Sunday 7 October 2018

I want that Gone Upriver state of mind!

I’m not just bad. I’m doubly bad.

Bad once, because for the second week I’m unable to write about anything beyond my tiny unwell existence.

Bad twice, as this inadequacy is wholly due to me being that pain in the backside bloke who doesn’t take his own advice.

Don’t tell me you’ve got the flu. You’ll only receive a long lecture about how viruses are pernicious little bastards who trick you into thinking you’re over them, so you go and do stuff, only for the sods to return, slamming you down on the bed like a leaden lump.

On and on I preach. Be careful. If you feel oddly disoriented when you step out the front door, don’t do it.

Blah blah blah advice which turns into pure nonsense, as before you can yell  

“Hypocritical gobshite!” 

I’ve gone and done exactly what I tell everyone not to.

After two days rest and gallons of water drunk those vile symptoms (that doubtless turned the stomachs of brave colyoomistas last week) had gone.

Overjoyed that I was getting better, I remembered my mistakes of the past and tried to take it easy, but life in its wonder and insistence does keep happening.

At the moment there is nothing small on my life agenda. Only the major stuff, most of which is, by its very nature, out of my control.

Trouble is, I’m a bit of control freak. Even though I truly accept that just about everything that happens is out of my control, I fail to resist the urge to influence the minuscule crumbs I might control.

Instead of resting and recuperating, I flee home and drive north, and stay here, where I am today, a few hundred yards from a splendid beach. There’s neither TV nor internet and I so don’t care.

On the drive up here yesterday I thought about how great it’d be to do an old favourite circular beach walk I haven’t done for years, but ’twas not to be. 

I may be foolish but I ain’t stupid. Stopping for supplies I suddenly found myself breaking into a raging sweat while merely ambling around a shop.

Bugger. Still ill.

Yes but the appetite is back and I’ve more energy, so how much harm can a wee ramble do? My spirit rises with the thought of clean sea air, space and peace, so after unpacking off I head, and 20 minutes later I collapse back through the front door, knocked corblimey sideways.


You got me.
Can’t be me yet. 

Still under siege.

I give in.

Useless; blue; immobile.

Need to kick those viral moody blues into touch though, so instead of walking on the beach, today I walk to the beach, sit on the stone wall by the car park and breath.

Blasted by the beauty of the bay, embracing the vast Atlantic, my self-obsessed head finally emerges from my anally-retentive backside.

From my perch I can see far distant breaking wave tips whipped into sepia spume.

Wouldn’t have noticed them if I’d been walking on the beach.

This is soul sustenance of a different kind to the physical hit of a good walk.
Thanks. I appreciate being deeply here.

Back sitting by the stove in my hideout, I confess to a DVD drive and a decent pair of speakers.

To many of you I know this sounds mundane, unworthy of a mention, but to this ageing scribbler the chance of watching a box set represents a thrill.

When others talk of watching entire series over one or two nights, or several solid days, I quietly think to myself:

‘Where do you get the time?’

Don’t get me wrong. My armchair cushion has a deep arse groove. I sit for hours in front of the tele, but the only two box sets I could say I’ve ever ‘done’ are both ancient: The West Wing, episodes of which I still watch when I need an urgent Trumptidote, and The Sopranos.

Back in 2008, when my dad died, a box set was the size of an item of furniture. Grieving on the sofa for two months, confused patriarch Tony and his family and gang got me through.

Eat your heart out, Freud.

Thankfully right now nobody’s died, but my life is in chaotic flux, and today all I’m able to do is rest and recover; to find the strength to rebuild.

At the moment I’m pure useless to the world and myself, and if there was ever a better time for a box set, I never met it.
Coming up: another old beauty, in the shape of Northern Exposure.

Embedded for me with personal memories of time and place, this series revolves around catalyst Joel, a neurotic Jewish doctor forced by the State of Alaska to administer to the far-flung community of Cicely.

Rich in quirky characters, laden with witty writing and stunning wilderness scenery, there’s much to enjoy. Despite the many lives I’ve lived since I first watched it, I know one episode will comfort and inspire me now, as it did back then.

In the final season Joel heads upriver to help a Native American and doesn’t come back. His friends find him calm and neurosis-free, living in a tribal village, drying salmon and shaping fishhooks.

The ultimate urban materialist has gone native.

Joel’s discovered that once you’ve stripped away life’s veneer and chaff, left only with literally the bare bones, nothing matters but those bones.

He finds peace for the first time in his life.

I consider myself incredibly lucky, as twice in my past I’ve found and lived in deep peace.

As soon as I’m finally rid of this virus, I’ll be back on track towards that upriver state of mind.

In the meantime I’m allowing myself a box set. 

© Charlie Adley

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