Thursday, October 09, 2014

Fifty, not out...

Ive had an epiphany, but its alright, I got ointment for it and the swelling's hardly noticeable now.

It might be an odd thing for the Grumbler to say, but I haven't got a lot to grumble about.

Don't worry, though, because that's never hampered me before and it isn't going to stop me now!

Hitting this age milestone feels a little different to previous ones. I don't feel another day older (and I'm no deeper in debt) but its more than likely that I'm over halfway through my time on Earth, and that's fine, I fully intend to be dust and memories long before the time said planet has all been carelessly used/fucked up.  Anyway, if the Daily Mail is to be believed[1] the entire population will be (a) vegetarian, (b) Moslem and (c) Chinese long before that happens, and while I've genuinely got nothing against any of them, I love bacon, can't believe in God and don't speak Mandarin (except for an appalling attempt at pronouncing something I'm assured translates to "Farting Dog"). I'd be no less conspicuous and no more welcome than half a Rocky Mountain Oyster floating in a bowl of carrot consomm√©.

Having lost a mum and two dads between Mrs Grumbler and myself in a scant twelve months certainly awakens a new perspective on mortality; but its a positive one, and it's to live each day and enjoy it. Fully. We only have one life (yes, I know that others will disagree, and that's OK. If they're right, Ill wave at them from the flames downstairs...) and it's too short to bugger abut doing things you don't like, or being unpleasant to people.

I'm not sure I've always been good at not wasting my time on things I don't enjoy, but as my brother Ralf says, "I can't change the past, so I'm not going to worry about it". I'm certainly gonna make an effort to concentrate on doing what makes me happy from now onwards (excepting, of course, things which are a means to an end; like work for example), and from that perspective I'm far from halfway done with living yet. What I AM sure about is that I must be reasonably good at not being unpleasant to people. Evidence, should it be necessary, is available in the number of most excellent friends I have.

I hope you're not bored by this introspection but, frankly, if you are I don't really mind. Its taken me many years and a lot of alcohol, but I like me.  I'm still going to laugh at things; especially myself, and at you too, incidentally, but it will be a laugh of delight, not of derision. For example:

So I've made some 'new-life' resolutions. A bit like new-year resolutions, but lacking the contumelious intent to ignore them after five minutes.

  • More time with the many people I love.
  • More creative expression - think, draw, paint, turn, carve, grow, brew, cook, write, imagine, make, build, walk, run, ride, play...
  • Its OK to be covered in shit, as long as you're having fun
  • No fear of failing. Be me, and to hell with whether anyone else doesn't like it. Empirical evidence tells me enough people do, so I don't need to worry.
  • No despair in the face of unpleasant tasks, get 'em done and forget 'em
  • Above all, waste no time or energy on "Flouty pelm-vessels" [2].

These just missed the cut...
  • Dance like no-one's looking, sing like-no one's listening.
  • Work ceaselessly to standardise the bowler hat as  a measure of breast-size

And there you have it - The Grumbler on being fifty.

[1] Its absolutely NOT, under any circumstances. If a Daily Mail reporter tells you your arse is on fire, I recommend that you call for a mirror to check rather than a bucket of water to put the flames out.

[2] I was watching the news last week just before turning out the light and going to sleep, and a guy was asked by a journalist what he thought of the defection of Mark Reckless to UKIP. His response "Well, he's a flouty pelm-vessel isn't he?" actually left me chuckling as I fell asleep. I recommend that heartily, and intend to do my best to use this utterly meaningless and yet beautifully descriptive term as often as I can in future.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Insomnia's a bitch

Sleep is frequently elusive at the moment. I've tried alcohol, but once I do manage to drop off I spill it over the duvet and the resulting wet patch wakes me up.  It doesn't impress Mrs Grumbler much either.

Counting sheep doesn't work, it too dark in the country to see them in the neighbour's field, and besides which, they only have about five.

So I tend to lie awake for what feels like, and may well be, hours.

Over the past few nights the same words have been echoing around my otherwise empty head. They've been pretty persistent, so I have to conclude that they want writing down (and then hopefully they'll leave me alone for a while). They wont be satisfied if I just put them on paper and file it away, but I'm not gonna spam them over Facebook either.  At least it takes some effort to get here, and seasoned visitors know what they could be in for.

Late addition: I chatted with a couple of people after I made this 'public'. Yes, this is extremely personal, but that's not a reason to hide it - in fact I'd hope that imbues it with a little power. Almost as important is what this isn't - it's not 'sad'. And having let the words out, I slept like a log last night.

Don't panic - (ab)normal service will resume shortly...

Half awake at night, feeling empty, feeling sad
I’d give a lot for one more chance to sit and talk with dad
The cold truth hits, like runaway train
He’s far away, I can’t do that again
The memory is raw and fresh
So every passing day
I hold his hand again, warm, fragile flesh
I sit with him as he quietly slips away
The sadness burns but then I find
If I tune out the noise
And search a quiet, peaceful mind
I can see his face and hear his voice
The good, strong man I’ve always known
Is still with me, I’m not alone
Then I no longer need to weep
I can smile and drift to sleep