Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Early to bed, Early to rise

Not unlike so many other ordinary persons we too have become commited Netflix viewers.  Of the various categories of films accessible it is the Documentaries which in particular attract my personal attention (succeeded only perhaps by the Independent films).  Last night - prompted by the recent Academy Awards in Hollywood - we watched most of "Icarus" the documentary about the professional sport doping scandal which lately rocked the world.  This film - like the vast majority of other productions on television generally, whether weekly shows or daily news casts - left me feeling vulnerable and worrisome.  Popular media (which specifically for me is BBC and CNN) along with the stock television renditions frequently expose me to certain suppressive realities of life which frankly I would often prefer not to know.  Shallow, I know, to secrete oneself deliberately from hard and uncomfortable detail, but nonetheless the truth.  The television shows I find uncommonly stupid even for the masses (to whom for example I have never favoured being intentionally low-level); many of the weekly repeats feature people who look extraordinarily unpleasant or weird; and there seems to me to be a pervasive attempt to reach a height of so-called masculinity or machismo characterized by bad personal cleanliness, Southern drawl when speaking and absorption in matters mechanical, ridiculous or vagabond (the likes of which would never in a million years identify anyone whom we might actually know).  The resulting thrust is a uninviting flavour of mediocrity, inspidity or squeamishness.

The only manner of avoiding the assured disillusionment of these productions is by either reading the likes of E. F. Benson, P. G. Wodehouse or Jane Austin, or by just going to bed.  The trouble for me with such abrupt alteration as going to bed is that I continue to be invaded by the poison of what I have just witnessed.  It requires very little strength for any manifestation to influence me unerringly. This in turn forecasts at least the potential for an uncomfortable rest or sleep.  Nonetheless last evening we were both feeling the prolonged efforts of our day and we did not therefore hesitate to retire to our respective virginal lairs even though it was barely then eight o'clock.

Our condominium is nicely painted (though the mundane furnishings do not engender any particular delight or rapture).  My bedroom - like the rest of the unit - is coated in a light fawn colour with a matching fan.  Though I reclined immediately upon my bed - and I must have dozed for some time - by midnight I was awake again.  Rather than lend any adherence to my lingering thoughts about world affairs or drug doping, I arose and opted for my second alternative - E. F. Benson.  I read for about an hour before returning to my burrow. It wasn't however much before 3:30 am that I again awoke.  This time I listened to some Antonio Vivaldi on my iPhone, laid like a small carton on my chest as I reclined on multiple feather pillows, my sleep mask about my face but otherwise very much awake and attentive. The music was relieving and enabled me to contemplate the happier features of life rather than its dilemmas, misfortunes and menacing vagaries.  It also elevated my cogitation to that of refinement and excellence (an option which for some I have no doubt is considered specious if not merely pretentious or artificial). But I persisted in my preference for whatever animation it may have been construed to be by whatever other standard of authenticity one might either enjoy or feel obliged to adopt.

I recalled our many bicycle rides around entire barrier islands on the magical coast lines of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and up and down sandy white beaches for in excess of ten miles either way.  For the first time since my bicycle accident I saw myself as others perhaps have seen me on occasion - as a steady cyclist of constant habit.  For me beforehand it was as common as breathing each day, mere necessity but pleasurable. I remembered too the scintillating outings with my dear lady-friend Jill back home, wandering lazily about the countryside and city to remote rural and urban locations for late afternoon coffee and treats, gabbing and laughing endlessly. As a sure sign of my improving recovery I found myself weighing in upon matters sartorial, especially my newest pair of canary yellow shorts which now I wonder whether they may not be too big in light of the weight I have lost throughout this medical ordeal.  I thought too of the capacious Tommy Bahama style white short-sleeved dress-shirt. My most recurring theme of evaporation however continues to be my contemplation of a piece I'm having a local Canadian artist fabricate for me, a submission to what has been years and years of perhaps childish and certainly vain absorption, not to mention indescribable immaturity for an old fogey of my vintage.  But when once one has confronted the perilous and unforeseen edge of death as closely as I have just done, all element of shallowness is abandoned and may even be forgiven.  I flatter myself to think that this is just my personal weakness, that others have theirs and that mine is therefore excusable.  Call it codswallop or taradiddle if you will, it matters not to my current motivation as shallow and superficial as it may be.  In it I enliven the yearning for perfection, the best of what even the Quen of Sheba would have carried to Jerusalem in her retinue to King Solomon (and certainly far better than the camels and spices, dare I say).

At four o'clock this morning - the hour when frequently I take the first of my day's handful of Tylenol Arthritis pills to deaden my pain - I arose from under my duvet, adjusted it and the pillows, and somewhat stiffly made my way to the kitchen.  There I gathered a collection of golden California figs and raw almonds and placed the collection beside my computer.  These and a cup of black tea served to commence my day of consumption which hours later was followed by a more traditional feast of sliced Navel orange, one egg atop avacadoe pear and chopped pieces of green pepper, cherry tomatoes and celery all awash in lemon juice.  It wasn't long afterwards that I succumbed to the gathering sense of fatigue and thus returned to my bed for another most agreeable nap until late in the morning.

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