Friday, August 06, 2010

From Here To Absurdity

Schopenhauer once wrote that absurdity is the king of the world, relinquishing control only for brief periods. Any writer or dramatist who attempts to create it from scratch is wasting his energy. It is far easier simply to wait for reality to deliver it on a silver platter. After all, it is never likely to take long.

Here is a chain of events relayed to me recently by a friend of a friend. I was taken into confidence on the condition that I would not put any of it in writing. I gave my word but, after listening to the story, tried shamelessly to grab it back. The compromise was that I would 'tweak' the details so as not to identify those involved. Here goes.

Figure 5.1: Artwork inspired by A.W.

Becky and Ballard have been on the verge of separation for years. Only apathy has kept them together this long. Last week, however, it became known to my friend that Becky had bought another house. Nothing unusual, or unexpected, about that, except that she had done it without telling Ballard. Even more astonishingly, her new house was just a hundred yards down the lane from the one they still shared.

One Saturday last month, Becky decided to spend a few hours' solitary relaxation in her secretly-acquired space. This was on the pretext of a shopping trip to town, ten miles away. When she announced her intention, however, Ballard insisted, to her stifled annoyance, on giving her a lift. She cursed him under her breath, put on a sickly smile and climbed into the car.

On arrival in town, she waved goodbye to him and, once he was out of sight, cursed him again and headed straight for the bus station. There, she waited for half an hour, boarded a bus and spent another half-hour stop-starting all the way back to square one.

In order to reach her new pad from the bus stop, she had to walk past the marital home. She anticipated not being seen, as Ballard was still in town. So she thought. To her horror, as she walked down the lane, a familiar grey Toyota appeared in the distance.

Ballard wound down the driver's window. 'What are you doing back here?'

'I forgot my credit card,' she said, innocently. 'You're home early.'

'I know. The blokes at the garage fixed it while I waited.'

Becky unlocked the front door and went upstairs. What happened next?

Groundhog Day.

Ballard called casually after her: 'There's no need to rush - I'll take you back into town!'

Now spitting bricks, she climbed into the car - again - and endured a carbon copy of the ten-mile trip. As Ballard drove away - again - she retraced her steps to the bus station and boarded the very same bus, which was being driven by the same driver, who probably thought he was losing his mind.

It was midday when Becky arrived back where she had started, by which time it was pouring with rain. Such is the poetry of moral justice, I suppose.

The difference between creative genius and absurdity?

Genius has its limits.

Copyright 2010 Paul Spradbery

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