If I'd ever been musical, I always wanted to be in a band called Planned Accidents; I thought it was a great name for a rock band; any band really. Still, that is really nothing to do with anything. It has just gone 9:00am on the 2nd August and I'm doing something that doesn't really make a lot of sense, but we'll get to that. Well... actually we won't because the thing I'm doing that makes little sense is writing this.
The week has almost been a repeat of last week. The plan was during the first week of my holiday, I would do very little. Take the dogs out, cook the dinner and generally slob around either in the sun (as it turned out) or in my office, slaving over a hot keyboard. I did a fair bit of writing, but towards the end of the week everything dried up (apart from the weather). This week, I declared, I would get out of the house and go and do some things and to be fair I have; but I feel as though, I dunno; you know that expression 'cutting off one's nose to spite their face'? Well, I sort of think I've had my nose cut off to spite my face - metaphorically speaking. That's probably the completely wrong analogy, but that seems to be the way my mind has been working the last couple of days...
Monday I went and dropped a prescription off, paid some money into the bank and read Gimp of Thongs, in the evening not a lot else happened. I had agreed to visit my nieces on Tuesday, but logistics meant that I had to do after 5pm and, of course, Tuesday is quiz night (although I don't know why we bothered this week), so I needed to get my visit in and back home to be out again for 8.15. The thing was the 'pressure' of having to do so much in such a small window of opportunity was a really enjoyable challenge.
Sitting, watching, Warehouse 13 that night after the pub (Mr Vigar, you need to watch this episode, you will love it, it will be your fave) I realised I hadn't done any writing on my project since Thursday; in fact, apart from my chores, I haven't really done anything, yet I've been yawning my head off for the last three days. The yawning is probably easy to explain - I'm not sleeping particularly well because my breathing is still shot to shit (although this morning everything seems to be shifting and I think I might have got a quarter lungful of air at some point).
The really, not annoying but bothersome, thing is that I kind of wimped out of going on the adventure holiday thing and, here's where the old analogy above comes in, I allowed others (the wife) to manage my time without consultation. Subsequently, I have not been able to help make this film my old mate is making and because life just throws you lemons sometimes, that has been screwed around to the point where I could have been involved in the film...
The wife booked the boiler in for a service; it's been unpredictable at times in the last six months and we need it sorting in case it goes the way of the pear in the autumn or at Christmas. The engineer would be here between 8am and 1pm. That seemed fine to me; it wasn't exactly Olympic Gold medal stuff, but at least my day would be broken up. However, on Tuesday, I did something I do about once a month, I checked my old POP3 email; the one I use for ordering stuff, give to people who I'm not fussed about hearing from and generally have forgotten about since I switched over to broadband and this new PC. Virgin screwed it up for weeks, so I emailed most everybody I knew and told them to use the Yahoo address instead.
Now 98% of my friends did this without thinking; but a couple of them still sent me emails to the old address and usually three weeks after they needed a reply they got one and it usually started - you should use my Yahoo email as I don't use this account any longer for personal emails - but the problem is people, and I include myself in this, don't read emails, they skim them for the information they want to see and being succinct is rarely a trait I can be accused of, so people probably lose the will to live by the third line of one of my replies.
So, the people who ignored the change of email address, continued to send me stuff (despite these people being friends on Facebook and having my fucking telephone number - or not as was the case with one of them, which in itself made me wonder how he'd 'lost' my number, or maybe he didn't lose it, he probably figured he didn't need it again, until something came along that he could cajole me into doing for nothing). Subsequently, when I went onto Outlook on Tuesday night, I found several emails from my film making friend and his team; all of them dated ages ago and with information that clashed with my now booked boiler repair. That was that out of the window then.
