I don't want to be a brick in a wall. All bricks look the same and they are cemented into place, kept in rigid order. And walls divide. And life is like banging your head...

What is real?

I told Deb ( my wife), about my blog. I left for the pub as she was finding it. Strangely, I don't mind the planet seeing it, but I feel uncomfortable being in the room while my soul mate reads it,

When I got back there was a note on the desk:


I will need to leave @ 8 am at latest so I need help with sarnis etc
- your blog is good but bit sad - it sounds like our life is awful - its good really int it? cant help thinking we should just be happy with this why isnt it ok?
Great Friends, lovely children -ok-ish house??
Is it responsible to take them out of school - we are almost 40 - shouldnt we just be sensible for once??? Dx

If I have great friends, lovely children etc, why am I unsatisfied?

I like patterns. I like to know where things are. Art, science, history, literature, they are all about pattern making. The world is understood as a set of patterns. When we make patterns, we make meaning.

I play a game. I taught some friends how to play it. I'll tell you and maybe you'll play it. It's about pattern spotting.

The Game starts with number plates. The plates on the front of a car that identify where and when it was made (if you know the code that is), and links the car with its owner. In Britain, number plates were like this when I was young - ABC 123D. The pattern was; letter, letter letter, number, number, number, letter. All number plates followed this pattern - 3 letters, numbers, letter.

Then, we ran out of combinations. Like the millenium bug thing. A British children's TV programme, Blue Peter, ran a competiton to come up with a new pattern. It looked like this: D123 ABC. The D at the front shows when the car was registered. (Stick with me, it gets better).

Once again, we ran out of combinations, but this time a new system was introduced. (I think that adults came up with this one.) The new system is complicated and makes my game hard because it doesn't use 3 digits. It goes; letter, letter, number, number, letter, letter, letter.

The game is looking for each number in order. 1, 2, 3...999. Simple? Each plate has a 1, 2 or 3 digit number on it, so start at 1. The plate ABC 123D, is the 123rd number. It sounds easy, but I've played this game for nearly 2 years, and I am on 240.

239 is parked at the end of my road. I spotted it several weeks ago. I knew I would use it soon. I live on a cul - de - sac, and as I appraoched 239, the journey to the end of the road became more exciting. I knew it was there, waiting for me.

Sometimes when I pass a car, I realise I know where it lives. I don't know anything about the owners, but I know that, for example 208 - a Saab convertible - belongs to a dentist. Number 32 - a Rover - lives on Nottingham Road.

I am always looking for the next numbers, and I make a mental note of upcoming numbers.

Is this weird?

I do love the patterns. But what I really like is spotting the patterns. I don't like sticking to patterns. I don't like patterns when they become routines. A routine is a pattern that I can't make any meaning out of. Starter; Introduction; Development; Plenary... that's a routine and I don't like it ( see my last blog). Patterns are metaphors, they mean something that is more than the sum of the component parts. They have depth. Routines are cliches. Overused, they have lost their meaning.

Life becomes routine if you're not careful. If I follow the pattern, overuse the metaphor, I know how it will turn out. This isn't living. If you buy dress material and follow the pattern, you make a dress that looks the same as everyone else's dress. But did you stop to think that you have enough material to make a kite if you just ignore the pattern?

School, work, life = routine. I'm looking for a new pattern to life. So is Deb. That's why we aren't happy, despite the fact we have all the "happy stuff".

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