December 13, 2020:

"Still the one I... run to..."

I'm early and uncomfortable. No-one's masked, no-one's talking, the music is soporific. The customer ahead of me is elderly and unhealthy, and when she does begin to speak her conversation is about osteoporosis. "When you get to be as old as I am..." Her hair cutter patronizes her, speaking in the exaggeratedly slow sing-song adults typically reserve for backward children.

I'm without sleep, physically run-down, unhappy. I have a tooth ache, a dehydration-related cramp in one calf, and a painful gallbladder polyp which might or might not be benign. I have elevated liver enzymes and am concerned about Covid. I want to stay in the house, and sleep, and avoid the world which, so far in this life, has done such a stellar job of avoiding me.

This is where the change begins. I do believe this. Until now my golgotha has been energetic: the neverending cost-benefit analysis of minor actions, where you say to yourself, I could do this, but it'll take so much... Now the hurdles are increasingly physical, as the frame wears out, and its internals exceed their expiration dates.

So that when my turn at the basin arrives, massaged by warm water and soft hands, and my eyes are closed and there's nothing for me to do but experience the moment, the experience is one of exhaustion, and gratitude, and determination, and profound lack of clarity, where every direction is mysterious, and there's nowhere to go which isn't exactly the same.