Sucked down by the roaring whirlpool, thrashed around, head flopping, slammed into the walls of the wormhole or water-ever this is... Flail blindly in black mud, the water recedes... Stagger to my feet, a swamp-thing encrusted in seaweed... Wipe algae from my eyes, grope for my shades... Yes, they're still safe...
I have emerged in the twilight netherworld of primitive squat-dwelling lifeforms in East London and I am not sure this is my place any more...
Is realgem dying? I think of the newsagent next door from the last time I lived in the East End...
Somehow, every time over the course of two years when we spoke, the conversation died a confusing and grisly death. Every single time either of us opened our mouths, a misheard phrase or an interruption from a bystander lead to a bizarre non-sequitur lead to both of us gaping at each other in embarassed astonishment, neither of us prepared to risk enmiring ourselves further in the situation by attempting to clarify what he just said and the reason for saying it.
This, come to think of it, must have been one of the most extra-ordinary relationships I have ever had with another human. How can it be that on more than 700 consecutive days, my "How are you?" was met with "No, we don't stock that" or his "That's £1.98, thanks" earned the response "Yeah much better, quite good actually" or when we bumped heads bending over to pick up a dropped 50p: "Oops sorry about that" - "That's okay" - "No, I said sorry about that, I was just apologising" - "Yeah, that's okay, don't worry about it" - "I wasn't going on about it, I was just being polite". Until eventually, we conducted all our transactions in an awkward and strained silence.
Roger of the fearsomely rolling eyeballs accosted me on the top deck of the N253 late last night, demanding: "WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
I badly needed someone to do this. Often it is difficult to know what you think about any given subject unless you have tried to articulate it to someone. I made a fair attempt to answer honestly. I summarise:
No, I don't. I will. Or I won't. Come back and read later. I am knocked out of stride by the blinking of the cursor on the computer screen; it is not regular. Like the Chinese water torture, the chaotic period of the cursor flashing is driving spikes into my head. I want the cursor to blink with some sort of a regular rhythm.
What do I want?
Knowing what you want is 99 per cent of the race run. Once you know, no matter how impossible or implausible it is, you can throw yourself into getting it. Happy is he who knows what he wants. Or then again, perhaps not.