Fourteen years and 5 months ago (not to the date), a very good friend of mine, T, died of cancer. I dreamed about him last night, that he’d somehow faked his death, that I met him and he denied who he was, and that, by the time I’d got M to come and confirm who he was, he’d disappeared. I don’t know what any of this means, of course, but I woke often in the night, and went back into the same dream, and finally woke late this morning with the feeling that everything I’ve done, everything I’ve written, on this holiday has no value. I tried to explain to M at breakfast that this was not overthinking, that this thought was not one I’d created deliberately, but that it had implanted itself in my mind of its own accord. I am now fighting it, chasing it out of my mind and body (which works so much more slowly when this happens), and I’m already feeling better. I’m using other rational voices at my disposal to help me with this. And, in reality, writing this thing every day is another tool I have to help me work through these sporadic and unpredictable episodes. Even if no-one reads it (although I do know that people do, and that makes me feel humble and grateful).
While sitting out late at Giorgo’s last night, M and I watched the local youths sitting on the sunloungers on the beach, watching stuff on their mobile phones, or gathered in circular groups just talking, and (once again with the proviso that all generalisations are false) remarking on how peaceful they were, how self-contained, and how there appeared to be no alpha male posturing, but just teenage girls and boys treating each other as equals. No vandalism, no alcohol abuse, no fighting, no shouting. And this is not a wealthy place in most parts. We found it refreshing and wondered why it’s not like this in the UK. And there are so many possible reasons for this, I’m not even going to start, because this post would have turned into a novel before I’d come to any sort of cogent conclusion. One central point, though, I think, is education, formal and informal, neither of which is adequately funded or supported in the UK for reasons best known to Tory governments over the last 50 years.
We have now had our pick-up time for Tuesday afternoon confirmed, and the first thing M said is that it will allow her to have another full day at the beach, though I have no idea how. She is, after all, more practical than I am. That’s the primary reason we’re still married.
It’s Sunday, so the locals are out in full force, except of course those who are working full pelt. The cafés behind me are full of the wonderful staccato of Greek, people chilling over coffee, people with the freedom to be where they want to be when they want to be. My brain has almost come to a total stop right now. Reality, the reality of the politics I’ll be going home to, is paralysing.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 137
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