...

The first day of real life has arrived, with both children back to school and the very useful excuse of 'taking the Summer off to regroup' no longer available for me to hide behind.  It was up at 7.30 to bid them goodbye with a smile and an inaudible cheer, followed by breakfast, ablutions, then work.

For work it must be as the day will be spent with the wife, who WORKS.

In silence.

I was subjected to a lecture yesterday as we both stared into the abyss of being forced together for the first time since we were younger and newly in love.  I was led to understand that she WORKS during the day.  She doesn't talk, she stops briefly to refuel around 1pm but otherwise she WORKS and if I dare to threaten this monastic approach, I will suffer in ways I can barely conceive.

Don't get me wrong: we like each other and on those all too rare occasions when we get a night out we actually talk to each other, which is lovely.  But rare.  We now face the prospect of days, weeks, maybe months enduring all those things that were once signifiers of an almost overwhelming passion but which now simply aggravate: the breathing, the readjustment of one's sitting position, the noises we all make involuntarily which we don't notice but which the person sitting close by on the bus, in the library or on the sofa just over there will cite in court as the reason they clubbed you over the head, the pouring of coffee into a cup and onto the work surface (why, I have no idea...), the endless shuffling of papers, the vain attempt to eat a hot buttered crumpet quietly...

I have won the minor concession of having the radio on, which is some relief from the overwhelming silence, although it is in another room and only barely audible.  Still, it is something: a barely audible Nina Simone is better than no Nina Simone.

The radio notwithstanding, the only thing between me and certain insanity is, well, everything I have to do:

Get a job.

Sort out the village hall accounts.

Write the novel I must give to the waiting world.

Engage in daily battles with the government for a few sous to keep me in bread and vittles until the fabled job comes along...

I will lose my mind, I know I will but I suppose that will be okay with My Own True Heart as long as I do it quietly.

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