These days I normally get out of bed around 8.00. It's not fixed to the minute. And I'm generally first up. Being up isn't the problem- it's getting up- transitioning from prone to upright, from warm to cold that I have always found difficult. Alarm clocks? I hate 'em.
When I was away at boarding school I slept in a dormitory and at seven o'clock or thereabouts an electric bell went off- a harsh rattling thing- like a fire alarm. It was horrible. I often wonder now why I didn't run away from school- but I suppose there was nowhere to run to. If I'd gone home my parents would have sent me back. And besides, I was very accepting of my lot. Fatalistic. Being shut up with four hundred other young men in a gothic rat trap on the Sussex Downs was just how things were. Didn't everybody live that way? (No, of course they didn't.)
(But the Downs were rather wonderful. And there was a sea view. I wasn't unhappy.)
I am passive but stubborn. That's how I see myself, anyway. I don't know that the people around me would agree.
A friend from long ago writes as she does once in a while- and she tells me about the death of a person she's known for 20 years. "Do you remember him?" she asks. And I think, "No, J, how could I have done? It's 30 years since I high-tailed it out of Dodge."
J's daughter- who I remember as a toddler- is having her 40th birthday bash. My kids are round about the same age. My daughter has already passed the landmark and the boys are coming up to it. I was 40 when I met Ailz. Start of the second part of my life.
50 was the big hurdle. I remember making an inordinate fuss about it. "I'm nearly 70," I used to say, half-jokingly- and Ailz never found it as funny as I did. She thought I was getting old before my time. Well, now I really am nearly 70. And it doesn't seem as big a hurdle as 50 did. I accept ageing. I find the process interesting. And I'm not afraid of death (if I ever was.)
It's my birthday tomorrow. That's why I'm writing in this vein. It's not my 70th; it's the one before. People are threatening to make a big kerfuffle about the 70th but I'm hoping this one will pass more or less unnoticed. Ailz says we can go to the pub in Lewes where they make their own pizza- which might be nice.
Time has passed since I began this post. Ailz is up now and going through her mail. LJ (bless!) sends her a notification that "A's" birthday is coming up. "And this is the problem," she says, musingly. "Birthday's are a problem?" I ask. And she says, "No, this is A we're talking about- and she's dead." "I'd forgotten." I say. "But it would explain why she hasn't posted recently..."
If a person is dead but I don't know they're dead is their death a reality? It's the Shroedinger cat thing, isn't it? As someone famous once said of some other famous person, "X is dead but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to."