Mae hin braf heddiw

“Getting relief from a persistent health problem will feel miraculous. It will be wonderful to have the energy for your favourite people and relationships. Take this opportunity to create a new schedule. Set aside time for creative pursuits, like reading, listening to music and cooking. Are you unemployed? You will find a wonderful job that allows great flexibility. You’ll welcome the chance to work for a company that is more interested in making its employees happy than making huge profits.”

– Yahoo! Lifestyle Horoscope, today.

No apologies for relying on this tired old trope once more, twice in two days, cos I’m so excited. I can’t believe this is happening to me, here, now, today! Oh, thank you, Russell! Thank you! I have been reading, singing and cooking like a crazy one while looking for a wonderful job with great flexibility for more years than I can number, and now it’s coming true. On a Saturday, too!

Tell us, oh pray tell us, who this exemplary philanthropic industrialist may be, who is concerned only for my happiness and bugger the shareholders? Sir Willy Wonka of Chocolate Factory plc, possibly?

 And getting relief from a persistent health problem… well, that will be more miraculous still. I have been trying to persuade various well-paid members of the medical profession to become interested in my humiliating genito-urinary problem for four years, and all I ever get is more blood tests. I rarely get to see the same GP twice, and despite last week’s tests (they always come back negative) I have to wait three weeks to get another appointment with another GP I have not yet met, who will not have read my notes.

They will stare moodily up at the ceiling and down at the floor while I explain in layman’s language how I had to piss in a shop doorway in Knightsbridge when I wasn’t even drunk, and how my formerly flamboyant member – I seriously once considered a career as an escort, being out of work in Wales can do that to you – goes all floppy if ever I do meet a lady, and how I have so little energy for my favourite relationships. They will briskly write another chit for more blood tests, and hand me a little bottle to piss in next time I need to go in the street, and wave me on to the next GP.

Even the bloody internet knows what the problem is, it’s so common that fifty percent of men over sixty will have it, but you will not find a doctor in the land nowadays willing to risk an actual diagnosis and course of treatment for their hundred grand a year. The key to progress in the NHS is not how you are diagnosed, or even that you are treated, God forbid they should fix the problem – but within what period of time were you seen and at whose expense?

But I have promised to be a reformed character and not to be so cynical and grouchy about everything. This late March warm spell is much too glorious to stay indoors and look for work while morosely twiddling with my useless dick.

 I think I’ll go and spray the weeds.

Postscriptum

Divine punishment is visited on the apostate who dares to criticise the holy NHS. A Dark Angel with a flaming sword has cauterised my urethra in the far reaches of the night. I am straining and groaning to piss a few miserable drips every twenty minutes or so and get little sleep. With the effort, something else messy happens. Turning around, however, it seems I can’t now shit either. I can only produce tears from my eyes, maybe even they will soon be sealed shut.

1.15 pm. Returning from our walk round the industrial estate, Hunzi and I, we arrive at the front door. As I am slowly deciding which of two dissimilarly shaped keys must be the front-door one, a familiar urge comes over me. By the time I have got inside the hallway, before I can get up the stairs, I have pissed myself. And to think I wanted to be a grown-up.

Only two more weeks to go until I get to see a GP I’ve never seen before and have to explain the whole thing to them over again, to mute incomprehension.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had actual doctors, like in Liberia?

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Libra:
“Never underestimate the importance of your social network. If you’re looking for work, you will find it through a friend. Spread the news of your job search far and wide. You will hear of a brilliant opportunity that seems tailor made for you. Are you in search of love? Similarly, someone you know can set you up on a blind date. Don’t be quick to reject such an offer. You will be pleasantly surprised to meet someone who shares many of your values.”
Yahoo! Homepage, today’s horoscope
Whoop!

As a matter of tragic fact, I can’t ‘whoop!’. For a start, I’m not an American, nor a CGI audience-whooper on the Jeremy Kyle Show. Then, I was sent to a British public-school, donchaknow, to learn how to be unexcitable. I have an A-level in sangfroid. Nor can I hail a taxi by stuffing two bacteria-coated fingers in my mouth and emitting a piercing whistle. God knows, I have tried to learn. But it’s like tying a bow-tie, it’s just another of those things you need to be born knowing how to do. You either got it, or you ain’t.

