Advent

This is how it felt about a year ago….

I love getting up, cigarettes, coffee. Love going to bed, sleep and warm. It’s the stuff in between that spoils it. It’s like eating nothing but dairylea or mush from Greggs, even worse Sayers, same boring stuff everyday. The last bit of excitement I had was when Greggs brought out a special edition cracked pepper egg mayo but the novelty wore off. The fillings of my days are flat, tasteless, bland, something gulped down between being gulped down by rushing around and trying not to bump into everyone else who is rushing around eating mush.

Work, work, work. Even though I’m not working it’s all work, this and that and the others directing me as they too are directed by the unseen hand of rushing around. Waiting for a bus is work, walking is work, supermarkets is work, having to enjoy myself is hard work, funerals are work. God, it never ends. And it all tastes like dairylea with desperate lashings of brown sauce or sugary pickle to try and liven it up.

So how does he cope? How do I cope? Well, the simplest way I’ve indicated but it’s a cheap trick. Keep throwing sauce and vinegar or chemical taste scrapers on the mush I have to swallow. They bring out more and more, stronger and stronger, chemical taste to try and liven up, spark to life, provide an interest in the mush that’s swallowed on the run between this job and that job, even if you aren’t working. Keep walking or running, keep working, paid or not, useful or not, because the alternative is terrifying.

Another way is to take a rest every now and then, more now than then. Do a bit and have a cup of tea. Shop, shop, shop. Have a rest. Millions of caffs have sprung up to have a rest in. A coffee, a tea, a cheese toastie, a blueberry muffin. Do my bit. Send a get well card care of intensive care, walk to the post box, pay for a stamp, a card: have a rest, we deserve it. For every hill to climb there is a slope the other side to come down again, and rest, rest, rest. Give the old one next door a lift to the bus stop, knacker yourself giving the old dear next door a lift to the bus stop, get home, put the kettle on and have a rest. Look through the catalogue, spend, spend, spend. Make a list. Go to town, spend, spend, spend. Wear yourself out at the bus stop, wedge myself into the bus like a cow going to the slaughterhouse, wedged in by the smells and flesh, get home, feet up, have a rest, look at the TV times, watch the telly, have a rest. Phone your mother, wear yourself out, have a rest.

We must reward ourselves. Ten minutes of work, you deserve a break. Have a rest. A nice chat. Go down to the chat room. Outside for a ciggie. Have a rest. If you put yourself out for another person have a rest, reward yourself. No need to have done it, I’m only human, I deserve a reward. Have a rest. Have a cup of coffee…

That’s all right for getting through the day but you’ve got to look at the bigger picture. God, as if life wasn’t already hard enough there’s the mountains to climb. You’ve got all this carry-on to carry round, all the mush and no time to yourself hardly to relax except when you go to sleep or get up and have a coffee and a ciggie, and you have these huge mountains to climb. I say you, I mean me. You’ve got all the stuff of the days, the rushing, the work to carry on your shoulders, and the mush we feed myself with, cheese slices grey as paving stones, mass produced, pink icing on bloated dough pumped full of air in the factories, and you’re carrying all this and just getting over the yearbefore when you have to start again.

A big grin on your face and rushing round patting each other on the back, and churning inside with this big hearty grin on my face, knowing there is nothing but months of work ahead and I’m not even working, I envy those who are because at least they get a bit of peace and can afford better sauce and the finest the refrigerated aisles can offer in the warehouses. Before I know it I – we – climbing up Easter Mountain, carrying all this weight on my shoulders, joining with you in pretending life is great isn’t it, and trying as best I can to get some peace as detailed above, but assailed by funerals, weddings, parties, celebrations, phone calls, anniversaries, birthdays, commemorations, celebration marches, all hanging there above me like a net of instructions, ropes of instructions but prettied up with flags and emblems and balloons, and on we go, I go, carrying all this, still getting over last year up Easter Hill.

Hollow chocolate eggs and furry bunnies everywhere, hardly time to stop and rest at the top and you’re off down again into the valley of Spring and so not even darkness to keep you safe at night, just this watery daffodil sky neither this nor that, and up the Summer Hill of outdoor events and open air music and barbecues and running round the park or up and down the prom and on the trains or coaches or planes and up up and away and spending time, money, work, keeping going until you think warm days will never cease but I’m worn out with it all, and people all around me are getting sick or dying and I can smell the smoke of burning flesh from wars all over my world.

Autumn peaks and there is some rest, everyone worn out, knowing what’s coming next. The light is pretty gold, and misty harvests please the eyes and a tray of blackberries coats the tongue. But it’s all a bit secondhand, and you’re so worn out I’m not really experiencing it at all, I’m reacting as you are as if it is in a book and we know autumn is beautiful “Isn’t it lovely?”.  we say. Beautiful, a word from long ago, long, long ago. But we are so worn out we have forgotten and the road falls down and we walk into the short nights and the cold darkness and you say to me ‘where did it all go’ and ‘what happened?’ then down into the valley of winter shadow the way starts up again, up Christmas Mountain and we’re carrying all the stuff of the year on our shoulders and gritty with each other, snarly, tired out climbing and gathering and working, working, rushing around. On and on and on for months in the dark working and gathering and spending time, spending, spending until we are near spent. And last year I’d had enough. I walked off the road across the horizon to the cliffs and jumped. It was that easy. God, what a strange dream.

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