The nagging sense upon waking that the world isn’t the same as it was — (an apprehension I associate with New Year’s Day hangovers, which are the reason why I barely drink although the strangely medicinal aroma of gin has beckoned since I had a light G & T in the pub by Irina’s house near Hastings) - that sense is with me every morning as I wake stymied by generalized alarm.
I can’t go back to where it was in 2019, all that is gone, and as for 2006 or 2004, that was before before before.
The architecture , cityscape, geography , terrain, sky — the context — that I knew, made up of recognizable dance steps: needs and obligations, imperatives, friendships, desires, events, certainties, commonalities, shows, gatherings, gossip, admirations, ambitions, possibilities, adrenaline — has disintegrated .
It’s not just the BBC headline on the screen: ‘Ambulance Stike’. I wait for them to shove in the R, but no.
Individuals holding it together, at best, but the larger construct we all lived in feels separated into lonely bundles of squeaky reactions. Nothing flows and nothing bounces, it’s all literal, captioned, garbled.
And then there’s the legalized-marijuana problem of stoned service sector workers. And the persistence of the health insurance robot that kept confirming, nine fucking times over the course of one phone call, that my birth year was 1912.
I am not yet 110.
It’s been wonderful huddling with small numbers of friends over good food, exchanging ideas and information, but it feels as if we are survivors. Not members of some ongoing something outside beyond the walls.
Perhaps that has to do with living in the country?
A dark way of looking at ten days of this new year.
Joan Juliet Buck, author of The Price Of Illusion, once a pillar of Condé Nast, is currently writing a serial novel for Radio Free Rhinecliff (soon on Apple Podcasts). Her Facebook diary was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
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