But if I could, I would. Such overwhelmingly positive messages rarely arrive by any better route than via muh gudfriend, the eminent clairvoyant, Mr Russell ‘Starman’ Grant.

So, spreading myself far and wide, like Marmite, here are two opportunities for you, beloved social network, to fix all that is wrong with my life. Help me find work, and help me find love on a blind date. You know you can. You do, you know.

Choices. You come to a fork. Which way, left or right? You ask God to set you on the right path, he answers ‘How in the Hell should I know?’ You ask old Beelzebub, he answers ‘How in Heaven’s name should I know?’ Whichever path you take is always the wrong one, relative to the other. Whichever path you take is always the right one, relative to itself. Just take one. Make the best of it.

Many years ago I was working for the BBC. I was on a rolling monthly freelance contract. One day, the station manager called me in and offered me a permanent staff contract. I practically fell through the floor. The de minimis requirement in those days for a BBC staff appointment was a 2:1 degree, preferably in the Humanities, from Oxbridge or a decent redbrick university. I had not gone to university. I had no degree. It was an unbelievable opportunity.

I asked for 24 hours to consider the offer.

An hour later, my wife called. ‘I’ve just been offered a job setting-up the news operation for a new commercial radio station start-up. I said I wouldn’t go without you as joint head. What do you think?’

What I thought was: if I accept the BBC offer, I shall need to buy a grey suit with pre-prepared dandruff on the collar and wait for my boss to die before being able to put any of my radical programme ideas into practice. It would be more fun joining the Department of Work and Pensions. Whereas if I went to the commercial station I could experiment as much as I liked, listen to rock music, be forever young and wear the T-shirt.

So I chose that path, and it ended up a messy disaster that had ramifications far beyond just getting fired – I never knew why I was fired, there were five possible scenarios but they wouldn’t tell me. It had nothing to do with being bad at my job, quite the opposite, but I ended up on an industry blacklist and out of work for a year, my marriage broke up (or down), I had two or three disastrous short-lived selfish unromantic affairs and ended up working in advertising, which was never where I wanted to be. Today, I am an unemployed caretaker eking out my life on the State pension in the thundering suburb of a provincial seaside town.

And about 40 years later, just last week in fact, the penny suddenly dropped.

Why had Alan Holden offered me the BBC job? Because it was me they wanted!

Faced with competition from the commercial sector, Auntie must have realised they had to take a more commercial approach themselves. They needed a different kind of person from the academic grey-suits; someone a bit more imaginative and adventuresome and, dare I say it, ‘modern’, to break the old Civil Service mould. My producer, Vin Bootle, must have suggested me for the promotion. Because, by the time I needed my old job back he was the station manager and I was never again employed by the BBC; not even as a person who unlocks the remote regional studio up the road, switches on the microphone and makes coffee for guest interviewees.

And I had been too stupid to see it at the time. Which about covers my epitaph. Was blind, but now I see.

So, important social network, I’m counting on you now. Work (I need to be able to take my dog). Love (she must love my dog). Shared values, whetever.

Gottit?

Good. You decide.

Jeremy Claxon, oh dear. It’s PR gone mad!

Oh dear. Jeremy Claxon, oh dear, oh dear. Deary me.

Poor horrible Jeremy Claxon, failed the anger management course, betrayed by a cold sandwich. Dreadful sensible BBC, making stupid rules designed to protect useless junior employees from massive overreactive bullying by hungry star-turn presenters.

Jeremy Claxon, eh? What is he like! He’s funny, abrasive, witty, fearlessly non-PC. He’s a bigoted, gobby, overbearing racist millionaire. He smells of sick from travelling in foreign taxis. He straightens bent half-shafts with his big hands. Oh dear. Precious victim and bully-boy. Two for the price of one 6’5″ tub of post-teenage guts. But strangely vulnerable. Shy, almost. Curly-haired, talented cherub. A real money-spinning bruiser. Why, without his huge amoral earnings from foreigners the BBC would have to double the licence fee. Treble it!!

