Monday 4 May 2009

Reincarnation 2

Strictly speaking, reincarnation is rebirth as a different form of life but I've often thought I might be reincarnated as a door mat, which, though inanimate, sees many events throughout its life. Thinking about it more deeply in the small hours of the morning I recognised that there are many different forms of door mat. Would it be better to be an indoor mat or an outdoor mat? There are pros and cons for each.

Outdoor mats are hardy creatures, exposed to the elements, surrounded by the sights and sounds of Nature, rough, tough no-nonsense characters. External mats are not given to soul-searching and philosophising; they are practical, straight-talking individuals for whom there is no middle way. They lack imagination, it is true, and see all things as black or white. There's no sitting on the fence for the outdoor mat. They are loyal and hard-working and ask little in return other than a good beating now and then, not because they're masochistic but to relieve them of their burden of dust and the extraneous bits of Nature that have escaped from birds, trees, flowers and people's footwear.

Outdoor mats may be made from rubber which is hard-wearing but neither absorbent nor particularly attractive. Metal mats are not quite pukka; they're useful for scraping mud off boots but they are the untouchables of the community of external mats. They look as though they have come from a giant's grill pan and can sometimes be found supporting one of their more appealing cousins. Coir matting looks smart and is the only natural fibre resistant to salt water damage, which makes sense considering its provenance.

Indoor mats are quite distinct from their outdoor relatives. They live in protected environments and are usually constructed from softer, more colourful materials. Often they have messages printed on them – PLEASE WIPE YOUR PAWS THE BIG HOUSE WE LIVE HERE accompanied by pictures of dogs, fish, birds, children. I wouldn't want to have WELCOME written on me; I'm not like that but I suppose I wouldn't have a choice in the matter.

On balance I'd rather be an indoor mat than an outdoor mat. I don't think I'd like to be a shop door mat or one that fits in a car well or sits next to the cooker. I'd like to be either plain but in a pretty colour or patterned with flowers. My favourite situation would be just inside the front door of a really tidy house with no children or pets and considerate visitors who would remove their shoes before entering.

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