Timeline event number ‘p’

“Sunday morning and it’s raining hard out there in Leeds; I’m listening to the Magic Flute overture on Rad 3 whilst ironing my blue shirt, you know, the one that was £3.99 from a charity shop in Eccles. I wore it to the pub and told my friend that it was a real Jaeger. ‘Yes’, said he, ‘I can read the buttons.’ I was amazed at how sharp his eyesight was, but then again I have always had difficulty in seeing things that to many other people are perfectly clear…for instance, a few nights ago I met up with my partner for a drink. He seemed rather distracted and I asked whether something was bothering him. As soon as I had spoken the words I realised that he was going to tell me what I knew already but had chosen to ignore, that we were very different personalities and that the gap between us could never be bridged.
The shirt has a fine Prince-of-Wales type check design, with bunched straight lines like a sort of logarithmic graph paper on which you could chart your emotional and spiritual growth. There would be intense flurries of drama with long stretches of serene tranquillity, during which one could take stock and make plans for a future that probably wouldn’t arrive.
Yesterday I went to the art gallery; several pieces have been brought together for an exhibition about WW1 which began 100 years ago. As well as the paintings and sculpture, there was a glass case of books including Lady C by DH Lawrence; the caption pointed out that this novel was actually a study of PTSD. The book had been left open at a passage where Lawrence talks about how psychological wounds will leave permanent damage to the soul, and that the individual may afterwards resume a pattern of behaviour which gives the impression that they have recovered from the trauma. But this is just an illusion.
Rather like Alice Shields, who described happiness as being a pane of glass that you carry through life. One day it gets broken, and you are destined to keep the fragments, even though they can never be restored.
Lawrence’s emotional life would need a lot of graph paper with some strangely configured axes to chart the progression from Chrysanthemums to Gentians to Snake…
Sunday afternoon, and it’s almost stopped raining. On Rad 3 they’re playing ‘O Superman’ by Laurie Anderson, as one of the choices on Private Passions, where Michael Berkeley is interviewing actor Michael Sheen.
And I don’t have a TV set, so I’m listening to this on my Pure digital radio, a leaving gift from my workmates back in 2005.”


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