And a friend and friendly neighbour of David Cameron! It certainly seems that to be outed by the PM as a ‘friend’ is a career death sentence. Look at poor Andy Coulson. Look at poor Rebekah Brooks. Poor Jeremy Claxon, talented genius and soi-disant blunderhead. Friend of the dangerous Prime Minister. Staring as so often into the abyss, he steps forth miraculously unscathed from the mangled wreckage of his promotional vehicle. He staggers forth from the canyon, dazed and heavily bleeding from words. Bravely tweeting his defiance, he maintains a dignified silence.

It certainly seems that his two jolly pals, one diminutive, one fixated, were pretty fed up after twenty-something series stuck with Claxon and his big naughty bullying nasty fun. But were they really? You can’t tell! What’s real, what’s not real? Top Gear: not so much a popular show about footballers’ cars but an epistemological conundrum! ‘Captain Slow’, eh? James May, ruthlessly bullied for being the OCD one. ‘The Hamster’, Richard Hammond, eh? What a hoot, abandoning him for days in the snow. See his little fists clench with tiny fury!

But did they do that? Really? Staying in big CGI wilderness hotels, 35-man crew. Steak sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and tea. Our Jezza’d have got through lots of steak in Argentina, they’d never heard of vegetables there. Until the Top Gear producer arrived, haa ha!!!

Aside, obviously, from our tax-sheltered billionaire status and personal superyachts, something I have in common with Jeremy Claxon is we both get bored easily, and depressed, especially when we are going through our second and third mid-life crises and can’t find a way out of the trap of a success we don’t really rate. We’re better than that. We’re better than everyone, except ourselves.

We both like to live on the edge – although, obviously, I don’t have the same persuasive relationship with Porsche, McLaren, Ferrari. Or with the bank. I blew my chance with the BBC long ago. But I’ve always chucked my career away too, when I got too bored and mildly insulted by my own success to care any longer. We both like to commit suicide, without the mess and fuss of actually dying. We wouldn’t want to leave before the end.

Push, push, sack me if you dare… ooops.

And, oh dear, Claxon, look, there he goes again, calling Gyppos in crap cars ‘Pikeys’… hoots! Never mind, it wasn’t intended as a racial slur, not like his off-mic use of the vim word (rhyming slang: ‘vim and vigour’, geddit? I’ve just thought of that one, me, myself); detecting ‘slopes’ on bridges in Burma, correctly perceiving the essential torpidity of Mexicans, re-precipitating the Falklands conflict. Yids, spics, wogs, wops, krauts, frogs, boongs…. ya boo! The world is full of little people deserving of piercing Jeremiads plucked from the noble British psyche.

Just slips of the tongue, PR gone mad, whilst standing up for British TV ratings and the right to piss on anyone not good enough to be enormous, flatulent old motoring journalists, fastened trembling with feigned excitement to the arsehole of TV celebrity, despising himself and his ersatz success all the while. Immensely loved by taxi drivers.

Look at the bewildered and vacuous smiles of the Top Gear crowd, deeply drugged and enjoying something, they don’t seem quite sure what, a joke? Standing (no seating, no disabled parking) in the presence of a greatness they cannot fully comprehend, the prettiest plucked from the queue, surrounding the big man and his mouth with a gently throbbing airbag of audience-alikes. See their essential Britishness, their love of screaming metal and hot, smoking rubber, their deep mistrust of foreign taxi drivers, smelling of sick.

Seems it’s the same with poor Jeremy Claxon, oh dear. Nil by mouth. And yet, in some way, the man’s a national treasure. He just connects with ordinary people, like Nigel Farage’s evil twin. Like that  business woman off the telly, speaks her mind. Tells it like it is.

How does he do that, eh? Oh dear. Some say… Brilliant! And at 200 mph! You’d like to have a pint or two with Jeremy. You’d want a pint with good ol’ Nige.

Tut tut, tsk tsk. Let’s put this star back in his reasonably priced car, eh? Bring him back, humbled, proud. Penitent.

