Just Another Groundhog Day (I)
Well, here I am – looking out the same window, on the same world as I do every day of my life and surprise, surprise it's still the same old crap I see. The same old people going off to do the same dreary old things as they do every day of their lives.
They say that I'm an unkempt old sod, who doesn't give a damn about his appearance. They're right – why should I? In fact, why should I care about anything, when nothing I do matters anyway and nothing I do changes anything?
I used to be married but 'she' walked out on me, several years ago. I found out that every argument, every fight we had was just another nail in the coffin of our relationship. I watched the light go out of her eyes and felt it go out of mine. We talked at each other in the end, instead of to each other. We no longer fought tooth and nail. We didn't talk – full stop. In the end it was better she left as staying was killing us both – now, I'm just dying on my own, buried in my room. Every day has just become an endless repetition of every other day of my life, all blurring into one. Since losing Susan and the job, I've had nothing to either inspire or rile me. Before it all went wrong, every day was an adventure to look forward to – a series of changes, keeping you awake and alive, ready for the next one.
My home has now become a prison and life a dead end, in which I'm gently fading into the background of my own life. The door shuts and we die inside yet again but this isn't fiction, this is real life – our ugly own, not some distant possibility but present truth.
Why kill yourself, when you're already dead? (Oh, yes, I thought about it). Those without life cannot be bothered to even creep out of their graves. They rot and moulder in their own filth and filthy, corrupt minds as I do (Even a zombie has some spirit, driving it to escape it's rotting shell but not me). Those with even a half decent spark, run from death's cloying helplessness but not the apathetic, like me. We never run wild, never imagine, never escape into anything new. We wallow in the past because we cannot be bothered to climb out of the hole we've dug for ourselves.
I think about how things could have been occasionally, but know I couldn't face any more pain, to get it or regain my toe hold on life. This I believe is the fate of the old – to have your dreams shattered on the reefs of despair – to give up all hope and all forward progress, sliding into despondency in its place. Lewis Carroll said that you needed to keep running to stay in the same place. Well, I've stopped moving. The world continues to spin, taking everybody else away from me. I stand and watch as the noisy hullabaloo disappears into the distance, without me.
I used to have a wonderful memory and a big vocabulary. I was captain of the local pub quiz team. It takes effort and concentration, to collect your thoughts and project yourself out into the world – to remember all the junk you've picked up and filled your head with over the years, to take care that you're not repeating yourself, so that you don't. I mostly use single syllable words nowadays for this reason – it's easier to remember and who cares if you use the same words twice in a row? I'm like a footballer, who could dribble as imaginatively as Jimmy Hendrix could play the guitar but not now, no not now...
Alzheimer's? Dementia? No, just depression. The older we get, the more bad memories we accumulate – ones we'd rather forget. All the good ones exist in the past – hence we drown in nostalgia. Do they see the world as it is – the happy-clappy brigade? No, they see happier times and run from the present, projecting over this world a film that that is more pleasant than the one currently playing, in this packed theatre of realism.
My mate Duggie had it. When I first visited him in the care home, he was a little doddery on his feet but fully compos mentis. Then the doubt started to creep in as we recounted happier times and happier crimes. Finally, I went in one day and his body was still there, but his mind had gone.
'Hello Duggie!' I said as cheerfully as I could, but it rang as hollow as the figure in front of me. Within a year, even that had gone. The funeral was the last time I saw his wife, Ethel. I wanted to speak but the gloom of the occasion and the gloom of the tear-filled sky, stayed my hand and I said nothing, did nothing. Cold coffee, a piece of cake, a few words with old friends and relatives of his, and it was over. He fell silent into his grave and I returned to mine.
The dust lays as thick as The Sahara here, only disturbed by the odd fly, seeking its next meal. The curtains in an earlier time would be rotten but these man-made fibres mean they last forever but fade with time.
The clues that helped me distinguish one day from another, one action from another, have gone. I can no longer tell if what I'm doing is for the first time today or the second. All time has become an undifferentiated mess of sameness. Words I would have carefully crafted and slotted into a sentence, come out in no particular order and make no particular sense. Oh, Duggie, am I heading for a stay in a 'couldn't-care-less home,' like you? I hope not but then maybe, when you get to that stage, you cared less even than I do now?
on the mantlepiece,
watching my life tick away
and think nothing at all,
about nothing at all...