One of the great things about re-reading C.S. Lewis, or reading anybody, is the companionship. The author’s reflections are shared as life goes by, and sometimes those thoughts coincide with what is happening to you. With C.S. Lewis, whom I tend to re-read more than others I guess, or rather listen to in the car, because he was a good writer and a good man, I get a lot of good things.
Take Camilla Denniston who loves weather and longs to be out on a cold and stormy night in the middle of the action. Lewis makes obvious Jane Studdock’s liking of Camilla, but his own he also demonstrates in the remarks she makes. One can’t help wishing he’d taken her for a major character and had her come into her title and inheritance. I love weather and so did Lewis, but this bit somehow adds more people to it. And it is good to have one more person now that the seasonal, unimaginative and tedious grumbling about winter begins to set in.
One of the things that was happening to me last Tuesday is that I was reflecting on an episode at the dentist’s earlier. They had scheduled us for 10:30 AM and had admitted us at 11:30 AM. I’m not the kind of chap who sends stuff back at restaurants and I guess I’m still not old enough (Lewis again!) to argue about items on a bill. But having us wait an hour? I can understand having to wait, I don’t mind waiting in the dingy lobby because the waiting room is full, but one hour is a long wait. They overscheduled a bunch of cleanings. Apparently all they do Tuesday is as many cleanings as possible.
So I made sure they knew I wasn’t down with waiting an hour, and to Katrina’s satisfaction because she was there: which means it was done rightly. I expressed disapproval to all four of the people I talked to for a cleaning (yeah, why four?). There are dentists offices up and down High street all the way, and waiting an hour is not something I’ve done at a dentist’s office before, so I can switch. After the last apology they offered me, I just pointed out that it would be good for their business if I didn’t have to wait so long.
I afterward proceeded to wonder about it all day: had I been too harsh? But then in my book Dimble had this encounter with Mark Studdock where neither understand the other but Dimble is left stewing over whether he’d behaved properly, when he had. That came at the right moment that day. Dimble’s one of the good guys, I’m one of the good guys, dentists are practically the N.I.C.E. all over again, everything is fine. Precisely because it was not someone seeking to reassure me, it worked.
Good old Lewis. I love his books tremendously and wish there were far more. There are so many things right about them. He was obviously a good companion.