Surface tension


Did I really lose four months to that? It’s easy to see now how I lost the last 19 years. Finally broke through the 1986 haze, and slowly crawled up through the 80s and 90s.

Then nothing. Hung there in the near-present with no focus, no direction. But there was anger. A lot of anger. Unfocussed and universal. Pissed off at everything and everyone. Much crying. Deliberately surfing so close to pure insanity, with only a toehold on the board. The anxiety vibration in my solar plexus ebbs and flows hourly. When it flows, the anger builds and bubbles over in a black frothiness. When it ebbs, I break…and sleep. The anger is slowly giving way to apathy and under the apathy is the person who’s been asleep for so long.

Music is how I key my memories. My mind tends to wander when I don’t want it to and playing the same music over and over keeps the wanderer occupied while the rest of me does what it needs to do:

The first time I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in 1978, the New Seekers’ We’d Like to Teach the World to Sing album and Donna Summer’s McArthur Park single provided the ambience (in my parents’ basement, using the headphones that are de rigueur when you are on auto-repeat).

The Queen albums up to and including Flash in 1980 colour all of my high school days, when I did as little as was required of me to pass and daydreamed about a future I really couldn’t envision. I was going to die at 35 so why consider a real future? What was the point in working towards a future I was sure I didn’t have. Had I foreseen the pulmonary embolism I had at 35 or did I create it, a self-fulfilling prophecy? Most people thought I was a little touched when, instead of being depressed and introspective in the face of something that kills many people, I laughed. I understood the Universe’s little joke, you see. And it was a good one. I didn’t die at 35 — I just broke free of what moorings I had and drifted.

The summer of 1984, in between semesters of my computer programming course, I wore out my tape of the Scorpions’ Slippery When Wet on my new Sony Walkman while going to and from my first real job as a computer operator at the local uni.

In 1997, it was Savage Garden while I created my first Web site and ventured out onto the Internet for the first time.

When I was recovering from my pulmonary embolism, it was the Backstreet Boys’ Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely, with my cat lying on my chest and purring his healing into me. And when I first joined online communities, it was Aqua’s Aquarius on auto-repeat.

And now…

Now, McFly is providing the soundtrack to my life. Peppy pop-rock from young, talented musicians is just what the doctor ordered for a mid-life, perimenopausal crisis. Reminds me of the 12-year-old I was, the 12-year-old who can’t believe what a sucky adult she became. Friday Night is on auto-repeat in iTunes at this moment while my future remaps itself in my head.

(As an aside, Night at the Museum should be a fun movie.)