Can’t be Easy
Bertie: “It can’t be easy being you, Bobby. It’s hard enough just being your friend. A day of wonderful joy became a following day of huge muddle in your bonce.”
Bobby: “Well, Bertie. It was like Christmas. Compulsory happiness. Everyone is having a wonderful time and so must you. Everyone is surrounded by happy smiling friends and family. And so must you. Forget the troubles of the world. War, Cost of Living, Covid still and have a bloody good time. And so must you.”
Bertie: “So what went wrong Bobby?”
Bobby: “Nothing at all. Really. Just a reminder how close I was to letting the demon out of the box. An exhausting week, with no rest at all, preceded the Platinum Thursday. But then the sun shone. Anne and Kevin were great company. The Red Arrows. The Rose Garden. My Fair Lady. It was all too good to be true, wasn’t it? Travelling home late brought a little reality. The unkempt drunk on the train as it came into Victoria with his feet on the table completely comatose. Still asleep in Dorking an hour later. No staff there. Just the train driver, who summoned help to remove him. But where to? Where did he come from?”
If ‘He’ was a taxi driver, ‘He’ wouldn’t pick him up. Walking down dark alleys back to the car would ‘He’ be attacked? Would ‘He’ be found dead in the morning? GAD had seeped in.
Imagine a box of fireworks. He had lit the first rocket and off it soared. The second rocket fell over and blew the whole box up. It was wonderful for a few seconds. The sky awash with colour. But then the show was over before it had hardly started.
Platinum Friday woke up with Gaddish thoughts. It was the street party. He hadn’t done anything for it. But then, he hadn’t been asked. Put the bunting up. He did have some food, including a very nice Victoria sponge. But then tiredness overwhelmed him. If he went to the party would he fall over? Did he really want to go? What a time to turn into a miserable sod.
Go back to bed. See how you feel?
And wake up to find the street party was over. The road cleared. No sign of the party at all. Or anybody.
Two more days of compulsory happiness. Two more days to pretend he wasn’t worried about the damp patch on the wall? Would the roof leak during the forecast thunderstorm? Would he have a heart attack? What would Andrew do if he found him dead in the bath? What to do? What to do? What to do?
And finally realise in reading this it is all ‘me me me me’. A Gaddish person is so overwhelmed by his own feelings that he forgets the rest of the world. Forgets how lucky he is to be Great Grandad.
So Bobby fell asleep before the road was closed and woke up after it had been reopened. Just five hours. He didn’t see any of it and didn’t care. He was beyond help. But Saturday came and he watched the concert on TV. Saw Paddington. And the pageant on Sunday with Fliss, who understands him and cooked him a roast dinner.
But ultimately, Platinum Thursday was wonderful. And Spitalfields on Saturday absolutely wonderful. That’s how it is.
He should be stressed to breaking point, but the roller coaster lifestyle seems to suit him. After Spitalfields he went to see his daughter-in-law Marie in a concert she had organised for charity at East Preston School. Alzheimers. Very much a family occasion. Got home after midnight.
So Sunday morning he has done all his correspondence. Written a story for two weeks’ time. Listened to Classic FM. 12:40 and he hasn’t even got up!
Breakfast at 13:00. Then butterflies on Denbies Hillside.
Remembers Al-Anon slogans:
Live for today.
How important is it?
Just for today I will help someone without anyone knowing it.
Just for today I will be happy.
Just for today I will have a quiet half hour and relax.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and that to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.
And put the lid back on the box.
Lighting a candle for Diddley