It is often said that optimism is a failure or refusal to recognise what is. This is untrue. Optimism is the ability to look reality squarely in the eye and decide you want a second opinion.
Take this week, for example. In fact, not even the whole of this week…
It started when the flies came back. Last year, newly ensconced in my little flat, I had a plague of flies. I blamed the herd of cows at the bottom of the garden… well, you would, wouldn’t you?
I was wrong.
They appear to have hatched in the vents designed to channel fresh air into my kitchen. Through an utter lack of decency and common sense, instead of seeking the great outdoors by flying upwards, they all flew down into the kitchen instead. They will find meagre pickings, I have to say… but that is their problem. Mine is keeping the persistently friendly little blighters off my skin and my dinner. They also appear to have a penchant for coffee and see my cup as a kind of en suite swimming pool…
They are resistant to open windows, brandished weapons and lethal chemical concoctions squirted at close range.
Coffee seems to work though.
That was bad enough, but the ingress of the flies was immediately followed by the loss of the ball. This humble tennis ball is the special ball of the small dog. We saw it fall, quite gently, into the bush… just beyond the fence. There should have been no problem finding it… yet, in spite of rummaging through the thorns, no sign of it can be found. The small dog is distraught. Four days later, she still will not adopt another ball and refuses to play. She looks at me, waiting in her play stance, expecting me to magically reinstate the ball. The one she has cherished, groomed and cosseted for well over a year. When I fail to make it reappear, she sighs and walks away, the very image of misery and accusation.
Meanwhile, the doctor who has been assiduously collating test results and ordering yet more, has given me not one, but three possible diagnoses. A bit like buses… there is never one when you need one, then three come along at once. Unlike buses though, I seem to have little choice in which one I go with, especially as all three may yet be correct. And I don’t like the sound of any of them, thank you very much! A simple, ‘you’re allergic to Mondays’ would have been nice, but no, he had to get technical…
Then this morning, as if the week wasn’t already bad enough, the PC blew up. Bang, flash, smoke…the whole kit and caboodle. In spite of my best efforts with a screwdriver, a pair of rubber soled shoes and a pack of fuses, it remains stubbornly defunct, holding my files, programmes, research, manuscripts and photographs to ransom. And that was before I…or the flies…had managed my coffee!
As a bonus, my son’s cat has been leaving dismembered wildlife around the house for me to clean up all week and one of my fish seems to have become a cannibal.
There is no questioning my acceptance of reality this week.
But, I am an optimist. Even if I may have to grit my teeth sometimes as I remind myself of the fact.
If there are too many flies in my kitchen to make cooking comfortable, then not only do I not have to cook, but I have no dishes to do either…I save water and can thus feel suitably and ecologically proud of myself… and my waistline cannot help but benefit. As to the coffee… maybe I drink too much anyway.
As the small dog’s ball cannot be found then on the one hand, I do not have to throw it every two minutes and on the other, her fixated identification with that ball will inevitably be broken. Perhaps she will adopt another ball or perhaps she will accept the many instead of the one. She may learn valuable lessons, including the joys of forgiveness. And it really is too hot to be chasing balls anyway.
The doctor at least has something to work with now and any answer is better than the ruddy limbo I’ve been in for months. He may even be able to start making me feel better and frankly, that will do nicely.
As for the PC… well, I do have some of my work backed up, thank goodness… or have ways to do so. And I had not, thankfully, erased all the photos from my camera after uploading for once. Normally, I do so…and all the fabulous things we’ve still to share would have been lost.
And let’s face it, the PC has been a pain for years, crashing innumerable times a day and losing goodness-only-knows what. I’ve needed a new one for a long time and only economics have prevented its replacement. Although it will be a time-consuming and expensive problem to reinstate everything I need, the benefits of a non-crashing computer will be wonderful.
In the meantime, I have the laptop even if it is so uncomfortably hard to use that I have to keep breaking off to curl up with a book. This is a terrible hardship, of course, and means I actually have to rest. Still, at least it keeps me working.
The cat is just being a cat…but thankfully, she does not live with me. The fish is probably just cleaning up after the demise of a tank-mate, which means I won’t have half a fish to fish out.
So all in all, it has been a week of silver linings… gifts I would not have seen had things not gone wrong. So I can even be grateful that they did.
That’s how optimism works and it even comes with a number of benefits for health and wellbeing, so to an optimist, even bad days can be good for you 🙂