****Incoming message from the big giant Ian*****
‘… the history of Society is only, after all, a symptom of increasingly more organised madness.’ – Kilgore Trout
Bill used to give himself lots of lateral downtime, or so he called it. This would involve him, maybe a beer and smoke, and lots of time drinking tea. It would help his creative preserves he said, sort of allowing himself to become sort of a better being, he said.
Strange thing was, Bill never did seem to get any better as the weeks would slip by.
Then one day, there was mum making mince in the kitchen on this summery evening and Bill turned from where he sat on the backdoor step , saying casually
“Thats it Marjorie, i have decided its probably better if i lived the rest of my life as a Bedouin Dancer”
and so off he went. I never did find out, but i like to think that somewhere in the corner of the world Bill does still whirl away in long desert robes.
And so it went.
When i was 23 i believed my friend was trying to poison me. I saw the vapours, and we didn’t like each other too much at the time anyway.
When i was 21 i believed Pearl Jam wrote a song about having seen me at a live gig.
When my Dad was fifty, my sister once told him about eating healthily, eating pasta. He always counted the pasta shells: thirty to make a good meal.
And on it went.
All life is, is one whole big collection of stories. I made this decision years after hearing that infamous ‘The Whole World’s a Stage, and we merely actors upon it’ – it took me a while to really grasp it Shakespeare, i guess i was always a windowshopper decider. Just like all the books on my shelves over the years have grown and shrunk, my life has been filled up with faces and lives and ideas. Little fragments of dreams and other worlds appearing and gently snuffing out, forever forgotten. Some enduring books and even whole collections stand constant and dusty, assured of their faded importance.
Life doesn’t have to make sense.
So this was it, i had decided to not sleep with my ex tonight. I would go around, collect some of my stuff, we’ll talk and watch a movie, she will see that i am still a nice guy and i will leave this evening both of us feeling like we are better individuals. I felt good, imagining myself like a Sufi Prince detached and joyful about my life. This would just be the beginning, i would start being a better human being across the board; i’d be able to politely turn down the lures of drink or boredom or melodrama. I’d start studying again and using my life creatively.
The next morning found me sauntering back home, and so on it went.
maybe i should get off the tablets-
i was chatting to a friend of mine today, this was the guy who told me a while ago: ‘It takes three years to recover from a breakdown’,
he seemed to be a little sad this time. I don’t know, something in his eyes maybe. My friend’s an ex-soldier, living on a frantic low income as a builder. he drinks hard, harsh tinnies in the town square – he’s a great guy; he’s always willing to have a cheery word. I remember once, before work i was sat, 8:45am in one of his old cars, with two of the local town street celebrities. We passed around some harsh weed and one of the guys behind me started going on about the beer he’d spilt in his lap. He’s got a wonderful alliterative use of the most disgusting swearwords of all time. The ex-soldier start saying ‘calm down, calm down’ in that slightly scary paranoid way: this was it, i thought. My Life is a Comedy. I am a bizarre rerun of Last of the Summer Wine.
He asked me what i was doing with myself when i saw him today, i always say an embarressed ‘Nothing.’ Shit. What are you supposed to say to that? I wander around morose, i shake with fear in my own home, i try to get by. He always gives me strange advice about ‘Doing What You Want To Do!’ going back to university, become a proffessional guitarist. I like him for that.
But today he seemed a little sad, almost as if he sensed my embarrasment, my reticience at our usual, ritualized question.
It takes three years to get over a nervous breakdown, my last breakdown was 20 months ago.
And so it goes.
Earlier this year i wrote a story about an improbable interview between various future me’s. They had all been different versions of me from different future dimensions, about six years from now. The current me (2007 me that is) interviewed them.
They kept on saying the same thing.
The first time i had sex was on a friends sofa at the end of a party. I was stoned, and fumbled a lot. The lass who had chosen me had a little daughter, only a baby, and she was committed to study Law and maybe go to University so she could get to know how to keep custody of her kid. i sometimes wonder what happened to her and her kid, what her alternate future dimensionary self would be like. I actually had an experience of meeting a future alternate (but at the time current i should say) dimensionary version of another young mother i knew.
