Eric McArther’s Mysterious Diary Entries
May 1st (2003) – Mysterious Diary entry 1
I’ve never written a diary before and I only intend to write this diary for one year, as the novelty of writing a diary for longer than this will no doubt wear off.
“Why bother then?'” you may ask. Well, I can’t think of anything else to do. So perhaps this is my only reason. A very weak reason, I’ll give you that, but a reason all the same.
Today I finished lunch and found myself staring unintentionally at an ant. The ant seemed to have a purpose, as no doubt it was after the few crumbs that were laying around. However, I couldn’t figure out why it milled around in circles so much. For such an efficient little creature it did beat about the bush somewhat. Why not approach the crumb in a straight line?
I searched for a magnifying glass but could not find one. Indeed I don’t think I ever owned one, so the effort was fruitless. So I used the base of a glass to examine the little creature close up.
From that moment I felt a little saddened as the ant that appeared so curious to me suddenly became monstrous, with antennas and ugly moving parts. I dropped the glass, which smashed, and by the time I had cleared it up the ant had moved on, going about its business elsewhere.
May 2nd – Mysterious Diary entry 2
Everything in the supermarket is sealed in plastic. Quite depressing seeming that I have arthritis and can’t even hold scissors without looking like a drunk surgeon.
Old age does comes with some perks though, although none seem to come to mind.
I found myself gazing at a corner today and wondering if a corner was in fact a real thing or an imagined thing. After all, a corner is not something you can pick up or see, it’s the space created by other things. However, after sitting there staring at the corner for what seemed like an age, I then placed an empty vase in the corner, if there is such a thing as a corner, to break my obsession with it.
It is Tuesday today, so I am due for a visit by Mr. Edminton tomorrow. I thought about hiding when the door bell rings, but out of respect for him I don’t think I could do that.
I saw a badger today. I don’t think it saw me though, as I was on the bus.
May 3rd – Mysterious Diary entry 3
Of course, today is Wednesday, so I was visited by Mr. Edminton as per usual. He is an ex-headmaster and is about 10 years younger than me, although he looks and moves around as if he’s 100 years old. He has been visiting me for the last 8 or so months, always on Wednesdays, always between 11:00 and 1:00.
He seems to have latched on to me as a kind of imagined friend. He comes in, always bringing tea bags or bags of peanuts and sits down on the sofa staring blankly ahead, not really noticing me at all.
I met him near the newsagents after he’d been bitten by a small dog. I helped him as much as I could to walk him to the nearest clinic and from that moment on he has acted as if I’d saved his life. I think it’s just an excuse to make believe that he has a close friend. I’m happy to go along with this act of course, as I think that he is lonelier than me. I’ve never asked his first name and probably never will as that would seem very odd to the arrangement.
It is almost like waiting for a train sitting there with him. We drink tea, nibble on a few peanuts, sit through some awkward silent moments and then say our goodbyes as if we had had a really great time. Neither one of us feels comforted or happier of course but that’s the act and we both perform this act every Wednesday like clockwork.
I still value this dressed up, forced friendship though, as I know that if I had to be taken to hospital or had an emergency he would be there. In fact, he would be the only one there. I like Mr. Edminton, even though we have nothing in common and probably never will.
May 4th – Mysterious Diary entry 4
The lady at number 15 whose name I think is Sarah told me that the birds were happy and chirping this morning, so I should not look so glum on my short walks to the newsagents.
This stopped me in my tracks, as I wondered how this lady knew that the birds were happy. They could be saying anything! Dolphins look like they are smiling to humans, even if they are caught up in a net.
By the time I had collected my thoughts, after staring at the pavement for what must have been a good few minutes, she had gone indoors and bolted the door shut behind her.
People are always saying that I look miserable. In fact, I heard one person say ‘He looks miserable’.
I’m just acting naturally instead of going around like a demented clown with a false smile. Don’t people know that forced smiles are easy to spot? Only the mouth moves and not the hundreds of tiny muscles in the face and around the eyes. The men look like Punch and the women look like Judy coming toward me on the footpath every morning. I find it quite disturbing. Will it ever end?
May 5th – Mysterious Diary entry 5
I was most annoyed today as a security light came on just as I was walking past Abe’s Scrapyard, which startled me and made me drop the loose change I was carrying in my hand.
The coins rolled all over the place in all directions, so I had to bend over about seven times before the security dog spotted me and barked through the fence at me to boot.
This has led to me laying down with a bag of frozen peas on my lower back which now aches every time I move.
When you are lying on your back and want to keep your back straight there isn’t a lot you can do as even reading a book is impossible because you might strain your neck. So, I counted all the round objects in my bedroom to pass the time.
I got up to counting some 30+ objects before I nodded off and dreamt about Kiwi fruits going up and down an escalator.
May 6th – Mysterious Diary entry 6
I was thinking about Mr. Edminton today. Back to when our peculiar friendship was tested to the hilt and nearly broke.
It was on one of Mr. Edminton’s visits about 4 months ago. I can tell that although his memory is going he prides himself on neatness and order. In fact, I saw him looking at a set of spoons that were laid out on a shelf over the fire once. He even commented on how ordered they looked and continued to stare in awe at them for the entire short visit.
From that day on I tried to arrange other objects neatly, which pleased Mr. Edminton I suspect, as he would let out a barely audible ‘Mmm’ when they caught his eye.
However, on that fateful day Mr. Edminton came around and we sat drinking tea and eating nuts, being careful not to make any nut crunching sounds in the awkward silence, when I noticed that he had an odd sock on.
The sock was dark grey and not black. This puzzled me and I sat pondering on this odd mismatch until I noticed that Mr. Edminton had been watching me watching him.
Bearing in mind that he had never made eye contact with me until that moment and never since then, it was a rather awkward moment in which I stopped breathing for a few seconds. He then made his way out and didn’t return for another 3 weeks.
On his eventual return he bought around a bag of mixed nuts, which was his way of a peace offering and to say that I was forgiven. Mixed nuts were his form of a rare treat I’d imagine.
Nothing much went on today, apart from next door cutting their square patch of lawn that looks like a postage stamp with a plastic tacky bird bath in the centre, which no birds visit, as they have a cat called ‘Captain Incredible’ which sleeps most of the day as far as I can see, right next to the plastic eye-sore.
May 6th – Mysterious Diary entry 7
I felt a rather interesting texture today. I have a hobby for feeling textures. I find quite a treasure trove in the local area, but I had never found this one before . . .
The new texture was in the form of ‘astroturf’ and what a remarkable texture that is. I took my shoes and socks off and glided over it for quite a while.
That was until some football players started showing up and asking me what the heck I was doing. I made an excuse of course as I was having fun. I said that the astroturf had come loose and I was flattening it down.
This worked for a few minutes until one of the players who lived just up the road from me pointed out that he had seen me doing exactly the same thing on a new mini-roundabout centre hump.
People are too busy with their gadgets and gizmos in life these days to be even remotely interested in textures and colours and even nature.
I suspect that if a tree fell down upon them when they were messing around with the latest gadget it might be the first tree that they had ever really noticed.
Today is a little foggy, but I’m sure I saw ‘Captain Incredible’ taking liberties on my garden path. I shall have to clean it up immediately, although I don’t have a mop.
Mops remind me of people in the dark, with long dreadlocked hair. I don’t like it at all.
Tomorrow I will investigate the golf ball that has mysteriously appeared on my lawn. I have been watching to see if anyone will claim it through a gap in the curtains. The question is, should I pick up the golf ball or not?
By the late Erik McArther