Now as those nearest and dearest to me know if there is one thing guaranteed to bring tears to my eyes (that does not involve a sharp toe and my MOST personal possession) it is the merest mention of Douglas Adams. Seemingly I cannot talk about my favourite author without a choking voice and mist in my eyes. Every year I remember the anniversaries, his birth, his far too hurried death and of course towel day…. Rapidly approaching. I generally remember them by a simple status on a virtual wall somewhere on the Internet that was built with Douglas in mind. He will of course never see it and that’s fine, it’s enough that I know he still has a place in my world.
It was with this in mind that I recently had the opportunity with my girlfriend and middleish daughter to visit his grave at Highgate Cemetery. I did not know what to expect. I must confess I hadn’t given it much thought until we arrived… What I was not prepared for was just how much it moved me, I literally broke down and it was only through a gargantuan effort that I managed to not sob like a baby at the grave of a stranger, a man who only touched me only through his words. I don’t understand why I feel like this, and I don’t want to.
“If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.”
I laid my gift, a digital watch, on a towel that someone else had left at his simple and understated grave. I think he would have thought the watch ‘a pretty neat idea‘ to steal a line from h2g2. I later found this YouTube video, seems like I’m not the only person for whom this line resonates!
On some level of existence that may become clearer to me one day, when I’m old or dead, there will be a explanation for my feelings. Until then I feel privileged to have his work and words in my life.