So, I emailed my mate back, reminding him yet again that I have told him umpteen times to use some other way of contacting me and informed him that I would not be available to help. Now, this is one of my oldest friends and I've learned over the near 40 years I've known him, I soon realised you don't piss him off; even if pissing him off is out of your control. Yet, pissed him off I must have; not only was I not very contrite about not being able to help him, you could construe that my reply to him about not being available was tinged with a small amount of disgruntlement. I got a phone call on my mobile from an unknown number and it turned out to be one of producers, who, amazingly was asking about my availability. She had obviously been asked by my friend to speak to me - he was probably really angry - otherwise how did she get my telephone number? I explained about the double bookings; the fact I don't use the email account they all sent stuff to and that I was very sorry, but I wasn't available - just like it said in my email.
Then the wife said, "Oh, shit. I forgot to tell you; the boiler man isn't coming until Thursday..."
So, I'm sitting here waiting for a gas man. I've been up since 7.45am and it is now 10.00am. But I'm on holiday and I've admitted that I've got nothing to do, why am I miffed? Well, this Thursday had been earmarked for some other things that needed doing, but while these are either half finished or have just been started, I can't go and do them because the phone's signal doesn't stretch that far down the garden to be confident I'll get the call from the gas man when it eventually arrives. I have a half-empty pond (the half that's left is mainly duck shit, mud and stones) which needs cleaning and refilling before the end of the day and an area that I've been clearing to put the greenhouse on; both really need doing sooner rather than later. You could argue that neither are that time sensitive; but, the pond obviously needs doing asap because it's the duck's safe haven and main source of life and the area that needs clearing is mainly full of wood which is dry at the moment, but ten days ago was a quagmire of soggy mess.
Anybody that knows me well will know that I tend to baulk at serious physical work, mainly through a mixture of my dodgy bones and my inherent laziness; so building myself up for some extreme physicality with the promise of an aching back and sore muscles tomorrow is something I don't take lightly and the longer this bloody boiler man takes to get here the less inclined I am to do at least one of the jobs. I know, that sounds terrible and pathetic and another prime example of my procrastinating abilities; but I could have at least done something this week twice over and instead I can't do the other things I would have done because I'm having to wait for a man who cancelled his first appointment and no one thought for a second that I might not like being put upon. Mutter grumble, mutter grumble.
I started to get a little scared yesterday morning. I've been getting cramp in my left calf a lot recently; it might be something simple like Marley lying on it while I'm asleep or it might be a lack of potassium in my diet or even related to my sciatica - the bottom line is several times in the last two weeks I've leapt out of bed around 5 in the morning, trying to find a cold surface to put my foot on - that works for me. It was when I got back into bed that I started to worry.
Not my leg; but the fact that I was lying in bed and I couldn't take a deep breath. In fact, I could barely take a shallow one. I got back up, went to my office and had a couple of blasts on my inhaler and everything seemed to relax. I think, because my chest is fucked, I might have given myself an asthma attack without realising it; either that or my lungs just ain't getting any better at all since my infection and I've got to make some serious lifestyle changes or face doing an encore of my mother's premature death. It probably explains why I'm yawning all the time - I'm probably slowly suffocating...
I've stopped or rather more accurately attempted to stop smoking for so many reasons that at the time seemed the most logical reason for not smoking - health, money, the way one smells, because someone else died of smoking - but I've never been scared. Scared is new. Scared is scary. Scared is considerable bigger and stronger (at the moment) than my old friend Alan Nicotine Addiction, who has been living in my hippocampus since I was 15, who it has to be said has seen his subconscious arguments with me weaken as I've got older and mortality becomes a more realistic target. Scared has problems with Alan's brothers Dave and Steve, the two other 'habits' that also live in the part of my brain that probably needs them, because they are less bothered about whether I live or die. Alan is part of me, the other two are parasites.
You're probably thinking I'm talking bollocks, but nicotine rewires your brain; it makes it different than it was before you began to like the colourless and odourless drug. It cannot be re-rewired. It can never be as it was before you smoked (which is a concept non-smokers have a problem getting their heads around); you could have stopped smoking 50 years ago (like my godmother) and yet still class yourself as a smoker (albeit an ex-smoker). Smoking is an addiction and some people handle addictions better than others. I've always liked drugs, which is why I've steadfastly avoided the expensive and usually highly addictive ones. The irony is the first deal of cannabis I ever bought cost me £7.50 for an eighth of an ounce and a packet of Benson & Hedges costs that now, so just what is a cheap addictive drug in the 21st century? It certainly isn't tobacco.
