Sunday 29 December 2013

#52 A couple of towers

By text: Merry Christmas. Hey, how're you? What're you up to? Sounds good. Nice to hear from you. Take care... ... do you want to meet up again? Yeah ok. This weekend? Sure.

Three days later.

It was 5pm on Saturday and I had just left the house. The phone buzzed. 'Hey it's me. Really sorry to cancel tonight but I don't feel great. Think it was some pizza I had earlier'. 'That's fine really, it happens, just get some rest'. I kept walking.

Nothing to lose.

The two hour journey to Windsor & Eton passed pretty quickly. I'm quite a peaceful traveller, having associated the bus or train with plenty of happy memories as a kid. It was pleasant walking around the town and the old high streets, even at refrigerator temperature. I grabbed some food and then sat on the second floor of a pub overlooking the castle.


'So I decided to make the trip anyway, had a wander round... nice place'. 'Oh. Wow'. 'How're you feeling?' 'Better... will you stay there much longer?'. I checked the trains. 'Could do'. 'Ok, I'll come and meet you but need to wash my hair first. If you get bored, you could catch the train to Slough and then to Maidenhead'. 'Ok will do'.

At 10:30pm, I jumped off of the evening's fifth train and sent a text. 'Hey, I'm here, how're you doing?'. Half an hour passed. I paced around the near empty station, several times, charged the phone for ten minutes from a socket just below the payphone and memorised part of the 1967 Civic Amenities Act from a sign about fly tipping. 'Will be there shortly, just de-icing'.

At 11:30pm the car pulled up at the station layby and I hopped into the passenger seat.

Sunday 22 December 2013

#51 The differential of Mr. G

So I know a guy who, a couple of months ago, goes to the doctor with a recurring stomach ache. They diagnose IBS and send him on his way, even though he has practically none of the usual symptoms. A few weeks later, the ache is still there, intensified and accompanied by nausea. The doctors run more tests and suggest appendicitis, followed by kidney stones. Not on most people's Christmas lists but these predictions were still relatively common and treatable. They were also dead wrong. 

In a deteriorating condition, the guy is kept in hospital and learns that he has a congenital birth defect, which affects a tiny percentage of the population and is further corrected after birth or during infancy in a very high percentage of those cases. He is rushed to surgery, where his appendix and four inches of his bowel are removed. He spends the following twelve hours in intense pain. It then transpires that the surgery went wrong and he suffers massive internal bleeding, requiring six units of blood and a couple more of plasma. 

Hospitalised for thirteen days, my buddy can't eat, drink or breathe by conventional means. He's hooked up to regular catheter and an epidural one, as well as a breathing machine. After a hazy week of morphine and recovery, during which he lost a stone in weight, he is released. He reports urinating blood and is told this is normal. I think even after the past couple of weeks, it probably doesn't seem normal to him. 

I sat uneasily in my seat, wondering if the table next to us were enjoying their main course, as my friend reeled off what he'd been through recently in his usual cheeky, casual style, as though he was talking about the weather, which remains remarkably mild for the time of year.

Sunday 15 December 2013

#50 Sunday 15 December

The country seems to have a greater affinity for Christmas jumpers than in previous years. The stores are packed full of them. The best I've seen is a fairly well drawn version of Rudolph, with a squeaky read nose and bells around his neck that jingle when the wearer walks.

Does anyone actually have fish for Christmas dinner? It crops up on restaurant menus as an alternative to turkey, served with the usual collection of vegetables.

Worlingham Road is having another New Year's Eve party this year. Guests are told to expect games, karaoke and Keira. The invite reads "Bye 2013", which I couldn't help feel was a little negative but I guess it describes the occasion pretty well.

Sunday 8 December 2013

#49 Sunday 8th Dec

It was Sunday morning and I'd been lying in bed for a while, thinking about getting up. It was cold in the house as always and grey outside. As the clock 'struck' half past ten, Ludovico Einaudi's I Giorni was slowly released from a corner of the room.

I wandered down to the dining room, where Rich and Lisha were having bacon baguettes. "How's Lela?" asked Lisha. We talked for a while. My housemate's fiance was in the third year of a psychology degree and her sister had recently married an American gent, having met him online and then a handful of times in person. Not that this was on the cards but I felt as though Lisha was qualified to understand some of the dynamics of my friendship with Lela. 

For those that are curious, here's a crash course on male/female friendships. If you make it to the bottom of the essay without falling asleep, you'll be pleased to know that Aristotle didn't write a great deal about online friendships.

My trip to Greenwich this afternoon was something of a first in that I was actually taking the time to visit a part of London that I didn't normally go to. On top of that, I'd Googled somewhere to eat as opposed to just wandering around like I normally do in these situations. Wandering has a time and a place and I'd decided that it wasn't when or where I was hungry.

When I got back to the house, I felt a bit miserable. i meditated for about twenty minutes, which helped.