I am growing to like my new word, much as it describes an unwanted emotion; it is one of those few words that sets out to describe two things at once, and like its close cousin hubris, once adopted will seldom be used correctly. It is perhaps because this was how I first learnt it, but I’ve always tried to stay loyal to a particular definition of hubris: excessive pride, leading to a fall. It needs both conditions to be met before it can be used, and as a consequence should be heard far less than it currently is. Much like mine, which I have abbreviated to donphthonus: it means to feel excessively superior whilst experiencing a sensation of crushing inferiority AT THE SAME TIME. Why? Because I said so, that’s why, and I made it up.
I have recently experienced another dual sensation, this time welcome, and for which there is bound to be a good word for it already in circulation. It is that of noticing two different but complementary smells at the same time. In my case that of a pine forest with the interior of a caravan. For I am a new owner of a Thomson Glenvale two berth. The staycation put paid to my original idea of passing the summer on a great British seaside holiday camp, but I say that Honeypot Farm Camp and Caravan Park, is the next best thing. More of a leisure facility than a holiday camp, it has a shower block and a camp shop, and most of the site is comprised of a single style ‘van’ set amongst fishing lakes. I am on the other side of the hedge, where there is found a variety of different vans for sale and for hire. Such is the lateness of the hour this season, I was faced with the option of no room at the inn, or the purchase of The Glenvale (many, not very careful previous owners). Despite the inequality of bargaining power, I am still content with the purchase. Come the end of the season, I’ll have mastered the art of living small, and need only add a car with tow bar to create a portfolio of flexible assets, which will bring with them a world of opportunity. I’ve called him Wemmick by the way. It is no stud farm, but the aromas of childhood holidays are very sustaining. I feared they’d evoke an anchoring nostalgia, but instead I find that they bring a great sense of now, as if by remembering always to do things that we know we like, we might achieve happiness. It makes sense when I recall mother’s husband’s distaste of all games other than those played with a ball.
Speaking of which, my recent exchange with Eggo has shown me that I am neither making enough out of my current opportunities, nor am I making enough new opportunities from them. I cannot be too hard on myself, I am relatively pleased with my resolve in facing unknown foe – the rest of the world; and to be honest I treat Dog’s Bowl, my best client, with utter disdain, and they seem to like me for it. But I have made friends with my agent Fips, instead of treating him like a slave. This is a congenital weakness caused by mother’s husband’s requirement that all genuflect before him.
I cannot say that I have not exhibited new resolve since the turn of the year, when I accidentally occasioned grievous bodily harm on Eggo. And to be fair, the proof of it is all there in that incident: he now relates to me on equal terms – best he can. I just need to extend it to all, and bring it up a level. I took the first version of new-me 2.1, into my interview with the odious Phillip Schofield, of which more, another time. Perfect laboratory conditions for an outbreak of donphthonus you might think, however, as much as I begrudged him his success, I would never want to be him.
There must be a word for that. Oh yeah, I know – happy.
Many thanks to Sherry White for the image.