A friend was deflecting an invitation to drink the other night on unspecified grounds. I could speculate that his non-availability might be related to the demands of wife, children, or a straight job, but I was a tad irked that he wouldn't volunteer any more detail. When pressed, he replied archly, "They're called responsibilities."
"I believe I've heard of those," I said. "But I've never paid them much attention. A bit like the iceberg warnings on the Titanic. I may be steaming towards a crash."
Titanic analogies seem to follow me around. Ex of exes and queen of commitment-phobia The Evil One, in the midst of one of her half-hearted, twice-weekly attempts to break up with me, asked whether my efforts to save the relationship weren't like "trying to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic".
I responded, "Well, if I knew I was going to die tonight, I think I would want to contrive to sit in the sunshine for as long as possible today. And we might be able to lash some of them together to make a raft..." [I believe somebody on the Titanic tried that, but didn't enjoy success with the attempt.]
A few years later, The Poet came along, and, after the giddiest few weeks of my life, proved to be the second greatest heartwreck of my wretched romantic career. Very soon after the breakup I was able to ruefully jest with her, "There was an awful inevitability about that. I was the Titanic and you were my iceberg."