Sunday 27th March
Record date 20660817
I am recording these impressions so that future volunteers into the ‘select’ programme may benefit from my experiences. Strange that I should be typing again; this screen, although perfectly capable of reading my lips, if not my actual thoughts (who knows?), has asked that I should type in the words myself. The keyboard is projected onto a special soft-mat so that there is a slight indentation when you press the keys, and this makes it far more accurate; when your fingertips feel that slight receptivity they know instinctively that the key has been hit. All those touch screens were popular for a while but typing is far more accurate with soft-mat tech. And apparently this slowing of the brain is necessary to impede, to slow down, to distil ones thoughts, taking that little longer between idea and the flow of words makes one choose slightly different, maybe more thoughtful words, than otherwise. Who knows? All I can say is that it certainly is strange to be typing again.
Of course this time, unlike the words committed so hastily to my antique little laptop, I am fully aware that these words will be uplifted, sifted, stored and pored over and read by many unseen eyes. Not that that bothers me anymore. I am just thankful to be alive. And that life, indeed this whole strange year, my ‘journal’, my running away, my strange ‘adventures’ – all of that seems such a long time ago. A whole lifetime ago, in fact. In many ways I am a completely different person. I look in the mirror in the mornings and I hardly recognise me at all.
There was a time when all I wanted was to escape, to exit the life I found myself living. Nothing satisfied me, I was more than restless, I was desperately unhappy. Like many men approaching their middle years there was a feeling of underachievement, of uselessness, of failure somehow. My children had been reared and had flown the nest many years ago, I would see them at Chrissie, or birthdays, but it felt to me as if I hardly knew them anymore. It became harder and harder to remember what they used to be like, as people, as individuals I had once loved and cherished, and despite all the viddyfilms of them available to me on any screen, it felt as if these strangers, these children of mine I would occasionally meet, as we shook hands or mwah-ed with our lips pursed, (careful not make actual contact), it felt as if somehow they weren’t mine at all, that they must belong to someone else. Does everyone feel like that; this internal alienation from everything, this almost brutal disaffection, or was it just me?
And my wife, my darling Cathy, the person I once thought was the only one I would ever have any connection with at all, where has she gone? Do we really change so much from our twenties to our fifties? She has become a different person, a stranger, who, like my children, I struggle to recognise. She seems so much the opposite to me too; whereas I had become disillusioned, bored, tired of my life; the older she became, the more she seemed to settle into hers. The more uncomfortable I became with who I was; the more nested, the more contented; no – complacent, she had become. It was as if I didn’t exist, I was hardly a speck on her more and more consumerist horizon. She totally accepted all the changes, the whole strata system, the new flexible cred replacing money; it all seemed to suit her down to the ground; the ultimate new consumer/citizen.
And then there was sex. Or the lack of it. It was in those moments of anticipatory bliss, a few moments before orgasm, that I felt most alive. When the rest of the world completely disappeared from my mind, I was right in the zone, I was absolutely focussed on pleasure; my own and my partner’s. And of all the partners, it was Cathy I shared this feeling with best. We split up for a few years after Uni; I can’t even remember what the row was about now. Then we would still keep in touch, despite meeting others, somehow never being able to fully let go. Even when we were apart I was always thinking of her, and some part of me knew I would find her again. And when we got back together again it was like coming home. I was safe, harboured in her loving arms. I had never felt so happy, so realised as a person, so together, as connected to another as during those first few years.
And yet I have discovered that happiness, like sex itself, is actually quite a transitory emotion; almost as soon as you realise you are happy the moment dissolves, as if the thinking about it, the trying to understand anything about it ends up actually destroying it. Well, it was like that for me, anyway. And even though sex was so wonderful with Cathy, somehow we even let this slippery gift slide from our grasp. And then when syn came along I was just so desperate to replicate those feelings that for years it was always the image, the form, the touch, the lips of Cathy that I had programmed into the machine. Until even syn ended up boring me, as has everything; my work, my life, Cathy and the kids, it all bored me. And I tried to escape.