http://www.jesusonthetube.co.uk/ for my other website about, Jesus on the Tube. With You and Your Family Too.
http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the exhibition A Graceful Death about paintings of the end of a life
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A Roller Coaster Of A Life And Yes, Full Of Stuff. But First, This Word On Hearses...
I have got behind a Hearse on many occasions, and each time I have been made late. (Not as Late as the Deceased in the Hearse you say). The Hearse has pulled out into the traffic and it travels slowly, very slowly, to wherever it is going. In the back, in full view, is the Coffin and the Flowers. The Hearse is very black and shiny and is unmistakably custom built for coffins. It cannot double up as a taxi, or a family car, or even a removals vehicle. It is without a doubt, for Deads.
What I thought today, as I pulled off the motorway after a long journey and onto the last stretch of my journey, was Oh No, A Blinking Hearse. Goddammit I Am Going To Be Late. ( But not as Late as the etc etc etc). Why do Hearses have to go slow? A mark of respect for the Dead? But the deceased in the coffin is having Tea with Jesus and would say, if they could, "Bit late now, my hearties." The Coffin Occupant is probably unconcerned at all levels about what is happening after death, and would not bat a celestial eyelid if the Hearse broke the sound barrier on the way to the funeral.
We however, the motorists, miss the point entirely, of the slow procession to the Whatever. We just say Goodness, I Hope That Blasted Hearse Either Steps On It Or Turns Left ASAP. We line up in a long and cross traffic jam, trying to remember that this is a sombre occaision and that Hearses are Allowed to do this, but really thinking that when we die, we are going to be transported in a Ferrari at Top Speed to the Whatever.
I know we are meant to reflect on the seriousness of death, as we trail along the busy London road behind the Definately Not Anything Else But A Hearse With A Real Dead In It. It is meant to make us take stock. You Too, says the Hearse, Will Come To This. (Not us, we motorists say. We are going to be shot from a cannon to our funerals and not snarl up the traffic). I don't see the person arriving late for a meeting and saying "Gosh, chaps, Life is Brief and let us all ponder on our Mortality. I have been behind a Hearse and Blow Me Down, What is Life, if not a Candle In the Wind?" The meeting will not say, as one voice, "We are Humbled. Have a Promotion." It is much more likely that the person late for the Meeting rushes in hot and flustered and says "SorryIamlateIgotbehindahearseanditdidn'tturnrightorleftandamItoolate?" The Meeting would more likely say "Days, weeks, months of preparation ruined by your tardiness! We must call Head Office".
So the knock on effect of Hearses going slowly is
It makes everyone cross
It makes everyone late (but not as late as the etc etc etc)
the Deceased couldn't care less (having tea with Jesus etc)
It makes people irrational about their own funeral choices in the future (cannons, Ferraris etc)
And a solution could be, if the Hearse really really wanted to go slowly
To go at about midnight when there is not much traffic and it looks even spookier in the moonlight.
On now to the Roller Coaster part of this account.
I have a new commission I went to discuss today. Fab. Work. Lovely lady wants to be painted twice, and I can do that. My dear American friends took me out to lunch and I am as always, delighted with their company. They have 4 paintings and I suggested they have 5. They suggested I go and stay in Arizona with them and I said It's A Deal so I am going to Arizona.
Next week I start a project at a hospice near here with the deeply thoughtful and talented Artist in Residence. It will be to celebrate their new building and I am delighted.
A Dear Friend here is taking me out to lunch to cheer me up. I have never seen his house so he said I could see it first and I think that in itself is an honour as Dear Friend is Terribly Private. I will probably be allowed to look through the letter box before having to get in the car and go off to Lunch.
My three brothers are taking me to the highest Highlands in October for a few days to celebrate my birthday. And I am having a Barn Dance, at the end of Summer, so I will have two celebrations. I am, of course, open to any number of celebrations so if you want to take me somewhere the answer is probably Yes.
And of course, A Graceful Death will go to Oxford next month, and the Glorious Clarissa and I will go and just See What Happens. And the exhibition will go to Dublin and maybe Manchester, Birmingham and Yorkshire. I wonder if I should take it Arizona?
So. If you are a hearse driver, make a difference. Put your foot on the gas and make history. Do a Ton from the Funeral Home to the Church/Crematorium, and go down in the Guiness Book of Records.
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