Friday, 18 November 2016

On Black Dogs and Weddings.

My old dark time companion, the black dog, has begun walking at my heel again. He usually appears some time in November and rarely leaves my side before February.

November to February tends to be an awkward time for me. I go into an awkward frame of mind, possibly because a lot of the most difficult episodes of my life happened between November and February. Some even spanned the whole period. An odd coincidence, but true.

I was born in November and I got married in November. Not that they were the worst things that ever happened, of course, but getting married was a bit of a mistake (or part of the learning process, which I suppose is pretty much the same thing) and it might possibly be argued that being born was the worst thing of all. But I won’t try to argue it, not right now at any rate.

Tonight’s episode of Sherlock was set mostly at a wedding, and the reasons he gave for hating such events (during his brilliant best man speech) were just about exactly what I would have said if only I’d been capable of the same degree of eloquence. It also reminded me of the fact that nobody ever asked me to be his best man because I was never anybody’s best friend. (I thought I was one person’s best friend once, but he emigrated to Australia without even telling me he was going, so I suppose that was another useful bit of the learning process.) And it gave me the clue as to one very good reason why I was never the marrying kid:

Bridesmaids. I’m the sort who would spend the whole of his wedding day wanting to cultivate the acquaintance of the bridesmaids, and you’re not supposed to do that, are you? It just so happened that my wedding was a very low key affair at a registry office with only seven others in attendance (including a baby) and the only person passing as a bridesmaid was my wife’s sister who wasn’t my type. If she had been, things might have been different. My wife and I could have got divorced straight away and the poor woman would have been spared the 6½ arduous years of living with me.

But there’s an even bigger reason why I’m not the marrying kind: I don’t join things. When people get married they don’t just enter a cosy little arm-in-arm association which involves calling each other Mr and Mrs and wearing the same colour sweater, they create a mind-melded third entity and join it. That’s the most intimate of all forms of joining, and when you’re not the joining sort…

And there are other reasons which are deep and subtle and complex and psychological and which I decline to go into.

At the end of tonight’s episode Sherlock walked away from the wedding alone while everybody else engaged with the tradition of socialising and carousing. ‘And there,’ I thought, ‘go I.’ Only he didn’t have a black dog at his heels, so maybe it wasn’t November.

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