I said to the wife on the phone this morning that last night I sat in my office thinking that even if I stop smoking right now there's no guarantee I'll ever have a real truly deep breath again, but I might as well be put down now if I don't give myself the chance to see if I can. What better time than when I'm about to go on holiday? I just need to have my jaws wired shut.
Oh and the other thing that started me on this road happened when I got back from seeing my nieces; I got in and the wife was on the phone to my slightly mad and very eccentric older brother Ronnie. The one who had a heart attack about ten years ago and has never smoked or drunk in his life rang me because my god-daughter rang him to say how gaunt and ill I look. I have to say I've lost shit loads of weight and if the doctor at the hospital hadn't told me that I didn't have cancer, I would have been more worried about that than having a heart attack or getting emphysema.
Plus most everyone I know thinks I'm falling apart (either really or in my mind) and most of my good friends will treat my latest prophecy of quitting with the same disdain and disbelief the wife has. Can you see the odds I'm up against? I should treat it as a challenge, but I usually go into it expecting to fail and trust me, I'm not fishing for sympathy or support here, I've let so many people down with these forecasts that if you put me in a field with Peter and a wolf, you would be believing them.
Of course, I would wake up this morning breathing better than I have for weeks; shifting all kinds of stuff that probably was hindering the breathing and letting Alan start chipping away at my latest wall of intent.
So, I figure I've not done anything of any note this week and I haven't been writing the thing I'm supposed to be doing. In fact, I don't think the laptop has been used since the weekend. I printed off the three short stories I've written this year, but they're still on the coffee table (probably now with paw prints on the cover sheet) and I don't want to get into a vicious circle of the harder I try to do something the easier I find it not to.
To add insult to injury, all my plans for the coming work year have been thrown into... well disarray is the usual term, but the bin would be more accurate. The new working year promises to be far more fraught than the last one and I just can't help feeling that the changes have been made to try and force someone's hand. That hand doesn't belong to me, but it will greatly affect me either until the inevitable happens or for longer (because I don't believe this will go the way they think it will).
It's 10.45, there's no sign of the boiler man still.
It's midday; he's been and gone. What a miserable git he was.
The Old Man has died.
It's now Friday morning and there's a lot of activity at the house next to the Sexually Explicit Family. The wife noticed the ambulance there at just gone 9 and I was soon told by the Old Man's other neighbour (one half of the Caribbean Couple) that she had found him, dead in his bed, earlier that morning. It seems he died in his sleep, which is the way I think most of us would want to go.
There are about 15 people out there at the moment; a policeman, two paramedics, a bloke who looks like a doctor (or coroner) and family plus neighbours. However, the Old Man's grandson is sitting on the front step. He is alone. He looks devastated and no one seems to be aware that he is there. I'd just like to go and sit next to him and give him some support; I'm just not that brave.
Och Aye the Noo
Well, if you can call the southwest of Scotland really Scottish, then I shall be rubbing shoulders with some of my forefathers in the next 36 hours. The house sitter is due here, much earlier than he was supposed to be here, at 6pm, but to be fair it's best we spend more than half an hour drilling it into his head what he needs to do.
As noted before, the holiday destination doesn't have a TV, but does have wireless and therefore my netbook comes into its own; we will not be completely isolated from the Olympics, which I now believe has caused the rest of the world to just stop.
It is my intention to give a week long diary of the holiday; so be aware, if you feel overloaded at the moment with my, at times, incomprehensible, whitterings, it's going to get worse!
- I have been listening to Doves. I would have listened to other stuff, but the day before we go on holiday the CD player in the wife's car seems to have packed up.
- I told Roger last night that I didn't know if I wanted to 'publish' this blog because it's reminiscent of an old style of mine (that failed); the slightly drunken sounding stream of consciousness style. Then I thought, 'fuck it', do I really care any more?
- Beetroots like flabby balls.