for the kind enquiries I’ve had from many of you as to my state of mind and general wellbeing or otherwise.
You realise, don’t you, that if you ask me “how are you?” I might just possibly tell you? No manners, that’s me. Telling you how it is is not at all the done thing in the UK and the correct answer is always “Not too bad, thanks” if you’re common and “Very well, thank you” if you’re posh, even if you’re shortly to be thrown into the fiery furnace, weeping and wailing and gnashing your teeth. Like if you push your shopping trolley (hard, and maybe deliberately, because they’re slow and you’re in a bad mood)) into someone’s ankles they invariably turn round and say “Sorry”. Whereas I would quite likely say “Watch where you’re pushing that thing!"
And if you ask me “What’s new?” I have nothing to say at all, except maybe that the garden is overgrown and weedy, that Millie is getting fat for lack of walkies, that I’ve had three separate bouts of AFib in the last four weeks, but am feeling better (who knows for how long - see, there’s positive thinking!), that Beloved's still eating and drinking and sleeping, and making bad jokes, that I’m bored out of my skull and utterly depressed most of the time when I’m not stressed to the point of wanting to rip everybody’s head off.
Told you I’d tell you. Satisfied?
What’s even worse is that I’m compensating for stress and rage by eating chocolate, loads of it. And getting fat. Without chocolate I’m a fiend in human form, impossible to get along with. I did an hour’s round trip to get to my favourite chocolate shop on Friday, taking Beloved along for the ride and his own chocolate fix. What do you think happened? He ambled along the shelf, pawed a bar of the stuff here and there, put them all back and said “I don’t really feel like chocolate!”
On the drive to the chocolate-selling town we’d stopped off at a very fancy Food Centre, posh and horribly expensive, and what did we do? we argued about bread. Apparently, all bread has a rubbery edge now. Or so he says. He wished to explore the breads this Food Centre had on offer, he said in a posh voice. He’s good at big words in a posh voice. So I said that one of the freezers at home is stuffed full of bread of all kinds, shapes and sizes, wholemeal, sourdough, white, black, French pain de campagne, German rye, English soft. Very well, he says, no need for me to go in then, you go and buy what you like.
It was lunchtime, attached to the Food Centre is a restaurant, nothing fancy, good enough for a bite and a drink. We even had a table outside in the pleasant sunshine. Millie came too; she lay between us looking up first at me, then him, hoping for a handout. She was in luck. Beloved said his lunch of pulled pork was tasteless, practically inedible, chewy, too bready (bread again) and as for the salad, which consisted of rocket leaves, well, he said, how am I supposed to eat this? With my fingers? Apparently the fork wouldn’t spear the blasted leaves.
When, in the name of all that’s sane in this crazy world we have been pitched into, will we get used to the status quo? There is no hope. The prognosis is bleak and cure is there none. We can bicker and row and make the rest of our time together a penance or we can stop and enjoy what’s left. Positive action is the only thing that helps. How long does it take to accept your hand and play it for all you’re worth? Even the doctor said ‘it’s quality of life that counts, not quantity’. When I told her that I wasn’t going to nag Beloved into giving up his glass of wine, eating only the most sensible food, stopping him from sleeping several hours during the day, making him take exercise he can no longer cope with and any or all of the good advice handed out by helplines I thought she’d want to tell me off. But no, staying as happily together as we’ve been for many years was the thing to do, she said. Put the nagging on hold.
I am leaving the comments section open for this post. Although I am very grateful for your empathy, your kind thoughts and prayers, please don’t go soft on me. If I need anything, it’s a calm and competent and very thorough talking to, otherwise known as a kick in the backside.