My ideal . . . era


I was in my room the other day laughing with friends, eating pretty food, playing with my kids and working on a fun and fulfilling project as I sat sipping ginger tea and listening to the rain tapping on the roof. Then I realised I wasn’t, I was actually just online, watching other people doing that - trawling through their social media until my eyes were dry and the space where my soul had been was completely emptied of all goodness and filled back up with jittery envy. So, I decided instead to imagine the ideal era in which to live.

My criteria for an ideal era are to live safely and happily for as long as possible, with some treats, in a fair (I don’t mean white and if you thought I did you should check yourself) society.

In school, I learned about the dangers of life in the Stone Age. The people – bearded, sturdy and sugar-free though they were, didn’t live very long. They got snapped up by dinosaurs and crushed under the boulder–wheels of farm machinery. They did have a laugh when they could – scrawling joke drawings on the walls of their caves all day and spending their nights making rudimentary whoopee cushions out of inflatable warthog bladders. They had a simple diet of meat, or, if they were vegetarian, moss, patted into the shape of meat. No wonder they were surly and monosyllabic.

Decades later, the Medieval Era was not much better in the fun stakes. There was not much prettiness back then, not a lot of blessed distraction, all was gloom. Even little babies wore hooded capes and behaved like creeps. Everyone was fighting – naughty barbarians bopped poor old monks on the head as they tried to study and, the origin of the “blondes have more fun” idea emerged when Vikings took everything nice. It is sobering to read some of the text messages people sent each other in those days.

“hi u comin 2 psaltery fest ?”

“na I’m covered in boils size of eggs”

“uh-oh bye x”

Of course, part of me would like to have been around in the time when Colin Firth played Mr Darcy and everyone sat around eating mainly gelatine and worrying about social etiquette, because those are my hobbies. Just today I spent the late afternoon sitting on a windowsill, twirling my ringlets and fretting about an upcoming ball and how to attract the gentlemen there without resorting to “dancing up on them”.

It was not a perfect era though, that one I know about from the BBC, because women weren’t autonomous - we couldn’t even be in girl groups, and that sounds awful.

The ideal era could well be in the future, with healthy candyfloss and no war. But you know something guys? Right here and now, from where I sit, is terrific. I laugh with friends, eat pretty food, play with my kids and work on a fun and fulfilling … oh. Oh, no.

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