To be like Miss Debenham, to save oneself from useless emotion

‘You are the only patient one, Mademoiselle,’ said Poirot to Miss Debenham.
She shrugged her shoulders slightly.
‘What can one do?’
‘You are a philosopher, Mademoiselle.’
‘That implies a detached attitude. I think my attitude is more selfish. I have learned to save myself useless emotion.’

– Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

Oh, the useless emotion that fills each day and from which I try to save myself. How I’d like to be like Mademoiselle Debenham, cool and composed as her train grinds to a halt in a Croatian snowdrift.

Last year I had a stab at the gallic shrug. I spent much of my time in France, hoping to soak up a ‘bof’ attitude to life. You missed your flight? C’est dommage. Your marriage has ended? Alors. C‘est la vie.

I dread to think about the state of my blood vessels, clogged with the fatty fuel required by my near-permanent state of Fight or Flight. There is no bear in the woods, and yet my body is poised for combat or take-off. The only threat present here, in my second floor flat in urban England, is the prison they call the mind.

Photo: Herald Sun

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