Mary sat by the window ,which she had meant to clean, reading Windows 8.1.The Missing Manual.The one great advantage of this new Windows system was that it seemed one no longer needed to instal anti-virus programmes.So much time is taken up by looking after older versions that Mary was not surprised that Chromebooks were now very popular.Yet even so,she enjoyed learning new skills and it’s not as if they are like the theory of quantum physics or even studying nonlinear algebra and baking cakes.
Stan her husband had taken Emile ,their naughty cat for a spin on his old sports bike which he still used when the feeling came over him and as they were only a mile from the edge of the mysterious town of Knittingham they were soon cycling through a deep green, quiet forest where Kings once hunted deer and no doubt chased women… or was it “hunted chaste women”?
Mary had decided to stay at home as she was expecting a new vacuum cleaner to arrive.She kept one eye on her book and the other on her neighbour Rick who was very handsome despite being 113 years old.He was hanging his washing on his large front hedge which was unusual in winter.Most of the people in the road had tumble dryers or heated rails.Some even hung their washing outside on lines to let the blustery winter air dry it and kill the germs which might survive in a low temperature machine wash
Maybe I should do some washing ,Mary thought.How about I do my annual sheet changing.I made a big mistake deciding it was to be in the winter,but,alas it is hard to change a routine.Am I a cyborg,she thought nervously,licking her lips till they were damp and red.
Maybe I should clean the kitchen floor too,she thought as she drew an elongated ellipse with some mud that had fallen of Stan’s shoes as he passed by.She looked down pensively at the pattern the mud had made on the lino.I wonder if I can predict our fortune by studying this pattern deeply,she wondered.Some people do it from the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup,so why not from mud.There seemed no logical reason why mud splatters should be worse than tea leaves.It is simply a pattern through which the Unconscious can send a message to us.
Why it could not speak in ordinary language nobody knew and nobody ever will.Not all questions have answers.How strangely dull life would be if that were so.Don’t you agree?I don’t.Not always
.Mary had just seen a short story relating a dream a woman had that she had fallen in love with a strong healthy hippopotamus and taken it home.Unfortunately when they went to bed the weight of the animal had made the solid oak bed collapse onto the purple and orange carpet.Unable to give up her love,she had spent the rest of her life trying to build a new bed out of sawdust.It seemed not unlike the labours of Hercules in a new form
Mary was sceptical.I can’t believe a woman could love a hippopotamus,even in a dream,she murmured.But even if it was not a dream but a conscious invention,what did that say about the person writing it?That she always fell in love with men who were too heavy for her and who pulled her down onto the carpet to make love whenever they felt the urge regardless of whether she was as flat as a pancake or even dead
A lion,yes, Mary mused,but never a hippopotamus.I mean,they have no expressions on their faces and could they drink tea in bed and chat?Unlikely.Still, other people’s dreams are a mystery.Even our own are but we can sometimes take the hint.
Suddenly she heard the doorbell ring.Who could it be now?
Alas it was only a Mormon trying to convert her which was no good as Catholics can’t be Mormons as well.They are what one might call mutually exclusive groups.As I have no wish to teach algebra I shall stop here.However if that disappoints you,why not read
“A survey of modern algebra ” by Birkhoff and MacLane.I did and see what has happened to me!
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