After Christmas you forget how long winter lasts; but it is a long, laborious, languorous time. No more falling leaves just frost then wetness that is harsh and a misery to deal with. I keep getting minor chilblains in my toes because my shoes are too thin and the heating inside buildings is too high and outside we all know it is cold. Outside. It’s out there. Where we all want to avoid, for now, until the light lasts longer and we start to stretch not huddle, shout not cusp.
People I work with are ill. I got ill but then kept on getting better to a point of getting worse again. Old age must feel the worst in the cold. I don’t know how they do it when I, in my late-twenties, feel lethargy upon waking up. Get up. I have to coax myself up and then I fall back asleep again like a flimsy blade of grass. Four alarms I have to set for myself, on Fridays I set seven because the time I have to technically be up by is 6:30 but I could push it back to 6:50. Any time past 7 is a disaster. But then again, I don’t have an active life style.
I work on a computer interacting with a cursor that floats around the screen all day. It’s all virtual anyway. Facebook’s started greeting me with ‘Good Morning’ and I can’t tell it to go away. I tap some buttons and wait for things to load or happen or both and then it becomes darker and the shadows become masses and it’s night. I go home the same way I came. I actually don’t consider this drudgery, which might sound surprising to an alien, but it's true. I want to be doing this. I picked it and worked hard to get it. But the actions really don’t imply the feeling. I don’t have to scrape my knuckles on hard surfaces to get a wage, I don’t even have to move off my squashy bum bar the times I get up to make some instant coffee. There are cats in the office and I produce comedy. What’s the big fuss in all that? Nothing. Nada. Nout.
I don’t want life to disappear though and for me to fade away. But I do want to be worn out and characterful like a familiar leather case - a doctor’s bag, a kid’s favourite satchel. The essential pair of shoes. I want to be one of those all-purpose all-weather handy things that granny couldn’t live without. Best thing since sliced bread etc. etc. I want to be creased and smudged by love, and sometimes dropped but I’m washable and sturdy, I’ll survive. There’s been talk of displacement theory around me.
Paul told me on a hangover that I was feeling this way because ‘You're paying back for all the fun that you borrowed last night.’ Borrowed, I guess, from the alcohol (fairy). It could be true. It could be true I pondered because I tend to do the same in the limited space I inhabit. I started to use a new glass recently for the water by my bed. It is a special grey glass made by Iittala. By making this change I had to move the coaster that used to lie beneath the old glass because the old glass left marks, my Iittala does not. The coaster now takes up the same space as my necklace and the two together on one surface is too crowded and so the necklace had to go. I’ve folded it in tissue paper and I will take it all the way to Richmond on a train. That particular necklace has had its time on my bedside table, I have more in other places, and I’m sure it’ll resurface some other time. And it's not forgotten just displaced by the movement of other things. A reshuffle.
Friends are the same. Ones I used to see all the time have become ones I see occasionally. Ones whom I never had the chance to see are steadily creeping their way back to me. But most notably, the ones I didn’t even know existed I see quite often now. More often than not. I check my online bank account more than I watch YouTube videos. I boil the kettle more than I open a can of beer. I sit around thinking a lot more than I do running around. All a steady shift and displacement of things. Not noticeable enough to be genuinely perturbed by, but you have an inkling later, retrospectively: a rupture.
|Ash Dome by David Nash|