Jeremy. Oh dear!

– A. Psychologist

Postscriptum

What is it about the name Jeremy? It seems to bring forth bad fortune. This, from Wikipedia, describes the unfortunate career of the original, Jeremiah, the prophet of Judaea:

“And when your people say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.'” God’s personal message to Jeremiah, “Attack you they will, overcome you they can’t,” was fulfilled many times in the Biblical narrative: Jeremiah was attacked by his own brothers, beaten and put into the stocks by a priest and false prophet, imprisoned by the king, threatened with death, thrown into a cistern…. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah

Jeremiah, eh? Oh dear. One can only assume he must have been very, very large and annoying.

My absence: an ex-planetary note

My army of Spammers, Likers, Adhesives and Followers has written to ask why there have been no new interesting Postings for the past two weeks?

Have I broken down, died or gone away?

All three, probably. The fact is, I just didn’t notice the time passing so quickly. Is it the Ides of March already? Did I miss Mothers’ Day – again? I shall return (c. Gen. Douglas MacArthur) when my Posting brain catches up and has something pertinent to report.

In the meantime, here are a few Post-it notes to whet your appetites:

(A Lenten lament: Rather than giving up drinking exactly one bottle of wine every night, I wish that I could instead have given up browsing online for expensive guitars….)

(Damned statistics: On 7th March, this, muh li’l bogl, received a three-year record one-day total of 59 hits. Yesterday, just one. And guess what they were all for? That’s right….)

(Where’s Vladimir?: Not-entirely unofficially, rumours are going round that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who has not been seen in public for the past ten days, has been kidnapped by aliens. He wouldn’t be the first head of state to….) (Postscriptum: Q. Which Transylvanian prince was eaten by a lion? A. Vlad the Impala!)

(Call me Mr Floppy: Finding myself recently in the unexpected position of being invited to engage in personal intimacy, I find to my dismay that my once formidable engine of reproduction is no longer competent to breach the citadel, as it were….)

(Money, the new sex #2: Mr Grant Shapps MP, chair of the Conservative party, is reported to have carried on an undeclared business using an assumed name. A recording has emerged of Mr Shapps proposing to make ‘a ton of money by Christmas’….)

(Welcome home: Low-wattage judges handing down inordinately lengthy gaol sentences to teenage Muslim baboons resiled from their idiotic decisions to go help IS slaughter religious minorities in Iraq is hardly going to ameliorate the radicalisation problem….)

(More as I think of them….)

Toodle pip!

– UB

Postscriptum

For some peculiar reason, overnight my ratings have shot up again, as somebody has been creeping around The Boglington Post office, apparently in the dark, reading lots of old stuff, introductory matter and scraps of poor poetry listed in the headings that isn’t anything to do with these, muh Posts. It is as if someone buys a newspaper only to read the running order and fails to take the slightest notice of what is on the front page – in this case, 427 fine Posts (searchable by date and topic) of entertainment, elucidation and instruction.

Bizarre. Look under HOME!!!!!!!

 

 

The Eye of Horus

Adhesives of this, muh li’l bogl, will by now be fully cognisant of my penchant for relishing coincidences.

It’s a neurological condition, brought on by having nothing much to do. And it plays wonderfully well into my growing paranoia.

So (I hate it when people start every answer to a question ponderously, with ‘So…’. You need a sense of the heavily ironic to read this stuff, I’m sorry.)

So, the other night I took Hunzi out for his late-night outing. Across the road is a single-storey house, that is supposedly let to students. Outside the house was parked an expensive German car. Behind it, blocking its exit, a Mini.

Earlier that day, I had seen a man drive up to the house. His passenger was a woman of African appearance. He wore a beard (in fact, he may even have been growing it). They went inside.

I know few students of his age – early 30s – who drive upmarket, almost new BMWs, with left-hand-drive, registered in Germany. Understand, this is not London, where 30-somethings all drive expensive German cars. This is Boglington-on-Sea, where we all drive broken-down VWs, 1970s Land-Rovers with sheep in trailers, battered white vans and Fordson tractors.

