Space is another. Being a sensitive soul, when I was younger - very young - I used to work myself up into a right tizz because ... the universe never ends. It has essentially always been there and it always will be. Wrong, you say, but I'm talking existentialism here. When you're 8 and someone tells you that it doesn't matter how fast you travel and for as long as you like you will never ever come to the edge of the universe and if, somehow, you did there would be nothing on the other side; it was the 'nothing on the other side' bit that fucked me up. Being told that the universe sits in a huge sea of nothing works on a basic level until you realise that nothing is... um... nothing. Proper nothing is nothing at all - no air, no dust, no Justin Beiber, no... space or time - nothing, nought, nout, bugger all.
Now, you can look in the fridge and there's nothing in there, but there is, even if you don't want to eat mould, stale air, that thing at the back that you were sure didn't have legs and fur when you bought it. Space time nothing is something that can have you thinking your brain into twists, knots and aneurysms and because I'm just a wee bit special, it bugged the life out of me for years. Then someone said, 'Imagine this' and I did and everything was okay again ...
You get to the edge of the universe; it's still expanding at a rate of knots, but you have a super-duper goes-faster-than-the-universe-is-expanding 'vehicle'. You step outside the universe and on the other side is just nothing. a bit, for argument's sake, white nothingness. You get into your goes-faster-than-the-universe-is-expanding 'vehicle' and move away from the universe at the fastest speed you can go for 1 million years (you don't age in this goes-faster-than-the-universe-is-expanding 'vehicle') and then you stop, get out of the goes-faster-than-the-universe-is-expanding 'vehicle' and walk back one step and you are back into the universe. One step!?! You've travelled at a billion miles an hour for 1 million years and the universe is just behind you - like some cheesy pantomime villain? What the...?
But you see outside of the universe is nothing, so you can't really go anywhere in a nothing that is both the biggest and the smallest entity never to have existed.
Time isn't at all like that even if time and space kind of gave this symmetry in that you probably could have one without the other - in that nothingness more like - but it would play havoc with our sense of perspective.
The thing is we take space for granted and therefore we take time as well and the two are immutably linked. If you drive the same route every day for 10 years; the journey you take on the 10th anniversary is the same as the journey you took the very first time; except in your head it takes much less time even if the journey time is always 27 minutes. You become so familiar with the 27 minutes that it takes less time - in your mind's eye - than it does, even if it doesn't. See?
A ten year old will be told she can have something next year and to her next year is like forever. In reality next year is a 10th of her life. If I'm told I'll have to wait until next year it's like a 50th of my life - basic maths at work here - a tenth is bigger than a 50th and add in the extra existentialism and wow, a ten year old's perception of a year is the kind of thing a 50 year old would sell their soul for.
Monotony is a time dragger. I'm guessing the summer of 1976 seemed like it went on forever not because I was only 14 (and therefore experiencing just a 14th of my life), but because the weather from May through to the end of September (except for August Bank Holiday where it tipped it down for three torrential days) was the same, every day. You woke up, the sky was blue, the sun was out, the temperature rose steadily and it didn't change. Some days the high pressure area over us brought bits of cloud and slightly cooler temperatures, but in general it was monotonous (not that I'm complaining; give me some of that weather-specific monotony now, baby!) and the reason us Brits think time flies is because of the temperate climate and ever changing weather patterns. I'm thinking if you were born in Dubai you probably think 80 years is more like 280 (but, equally, the human brain probably speeds up monotony when you live in a place that rarely changes).
This is all theory, but it stops me from going completely bat-shit or trying to build a goes-faster-than-the-universe-is-expanding 'vehicle' to prove my point.
The fact that the equinox is behind us already is a scary thought. When I was a child days seemed to last as long as years (it's that perception thing again) and I regularly did three and four things in a day and had bus fair for a bag of chips (or something like that). Today, I sit here for an undefined amount of time and suddenly it's next week and I'm thinking - 'my life is made up of emptying the dishwasher' because I seem to do it more than once a day, although I KNOW I only empty it once a day.
I've always been a bit of a twat. And while my latest 'kick' has nothing twattish about it in the slightest, I sort of feel like I should be hit with a huge twat stick until I cry.
I have this COPD thing, which, I explain to people is a bit like angina in that it's there and it shouldn't bother me as long as I look after myself. I have my new inhaler, my lack of cigarettes and this new thing... this alien fuckwittery that doesn't sit well with me from a past perspective.
My pulmonary system is buggered. It isn't fucked, but it has been irreversibly damaged; as a result I will suffer from chest ailments for the rest of my life and I have a 90% certainty that I will eventually suffocate to death, like my mother did...
Two of the dogs are overweight. Marley because she eats everything and Lexy because the winter and cold spring lasted so long none of the dogs did the amount of exercise they really needed; there was no swimming and I kind of think because we trudged them out, wrapped up like Eskimos, feeling cold and monotonous (because it lasted so long), they didn't get the amount of energy burn to keep them trim, because we lacked the urgency they needed to run around a lot. Subsequently, dog biscuit has been reduced and a harder, more determined exercise regime has been put into place. The dogs need to lose weight or it will shorten their lives. That bothers me more than my own life span, because, you know, the dogs are my kids.
