It has been a month since the country which I no longer regard as home elected a clown as its prime minister. I have stopped actively listening to the daily news from the UK and only catch it accidentally between symphonies on Radio 3.
When the leadership of countries is given over to individuals who are media personalities like Trump or Johnson, their manic self-absorption demands our constant attention. There comes a point when we have to say, “Put a sock in it, pal: your drama is your problem!” Turn them off.
But there’s also a climate crisis. Have you heard? Greenland is on track to lose four hundred billion tons of ice. What are you going to do about it? I have decided I am not going to do anything about it. The numbers make me giddy. If I could go out and plant four hundred billion trees, that might be a good solution? Or maybe I’ll just have a cup of tea.
I’ll get around to planting four hundred billion trees some other time… after I’ve solved the war in the Middle East, Australia going up in smoke, the consequences of Brexit, and the growth of the extreme right in Europe.
Or is the news itself the real problem? You can choose to turn off the crisis. The head-in-the-sand image of the ostrich is the stock response to those “in denial” about the things we are told to spend our time fretting about.
I am not sure why ostriches stick their heads in the sand, but if it is a successful way of avoiding the headline news about the world reaction to the latest insane tweet by a president with a severe personality disorder, that is surely a very positive response, isn’t it?
And with your head in the sand you can avoid the latest health scare telling you that you will be ingesting several kilos of microplastics during your lifetime. It also has the added advantage that you are not ingesting anything for as long as your head is in the sand… except maybe a little sand.
Activism may be a valid response to the various crises that we constantly hear about in features of the press; but only if it makes you feel better. (Oh wait: does Greta Thunberg really look as if she feels better?) There was a slogan during the activist riots in Paris in 1968: “Be realistic: demand the impossible!” Who could doubt that the student rioters in Paris had a great time? But half a century later, you would be a fool to claim that they changed France in the slightest.
I was scandalised a month ago by the news that a third of UK young people eligible to vote, and under the age of thirty, had not taken the trouble to vote in a general election that would determine whether the country stayed in the European Union or left. “Don’t they even care that their government wants to curtail their freedom of movement!” I screamed.
But on reflection, I should consider myself a complete fool for wasting three years of my life – including the first two years of my retirement – fighting for a sensible pro-remain argument based on political and economic sense. The majority of British here in Spain adopted the ostrich position from 2016 until the present and didn’t waste any energy whatsoever on these arguments, and they probably felt much the better for it.
Should I now regret flying to London twice to take part in marches for a Peoples’ Vote? Did my carbon footprint contribute to those four hundred billion tons of ice melting into the sea? Climate scientists at the University of Alicante have told us the sea level on the beaches of the Costa Blanca will rise by two centimetres by the end of the century, and it’s all my fault.
I should feel very guilty and get depressed about that. But I won’t. I am going to have a cup of tea and then I’m going to forget about it and groom the donkeys. There’s a limit.
Update 10 a.m.
“Silly horse? I’ll give you silly horse!”
Rubí donkey has been sitting down in muck all night and is in the worst state I’ve ever seen her! Unfortunately it’s only 12 degrees out there this morning, so she can’t have a wash because she would be in danger of catching a chill. Smelly Rubí!