For some reason about every six weeks, I need a monster sleep. Often I’ll sleep for ten hours straight on those occasions as if the body has been crying out for rest denied. The rest of the time, I run pretty much to a standard routine without feeling any ill effects. I switch off the light around 11.30 and am out of bed a little before 7.
Yesterday was an easy day, more or less. After laying in bed late to read I got up, walked Rigby down by the beach, before returning to make a minestrone while watching the Sixers beat the Heat in the playoffs. I watched some of the Anzac Day coverage from France, including a wonderful speech from the French Prime Minister, before settling down to watch the footy with Cheeseboy and JV. In the evening, I had a bowl of the minestrone, groused about the footy, and watched some cursory TV while feeling my energy seep from my body. It was a little after 9, and I felt like nodding off.
I didn’t fight it too much. I was in a funny mood, neither one thing nor another, an old Sports song running through my head, Don’t Throw Stones, and no real desire to remain conscious. I went to bed, read for a while, then switched the light off. It was about 10.
I woke a little before 6, dozed for a while, then decided not to pretend. I got up and fed Rigby and made myself a coffee. Back in bed, I turned on the lamp. It was still dark outside, and the light made the shadows in the room deeper. I read for about 40 minutes I guess, enjoying the novelty of it as well as a new book, but a part of my mind was turned in on itself.
Something felt different. I was different, or at least my perceptions were, but something about me seemed changed to. In myself, I felt quieter. The force in me that often expresses itself outwardly in how I walk or talk, or in my eyes, was instead internalised. I wondered what it was. Is something about to change?
The Sports song was in my head still as I prepared myself for another day of work. I took a distant view of it in keeping with my low-key mood. In fact, everything seemed distant. I was all small movements, with none of the brash outwardness I sometimes portray.
Sitting opposite me on the train to work was a woman in her mid-twenties, a fit-looking intellectual wearing skin-tight leggings. I sensed her awareness of me, which made me aware of her. She reminded me of a girl I’d had sex with, and all of a sudden, all I could see was her naked body. There was nothing lascivious in it; it was a function merely of memory. I looked away from her, out the window, becoming reflective.
I’m in my early fifties now, but I look like a well turned out forty-year old. I tend to base my behaviour on how I look rather how old I am: and if you can get away with it, why not? There’s a lot of things in that. No-one wants to get old. No matter how self-possessed it’s the rare person who doesn’t take some lead from their personal appearance. And of course, it’s vanity.
I’ve always been vain. You could say it was bred into me. My mother was always stylish, and my father immaculate – and his father, my grandfather, was a devotee of Henry Buck. It was not only all around me, the value of personal appearance was always drilled into me, and above all, the beauty of style. I believed in it and as a good looking boy was happy to exploit it.
I’ve always been aware of it, but somewhere along the line, it meshed neatly with my ego. For many years I rode that wave until it crashed. I’ve reformed some. I’m still vain, and I’ve still got an ego, but they’re quieter than they used to be. I can’t deny myself, but I want to be the master of my ego and not the other way around. All this I pondered as I peered out the window and train quickly filled. I felt quiet in myself, humble, just me.
You try and find the right answer – at least I always do. There isn’t always a right answer, though. I know that even as I search for it. I like to have something definite to navigate by or act upon, though it’s rare that it’s possible. Even on the train, I searched for that. Was it time I accepted my age and just be it? But then, why? Why if in mind and body you feel timeless? Should I feel flattered to have a young woman aware of me? Was it wrong of me to see in my mind’s eye naked bodies? But then – why must I have a position on these things? Can I not be?
In the background of all this is work. I’ll write about it separately, but I had more cause on Tuesday to feel abject disappointment with work. It left me off-kilter as I went for a glass of Albarino on Tuesday night, wondering how such things can be.
As for the girl, more and more, it feels that this is my personal journey. I make no representations of her. I won’t chase her, or bend myself to be something I’m not to attract her. I am me, myself, as if that is the point of it. I read something the other day, if the door doesn’t open then its not the right door. I’m happy with that. I doubt it opens, and if it doesn’t, so be it. In the meantime, what I feel is good and true, and maybe what I need. I can be thankful of that, and by extension, her, because she is the cause of it.
Everything is quiet in me. It feels safe, but a little strange. There is no single answer, no easy explanation of right and wrong. Everything is true because it’s real. Whether something is about to happen or not, I don’t know, but maybe.