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Day 92 (17 June): Normal by Neil

Not Normal I'm off to a late start.

I went for a walk with a friend today. The plan was to go to the countryside, so I dressed like an explorer; instead we finished up driving to the town of Hasselt, a strange decision which involved three hours of driving for a thirty minute stroll round the town and a lunch. At least I was in good company and dressed for crocodile evasion should it have been necessary.

Which brings me to the nutter. You know the kind of person I mean. The old guy who on an otherwise empty bus sits down next to you and offers to share a half-eaten sandwich while explaining how the French Foreign Legion grew out of the Cub Scout movement .

With a terrace full of people to choose from the local nutter picked me. He white-knuckle gripped his walker and made for me like an Exocet missile.

‘Is that your dog?’

And this on the slender evidence of a bright red leash leading from Alfie’s neck to my wrist.

Resisting the urge to reply ‘What dog?’ I replied with a polite and precise ‘Yes it is my dog. This dog is my dog. The dog is mine.’

To which, and I have to give him credit here, he replied:

‘I do so like dogs and elephants.’

The old Neil would have been tempted to tell him that if he were to hurry up he could catch the elephant that just went past on its way to Ikea.

The new Neil, again politely and with precision, merely acknowledged this statement with an understanding nod and the comment

'Not too many elephants in the streets of Hasselt these days. Well, not the Indian variety'.

I had gone too far.

The loon looked at me sadly and said

“They are not in the streets. They are in the zoo”.

On the basis of my clear naivety in the pachyderm department he decided that I needed his insight and guidance on this and other issues and he droned on inanely and incessantly until I could stand it no more and asked him to hold my colostomy bag while I took my COVID pills.

If he wants to bore people he should write a blog.

Not normal either

I had another revelation today. My revelations are always very obvious to anybody who is not Neil.

Looking at my behaviour I realised that, unlike most people who begin a relationship at the letter A and work their way through the alphabet progressively, I have a tendency to begin at the letter M. Or Y.

Most people would seem to start dating by having fun. They see how much they like each other, they do fun things, they become lovers, they have weekends away and it all stays fairly light, upbeat and uncommitted for some time. Only gradually do normal people start deepening their relationships.

Not so Neil. On present form my style would appear to be:

‘Hello! I’m Neil. You are so lovely. Should we buy a gas furnace or is that too polluting? Do you prefer curtains or blinds?’

On the plus side I can roll with both curtains and blinds.

So this is another lesson to integrate into the new Neil. Do not frighten the object of your desire. Go gradually. Do not overwhelm. She will let you know about the curtains in her own good time.

'Normal' by Neil

I'm thinking of writing a self-help book. All I have to do is take a ten sheets of A4 paper, one for each chapter, and draw a line from top to bottom down the middle of each page.

The recipe is simple; whatever the topic (sex, seduction, home heating...) I will bullet list my natural gut instinct advice in the left hand column and then write the opposite advice in the right hand column.

I will publish the book on the basis of the content of the right hand columns.

This might or might not work, but it does not really matter. The foreign language versions will all be published on the basis of the contents of the left hand columns.

One of the versions should work, and either way I will have sold both versions, thus making enough money to buy both furnace and curtains for my Dulcinae.

Have a lovely evening everybody!



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