Making sense of life’s complications

By John Lewis

Sometimes I just want to lie down on the rug in front of the fire with my dog and eat smoked almonds.

This urgent desire often surfaces after I have waved a fond farewell to Prince Finski sprawled on his chaise longue in front of the fire and shut the front door on the way to work to find my car windscreen has become an Antarctic ice field.

This has happened twice this week, and both times I have fought the urge to walk back inside the house and curl up in front of the fire.

The only thing that stops me getting out the smoked almonds is the guilty terror that I have to earn money to pay for Prince Finski’s lifestyle otherwise he might hate me and look even further down his nose at me, as all princes with European lineage are inclined to do.

So I have been forced to reach for my wallet and select a plastic card that will handle some heavy duty scraping without too much damage.

I avoid the bank card because that has been reduced to a flimsy cellular structure from repeated use.

The toughest card is always the medical insurance card because, as far as I can remember, it has never been used and gets tougher each year along with rising premiums.

So out comes the medical insurance card and the shoulder-wrenching scrape begins.

After yesterday’s big scrape I decided to get organised and look for ways to stop the windscreen freezing overnight in the first place.

I realise that getting organised is something completely out of character for a free-wheeling beat poet, but even Alan Ginsberg had to turn up at poetry readings on time, sometimes.

One suggestion I found was to rub half a raw onion on the glass the night before.

Now this sounds simple enough, but the idea of driving to work through an onion vapor trail seemed rather crazy, if not mildly offensive.

A bit too Tony Abbott.

Similarly, a suggestion to spray vinegar or alcohol across the windscreen also seemed aromatically nasty, as well as a waste of a good Gewürztraminer.

Placing towels or a sheet across the screen the night before seems sensible, but then you have to deal with a sodden sheet or towels when you’re already late for work — again.

I could get a cover for the car — but again, that’s a lot of time to waste when you’re trying to get a coffee on the way to work and still arrive on time.

Life can be complicated.

The only real manly solution would be to get the motorcycle out.

But in winter that is for mad dogs and Englishmen and people training for Everest.

When I was a mad dog Everest trainer I rode a motorcycle to work for 10 consecutive winters through the London traffic.

I began by pouring hot water over the seat and the steering lock, then wiped it all away before sitting down and silently screaming.

Sometimes I screamed aloud because I’d read somewhere that nobody hears you scream in a full-face helmet.

Or was that space?

Anyway, that was when I was young and full of wild derring-do.

Now I’m just an old almond eater who cuddles dogs to keep warm during the endless search for simple solutions to life’s complications.

John Lewis is a senior reporter at The News.