Her name was Dannielle …(Bossinau?? I never could figure out how to say or spell her name). We knew each other as juniors and kids, i had a bit of a crush on her.
One day a friend in a college class was detailing to me the finer points of the CB radio. It was a little world that suddenly opened up for him who was like me i guess, a bit of a loser. A little whole community of people who talked to their husbands working on the passing boats, people chatting away about their corners of their world and the tasteless obsession of listening-in to the emergency service radios. Anyway, it turned out he had talked to Dannielle! He didn’t know her, but apparently she’d asked after me because she found out we both went to the same college. She’d dropped out after school, and had a kid. She lived with her parents, and was cheery.
I never heard about her again for years until i met her future (but at the time current) alternate dimensionary self. One summer break from University i bumped into her outside her old house just a street away from my estate. She looked really good, had her baby with her and i was struck by how things could have been different, how my expectations of her were so removed from this version of her.
Maybe i’ve got a single-mother thing.
When i was 28 i still believe that maybe, somehow improbably my future could be ‘saved’ by a glorious secret talent or luck or divine will.
When my Dad was 28 he believed that if he opened the front door a gunman would blow his legs off.
Puts it in perspective, sometimes.
Another other girl i had an unbearable crush on was my sister’s best friend. Her brother didn’t have any future alternate dimensionary selves. Her brother and his best friend killed himself in his car. He used to help me out at the Boys Brigade Youth Club. I kinda idolized him, in a teenage way. The dissappearence of his future alternative selves had a huge impact in our community, far more than i had realised until, years later my ex-fiancee (who had come from the same town i had, had used to go to the same places but we had met in a far off university in another Country) had told me the story of the couple of well-liked boys who had killed themselves in their car outside one of my old haunts.
Their tragedy escaped me really, like a transatlantic cement truck gliding past me on a foggy night. But the wider community didn’t know that my sister’s best friend’s brother had written what i still think is one of the most touching comments upon life. Apparently a part of it read; that all he wanted to do was to go live in Middle Earth with the elves.
One alternate me did most of the things i never did. When he was 9 he really believed in the power of that title ‘Man of the Match’ for throwing himself bodily against opponants as Defender. Shit. Why not- its not as if he was ever going to score or anything. He liked winning the mock boxing fights my friends used to have at 15. He probably even learned to write well, get good marks at Literature and now works as a clerk or a bookseller. His life is probably small, still in Southend but he feels comfortable, and confident, happy.
He’s lucky, he never made the mistakes i did, or the divine will looked favourably on his life. Just think, if there really are infinite dimensions then in one of them there is the Perfect You!!
What a jerk they would be at parties.
I wonder if the other alternate me sometimes stops at a window, before he answers his partner cheerfully and honestly as he always does. I wonder if he too is ever scared that Reality can shrink schizophrenically, in fragments.
There is this state i get into sometimes, when i’m really really high that somehow all of these stories make sense… My life is part of some big pattern, and its no big deal to worry about anyway. It’s peaceful.
Another alternative future me i bump into regularly goes to television and radio production shows. The kinds which like audiences to cheer and laugh or make votes and things. He tells me that if junkies were given adequate places to live, with reasonable rents you wouldn’t have this image of them all living on mattresses in squatted flats robbing bins for food. Poverty and addiction are directly related, as the Ratfarm experiments showed. If you were given a better and better environment to expand into you would, logically have no reason to try to escape it.
I feel sorry for this future alternative me. He’s doing well, but he became better friends than i did with Adam and Smiley, two of the older guys in my college philosophy class.
Red haired anarchist-buddhist Adam doesn’t have any future dimensionary selves either – we never knew but Adam had a genetic heart complaint, and once, taking whizz he just dropped down dead. Adam himself knew about it of course, which was probably why he started taking the whizz. I guess he just didn’t like having all these alternative future dimensionary selves running around.
(sub)missive from: Sacred Chao Brigade. Hail Eris.