FTMT's Favourite Five Top Tenets

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

48 Hours



48 Hours

When a man reaches a certain age, appetites and attitudes begin to change as time and experiences wear out the mind and body. More sleep, less sleep, more healthy food, and maybe more junk food, exercise more or exercise less. Breath in deeply, take smaller more efficient breaths, run, walk, stop, stop a little, stop a lot. Take time, now that you know more and can manage it, take less time for you have less real time left. Love more deeply, love more often, or do what you like and to hell with the consequences, then save yourself for some golden moment of fulfilment and retirement.

I like to watch, I watch and read all the time, I look around, take mental notes, remember times and places, faces, scribble them down in my memory in a blinding mental shorthand. Sights, sounds and smells, names on badges and advertising hoardings, book and cinema lists, routes, stories, newspaper columns and letters, radio captions, TV trailers and listings, web and email addresses, interviews and second hand chat. Overheard phone conversations, ring tones, number plates and sunglasses, clothes, hats, messages on T-shirts and bumper stickers, mannerisms, handbags and briefcases. Signatures. We all leave our signatures. The way you talk, comb your hair, colour it, touch it, toss it back or brush it from your eyes. You do things all the time; I notice them and note them. I give them meaning and significance, for you.

48 hours is the ideal recovery time but 24 can do under certain circumstances. The conflicts between sense and appetite and time and energy. The conflict between need and delivery, holding back or stepping out. Moving and standing still. In all of life timing is everything. Without it you are an uncoordinated, inexperienced teenager, a puritan caught in a dilemma of conscience, a drunk and swaggering middle aged man with no sense, or over the hill in a dementia driven dream world. There are other places and variations, there are other sets of circumstances, there are drives and deliberations to make. I choose my own ideal.

Passion is a hard nut to crack. A drive in the wilderness of lost years that leads you to an unexpected, rich and refreshing oasis. As you dive into the cool blue, reflective waters you realise you have passed this way a thousand times and yet missed this spot. A spot that has now drawn you deep into its life and sensations. You set up home with no regrets, save the past.

Guilt eats the heart like a fierce cancer. The tightrope walk between duty to others and duty to yourself and towards all the confused and inappropriate directions that you may head into. Guilt is a tightrope but when you fall from it there is only one direction you can go in. best to love yourself, the others will survive and to do so they will have to learn the same trick, hopefully more quickly than you did.

I like to drink, I like to taste, new and fresh flavours, subtle sensations, changes that bite back and then mellow down. I like the fresh intoxication of the second glass and the rush of the third. The deep drumming and persuasion of all that follows under the blind chasm of over indulgence, loss of control, sense and then consciousness. The stinging bitter regret and the blundering shame fully balance the experience and generally ensure decent lapses of time between incidences. I could be wrong. I like to drink from you, that couldn’t be long.

48 hours is the ideal but 24 will do. Fall outwith these guidelines and something will give eventually.

I like to watch. I like to watch you dressing, starting from the beginning, the daily routine and ritual, the order and the precision, the procession of habits and economies, the little techniques and repetitions like a hidden symphony. The checking, the setting out, the applying of cream or lotion still hidden by a towel or dressing gown. The process, not always time driven but by stages of feeling and fit and correctness, smooth tactile comfort, heat and cold. Short and to the point on a winters morning when the winter heating doesn’t provide an adequate shield, easy in the spring, lazy and longer but as deliberate in the summer. Autumn drums along with the summer memory till early October quickens the pace and heralds the change. I see you checking the clock just the same, but the train will not wait unless you become queen.

When a man reaches a certain age he doesn’t give a shit anymore. He is dissatisfied with himself and all around him. The realisation that the world is much more than imperfect produces only a slow and steamy rage that spits and bubbles like the lid of a black boiling kettle. Traffic, call centres, devices, sports commentators, politicians, experts and doctors, jargon and political correctness. Change. Early in the morning these things are tolerable, as the day progresses the vapour builds in the chamber and signs of stress appear. By night they are pulsing and fretting like nitro glycerine in a barbeque on a roller coaster. Shit happens.

Guilt eats the heart like a fierce cancer but you must not give way to this red eyed, sleazy beast. Guilt was invented by the religious to batter the poor unbelievers with, until they cracked and capitulated into accepting their free but costly candy brained nonsense. It is a blunt and primitive instrument but very effective in the wrong hands. People love to tell you what you should be doing, thinking, feeling, saying and how you should be living and how you don’t shape up. This because they think they know best. They think they know best because they are not sure of anything and are feeling guilty about their own inadequacy. Guilt is of course most effective when self-administered in the form a coloured suicide cocktail served up by the smiling airhostess you would like to have sex with in the aeroplane toilet. You are on a family holiday at the time.

Passion is a harder nut to crack. Lose it and you are dead from the neck up and from the neck down. Grey and unforgiving. Losing the thrill of living is the end of your humanity, you spark is dead, your light blotted out, your signature disappearing from the page like rain from a street in the surprise heat after a thunderstorm. Work at caring and staying on the edge. Do not retire from life or love. When you kiss take a bite, lick and spit, do not roll over and die. When you go to a dance dance, when you go to a meeting speak, when someone asks your opinion and you are not sure, make something up on the spot. Eat hot food, drink angry drinks, play music loudly, play guitar and write songs and poems about things that matter, read the words you love aloud to anybody who will listen. Let your passion lead you into love, again and again, till your love leads back to passion.

48 hours is the ideal but 24 will do, 12 is pretty good and 6 is a daydream, which I am happy to hold onto.

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