Am I happy? I suppose I am. Probably.
In truth, I've only a vague idea of what happiness is. I know that it's pretty important; why else would we devote our lives to the pursuit of it? But is it some rapturous state of being - full on fulfillment, actualisation and all that? Or is it a more suburban, gentle experience? Mediocre, even.
I remember a French lesson (3rd Floor, Humanities Block, Longfield Comprehensive, 1988), when Mrs Hardy, all tweed skirt and sternness, was struggling to deal with her unruly class. I was sat in my usual seat, at my usual table, trying to be cool but still conforming to Mrs Hardy's wishes for me to be a good student. I was a compliant kid, you see.
No, I was a dork; A typecast nerd - good at maths, poor at ball games (though I could run like Pheidippides). My only redemption was my guitar and vocal abilities. An odd teenage paradox then; a geek in a cool band. This saved me from the true ravages of dorkedom.
Anyway, I remember Mrs Hardy loosing her temper with us all. I'd never seen her in such a fit of pique. She slammed her hand on her desk and shouted;
"I'm sick of this nonsense, why can't you all be as mature and stable as Scott?"
I could have killed her.
What aspiring rock star wants to be "mature and stable"? What dork aspires to this banality, aged fifteen?
I hated her, not because she'd embarrassed me; I hated her because everyone in the classroom knew she was right. I was dull. Stable. For fuck sake.
The maturity bit is still open for debate. I'm 34 now, and still feel like a kid. The stability bit was bang on however.
I've never been at the whim of my tempers. I'm sitting right now next to Miche. You could say that I'm mildly happy. Her left leg is crossed over my right knee as I type. She's watching Scrubs on Sky TV. I've just kissed her on her forehead. I doubt she was conciously aware of it. Her head inclined a little, nothing more. Our life is what it is. Ordinary, stable.
I was born for this; My kids upstairs in bed, central heating on, income tax paid and washing up done.
No alarms and no suprises. A good pension.
Is it the chicken in me, that finds happiness in stability? Or is it the egg, that in being stable, is happy?