With trepidation I reach for the cash point, dig hands into train seats, curse the lack of ready-made sandwiches in my fridge. With some regret and reluctance I accept money must be spent to make money, but the pain…And inconvenience. The Halifax bank chase me from one side, angry letters from other institutions await me on the carpet: Hell, even the Liberal Democrat membership department are on my back.
Irresponsibility on my behalf? To a degree, hence the calls from the cheery-yet-menacing Halifax woman earlier. Storm clouds bundled together in the sky for greater effect. It’s why “window” has been chosen for the title of this blog, it may be a high-school level metaphor but it’s nevertheless effective; windows imply escape as much as entrapment. Only recently, with the Lakanal Flats tragedy, do we see how open windows can be held partly responsible for bad as much as they would normally suggest all that is good. With so many financial pressures, not all of which are of my own doing, my wish is for an open window which leads to greater and higher places. Not the strain of a hill, more the implied escape of a plateau at the very least. Family pride, mostly paternal, is as much to blame as the increased cost of living at a time when the economy continues to crumble around me.
It would be so easy to pretend, with pride in one piece, that I do not have nay worries at all. To talk about Michael Jackson or swine flu or Peter Andre, but to do so would be dishonest to myself and the readers who remain so loyal to this little place in the cyberworld. My worry is genuine and desire to resolve all ills strong, but the reality is far beyond the world of assured self-belief. I enjoy sitting here, nursing a pint, with the warming late-evening sun against one side of my face; it would be far more enjoyable if a curtain could be drawn, here and everywhere else.
Some Sunday habits are impossible to break. Tucked up in bed this morning with The Observer, Andrew Marr, and a brew, as ever has been the case for years. Okay so when I was younger it was the Independent on Sunday, David Frost, and coffee, but time and age does funny things to a man.
Financial responsibility in this time of moving house and not even writing down rough budgets for the remaining month does have the hint of our Prime Minister’s avoidance of any firm decision on public spending. Unlike Brown, or at least I hope, there will be wakening up call from fate sooner rather than later. Why only this morning I heard a mother tell her son, “You have to be better with your pocket money” when he moaned about not having enough left for an oversized pebble-filled bouncing ball. That’s his version of, say, my council tax bill. It’s the rich thread of life, etc, etc.
One bottle of milk – 97p. One mini packet of sushi – £1. Five packets of CapriSun – £1. All consumed within moments of purchase. That’s responsibility right there. Okay, so this week I have no doubt that there’s budgeting to be done, not least because I have yet to prepare for the upcoming Scottish holiday never mind living on my own. Unless situations built on firmer foundations fashion themselves in the next 72-hours or so, you won’t believe the ideas I’ve drafted for the day before setting off camping….It’s all about dealing with the tough economic climate, you know, it’s sensible.
Songs once had context. Closing my eyes would invite my imagination to paint new images to accompany whichever music was playing in the background. An implied audience, an assumed crowd, something close to self-hypnosis. So much repetition over the lonelier years has effectively re-written certain songs on a permanent basis. But after so many years the realisation of what is actually going on is pretty embarrassing. Singing to yourself if an empty room fitting alternative lyrics to music that no-one else will hear.
You’re too honest said a man, once, in a context of his own. My assumption was that our conversations were effectively pre-ordained. Something close to fate and fortune, I supposed then, and still do to some extent. The other quotes which slosh against the shore of night-time contemplation endanger any potential calmer dreams; you’re a very good liar, said a friend, which hurt. Not sure of the position at which I stand, now, or how far along this route I want to go at this hour. Or indeed within this month. Some dark shadow hides most of the year’s end, appearing in my mind as a darkness dissolving the calendar.
I don’t know how to take the implication that, as a writer, I can only be recommended if my work is limited to 140 characters. Polite laughter, then silence, eyes around the room and slight sips of drink. Polite smiles, voiceless mouthing of promises to sit down again but mingling needs to be done, it is a party after all, thanks, see you in a…Eyes front, inspect the fingernails. Always end on a handshake, says the old wise man, whose beard is a phone-pad scrawl and whose eyes are framed by the curves of magnetic fields. I cannot remember what became of the old wise man. Worryingly his voice remains clear but his face hides in fog and crackle. Worryingly I am starting to convince myself that he does not exist.