What does the expression ‘blue skies’ conjure up for you? For me, it triggers two thoughts.
First it is redolent of bollock-speak, the business language of today. Blue sky thinking. Like brainstorming before it. Business jargon. I shouldn’t really criticize or I risk the accusation of hypocrisy. After all I spent years as a lawyer, obfuscating for money. Happily by the time I joined the profession we were no longer paid by the word – instead it was the insidious timesheet that limited and constrained our lives. Enough. There were few of these expressions that I liked hearing; they were the fingers down the blackboard of the world of work – like split infinitives to a grammarian. A couple raised a smile or two – when an American client, hassling for an answer in one meeting, exhorted his opposite number to ‘shit or get off the can’ I though he had a point. But such glimmers were few and far between.
Second, it brings out the homeboy in me. I’ve lived my life based in southern England. I’ve travelled widely, thirty countries and more and up and down and in and out of our still intact Union. I’ve enjoyed indulging all five senses on the exotic and the inhospitable. But I always want to come home. The water tastes right as does the chocolate and baked beans. Only in Sri Lanka have I found a tea to match English. Driving on the right is the stuff of zombie movies – you feel as if a body part might come off at any moment. Seeing a policemen with a gun (and I know we are losing this by stealth here in the UK) does not increase my sense of security. I like it that we tend to moan and not militarize (at least within our own borders – I hate it when we decide some patch of sand is deserving of our ordnance). And it is this last point that brings me to blue skies, which we often see over deserts. We rarely have them in the UK. Sure there’s blue up there, but also white and black and, for some sunsets and sunrises every conceivable colour (depending on the atmosphere’s pollutant of choice that day). And if the Eskimos have an infinite number of words for snow (as I have heard) we should do they same for grey skies given they are pretty much the default option. But we rarely get all blue. All white (well that sort of white that suggests a well boiled handkerchief) for sure, especially in February (apart from it being the month of the Vet’s birth, please tell me what is the point of February? It provides few benefit that I can see). Anyway I like mixed skies; I abhor monochrome. My mother, in one of her snobby phases, once corrected me and said, ‘No darling, we in Britain have ‘weather’ – ‘climate’ is for the others’ – I well understood she meant the rest of the world (she was a believer that ‘foreign’ started at Calais). I don’t want all blue or all one of anything. I want variety, shades of grey. I like the sun for a bit but I like it when it buggers off too. So I’m not big on blue skies.
Which, circuitously brings us to this week’s prompt from Charli Mills
September 24, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) include a story where “blue skies won’t wait for you.” What is your character waiting for? Is it too late or does the impulse come in time? Maybe blue skies are a calling. Try not to think to deeply, and do a quick free-write. Invite your unconscious mind to the page and see what it makes of the phrase.
‘We’ll be in the car.’ Paul and Penny, husband and daughter walked outside.
Mary closed her eyes, imagining a life without folds and shadows. Without lawyers and email and unwanted relations. She picked up her coat. Scotland and a break. A chance to stop thinking, to let in some light.
Penny waved hard, almost as if the draught would pull Mary over. Paul pointed up. ‘The blue skies won’t wait forever.’
Mary slammed the front door. ‘Blue skies?’ She smiled. ‘We’re going to Scotland, not the Seychelles.’
‘It’s not the location. The blue sky is in your smile, love.’
This is a continuation of Mary’s story. If you want to read the rest, all in 99 word flash pieces prompted by Charli, click here.