It had all the ingredients of some kind of coup d'état. What began with an 8:30 AM jaunt to the labour exchange - "wash n' go", the knives safely locked away for sharpening - saw me madly waving in the coordinates for an air strike less than one hour later.
Cellphone in hand. Leaning out over the geraniums on our balcony.
There was no rumbling approach of tanks. No three-wheeled baby carriages, even.
While insurgents were busy strafing Gaddafi's compound with heavy calibre machine guns mounted in flatbed trucks, an old friend of mine had lost her bearings.
"What's that ? " I screamed into the phone. "Just follow the road straight on down. No, no. Right, I said. Turn right."
My wife left the baby with me to go and intercept my friend and her four-year-old daughter. Needless to say, they missed each other by a couple of streets.
I windmilled my arms and paced back and forth like Fidel on his mountain in 1957. I lit a cigarette. It has been years since I have been close to a good cigar.
Fidel might have been dribbling a basketball, still, in baseball shoes.
We met up. We drank some coffee and ventured back out to collect my friend's five-year-old from school. He has just completed his first week there; my older son, his first out of the primaries. One through seven. Not an election in sight.
On the way there, her daughter stumbled and split her knee. The blood was streaming into her shoes. She did not cry. She is made of sterner stuff.
Her five-year-old was immensely affable. Dispensing observations on the nature of the duckbill platypus. And snakes. The hooded cobra, to be precise.
His sister imprisoned Milo in a chalk circle. Fitted dancing shoes on his little sockless feet.
We made our way home in the middle of the afternoon. Stopped off at the supermarket for groceries. The leaves on the trees have not begun to redden quite yet, but it is coming all the same. We turned the corner and caught up with our three older children, in time to redistribute the weight.
The key had scarcely turned in the lock when my stepdaughter stepped on the mail. Airmail, at that. Incremental Decrepitude. #1.
All the way from Connecticut.
Well. It's author, Dave Brushback, claims to have borrowed the title from one of my posts. I don't know. I'm immensely flattered, of course. I'm astounded that he managed to turn it around.
It has been a while since I've fallen back from the monitor into hard copy. The issue of obsession. Photographs; copy; the works.
"This issue was made entirely by hand.
Which is why you probably didn't get one."
The digital revolution has been something of a godsend to all manner of peons, the world around, on and off the bleachers. One base on an overthrow. The elimination of the need for camera ready artwork. Paste-up. The prerequisite to get to grips with paper; to wrestle with pagination.
A staple through one's index finger.
Newspaper is all but finished. News International, PLC. It strikes me, though, that should it all come down - incrementally, all at once - the digital paragraph will be the first to fail. SMS; ADSL.
Just goes to show. Don't throw your hat in the air next time those NATO jets scroll by. Or raise a clenched copper fist. How does one know if the postman knocks a third time, if nobody's home to hear it ?
GET YOUR COPY HERE.