Sometimes I do things so stupid and idiotic that I need new words for stupid and idiotic.
I think that words matter, so I try to say to myself ‘You did something idiotic’ rather than ‘You are an idiot’. But sometimes I am an idiot, and so it was this morning.
The folly usually arises from excitement. That is my Achilles’ heel. When I am excited about something, I forget everyone else. I bang on and wave my arms about and don’t pay attention to the things I should pay attention to. This is when disaster strikes. Then I feel like forty kinds of fool and going into a mad cringe of abasement and apology and remorse. I lash myself for my obtuseness, and have a twisted kind of esprit d’escalier. Why did I not think? Why did I not contain myself and think of others and act like a responsible adult?
Then, because of course I cannot let the thing be the thing, I have to parse it. My own feelings are not the point, I tell myself. When you do something stupid and wrong, you must think about the other person, and the repercussions, not your own sentiments of regret and angst. This is not my drama – look at me, feeling bad. The feeling bad has no utility. It does not undo the thing which should not have been done.
I think quite a lot about being wrong and how one should work to get good at it. On paper, my answer is lovely and clear. Admit the mistake, apologise for it, make no excuses, put right anything that can be put right, learn from it, and MOVE ON.
In life, it is not quite so easy. The on paper answer is good and true, but I’m still struggling a little to apply it. I’m not quite moving on. I would like to be more thoughtful, more steady, less impulsive. Not every damn thing is about me. Not everyone finds the things which I find so thrilling as delirious as I do.
That’s my plan for next week. To grow up. It’s a good plan. I’ll let you know how it goes.
In other, happier news, I have a new thoroughbred mare. I said to someone this morning: ‘I got a thoroughbred mare because I love nothing in the world more than a thoroughbred mare.’ The person looked at me and said, dry as a bone, ‘Yes, I think we’ve got that.’
She was a sprinter and then a top polo pony. She had to retire, and she has come to me to live a gentle life in Scotland. She is exceptionally beautiful, very kind, and unbelievably clever. I taught her some new things this morning which I thought would take a week to get right. She understood them in twenty minutes. I looked at her in awe and wonder.
The other life lesson, I think, as I type all this, is not to let the bad thing ruin the good thing. I always wonder why the bad is so often more powerful than the good. I think of it in quite bathetic ways – a bad smell always conquers a sweet scent, a mess is always much easier to create than order and tidiness. This morning, I did one really stupid thing, and one absolutely brilliant thing. I toot my own trumpet in a most un-British way, but let’s have the word with no bark on it: I worked that mare well. All the things I have learnt from my dear red mare, my finest professor, paid off, in spades. I have to look the wrong thing in the whites of its eyes, and get its measure, but I must not let it cloud the memory of that first day of work with my clever, gentle new girl. It’s a precious moment, and I want it to shine.
It’s good old life: there are good bits, and there are bad bits, and there are all the spaces in between. I suspect the secret to being an adult human is learning not to let the wrong parts bring you too low, and not to let the right parts take you too high. Balance in all things. Or something like that.
The enchanting new mare. Although in the past I have, for some goofy reasons of privacy, given even the animals blog names, I really think there is no need for that now. Besides, she has a really good name. Her name is Scout. I’m not sure if it is in homage to To Kill a Mockingbird, but I’d like to think so:
The red mare, watching her new companion. She found the whole thing very exciting. They did live together in the south, in a big polo herd, but I can’t really tell whether they remember each other. After some initial hooleying about, they have settled very quickly, so perhaps there is a memory:
The first greeting:
Stan the Man was delighted by the whole business and ran around like a wild thing, elegantly ignored by the horses:
The road home on Tuesday:
A bit of autumn colour for you, from the garden:
And one more red mare, because I can’t resist. She was particularly adorable this morning, not minding at all that I spent all my time with the new mare. She went off and did her own thing and then came over to spend some time with me, giving me her head so I could scratch her sweet spots, a kind and dozy expression on her face, as if to say ‘I am still your best girl’. Which she is, because she taught me everything I know and I’ll never stop being grateful to her: