Sunday 29 August 2021

The Price of Sanity

I am feeling much better, and indeed felt much better by yesterday afternoon, thanks to sunshine, other people, and judicious spending. The price of sanity turns out to be £14.40, which is a fraction of the cost of a session with a good psychotherapist. 

The first stage in sanity (which was threatened by a frenzied dash around the flat looking for my cash card) was taking the bus (£1.80) to Portobello beach for a language exchange meeting. I was forced to snap out of English-language gloom to concentrate on my new friend's Polish-language account of her week. As we sat on the seawall with our legs dangling over the sand, the sun poured down, and my thoughts were filled not with far-away horrors but the everyday difficulties and dreams of Polish migrants in Edinburgh. 

After an hour-and-a-half of this bilingual tutorial in the lives of neighbours, we went together to Twelve Triangles where I hoped to make up for Friday's scream-whispering by buying pastries (£4.60). My language exchange partner listened with interest if I asked a woman staring longingly in the window at the various delights if she were part of a queue. 

This led to a short lecture on the use and spelling of "queue" as we walked to the library, so I could return my books. This duty done and my bus arriving, my new friend bicycled away back to Leith and I went home (£1.80). Benedict Ambrose greeted the pastries with joy and a cup of tea, and we scoffed them hurriedly for we had a 1 PM appointment to meet a young friend with a puppy. 

This didn't cost anything, for the young friend drove to our neighbourhood and we went for a long and scenic walk among trees. Our conversation was almost entirely about the puppy, and that was fine with me. The sun continued to pour down, and there was not a breath of wind. My arm didn't hurt, and I felt positively sane, if thirsty. 

Our young friend had parked near B.A.'s favourite pub, so after we said our good-byes, I led B.A. to the pub and we drank a pint and a half of ale (£6.20) in the partial shade of the pub garden. As I sipped my half-pint, I had a definite sense that, even if not all was well with the entire world, it was very well in our neighbourhood, which was a good place to be--just as good as Rome, when you get right down to it, at least on such a sunny, still Saturday. 

Sanity restored, the beer tipped me right into liberality, and so spying bicycle pumps in the window for £4.99, we got one so we could pump up the tyres on my mother's British bike. And somehow we ended up looking at a pretty house for sale (offers over £215,000) and then at the ice-cream shop for waffle cones (£5.20). 

We didn't make an offer on the house, but we did eat the waffle cones while actually sitting outside the shop instead of just walking to our next destination, and that was also very nice and sanity-enforcing. We bought some groceries (£17.15) and went home. B.A. pumped up the tyres and oiled the chain of Mum's bicycle and took it for an experimental ride. Canada is in the "Green Zone" at last, so the filial pressure on my parents to visit is huge. 

In the evening we watched a comedy full of pratfalls and devoid of Nazis and ideological anachronisms, and that too was very good for sanity. However, I then looked at The Kennel Club's webpage where I found a recent litter of Tibetan Spaniels in nearby Bo'Ness, and B.A. had to talk sense back into me.  The price of sanity may be only £14.40, but the price of buying and raising a puppy is too much. Sigh, sigh, sigh. 

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