Missing the Plot/Vacuuming the Garage Door/God Doesn’t Deliver Bread on Sundays.

« Another pleasant valley Sunday, » as was harmoniously warbled by the Monkees back in the sixties – all the world out washing cars, pruning roses, mowing their lawns and firing up the BBQ for a few burnt offerings.

Round here though pleasant valley is more like Death Valley at the moment. Shuttered up houses with locked gates and empty driveways – most of the world is away on holiday and after weeks without rain, it’s not only the pork chops on the BBQ that are burned to a frazzle, it is the entire garden. Green lawns gone brown, there is nothing to mow but dust.

We’ve just received our official drought warnings, so hosepipe bans will soon follow, though down the local car wash the good folks of the world seem oblivious to the water shortage and are blasting away at their cars with high power water jets.

A late Sunday morning stroll down the supermarket. The good Lord hasn’t seen fit to give me this day my daily bread, so I’ve gone out to get it myself. I’m never sure who actually wrote the Lord’s Prayer, but that line about « give us this day our daily bread, » is a definite promise of divine free bread delivery right to my front door. No matter, if God can’t deliver, I guess he has better things to do and besides this is Sunday; God doesn’t work on a Sunday.

On my saunter down to the shops, I get one of these «Am I missing the plot? » moments – meaning that … well here is the scene – a gentleman of advancing years, is out vacuuming his garage door. YES. Vacuuming (or hoovering) if you prefer. A methodical top to bottom hoovering with special attention to the corners where errant spiders might just choose to spin a web. This is a lifetime first for me. I’ve never seen anyone vacuuming their garage door. Is this common practise? Am I missing something? Should I vacuum my own garage door? A true « missing the plot » moment.

So far, I have got through my life without a thought about how other members of the human race lead their lives: recently though (in my advancing years) I have started to observe how other people live and started to wonder if I should be living my life differently? I call it « missing the plot ».

Here is something where I am quite definitely missing the plot. I’ve set up an account on Instagram, and try as I might, I can’t get a photo on to the site. I’ve downloaded the App, I’ve completed my profile I’ve … I’ve … I’ve come to that point where Instagram is becoming Intsantrage. My frustration is quietly simmering away and very soon will boil up into anger. No I won’t throw my computer across the room, but I am starting to look around for some object on which to vent my anger.

About three weeks ago we were all slowly cooking in a heat wave: temperatures in excess of 38°c. I rushed down the local supermarket and bought an electric fan. At home, I removed the constituent parts from the box and laid them methodically on the floor in order of assembly. Next, I carefully studied the rather sketchy plans. It all seemed simple enough – at least far simpler than one of those plans for self-assembly furniture (I hate IKEA). I managed to more or less put the fan together according to the instructions and what I had done looked like the fan on the lid of the box: then came my « missing the plot » moment. Putting the plastic circular mesh protection around the fan. Two mesh halves – the rear part to be delicately placed on the back of the fan and the front half to be fixed to the rear half and hold it all in place. Seemingly simple for all those who are not missing the plot. I will spare you the fiddly assembly details. Lord knows I tried to be patient, but I could feel the rage slowly simmering away. When boiling point came, I did not shout and swear. I did not lose my temper – I took the fan out into the garden, placed it on the lawn, went back into the garage to fetch a large hammer and then quietly and methodically smashed the fan up. One new dead fan. I suppose every other person in the human race would have no trouble putting the fan together. Not me though. Am I missing the plot here?

I suppose « plot missers » – are all those people out there who just fail to understand stuff, when the rest of the human race seem to grasp it after one simple and cursory explanation. I guess plot missers are like me; they couldn’t do maths at school, they have no capacity for logical or structured thought, they always struggle to do what seems to come as second nature to others or they don’t do stuff the way it should be done.

A final thought for the guy who vacuumed his garage door. As I ambled round the supermarket aisles in search of bread, I reckoned that the door-hoovering gent had been doing so to perhaps remove dust before painting. On the way up from the shops though, there was no sign of any painting, indeed the man in question was hoovering his front door. Of course he probably did this to no avail because no sooner was I home from the shops than the heavens opened – a torrential downpour accompanied by lashing winds. Now that the rain and winds have abated, I’ll have to go back down the street to see if the Hoover man isn’t getting to work on his garage door with a hair dryer.