I wrote a song once about my last man. In it, I said we’d be together till we were ninety-nine. I gotta say, I listen to that song now and sigh.
Why is it we get the urge to say ‘forever’ and ‘always’ and ‘never’ and ‘until the stars fall out of the sky’? It’s a sort of ‘bigging up’ impulse. My man (the one who was going to last 99 years) used to say he’d drive a thousand miles for me if I needed him. When I did need him, he was tied up at work. It happens, I’m not complaining. I like to think I’d gladly have died for my son, but in the event I didn’t even overcome the inertia of half-asleep-dom. In any case, dying for someone is rarely an option. There’s no supreme being who says, “Ok then, I’ll take you instead!” at life’s crucial moments. But we say it anyway. It’s a declaration without risk of completion.
Another funny thing about people. We can believe things and not believe them at the same time. For instance, I’ve never met a Christian who’s in any hurry to get to Heaven – and yet it’s so nice there. If I had a cast-iron guarantee of spending eternity in the Maldives, I’d be dancing about at the edge of train platforms on the wrong side of the yellow line, and taking up sky-diving…but no. People don’t. And then there’s climate change. 95% of experts say the earth will be alternately drowning, freezing, burning and starving us to death by the end of the century if not before, and I believe them, but I’m still getting a plane to Portugal in March. Emissions schmissions. That doesn’t stop me from jeering at the politicians who say we can’t stop digging up coal because it’ll cost jobs (there won’t be any jobs, you’ll all be huddled in a concrete bunker fighting off the climate refugees) but hey, it’s their responsibility to steer us in the right direction, not mine. They should make a law against going to Portugal!
Anyway…on another topic, how much clear-brain time have you got left? Lately I’ve been caught saying things like, yeah, I thought I’d go buy one of those, you know, goes round and round, starts with a K, sort of funnel shaped…you know? I need to finish my remaining four novels quickly before I start forgetting the way to the bathroom. In a really bad sign of things to come, I’ve started shipping out on arguments before the two hour mark, and sometimes before I’ve even won! How long do you think I’ve got? Two years? Three?