40. I’ve never imagined myself as 40. Luckily time has dealt with this problem, and I don’t need to imagine it. I can just get up in the morning, when the kids come in and want breakfast and TV, and I can look out the kitchen window across the valley at the exact moment the street lights go off and think “so this is 40”.
I’m an unremarkable fellow. I know that “we’re all special”, and we are, I can even think that sentence now without the ironic quotation marks, but we are also all unremarkable. When I think about what has passed between the moment above with my Gran soon after I was born and now, then I have to acknowledge that every unremarkable life is full.
I don’t think I’ve read a History book that contains much in the way of a description of a grandmother bathing a grandson, or friends sitting around shooting the shit at 1am. That seems like a shame. Mostly this is what is good about life, not the vanity of Kings, and the iniquity of war, but the clear water in your hand running over the skin of a new born’s head, or the hand that reaches under the covers for you in the middle of the night when the wind beats at the window, or the dog howls.
It is also, of course, losing people. It is waking in the morning after a dream in which you met the dead again, or walked through an old house again, people and places that will never return, and feeling empty and terribly, terribly alone. And hate. And violence. Or the simpler sad turning of people who were close into strangers as life takes you in different directions.
I suppose that this last sentence can refer to yourself.
It’s probably no secret to you, my poor benighted regular reader, that I thought for a long time that I would be a rock star. The first step on the road to glory was in 1990.
Thankfully, in the intervening 23 years I can say that I am still in touch with my inner rock god, and have learnt nothing.
Well, that’s not completely true. I’ve learnt that wine is nicer than beer.
Thanks for coming, y’all. See you at the fiftieth.