Friday, 22 January 2010

Not a Crowd

There's something special about the number three: the triangle is the strongest shape. Grouping things together in threes makes them sing. My first experience of this was when an artist friend gave me a decorating tip: 'use three shades of your chosen colour,' she said, 'even if you can't see they are different it will give depth.' So when I moved into this house I took her advice. I painted all the rooms white (it was the 90s!) but used three shades: new white, off white, and lily white. I wasn't sure if it made a difference to anything more than my bank balance and sanity, but, sure enough visitors seemed much more comfortable here than they had in the last house. Several commented on how lovely it was even though it's a pretty ordinary, rather small, conversion (i.e. not actually a whole house at all).

I've since come across this theory in rhetoric and literature as well as the visual arts. Three is the golden number, it seems.

Today I have two threes to celebrate. The first is the third birthday of Edith, my best friend's daughter. Edith is a delight who has three passions: Hello Kitty, ballet, and animals. Happy birthday Edith, you will go far!

Secondly, it is the third anniversary of this blog which has proved a massive turning point for me, having connected me to so many sympathetic, empathetic, like-minded, convivial, supportive, people, I never have to feel alone, if I don't want to. Today I realise that this means I have had to take more responsibility for my life: I can no longer stamp my feet and wail, 'no body understands me!' because I have concrete evidence that a great number of people do. I've had to let go of the consolation of being an oddity, and embrace (the new consolation of) being part of a world-wide tribe.

Blogging itself comes as part of a glorious three, along with philosophy, which I began to study in 2004, and writing, which I took up in earnest just over two years ago. As the three whites acted on the rooms in my house, so these three have acted to make me feel my life has depth.

So, chin-chin, bottoms up and cheers to the power of three.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Santa Crazy

Christmas eve morning I woke up in post-op, woozy with morphine. I get my best ideas on the morning liminal, that delicious time between sleep and wake. This was like an über version of that, and I couldn't quite tell the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness. I now know why some people become addicted to opiates, especially creative types, it was like drifting through the imaginations of my favourite artists. Sometimes I'd be in a clinical hospital room, all gloss white and steel, and then I'd turn my head and find I was in an orange wind tunnel with the heroine of one of my short stories and her frock collection.

A beautiful woman with a foreign accent came to visit me. She was wearing a white coat but it was unbuttoned and beneath was a black cocktail dress. Her diamonds glinted as she moved under the strip lights. She spoke and and cooled me with her hands. Then she was gone. Darkness.

Voices: Stevie, Bob and my brother appeared as if on a screenless TV that hadn't been properly tuned in . They pulled up chairs and spoke and I think I answered, but I was walking along a dark street in an unknown city as brightly lit trams carrying multiple Paris Hiltons raced past me. Light. Kerfuffle. Nurses with bright tones.

I was moved to the ward, bed and all, a different ward to the one I'd been in before the operation, but it looked the same. I worried I'd miss the old one. The boys sorted out all my stuff. I was more with it by now so I could direct them, but doing so exhausted me so we agreed they should go home and leave me to sleep, which I did.

I was woken up for the evening meal but couldn't eat it. I sat up though, and chatted to a nurse who checked my wound and various attachments. My entire torso throbbed with pain and I longed for the dark quiet of night. The same few Christmas pop tunes played over and over. My blood pressure and heart rate were taken hourly.

The lights were finally turned off at just after midnight, once I'd been checked over again and had the nippy little injection everyone has to have to thin the blood. Dark was bliss, I disappeared into it.

'Hell-oh!' a semi whisper.
'Hell-oh!' louder.
I opened my eyes and looked up to see a ghostly Santa with wire rimmed spectacles peering over me: 'Hello,' he said.
'Hello,' I replied.
'Have you seen my fairy?' he gesticulated to the end of the bed where a large youth in a tutu with a wand stood. 'Hello,' said the youth.
'Hello,' I replied.
'We have a gift for you,' said Santa, pointing at a large parcel on my table.
'Oh, thank you,' I said.
'Well, goodnight.'
He was gone. I looked at the time, it was 12.45.

I was woken at about tenish by a nurse doing what nurses do. 'Did you see Santa last night?'
I must have looked puzzled because she added, 'he left you a present, look.'
There on my table was a large, crisply wrapped parcel.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Where are my manners,

I've been home for over a fortnight and I have not yet taken the time to thank all of you, my dear blogging buddies, for your thoughts and kindnesses while I was in hospital? And they meant a great deal to me. So I thank you now.

Daily the boys would arrive at my bedside armed with cheery messages from people near and far, and nurses would inform me of phone calls to check on my progress. It was quite astonishing. Though at the time, I confess, I was mostly too dazed to fully appreciate it all. Now I've got my mind back, however, I am quite in awe. I truly hadn't realised the extent of the connections I am lucky enough to have made through this blog. I do now though, and I'll try not to forget it as life gets back to normal and the focus shifts from how lucky I am to be alive back to wtf... ? As it inevitably will.

In the next few days I must tell you about my surreal Santa experience, but for now thanks again, all of you for everything, and goodnight...