Friday, May 01, 2009

'time for me to go away...I'll get a new name, I'll get a new face...'

It feels like time for me to take another short break. Earlier this year I took a week or two off due to an operation. This time, it's because I have just run out of things to say for the moment.

That's the problem with having a life as narrow as my walls. I am currently more or less housebound awaiting a major operation and my horizons have shrunk to almost zero.

This means that communication with the outside world occurs through the radio, TV and internet. Because the realtionship between people and media is two-way, I find they have kind of sucked the life out of me. I might still switch on Kristy Lou Stout at midnight, but tend to watch with the sound off, looking at her beautiful face (it's like it's been naturally Photoshopped to be flawless). Because it doesn't matter what she says, in her intriguingly adenoidal voice, she just repeats the same news I have been bombarded with all day. The only reason to watch her is because she is much better looking than pretty much all other purveyors of news - although Anjali Rao runs her close.

Eventually, all TV and radio blurs into noise and begins to reveal itself as shallow and formulaic.

People (by that I mean this person) were not designed to do nothing, or indulge in only passive activity. But given the fact that I cannot walk and am in significant constant pain that is where I find myself. Until I had to quit work I was one of those people in one of those jobs who would often work evenings and weekends, and even if I wasn't working but at home I would never switch on the TV upon arriving home and only switch it off at bedtime. I'd tune in when something I wanted to see was on, then read or listen to music or do something in a "Why don't you...?" kind of way. Downtime means nothing if it stretches out in a horizonless desert in front of you.

It IS true that the more you do the more you do. My days were full from early morning to late at night, leisure and passivity only one element of a range.

But I am forced into doing nothing and this has left me feeling socially and intellectually undernourished with no social or intellectual energy.

Here's another thing. There is so much to think about that I am recently kind of given to consuming but not fully processing. The economy, the fact that we're all doomed by whichever means, personal thoughts triggered by my disability and situation, whatever else.

In the end you just wither. I have worked with unemployed people who were frustratingly free of motivation and hope. However, I get it now. Your ability to see brighter times ahead is limited by the inability to see any diferentiating lines between the past, the present and the future. Weekends to me mean nothing. Any attempt at weekend activities are merely symbolic.

And then, for me, there are the drugs. They are pretty good at slightly dulling the pain, but leave my sleep patterns destroyed and my head full of soggy sponge.

It's quite nice in so many ways. Comfortable numbness is often what we crave and I have it. I can fall into a trance-like daydream and live out some delicious fantasy several times a day. I look at complexity and my brain just shrugs and turns away.

And everywhere the internet is full of opinion and comment. It can do without mine for a while.