I was sitting in the spa – jacuzzi to you and me – at the Leisure Centre. End of a week more difficult than many. And – Scotland being as it is at this time of the year – freezing cold as well. So the jacuzzi is the place to be.
So I had a ponder about things. About 100 paces away was St John’s Kirk where John Knox preached the fiery sermons which launched the Scottish Reformation. Maybe he would have enjoyed slipping up the road for a soak and a warm up. But maybe not. And I thought about the pandas again and our tendency to anthropomorphize. Strangely, as I reflected on some of my letters and e mails this week, we like to treat pandas and polar bears as if human but do the opposite to one another – treating bears and Burmese cats as more than animal and one another as less than human. And then there was a growing awareness of space and privacy issues since I had been joined in what is a rather small jacuzzi by a lady somewhat larger than myself. I was just beginning to wonder whether my sense of my space being infringed would be less acute if it was more than one other person … when the jacuzzi stopped as it does every five minutes. She uttered a single word – what in the Watergate tapes would have been called an expletive undeleted. Amazing. John Knox would have been startled.