit down dinner and a dance at night. The event of the year, with ladies in hats and gentlemen in formal suits for the church service. I saw no way out, had had to accept when the invitation first came, several months ago. I no longer have formal dresses and ordinary day clothes would not have been suitable, so I searched the internet for something neither too expensive nor too formal, coming up with exactly nothing. Smart trousers, jacket and a silk shirt would have to do. I was less and less enthusiastic about the whole thing; you know what it’s like when you feel you must make the effort but really and truly would prefer not to? The idea of sitting in a marquee in 30C, dressed up and unable to put your feet up, surrounded by people you don’t know except for the immediate family of the bride who would, naturally, be too busy to attend to you personally, did not appeal.
And then it happened. An actual bona fide excuse for not going to the wedding of the year (locally) fell into my lap. Or rather, I fell into the excuse. Gardener and I were out, I was about to show him a bit that needed his attention, marched there ahead of him under full sail, saw a dog poo in my path, swerved, and landed in the dip between a flower bed and the lawn in my heeled mules and promptly fell flat on my face, luckily avoiding the dog poo. I scrambled up, gardener laughing his head off, my dignity badly dented but otherwise apparently unharmed if somewhat sore. I thought little more of it and continued gardening.
Two days later the first big bruises appeared. Then my leg swelled up, more bruises appeared, the colours deepening into midnight blue. Now, nearly three weeks later, I still suffer. The doctor says I must have ruptured a blood vessel and bled internally. “It will get better eventually”, he said, “your foot will be the last part affected. Don’t worry if it swells up.” Thanks for reassuring me, doctor, I’m awaiting results. “In the end the blood will be reabsorbed and the discolouration will probably disappear too”.
For a good two weeks I have spent the days sitting in an easy chair with my very painful leg on a footstool covered with cushions, read and watched (whisper it), daytime TV. And been bored out of my skull.
What do you think, is this ‘just and fair punishment' for inventing excuses (well, actually, lying) to my friends in return for their kind invitations?