I had noticed the car, with its F-for-Frankfurt plates, hanging around, parked in various nearby places, over at least the last six months. I had wondered what it was doing here, who drove it? But I had never seen anyone driving it.

I wondered too about the ‘students’ in the house. I have a son who is a student. He doesn’t live the way these ‘students’ do, he stays with a bunch of mates in the same places all year, the student-let contracts are for 11 months and he wants his money’s worth. These ‘students’ however seem to change over every few weeks.

And they are all, dare I mention it, of ethnic minority background. This has been the case for the past two years, that the house has been let to mostly women, identifiably of Indo-Pakistani, Micronesian and African heritage.

I had begun to worry too about the Frankfurt connection. I recalled the post-9/11 furore, the discovery of an al-Quaeda cell in Frankfurt, with links to the plotters. Who was this man? Why is he here? My paranoia grew.

As we passed the house, I heard a woman’s voice raised. I shrugged into my old-man disguise and shuffled on. Hunzi and I turned as usual into the first of the chain of paddocks between the main road and the houses, following the worn trail left by dogwalkers, illuminated between the vivid white streetlights over to our left, above the fields, and a brilliant moon shining from between scudding clouds.

Reaching the far end of the third paddock, where the path vanishes into the darkness of a hedgerow, where we usually turn round, the moon came out from behind a cloud, and I noticed something glinting in the long grass by the hedge. Instinct made me bend down and pick it up. It was a discarded soft-drink can.

And it was riddled with bullet-holes.

We lived on a farm. We had an air rifle, for the rats. Not that we ever managed to hit any. The boy and I used to shoot tin cans. They move slower than rats. So I know what a shot tin can looks like. It looked like this one.

There were five entry holes in front, but only three exit holes at the back. Low-power .22 air rifle, or pistol then. So at close range – the grouping was excellent. But the shooter had removed the spent pellets, crushed the can and tossed it in the long grass. It was a strange place to go for target practice, for all kinds of reasons I worked-out. I won’t go into them now, or we’ll be here all day.

Anyway, growing paranoia, next day I found myself wandering around B&Q’s spacious hardware shed. I’d gone in with a vague idea of checking out some prices, finding some tomato plants (too early), a thingy to unblock drains that you connect to your power drill (I’m sure somebody makes one).

At which, I came across the home security section and thought for a while about maybe the CCTV pack, a neat little camera with a phone app that for £100 sends images of visiting terrorists and 7th-Day Adventists on the doorstep to your phone.

Then I decided against it, for all kinds of reasons, etc.

And today I take Hunzi back across the road for his daily excursion round the sewage works, and there is a van parked down the side-road, and a power-lift and a pickup truck, they are from a CCTV company, and they are doing some kind of installation there, to keep us all safe in our beds.

I have a theory about CCTV.

You remember God?

And how we used to be told he was always watching over us, like the Eye of Horus?

Well, since we no longer do God, we seem to have turned to technology instead to give us that same comforting feeling.

Personally I hate it, that’s why I came here, to get away from Nanny, from God and from CCTV cameras. I like my privacy. I don’t want to feel comforted, to feel safe. I like feeling totally disconnected from society. No-one is threatening us, there are no burglars here, no muggers, no rapists lurking in the shadows. No-one even goes out after 10pm, except Hunzi and I. There are no shadows! The town council has abolished darkness.

With the new street lighting illuminating every corner of my home deep into what used to be the night, and now the CCTV cameras, I feel worse about everything than usual. I feel violated.

And with a shooter on the loose…

Get me out of here!

 

Postscriptum

Okay, I’ve just had a Spam email offering me ‘Mini cameras – Internet cameras’…

I’m going to the understairs cupboard now. I may be gone some time.

 

 

Your turn to shuffle

Outside, it’s raining needles.

I shuffle to the bathroom – shuffling has become my default method of locomotion. There is no pressing medical reason for me to shuffle, it just feels more comfortable. Shuffling is something people do when they get to my age. And wear carpet slippers.

I vowed I would never be seen dead in carpet slippers. But I was in a play, people’s feet on the stage were making so much noise you could not hear the dialogue. The director ordered us all into carpet slippers. Mine stayed on after the show. God, they were comfy. Did I just write ‘comfy’?

