“When I awoke today/Suddenly nothing happened…*”
It is difficult to envisage a happenstance that could be of lesser consequence to most of my readers, but today I served** Peter Levy and I mention it only because it highlights the general vacuousness of my day to day existence. This was not only the highlight of my day, but just possibly my month. When I was younger, I imagined a future when people would clamour for the opportunity to meet me: in my twenties I foresaw a time when people would be intrigued by the possibility of one day meeting me; in my thirties I still believed that there might be people out there who would be happy to meet me. These days, I am just pleased when people are simply not too dismayed by the prospect. At least nobody hears my name with feigned indifference – they are too preoccupied with real indifference.
I am like every other blog writer: I give away everything between the lines that I would not dream of disclosing on them. In every post I write, you get a little piece of me, and although it isn’t always where I expected it to be, or even what I expected it to be, it is always there, if you should choose to look for it. I would love to be able to think of a single reason why you would. I’m not certain that forensic psychologists actually exist, but if they do, and if they, in a manner that probably tells you more about them than it does about me, read this blog from beginning to end, I am confident that they will end up knowing more about me than I do. (Actually not as impressive as it sounds, because I am more or less completely in the dark.)
I have been a little under the weather for a few days (as somehow divined by Mr Underfelt) – don’t worry; it’s not that. You can put your PPE away. Whatever virus scanner you have on your laptop, it will find nothing here – but it has made me realise something about myself: I am not as sturdy as I thought I was. A properly determined virus would almost certainly be capable of seeing me off. It has been a revelation: I am not indestructible – even though I am pretty certain that I used to be. (Just so that you are aware, this was not a near-death experience, but actually more of a ‘close by insurance salesman’ experience. A mild, sadly not even debilitating illness: definitely in no way life threatening, just not pleasant and almost certainly infectious…)
Suddenly the fragility of life clashes with the inconsequentiality of it and all bets are off. Anyone present at a dawn of time (logic tells you that there must be more than one, otherwise what caused this one?) would almost certainly bump into somebody else who would predict that two spontaneously occurring atoms could just possibly attempt to occupy the same infinitesimally minute portion of this infinite vacuum at the same time (which then didn’t even exist) following which ‘Kerboom’ would occur. Almost certainly they would have had two-bob each way on the consequences of that. Almost certainly the bookies would have found some way to return the stake and cancel the bet. The whole universe is following a trajectory that is careering between oblivion and oblivion. It started as nothing and it will eventually end as nothing and yet, for some reason, we find it necessary to try and leave a mark on it. I am aware of the futility of it all and yet I really did hope that my own ‘mark in the sand’ might add up to more than being in the same place and time as a BBC Local TV Presenter.
But that’s what marks in the sand are like, isn’t it? One tiny ebb of tide and they’re gone. You think you’ve built the very best sandcastle only to find that it dissolves around your feet. Ah, what the hell, you just build the next one higher…
*”…But in my dreams/I slew the dragon.” Waiting for my Real Life to Begin – (the wonderful) Colin Hay
** No, no, no! Go and wash your mind out with soap. I work in a shop.
N.B. This is, in case he is reading – and if he is not, then why not? – not a comment upon the inestimable Mr Levy in any way. He was utterly charming. Such a shame, I so wanted to not like him…
PS Please don’t ask me: I have no idea what it is all about. Chocolate hopefully…