Friday, 4 May 2018

A new plan, again: Day 5

Posted this all up on my blog today. Feel gross. Yucky. Twitchy.

But no worries. That's all just ego. Also feel relieved, excited, like I can take a real breath again for the first time in a long time.

Been listening to Cassadaga by Bright Eyes to relax from writing. Loved this album so much in my early 20s. Got me through some dark times. It's less approachable and hit-focused than Wide Awake, less frantic than Lifted, less experimental than Digital Ash, but I think in a quiet way it's the most assured, most accomplished. Some of Conor Oberst's most mature writing (or at least it was -- I've barely listened to any of his output since about 2011).
Your class, your caste, your country, sect, your name or your tribe
There's people always dying trying to keep them alive
There are bodies decomposing in containers tonight
In an abandoned building where
A squatter's made a mural of a Mexican girl
With fifteen cans of spray paint in a chemical swirl
She's standing in the ashes at the end of the world
Four winds blowing through her hair
I love that. Anyway, work soon. Time to earn that money. That important money. Those bits of paper that stand in for... what, exactly? For what is still hinted at on the holograms, the shiny foil, the metal in coins -- for gold, for gemstones, little rocks that "exhibit a preternatural brilliance of color," to quote Huxley -- self-luminous artefacts, glinting and glimmering and coruscating, taking us outside ourselves and our thoughts and putting us in that Other World that is vibrant with the magic and mystery of the cosmos.

But that magic is all around us, everywhere. The sunset. The play of light off raindrops running down yielding leaves. The empty sky that "shows nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless." (Larkin)

There is so much wealth right here, if we just open our eyes. As Ryokan said:
The thief
    left it behind--
        The moon at the window.
Yet we mulch along with our heads down missing the wonder as we scramble to accumulate all these bits of paper, this far-removed promise of a distant beauty we barely remember. And on, and on.

Eeee. But you gotta work. You gotta work. I'm going now.

- - -

0209 and I've just got to bed. Finished work at 0145 so not gonna be hard on myself.

Long and draining closedown, with three inexperienced staff, nothing against them, but everything took twice as long as usual. Kept finding more that hadn't been done. Coffee machine at 0115, floor needed re-mopping, back bar around tills hadn't been wiped, bin store was a disaster, the disabled guy with legs that barely function wouldn't leave, poor guy shouldn't drink but he drinks, we only ever serve him a pint or two -- at 0045 he was sat alone in the building.

"I'm going to have to kick you out I'm afraid, my friend, I need to lock the doors."


Ten minutes go by.

"Right, I'm sorry, I'll have to get you up now. Do you need a hand?"

"No, thank you."

Five minutes.

"Come on, then. Shall I call you a taxi?"

"No, thanks."

"Are you sure? It's pretty late."

"Yes, thanks."

"Where are you going?"

"The bottom of the Moor."

"Oh, not far then. Shall we get you up?"


Gradually, with me encouraging, cajoling, harrying, like a mountain being born, he rises.

"Can I use your toilet before I go?"

He shuffles, drags his mangled legs the interminable distance across the floor.

Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes.

I go to the disabled and the door's open, he's leaning on the sink, doing up his belt.

I leave him. Five minutes later I go back. He's still doing up his belt. He looks at me with these enigmatic smiling eyes, a fucking buddha testing me, we're all each other's teachers, reminding me to focus less on myself, that waiting an extra half an hour to finish work is nothing to what he faces every day.

I let him get ready, show him to the one unlocked door, wish him well. He shuffles off at zero-point-one mph into the night. The night slowly swallows him. I close the door. I go and sort the bins.

What a world!

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