They were fuzzy brown Dralon. I was playing older than my age. I’ve read Stanislavsky, I chose brown Dralon to seem older. I shuffled. I grew a big white beard (see photo). Now, I wear them all the time. Shuffle. And grow my beard – but only as far as a Number Two, grizzled-but-still-available look. The fuzzy brown Dralon has worn bare. Shuffling has worn them out. That, and scraping dog hairs out of the carpet pile, it wears out the soles. But look, here I still am, wearing them in, wearing them out. Comfy.

I have taught myself to pee more-or-less accurately in the dark. Find the handholds, spread the legs so. Shuffle, and pee. As much as one may, at my age. One, it saves a penny’s worth of electricity. Two, the people who are out to get me can’t see there’s anyone living here. I can lock the doors, but I can’t shut the bathroom window. I can’t figure out how to fit a catflap in a double-glazed unit without breaking the seal. It is the Achilles’ Heel in my domestic security.

And it is why I don’t have the heating on either. I can’t afford to heat the garden too.

I knew some people once, a couple from West Africa. They lived in North London, he was proud to be a senior clerk at the High Court in the Strand, proud of his lovely wife. They had sons he was proud of too, I don’t know what happened to them. But they missed sitting out on the porch watching the sun go down over West Africa. So they extended the central-heating pipes out to the garden, put radiators under an open-fronted shelter and watched the sun set over Neasden, comfy all-year-round. We laughed about their huge gas bill. Then she died.

Shuffle back to bed, pull the heavy fleece coverlet my mother gave me around my neck. I feel sorry for Hunzi on this cold night, but he has to stay down on the carpet, softly leaking hairs. I’m not one of those old people who lets a dog sleep on the bed, let alone in it. It’s bad enough with the cat. Cats always know where you wanted to put your legs. The rigor such discomfort induces helps with the shuffling, I have to say. I can imagine what it would be like to have constant pain in your hips.

A sudden gust of wind sends needles tinkling mechanically against the bathroom window. The weather outside is a little strange. I suppose if you are reading this in Florida, or Israel, where the weather has turned stranger still, you’ll give a hollow grunt. Strange weather? Why, the only way out of this house is to jump from an upstairs window, hope I haven’t left the car buried under that snow drift, that is going to cushion my fall. Or maybe not.

Our weather here on the coast has taken to arriving in short bursts. It hasn’t snowed all winter, not properly; hardly at all. It hasn’t been that cold. Last year our seafront, our beaches were wrecked by powerful Atlantic storms, seven in succession. They are having to build a new bandstand on the Victorian promenade as a result, a modernist design that has infuriated precisely half the inhabitants. We are all old here. Some more than others. I am looking forward to singing there on reopening day, but the work has fallen behind. And no-one has asked us.

This year we are experiencing many sudden gusts, powerful mini-storms driving needles of icy rain against the house, then suddenly dying away. These storms last for maybe only thirty seconds, metal splinters tinkling mechanically on the windows like shrapnel; then it’s quiet again for half an hour.

I don’t understand the principle. Age 12, I got my Scouts’ Weatherman’s badge. After nearly thirty years of living in deep countryside, never less than a mile from the road, I’ve got pretty savvy about weather lore. But why does the wind do this? Blowing off three thousand miles of Atlantic, you’d expect a continuous, smooth flow of wind. Instead it comes in violent, staccato bursts and pulses. What can cause it to break up like this?

At last, a few grudging drops of old urine are produced, and I wrap-up. I have shuffled to the bathroom at two in the morning, in the dark; what the vivid new street-lights leave me of the dark, because it’s what people do when they get a needle-sharp pain stabbing in their bladder in the dead of night and they lie awake worrying about cancer. Or stones. I’ve told doctors about it, but they take no interest. A few questions: were you seen within eighteen minutes of your appointment? Great, you can go.

A few drops squeezed and shaken, an old person’s comfy blowing-off and the pain is gone. I shuffle back to bed. How many times a night do I experience falling asleep without noticing?

