chapter  13
14 Pages

• 13 • The language of relationships

This chapter serves as an interlude to remind us that the boundaries of the self are quite different from the boundaries round ordinary physical objects. Even my body-self has boundaries which are different from the boundaries to cups and saucers and postagestamps. When I drive in my customary car and am getting through a gap, I think ‘I’ am this wide. In someone else’s car it takes a while for me to learn that ‘I’ am a different width. When playing tennis, ‘I’ reach the ball with no more movement than is required. When I use a mallet and chisel, ‘I’ cut the wood. This is how I think of the things I use every day. Any tool is difficult to use while I behave as though ‘it’ did the work. I have to feel that it is I. When strangers look in the garden from the street, I feel intruded on. I have a personal space round me, and I feel invaded if a stranger comes too close to me. If a burglar comes into my house and shits on the floor, I feel broken in on and dirtied.