Late last week little things were getting to me. Maybe it was because I had been incredibly tired and dragging myself around, or maybe because it had been a bit hot and my feet and hands were doing their seasonal swelling, which irritates me, too. At any rate, I almost broke down when my husband went to take the lawn mower out on Saturday and discovered a little pink bicycle in our shed in the back yard.
"Whose bike is this?" he called out.
"What bike?" I called back from inside the house.
"There is a pink bicycle in our shed and it looks like someone rode it who was way too big for it, and now the wheels are completely warped."
We asked our kids and none of them knew anything about it, so it appears as though someone, probably some kid that knows we have a shed in our backyard, ruined the bike and then stashed it in our shed. First of all, the fact that some little girl is now without her bike, which is ruined, bothers me, and second, the fact that someone was prowling around our house in the dead of night or when we were not at home bothers me. Thoughts as to whom was the culprit are pointless. We have no way of knowing. Any town has its teenage marauders, bored enough to cruise around at night looking for a mail box to push over or a bike to steal off a lawn and use as a BMX. I try not to take these things personally, but on Saturday, it seemed much more difficult. I was already teetering uncomfortably close to the edge of an emotional precipice.
So, what to do in a state of mind such as this? After brooding and muttering to myself for awhile: ........no respect....kids these days...feel violated...police won't do anything about it, got bigger fish to fry...not enjoying feeling like a cranky old bag...mutter, mutter.................try to enjoy a wonderful dinner and a couple of glasses of nice wine. (My husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this past weekend and so we treated ourselves, and our kids, to a nice dinner at home.) And after dinner and cleanup, go for a good walk with my husband to hash out my feelings on the matter without the 'little pitchers with big ears' around to absorb my negativity. Then, once back home, sit down with the older members of the family to watch an episode of Midsomer Murders, a show with a warm, fatherly detective named Barnaby and his endearing young sidekick, Jones (Barnaby's had a few sidekicks, but Jones is my favourite). Not very cheerful subject matter, some may think, but I disagree. There is nothing like a good murder mystery to calm me down.
I've been a fan of murder mysteries for quite some time. I especially like the British ones like Inspector Morse, which I watched regularly with my parents when I was still living at home, Miss Marpole and the unfortunately short-lived The Last Detective. I have been on again, off again with Midsomer Murders - some of the plotlines border on the ridiculous, and if this show goes on much longer, there won't be any miserable residents of Midsomer County, England left to kill off. On Saturday night's episode, only two murders occured and one attempted murder, but in other episodes, up to five or six are often knocked off in a matter of hours. Of course, things are nicely solved and wrapped up in an hour and a half on Midsomer Murders, and therein lies its campy charm; the bad guys are always caught, after a few twists and turns of course, and sweet justice is served. I can't help wishing that real life were more like that sometimes.
The other attraction I have to murder mysteries is the reminder they give me at times when I am feeling small, vulnerable, upset by life's injustices, etc.: no matter what happens to upset my usual cheerful state, or no matter what I do to irritate those around me, I am still loved and no one (at least I hope there is no one) is trying to kill me or my loved ones. Not so for poor, beautiful Caroline Armitage, on Saturday night's episode, whose husband first drugged her, then tried to drown her for knowing too much about the crooked scheme he was involved in.
It also doesn't hurt that these murder mysteries are often filmed in gorgeous locations surrounded by stunning architecture ie. Oxford - the home of Inspector Morse, and I heard on a documentary that Americans especially, like their murders with a beautiful backdrop. I can relate. I certainly don't mean to romanticise murder - God forbid - but I do like a good puzzle and intelligently crafted, brilliant, humourous characters to solve them.
Saturday night, after the show, I went to bed and slept well, better than I had in days. Barnaby and Jones had done their good work, and after the culprits were charged, Barnaby even arrived in time to see his wife's choir finally win the Midsomer Choir Competition, which was held in a gorgeous, ancient church made of grey stone and filled with glorious stained glass windows - 'all's well that ends well,' as my mother used to say. In the morning I went for a long run in the not-yet-hot sunshine to work off the calories of the night before and to clear out the remaining cobwebs of my mind, and as the day progressed I began to feel more like my old self.
And today? It's raining. Yes! (I'm not sure if I'll be that cheerful after a few days of it, though.)