All quiet on the Western Front? I asked one of the security guards who had been involved in an incident ten minutes before.
Yes, he said but you could tell he was a little jumpy.
He and two of his mates had wrestled to the ground an ice addict who was bothering one of the patrons.
Amongst much kicking, punching and hurling of abuse, he was shoved out of the library.
I pulled out my phone to take a film. One of the guards seeing me, said: No. Put it away, mate.
So I did.
I wish it were as easy to put away some of the stuff that is out there but it isn’t. It isn’t.
My neighbour worried I was having a meltdown. She came by one evening with her three Pomeranians in tow as my brother-in-law pulled in to pick me up for a barbecue at their place. She assured me there was no need to panic, that I could stay as long as I needed till I found a place of my own. The front porch light shone down on us. Wings of light enfolded her as the dogs wound their way around her legs.
Who was that, my brother-in-law asked.
That, I said, was the Archangel Gabriel. Deliverer of glad tidings.
Huh? my brother-in-law said as we hopped in the car.
Good news, I clarified. I get to stay.
I came across a woman who kept tripping over her shadow.
If only it didn’t stand so close, she said, tripping over the shadow’s right foot.
She lifted herself from the ground and before she could hit full stride, the shadow tripped over her.
Fuck! It yelled. She keeps getting in the way.
It lay on the ground, grunting. I think I’ve twisted my ankle.
Here, let me help, I offered. The shadow was tall and spindly and so was relatively easy to pick up.
The sun went behind a cloud and briefly the two became one.
Then it came out again, and the pair went on their slapstick way, tripping and falling.
How they made it home was anyone’s guess.
There was a man in our street who had an apparition in the middle of an afternoon.
He was driving on a country road where on a whim he took a detour. His wife was beside him. They drove down the avenues and streets and occasional crescents till they realised they were caught in an infinity loop. The man began to panic. It was like that time he was stuck in a lift. He could feel his heart fibrillating, his bladder wanting to burst, his vision blurring but he held this from his wife who would accuse him of weakness.
That’s when he saw it, the apparition. It came for him, lumbering down some labyrinth in his brain, a Minotaur bristly and bellowing, big as a tank, barging into him. His heart stopped.
His wife never knew what happened but she found her way out.
And another thing …. What does it matter if you wear your hat inside?
My mate got told off by our host just for doing that. And my mate said, at least I don’t go around putting my feet on people’s poufs or coffee tables, having a dig at me.
Our host looked at both of us wondering what a pair of turkeys he had got in.
are manners truly arbitrary? which behaviours/ manners do you think are worth keeping?
“You won’t even know it’s there,” said the surgeon.
“My brother-in-law sure did,” I replied referring to the incident in the ICU which I witnessed.
AS he was coming out of his sleep, he became aware of the tube down his throat and began struggling with it so violently that he had to be held down while he was put back to sleep. He stayed that way for three days.
“You won’t even be aware of it,” the surgeon said, “and if you are you won’t remember.”
I decided to go with that. In the end you have to put your faith in something.
Still, some days later as I was wheeled into the operating theatre, the last conscious thought was of that tube down my throat.
Many hours later as I slowly awoke, I remember the doctor saying, “the breathing tube is out now, you can speak.”
“What breathing tube?” I asked.
The thing is, if you don’t know something has happened to you, has it really happened?
* inspired by Billy Mac’s ‘A Daughter’s Love’ from his ‘Superman can’t find a phone booth’ blog
What seems to be the trouble , he asks .
I cough and splutter all over the place .
He gets the message .
Sits down to write the certificate .
There , he says , handing the form to me . This should do the trick .
I peruse it quickly .
There’s something missing, I say, why I had time off .
That’s right . If you had Alzheimers or a social disease would you want
people to know ?
Certainly not .
My point exactly .
But I thought you had to put something down .
No , he says . And if they ask , tell them to take a running jump . Better still , tell them to phone me and I’ll tell them to take a running jump . Only in stronger terms .
He stands up . Shakes my hand .
The next day at work I hand in the certificate .
He’s right .
They see the blank space but no one says a word .
I push it a bit further .
On the official form , the one you fill out yourself , where it says Illness I put down ‘See Certificate’ .
It feels good . It really does .
I’ve found a new way to treat with the world .