It is like when I had that little operation, one minute the nurses are discussing their love-lives over your nervously recumbent, about-to-be corpse. But it’s a ruse. When you least expect, there’s a momentary sensation of ice, then nothing. Until the coming-round, the shuffling around the ward, through the temporary tightness that is your numb and bandaged groin, the staples pulling at your loose skin.

Oh, I hope it is like that.

The shuffling off.

Falling from trees

I’ve had to resort to muh gudfriend, Harry Google*, to re–search why it is I sometimes wake myself up with a start at the point of falling asleep.

Fans of the TV panel gameshow QI will know, there is a kind of joker you can play when you get a question to which there is no known answer: ‘Nobody knows’.

It seems the point at which we fall asleep is so evanescent that science has yet to penetrate its secrets. Nobody knows, in short, exactly how we fall asleep, or why sometimes the body gives a violent reaction to it: principally because we so rarely are aware we are falling asleep. It just happens.

The best suggestion has been that we evolved from tree-dwelling mammals for whom falling asleep could mean a lethal plunge into the jaws of a waiting crocosaurus underneath. A violent convulsion reminds us that we are on the point of relaxing dangerously.

It’s not a very good suggestion, since nobody would ever get any sleep, but hey.

As you would expect, however, science has at least managed to come up with a name for that as-yet unexplained liminal moment. It’s called the ‘hypnagogic state’.

Certainly, the hoarse cry of terror I imagine I have just emitted, to the possible alarm of the family next-door (sadly, there are no other witnesses) as I fight so desperately to escape the encircling arms of Morpheus is a response to what I often perceive as an existential threat.

The threat has changed over the years.

I recall a period of my life in which I dreamed in that moment, that a great and violent darkness smashed in through the windows and extinguished me. Sometimes, I had begun to dream that I was in a very old house by the seashore, when the waves poured in.

At another time, I used to see everything just go out, like an old-fashioned CRT TV screen being switched off, the world outside fading rapidly to black and the image shrinking to a bright, white dot in the middle of the screen.

Lately, my waking image is of the world having just literally fallen apart, I am being buried alive in a chaotic jumble of everything, out of which I am frantically trying to claw my way.

A bit like the real world, really.

Fascinating. Now Hunzi wants to take me for a walk. I’m not surprised, I think he knows when it’s about to rain.

Take Two…

So, Hunzi was right.

It had been sunny when we got up, but I wasted an entire hour of sunshine writing the thought above in order to get it down before the elderly sodden sponge that passes for my brain had absorbed everything into the general air of bewilderment. And the sky turned grey.

By the time we reached the usual place where it rains, somewhere around the apogee of our daily walk round the sewage works, a fine drizzle had begun. (We do a very fine drizzle, here in Boglington-sur-Mer.) We got home just in time. Now, a howling wind and battering rain are trying to tear off the roof.

And I hadn’t got round to finishing the thought, before my lovely mysterious Spanish ladyfriend, Lalocabruja, whose own posts I don’t understand because she blogs in Dutch (I can manage a bit of French, Italian, German, even a little Portuguese or Welsh… I’m not too stupid), had Liked it!

So anyway, the rest is maybe a bit trite, so you haven’t missed much.

I just wanted to add that long before the Wachowski brothers invented The Matrix, I had begun to suspect that the apocalyptic nature of my momentary hypnagogic visi0ns was not just a conflation of vague threats drawn from impressions of the day. These visions had the quality of memory.

A race-memory of the end-time, as they say.

 

*Further re–search reveals the fascinating history of the Googling machine. It was first invented in 1893 by Hiram P. Google, the Muncie, Indiana-born son of Latvian-Polish immigrants. His father had changed the family name from Goglewitsky. A studious boy, young Hiram evinced an early ambition to capture and copyright every fact in the known universe, on the premise that God might one day need to start over and not be able to remember everything. He became known as the Father of Lists. When he died in 1943, his house was crammed with thousands upon thousands of lists of facts and figures; he never, however, cracked the problem of how to find a matching pair of socks.

(© Wikipedia. Editing required.)