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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Refusing to be stoic

When I started work in the USA (1966) I was paid the same as a first-year secretary. Seemed like millions - four times my pay in London. Renting a flat (centrally heated!) cost less in real terms, as did booze, cars, and white goods.

My employer moved from Pittsburgh to Philly and VR complained the humidity was making life unbearable. I worked in an air-conditioned office so pooh-poohed this. Within two days of holiday I bought an AC. Stuck it through a downstairs window, plugged it in, and lo! - coolth.

Later we moved back to Pittsburgh and I had to modify a window to install the AC. The landlord agreed. Pausing on the stairs ensured a curious sensation: legs and derrière in the coolth, head and trunk in the warmth. In the bedrooms we had huge fans.

We re-emigrated in 1972 (Brits have a bad tendency to do this in the US) and I sold the AC to a man who wanted to cultivate mushrooms.

Years ago we had a hot summer here and I bought a free-standing AC which cost a fortune. Used with a free-standing fan it just about cooled the downstairs. Since then it has lain idle. Serves me right, you all say. End of story

WIP Second Hand (38,342 words)

(Moses Balogun said) "I set my sights higher. Features for the nationals, then the weeklies. Economics to begin with, then African politics, then whatever I chose. In the year and a half left at LSE I had about sixty articles published. However I have to confess:  I wasn’t selling my writing style, rather my sources..."

3 comments:

Joe Hyam said...

Sometimes young people respond to something I say or do with the single word "cool". I am always flattered. Now I can link the adjective to the quality coolth and hope that I possess at least a smidgen of it.

Sir Hugh said...

From Wikipedia: "..Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions...". So I presume you will end up destroying the a.c. machine though lack of self control?

Not sure if your photo is boasting about your a.c. machine, Welsh dresser, globe, or the painting.

Roderick Robinson said...

Joe: Some Americans, influenced by the imperative of "width", are led into the educational blind alley of "heighth". To most people that sounds like an unconscious error. The great thing about "coolth" is that it has its own sinuous attractions and no one thinks it's a mistake. An in-joke's in-joke.

Sir Hugh: I think that definition applies to the philosophical form of stoicism. Take a step down and we have it in its less exotic form: an ability to bear pain, discomfort, insults, etc, without succumbing. Right at the bottom of this list of afflictions we have unprotesting resistance to humidity. You may think you have it but a week spent in the Delaware Valley in July may prove you haven't.

The water-colour is by VR and, I think, deserves wider circulation. The rest is garnish.