Week TWO: 23-24 July - Candy Crash sorrow, sulphur on tap, random acts of senseless beauty …
Saturday 23rd July
A very large and sorrowful lady with short mumsy hair sat by the lake shore playing Candy Crush with the volume on full. She either wasn’t aware or didn’t care about the crunches and swooshes playing out from her phone. She was over it. I get it. It’s all food. It’s all drugs. Aint none of it rock and roll. I overhear her talking - she is Canadian, but with a group of German women. A Canadian woman living in Germany? This isn’t the kind of facility Americans would come to. Not Americans with money.
I’m still very distressed by the room I’m in. Three men seem to have bunked down in the connecting room - they are handy men on the farm? I’m sure they are perfectly pleasant family guys. But I have awful prejudices I’m trying to excise, so I’m also sure they are women hating hooligans. Why do they all have shaved heads and footy tshirts? National and football pride have always been a mystery to me. Although I would wear a tshirt with Arnando Ianucci on it, I guess. Or Dave Chapelle. I just watched Chapelle’s last (literally) Netflix special - The Closer. All great comedians become social commentators and philosophers in the end. I didn’t need the funny stuff, I just wanted to hear what he had to say. He is not ‘woke’ and refuses the ideologies of wokeness. He is a good and decent man, a free thinker and fiercely intelligent and reflected. Pretty much not a thing he says I disagree with, or that any rational citizen wouldn’t find convincing. I dug a bit deeper into the controversies around Chapelle and sidetracked into a news story about The Rippaverse - a new comic book series that promises to leave woke bullshit out of the narrative. Gotta say I applaud it. It’s written by former DC colourist Gabe Altaeb (who left DC Comics precisely because he felt management were shoe-horning wokeist ideology into every story line: “Woke writers are less worried about telling a story that’s coherent than virtue signaling to the audience.” The Rippaverse teems with ethnic diversity and remains gungho. The illustrator (Eric July - who has been accused by woke critics of being an 'Uncle Tom’ - because he is Black and has joined project), had this to say: “Non-woke stories, by comparison, remain relatable. I wanted to be Han Solo when I was 7. I’m not white, but I loved his swagger.”
My friend Elisabeth (the wise witch in my life) tells me to endure one more week. In my moments of clarity, I know that running away is just a postponement of stress. It’s very arduous. This stoic grown up business, of learning to endure, of putting up with things to tolerate them etc. Yet all the revolutionaries tell us to get our rage on. So, when to put aside stoicism and stick it to the man?
I go downstairs and ask to be moved to a cabin. This was what I wanted form the get go but there were none available. The Gods of Detox give me a break. A woman cancelled that morning. I have cabin number 2 for one week.
Sunday 24th July
The shower water in the cabin stinks of rotten eggs and I am in heaven. Sometimes the higher end options in life are so generic, with someone else’s idea of what luxury is. The cabins here are the cheaper option, but you get a whole house to yourself ffs. My idea of wealth, of riches, is silence and space. This I have. Not completely silent. I hear the main road not far away. But no racehorses pissing in my ear at all hours.
At lunch I overhear the Canadian woman speaking to another guest:
"Well then my husband died … my son … divorce … he went to Las Vegas … I didn’t like that … living on my couch now …”
I hear another guest ask, “How is it, to have your son living with you?” The Canadian lady says, “Awful, just awful … just lies around …”
“Does he get any exercise?”
“No, not at all! Just lies around … I only have a minimum pension … don’t know what I’m going to do …”
I tune out as the conversation seems very private, and the woman is in pain. She is being comforted by the other guest. I hear the Canadian woman saying, “Thank you, thank you so much for listening, it means so much …” The other guest touches her elbow and says kindly “Of course. Of course.” As they leave, I swivel round and see the other woman is K the Swedish Mental Health Worker.