I woke up this morning with an idea that is not mine.
I can't really develop. That'd be immoral and I always shout down plagiarism.
In a Rabelaisian way.
I feel like that for a while. Then it passes.
Remember, remember all these weeks. About seven.
I think I have let myself down for a bit.
Not that I have chosen to do so. Not that I have willingly entered the world of the bizarre and the unknown. Not that I am that much bothered about my own peace. Not that. No.
I have dreamed my days more than I have seized them. I have hoped for a recovery.
And now, well, I am.
Apart from the occasional sneezing, the recalcitrant sock and the casual free-for-all on the tube, I am fine.
All these weeks, I tried to embrace the routine and the ordinary but felt invited in the world of a dispiritingly funny invalid rib-less character and somehow, perceived the environment very much like a Lam painting.
I have shadowed myself in the path of my habits.
I was not wearing clothes, I was just giving them a shape. I was not eating, I was entered by food. Cigarettes were smoking me. People were drinking, I was feeling drunk.
But I have perceived the environment differently. I touched something that was there but unknown until then.
The stress of the crowd.
The brouhaha spoke to me.
I is an other.
Sorry I meant marvelous.
What I am trying to say here, is clear to me but not necessarily to the rest. Like when you try to speak on the phone in the hall of a train station.
Too much hubbub.
It ain't easy to convey.
I mean, Indiana Jones, Jesse James or Arsène Lupin, they did not have to tell their story themselves, did they?
And yet.To me,
It has been an adventure.
I could have done without but I have done well. I think.
But I missed out a lot.
For example I have not been able to do much physical stuff, really. Like lifting things.
Six weeks without lifting things.
I mean, heavy things.
Like on a Saturday afternoon or on a Monday evening in those sweaty gym centers for anonymous alcoholics.
Barbells and weights.
Don't they call it dumbbells too?
Lifting dumbbells and dumb things used to be the fast track for work opportunities.
Like becoming governor of California.
But I digress here.
Breakfast and morning stretching.
The other day it was epic.
Croissant, Nutella, champagne and sunbathing.
Today, with the relics of broken ribs, on the boat, it is as normal as can be.
Coffee and italian biscuits.
And one attempted sit-up.
With broken ribs exercise is not a priority, on a boat or anywhere else.
In these open letters, reluctantly ego-centered diatribes against my infuriating condition, I have been more successful with describing the italian little pleasures (the biscuits) than showing how I have walked out on yoga or any other form of modern organic physical bullshit.
I could not possibly describe it so today, I'd rather submit a drawing to highlight my position on the matter and enhance my point.
Proportions are somehow, almost accurate.
With time, pain becomes a friend. Like a cigarette becomes the girlfriend for those who don't have one.
But pain really, is more like one of those friends that are consistently annoying since childhood. Coming to your house to watch Tom Sawyer and eating all the Miel Pops, stealing girlfriends and smoking most of the difficultly acquired pack of rancid yellow Camel... but you can't do without them because they're from the same village.
I have been on a holiday with them once or twice.
Being on a holiday with them usually tends to be a bit like that...
None left to spare
This chapter needs concluding.
A page needs turning.
A night cap needs drinking.
Like a little drink for the road and off you go onto the 38 bus towards Mare Street...
Bloody 38 bus. I miss the bendy ones.
My friend from Bilbao used to call it the 'social bus'.
The only alternative to save on the outrageous £2.40 fare (without oyster).
The new ones are not fitted with windows that can be opened.
I know I should not really mind. But since it is summer this week and next, here in London, it'd be nice to open a pair of windows.
30°C is a bit much on a simili wool seat.
And yet someone next to me feels that chips with vinegar is needed for the ride.
Better to jump on the bus than taking the car, after a drink or two though.
Drinking and driving is not good.
Unless you drive a narrow-boat. Apparently.
About that, there are different stories.
What is right and what is in the middle and what is wrong.
While driving a boat, some tends to say that the allowable percentage of alcohol in the blood is higher than the one allowed for driving cars while intoxicated.
Others seem to milk the idea that boaters on boat below a certain size are permitted to drink alcohol, as long as it is not in excess.
How about that!
Let's note the occurrence "a certain size" here.
It seems that the old adage about size is wrong and that size does matter. I believe so. Size does matter. It's whether it is big or small that does not matter, innit?
As long as it is certain.
I would also like to focus a second on "as long as it is not in excess".
In my experience, it should read "as long as it is not in excess, especially if the driver is an orange corny fairy".
I have to say, on a personal note, that the tacky pixie who drove her boat right into mine yesterday, attempting a manoeuvre against the wind, something only a drunkard fool, or Dick Dastardly and Muttley maybe, could have thought of as doable, is a right bitch and I am sorry if I am offending anyone here but finding most of my crockery and flowers splattered all over the floor has driven me into the last corner of a possible outpost of patience. And the fraudulent goblin, deceitful narrow-boat driver and dipsomaniac in her spare time, did not stop the killing game there and has had my red lilies falling off the roof onto my neighboor's boat, resulting in one of them being beheaded.
It is difficult to think of anything more likely to arouse my ire and drive me to intimately search my home for weapons.
I did not see it but J'accuse!
Even with cracked ribs, I have managed to maintain a home where all is order and beauty, luxury, peace and pleasure*.
Even with no cracked rib to begin with, in my suspended garden, I managed to fall elegantly and sacrificed the thorax rather than the red lilies.
People. The crowd. They break things, they start a fire on you and they walk away while everything is burning.
Me, I don't break.
Things, I mean, since I had to come to the conclusion that I am somehow breakable.
Maybe I broke one thing.
But it was not mine. **
Same old story.
About that, while I am at it, I read this passage in Ian Sinclair's book, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire:
I have been on my bike three times only, since the rib situation.
-Both! I need now to fill in your details on this.
But a priceless conversation.
A little less cynical about people and about boat drivers and cyclists in general. I am not better than them in certain situations.
I should not boo the cyclists on the towpath too much. I should not boo the troll trying to stir a boat.
But there is only so much a man can do.
And even less with cracked ribs.
I am getting over what happened with not so much psychic tolls of ordeals and an awful lot of questions.
Taking a bit of height and a bit of sun, the breeze and the empty space below, that opens onto the glistening water, mostly due to oil and diesel leaks.
Giving me the impression that I can now climb mountains again and not be afraid of falling,
and not be afraid of...
That, however, is still on my mind...
And there we are, left at a cliffhanger.