So getting Marley to run around isn't difficult; she does it a lot, she just mixes it with eating ANYTHING she can put in her mouth. So, she has her muzzle on now. She doesn't like it and if people tell you dogs don't sulk, it's just our interpretation, you have my permission to call them retards. Dogs sulk like teenage girls who have been grounded and had their phones confiscated.
Lexy is just lazy. Lexy would like you to get her a Tesco trolley and push her around, or better still, leave her on a bench in a pub and take the others for a walk. Energy expulsion is reserved for barking at Fishwife when he goes into his back garden.
The need for them to burn off all this fat supersedes everything, even my health. So dog walks have increased in time and distance. I plan my routes via Google Maps and have to push myself as hard as the dogs because I'm suddenly giving myself hills and rough tracks to walk. At first it was all a bit of a nightmare and I found that for three days after I'd have that 'yawning' feeling, like I wasn't getting anywhere near as much oxygen into my body. Then at the start of this week - three weeks into this new 'walk until you think you've done enough and then walk for another 15 minutes' mindset, something really odd happened.
I started to feel good...
That's a lie. I didn't feel good. I'd be hunched over at the top of a hill I'd just pushed myself up and I'd be breathing like a woman who had just had the most explosive orgasm ever after the most dirty and energetic sex she could ever imagine.
Yet... A year ago, I would have taken 20 minutes to even be in a position to move again. Now, despite the lungs, I'm walking again within 3 minutes and I'm pushing myself to walk again. I don't procrastinate when I'm walking. It's about covering the distance and making sure that Lexy keeps up with me (because Marley is always ahead of me). I'm pacing myself; breathing properly while walking (and avoiding talking) and I can feel my body loving every minute of it to the point where I look forward to my next walk.
My body isn't loving it at all; at least it isn't in my head; but my legs have stopped aching; the burn I get from lactic acid in my thighs is disappearing. I'm never going to run a marathon (although I might power walk one) or even 400 metres without possibly doing some serious internal damage, but I think I'm fitter now than I have been for 30 years. Someone said the other day that one thing is sure, exercise is a good thing and the more I do the better I get. I might never be able to get my lungs back to how they were, but I'm hopeful that I can make my life a damned sight easier than it might have been. You see, I expect being in my late 60s with an oxygen tube stuffed up my nose and the need to travel around with one of those horrendous motorised scooter abominations is going to be so dull, so laborious, so time-draggingly tedious that my wish for time to slow down will probably only be realised when I have no control over it. So, lets work that body really fucking hard and have a heart attack at 80 doing the Waendal Walk or the Pennine Way. That would be a worthy death considering the damage I've inflicted on myself for the last 35 years (and it would shock a few people: Phil Hall died where? Doing what? You're shitting me?).
I have all the time in the world to get fit, it's just going to seem like it whizzes past.
Effercio et Ineptias
- This week has been busy busy busy. I have had to juggle accountant's meetings, with phonecalls to people, spending some time with my old best mate Graham, and meeting up with my ex-assistant manager at the shop. As a result, I've missed things (sorry Phil); not got things I need to get done and despite working harder than I have for months, I've still managed not to do everything I wanted to.
- I have come to the conclusion that if one specific thing will eventually drive (hah) me out of the country, it won't be the Tories, the lack of opportunities or the fuckwits I share the country with, it'll be because of drivers (now you know why I said 'Hah'!) and the fact that people no longer seem to realise that they are driving the equivalent of a loaded hand gun. I was on the receiving end of a road rage person yesterday and all I think I did was approach him a wee bit fast. He was pootling up the Welly Road doing about 20mph and I was doing about 40, the speed limit for that stretch. I slowed down, but he was giving me all kinds of grief in his rear view mirror (to the point where I thought I might have someone dead stuck to the front of my car). When I eventually overtook him, he drove from the outskirts of Northampton to Earl's Barton between 20 and 40mph depending on whether or not I could overtake him, he sat behind me and continued to give me all kinds of grief through the medium of hand gestures. When I finally had enough, stopped the car to get out and confront this twat, he pulled out and drove off, honking his horn at me and calling me a wanker. Obviously I missed something... A memo perhaps?
- My playlist this week has been: Jon Hopkins, GIAA, Sigur Ros and, um... Oh yeah, I wee bit of Tears for Fears. I maybe need to vary it a little.
- I'm still reading Joe Hill's NOS 4R2 and I am really enjoying it, sort of. I really enjoy it when I read it, I just can take it or leave it at the moment. I seem to be reading it in blocks and forgetting about it for days until I remind myself I'm halfway through a book.
- I have given up on so many TV programmes now that I think I need to carry on watching the few that I do or I might as well just give my TV away. However, after watching the 2nd episode of the latest season of True Blood last night, I really think I should stop watching this kind of thing because frankly I could write it better if I was pissed and suffering from a serious head wound. I cannot believe HBO produce this unbelievable heap of steaming cow excrement. They must pay the actors lots of money because I'd need to be paid lots of money to speak some of the dialogue uttered in this example of how fantasy TV should never ever be made. The shame is that somewhere in there is a promising story that has just been hidden behind soft porn, bad dialogue and some of the most unbelievably bad ideas ever wheeled out in any TV show. It needs to be stopped and sooner rather than later.
- There's probably more, I can't be arsed though. I think I shall go and sponge alcohol from friends now...