Where do I start? At just after half past two in the morning I
should probably just not bother starting this at all. I should try
and go to sleep, like any normal person would already be. My alarm
will go off at 8am as usual, and chances are at this rate that I'll
ignore it again and sleep on till I wake. A perk of working for
yourself I suppose.
I'm busy at the moment. My days turn into evenings that quickly
become nights. The hours chase the minutes away until it's time
to sink into a bath and begin the nightly run down ritual that brings
me back here to my bed. Usually I am damn near asleep at this point.
My head touches the pillow and I quickly disappear to the land where
anything is still possible, and time is not important.
Tonight though is different. I am tired, I am nearly asleep, but
I want to write. I want to say something, not sure what yet, but
I'm just going to follow my fingers and see where this goes. It
was so very nearly going to simply be a one liner, but alas the
'brilliant one liner' department of my brain have switched off their
terminals and headed home for the night. If my head were staffed
by keyboard punchers by day, then the only person working now would
be the rent-a-cop, sitting there, feet on the reception desk reading
a copy of 'The Sport' with his fuzzy radio playing music that he
pays no attention to.
You know what, I smell good right now! The bath was full of things
that a 'real man' would never admit to putting in a bath. Cheap
bubbles that last just a few minutes, and some moisturizing stuff
that makes me feel like an oiled up body builder... without the
built body! It's a relaxation thing for me though. Showers are good,
but a bath is 'where it's at' as far as I'm concerned. I sit there,
cheap bubbles disappearing quickly at my feet, candles dotted around
the room, a cold drink, and a book.
Sometimes I call my friends in America from the bath tub. This used
to surprise them at first, though I have no idea why. Indeed Karen,
my adopted "older sister" in America, still refuses to speak
to me while I'm in the bath on account of the fact that I am surely
naked. It always makes me laugh that she can't see anything but
is somehow still offended by nothing more than her imagination!
Time passes very quickly in my bath. I read for a bit, soak for
a while, then before you know it it's damn near dawn! I mean right
now, for me to be in bed before three A.M. is somewhat of an early
Where does the time go? How come when I was a kid the six week
summer break from school seemed like a lifetime. And yet now six
weeks can be gone in a heartbeat? Back then a sunny day seemed
to go on and on. With my two best friends, Darryl and James, we'd ride our bicycles on the sidewalks through the neighborhood doing stunts and shouting at one another as we went. We cut up old Corn Flakes boxes and pegged the cardboard into the spokes of our bikes to make them sound more like motorcycles, and with the help of our young imaginations they sounded every bit the part.
We would speed to the local shops leaving our bikes wherever
we stopped while we picked candy inside the store. My favorites
were fizzy Cola bottles and 'Space Dust' that would crack and pop on my tongue.
James had a Grifter. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It
weighed about the same as a Rolls Royce but looked so cool with
it's big seat and chunky tires. My bike was equipped with a triple
tone police siren that I had gotten one Christmas. I had colored
ribbon tassels on the handlebars at one stage too, but I cut them
off as soon as I realized that neither Ponch or Jon from my favorite
TV show, CHiPs, had them on their California Highway Patrol Kawasaki motorcycles.
I was a lunatic speed demon of a kid. Trying always to go faster
and faster. I'd have the most spectacular crashes, sometimes with
cars, sometimes with street lamps, always with painful consequences.
I remember the day I found I was able to ride "no handed". It all
went well until I tried to turn a corner. I fell off the
bike scrapping my hands and chin along the road. Let me tell you,
that hurt. Boy did that hurt!
And how come it was it always sunny? Every day in my memory is sunny
or so it seems. I think I have a kind memory that injects a blazing
sun and deep blue skies into even the most overcast of days.
In my memories the sun shines out of a cloudless blue sky, its
penetrating heat warming my adventures with Darryl and
James and the times we used to make go-karts and have horrific
accidents while trying to pilot them down the impossibly steep
hill on 'Bunny's Walk.' Playing Badminton and eating barbecue with my friend Oliver
and his family in their garden, or when I was 16 and used to walk
Lucy home after youth club thinking she was the prettiest
thing I'd ever seen and wondering how on earth I was going to ask
her out. They were all sunny days, or so it would seem.
Recently I had cause to stay in my old hometown.
The days were hot and sunny, just like they were in all the fond
memories from childhood and my teenage years of discovery.
While I was there I realized just how very different my friends
and I have become, yet still somehow remaining in essence the
same people we once were. We've grown up at our own pace, of course. But somehow, in the
unusually warm and sunny weather, I caught glimpse of my life gone
past. It wasn't so much of a recollection, but something more real
I could feel and taste moments from back then. Not in
there entirety, of course, just fragments every so often, like echoes. It was as if time
was ricocheting back into me, allowing me to have something from
those times again just faintly, but enough to make my body shiver
and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
James is married now and has two kids of his own. He's a chemistry
teacher at a school in Hertfordshire, and he drives a huge Land
Rover that's vaguely reminiscent of his chunky Grifter days. Darryl started his own business, a fact that wouldn't surprise
anyone who ever played the board game 'Monopoly' with him all those
years ago. And these days I run my own internet business, taking time travel and explore the
world at every available opportunity.
It seems we've gone from Grifters to Land Rovers, from Monopoly
Streets to London offices, and from playing with
felt tip pens to playing with pixels on a computer screen in
just a few moments.
Sometimes I feel like I'm watching it all happen right in front
of me, powerless to intervene. Like a tourist in time or a passenger on a passing train peering from the window to a world rushing by. It's a beautiful blur flashing before my eyes, merging from one moment to the next in a mosaic that will form the background of the memories I'll one day look back on.
I don't want to sleep. As comfortable and inviting as my bed
is I want to stay awake and see more. I want to taste more, have
more, experience more, read more and write more. It'll never
be enough though will it?
Shakespeare called life 'a tale of sound and fury'. He wasn't
far wrong. Whatever happens though, there are sunny days and
great memories yet to be made, and I don't plan on wasting a