The Prisoner

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061287/

This page written circa 24 July, 2011.

It seems traditional for me to pen words of reflection when the family leaves me alone for a few days. The last few times (Sinister Dexter, Of Summer, Of Love, From Darkness, Light) shared a common theme---sorting domestic operations and enjoying cocktails and the reflection time---and this is similar, if easier. The "great pistons" of the bachelor machine kicked quickly into life.

The major reflection is that there are too many life forms for which the tenant of Bywater Grange---me this fortnight---is responsible. I learnt before I left college that responsibility, especially the unshelvable responsibility of animals, was to be strenuously avoided in the interest of a happy life. Sheep are not so bad, they take care of themselves for days on end bar some food supplement in the heart of winter. Annoyingly I have to be here in daylight, tricky on work days and when the days are this short. The worst is the parrot. Not allowed out of his cage to prevent him shitting on carpet and table cloth, he squarks incessantly, throws me looks of disdain (which I can now interpret thanks to Kay learning fluent parrotish) and tries to bite me when I feed him. I spend most of my time in the tower end of the grange. I reflect miserably on that moment---seared into my memory---when I grudgingly agreed with Kay to Edwin's request for a parrot, forgetting the irreversibility of such a trial, and upon our weakness in taking care of the arrogant, brainless animal. What I desperately want for Christmas is an antiparrot. I will not stick this out too much longer, even if eventually I have to encourage $400 to simply fly away.

In Sydney, Edwin has tired of the trip after his weekend with Robert, which ought to surprise nobody but Edwin. This is indicative of the fact that Edwin has yet to acquire the ability to weigh up the value against the cost of something in the future. Money burns a hole in his pocket quickly and conspicuously. In similar news, Kay has managed to join Costco despite there not being a Costco anywhere in NZ. This must be indicative of something. It is a delight to find that Costco has come to Sydney, by the way, they should give the encumbents a right kicking. It is our kind of store. To Merinda it has been a welcome chance to shop for clothes. Merinda seems to be the happiest of the travellers.

I am substantially in touch with Kay and the kids through SMS to Merinda's phone, Kay carries no connectivity, despite having a Facebook presence I imagine consumes some time each day. I feel no urge to be on Facebook. I think this is largely because, being a motivated kind of person, I managed to keep in touch via letters, then email in the 1990s, this web page since 1998, lately Skype or copper (now it is 1.9c/minute compared to $1.90/minute in the late 1980s). The last issue of Spectrum that I read revolved around social networking. Facebook (and friends) lower the potential barrier, though they do not increase the effective number of your friends of any given level of reciprocity, epitomised by the Dunbar number, meaning that anyone can now do what wealthy jetsetters of the 1960--1970s and conscientious techies in the 1980--1990s alone could do: Maintain relationships over long distance.

Freed to live around the world on one hand, I am stuck looking after a few lousy animals, a kind of prisoner, on the other. Dang, how did that happen again?

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