Fear not, this post will not contain graphic images, or even descriptive passages, of me following in the (presumably rather sticky) footsteps of Onan. Any reference to the bashing of the holders of a See will be limited to argument on purely theological grounds.
No, the self-abuse to which I will refer can, perhaps, be explained by reference to Edna St Vincent Millay’s splendid (and short) poem: My Candle Burns at Both Ends:
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light!
This does rather describe the way in which I appear to have chosen to run my life, careless of my body’s wax. The excessive burning of my personal candle seems to have accelerated in the last few years, but the tendency was always there: especially when on holiday. Indeed, in some ways I seem to have switched to permanent-holiday-mode in my life. I can see elements of this metaphorical persoanl auto-da-fé in the differing genetic inheritance from both of my parents, the combination of the two making for a potent mix.
The urge to fill my life with incident and moment, some of it really quite physically and or mentally demanding, is really rather strong and I (mostly) get away with such foolishness with very few ill-effects. This is despite, I think rather than a cause of, the chronic insomnia which has been my regular companion since my late twenties: easily making it one of my longest maintained relationships!
However, from time-to-time my mind does continue to write extravagant cheques long after my body’s ability to cash them has expired. If this is coupled with a lack of sleep (not uncommon) and should the black dog also happen to have returned from fetching that stick that I had hurled from me in an attempt to keep it occupied, then I find it harder to maintain the social ‘construct’ which passes for my personality. So that the reader does not concern themselves unduly, I should be clear that I do not suffer from depression (nor particularly enjoy it) but am sometimes less naturally ‘up’ than at others and a I am naturally a worrier (perhaps also a warrior, but this has not really been put to a proper test) .
Mostly, I get to deal with these situation where my mind heavily overdraws on its account with my body ‘off-stage’ However, last night my body did decide to forcibly remind me that I was not, in fact, a superhuman of infinite resources but was an all-too-finite middle-aged man while in public. This reminder was issued quite early in the thoroughly enjoyable, Halloween-themed – and very busy – folk and acoustic session at the Steam Town Brewco. Frank(enstein)ly, I have only myself to blame for this situation as I have been sleeping badly, was rather busy at work and did contrive to fit in two hour-long – and rather strenuous – hand-balancing sessions before going out for the night. I think we might also blame a combination of clock change and the accompanying cold grey days and dark evenings for a slight drop in my normal unnatural ebullience.
Anyway, to maintain my monstrous leitmotif, it became necessary to make an early bolt for the door. Just as well, as I barely managed to maintain consciousness on the short train ride home from Eastleigh before collapsing at home onto my ancient mattress. However, this did disrupt my plans to mash a monster, a tune and the assembled ears at Steam Town at a single stroke (don’t you just love a chance to use zeugma!). The world will have to wait to see whether I would have been a graveyard smash and whether the denizens of Eastleigh were ready for my pelvic thrust, or would have been driven insane (an increased risk given the increased hip mobility arising from all this hand balancing)… Some clues may be gleaned from the unfortunates gathered in the Dog House on Monday night and who experienced a trial run (with the emphasis on the ‘trial’).
What I did discover, when my batteries are deep in the red zone, and my ego-depletion is at its maximum, is that I revert to a previous (presumably more primal) personality. A version of me that I had assumed long dead appears to be used as a battery saver: the psychological equivalent of minimising screen brightness, shutting down non-essential apps and only allowing emergency calls. This reduced operating mode (which used to be my only mode for social interaction in a crowd) is as a wall-flower alien observer preparing a report on the planet’s dominant lifeform, while suffering from an odd form of hiraeth for its long forgotten home (oh yes, even as an alien I’m keeping those Welsh roots!).
Still, a night with at least some sleep has restored me to more normal function and early 20s me is safely back in his bottle and I shall shortly be heading off into social media purdah. This has nothing to do with the election or last night, but because I am visiting my parents’ house and will not be returning until the morrow. For my whole adult life, they have chosen to both live, and holiday, in locations where any mobile phone signal is a distant dream. This is coupled with my dad having his wifi secured more tightly than anything the used by the NSA: I can only wonder what he is getting up to on-line that requires this degree of electronic prophylaxis…
I had always assumed the lack of access to the marvel of wireless communication was the result of a conscious choice by my parents. However, earlier this week I started to wonder if my dad just naturally jams a certain portion of the EM spectrum: he is, after all, the common factor in the wide range of afflicted locations. I may be able to put this theory to the test later today…