I did something to my neck, and now I can’t move it or turn my head, and so when I am crossing the road, I have to do a slow pirouette right around before I know it is clear, and by the time I am done with my full-body circling, then another car comes around the corner to take us all out.
This morning the kids were saying something about Trump (not particularly evolved comments, mind – something about his hair and how he started off with 5 MILLION DOLLARS and got made bankrupt TWELVE TIMES, and how The Simpsons once made up a character with the SAME NAME as Donald Trump and their Donald Trump became Prime Minster of America just like the real one did – CANYOUBELIEVEIT? And then Ned wanted to know who had vs.ed Obama and was it David Cameron?) and all the while I am trying to hear them while the cocaine-fuelled truck drivers whoosh past us along the A40 and my neck won’t move to meet their little noisy mouths and it is all a bit puppety and stilted and awkward. Like:
Give me a minute to get the strength to force my neck in your rough direction/can you hold the buggy and the dog while I do a whole-body half circle so I am facing your little unbrushed heads and dirty lips crusted with shameful chocolate croissant flakes so that your little voice meets my ears and not the wet dirty pavement
By which time someone has talked over someone else and they are all crying, saying I don’t love them because I never listen to their interminably long tales about Really Important Things. Plus, once I was fully spun around and rigidly fixed staring at them, I saw that none of them had cleaned their teeth. They are revolting.
Anyway, in my house, it doesn’t matter if you do something to your neck. No one is much interested, even though I am forced to listen to the full list of my dear husband’s physical complaints, like, ALL THE TIME. It all started about three months ago, with a shoulder thing, which moved to his back, to his groin and now his knees. Of an evening, just when the kids are in bed and we are on the third glass of something and Nashville is on and we are free and happy and lying down on the couch, full stomachs utilised as little curvy tables for leftover crumbly mince pies, he turns to me (see – his neck still has some flexibility so it can’t be that bad) and tells me about how his aches are now migrating down to his calves.
So I say
GO TO THE DOCTOR
and he says
OK I WILL
and he does and the doctor says
Why, it’s arthritis, old fella!
and Mark says to me
NO IT’S NOT
and I say
Pray tell, what kind of medical training have you had that I don’t know about that would lead you to believe you don’t have arthritis, old fella?
And he looks at me and mumbles something and I suspect its is simply that he wants his pain to be something more manly and special. Something that would require more trips to the osteopath, special pills, maybe some sort of cast/sling, attention from me, and a reason to never really move far from the couch ever again. I said it is probably arthritis, just as the GP suggested, and that the best thing for it is ibuprofen and mild exercise. He scoffs and looks sad.
So then he said
The answer, my love, THE ANSWER, is in a reclining chair whereby I can sit right in front of the TV and pull a wooden lever and out of the oversized, over padded chair that looks like it belongs in a retirement home, the kind that are all covered in plastic in case of incontinence, I can stick out my aching legs onto a padded suspended foamy bit and I will be WELL! I will be staring directly into the TV screen, and there won’t be any crick in my neck at all, and I will therefore be as streamlined as a gazelle who is a bit tired. No doubt all my ailments will slowly disappear because of my excellent alignment, and then I will be full of energy and verve like the old days. And then you’ll have to keep up with me! All running about and suchlike!
And I said
You are not 73, and if you ever want to have sex with me again, you had better not be putting yourself to a premature eternal rest by way of an old man’s comfy chair in a living room in a small flat with too many people already jostling for space and a dog and already two couches and numerous bits of furniture you keep adding to the mix because they were being given away by their owners and you thought we might find them useful. And anyway you wouldn’t last very long because those children will fiddle with the lever and sit on the unsupported leg-bit and break the chair and you would have a FLAMING HEART ATTACK from the anger and you might well die.
So, we are at an uncomfortable crux.
Here are my delightful older boys at the Tate a few weekends ago, after the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition, a little zzz’ed, but very grateful for the overpriced lemonade sugar-rush. It was all an improvement on the Paul Klee exhibition I took them too in 2013, though – where Noah ran ahead and then came excitedly back to us, saying
I’ve found the exit! Ive found the exit!
Then we went mudlarking and Noah found a massive ancient cow’s thigh bone and brought it home on the tube. He kept dropping it and alarming the other passengers as it clattered and slimed its way all over the tube floor. Noah also fell down the wet and green stairs on the way to the Thames foreshore and dropped all of his candied peanuts. He’s ace, that kid. Here are my finds, all about 3000 years old, probably:
Haircuts and churros on a rainy Sunday:
Deep despair and chocolate smears:
And another bit of writing about a clever and lovely woman for Chanel and i-D.