12 March 2018


The weekend seemed to flare out. I woke this morning and thought that I needed to get up, even though it was dark still and I didn't know what I needed to do. I made eggs and then listened to a meditation, lying on the new kitchen floor tiles that haven't had the grout put in yet. The woman in the meditation assured me this wasn't a waste of time and that my self-care was good for everyone, but all I could think was how much I had eaten over the weekend and the clanging of whatever argument had derailed things. The tile is cool and although I know I am not supposed to lie down when I meditate, I did and it was good enough. Today is another day, isn't it.

A few Tuesdays ago, I came home to find a box from Cambridge University Press on the table in the living room, among all the things I've been buying for the house extension, the lighting fixtures and 18 LED light bulbs. The box contained 6 copies of my book — my second book, I say, depending on how insufferable I'm feeling, and I thumbed through it, until I found an error and a part of the analysis that was inelegant, and I shut it quickly, knowing that looking any further wouldn't end well. I sent out a couple of copies to family members, that only signed after wondering for a while if they would want their books signed, something that only an academic would think. I tidied up the pile of things in the living room and went upstairs to put my running kit in the washing hamper.

I was the safe one in high school, despite wearing clothes that made my parents uncomfortable and wanting to listen to Christian hardcore music. My mom once came into my room to find a friend and I jumping around, listening to a Strongarm song that all she could understand was someone shouting when I die. This being a Christian hardcore bad, I was able to retort quickly, 'He's singing, When I die, I live,' which was unarguably a Christian principle, and she shut the door nervously and Chris and I went back to expelling whatever energy had been winding us up. All of these bands had names that sounded in some way violent or dark, Living Sacrifice being the best example, that also doubled as safe references to the death cult elements of Evangelical Christianity, which somehow got hidden behind men in polo shirts and khakis, holding Bibles in canvas Bible covers.

Some 20 years later, and free from all the dogma, I seem to have not shaken this sort of miserable safety and I resent where it's led me. I have a pension, like I am ready to die, but another 50 years to go. Another 50 years of a calorie counting app, of drinking too much on a Friday night and then arguing with my wife about Japanese particle use and sentence construction. There are no mirrors hung in the house now where you can look into them above sinks, so I feel like I can just lie to myself, avoid looking myself in the eye and taking stock.