It’s as if a veil were lifted.
Two days of complete sobriety. I think it must be a similar sensation to that experienced by people who have recently given up smoking. Except that it’s not only affected my sense of taste and smell, (mind you I did find myself feeling awkwardly bloody starving at a christening this morning which is an unusual experience as I don’t normally have much of an appetite), but the world seems a bit brighter, less vapid, more in focus. I don’t like it at all (it’s unnerving).
Why? Why this sudden onslaught of sensibility? Well (if you’re eating dinner, or of a sensitive nature then you might prefer to blog off now)….
If you’re a man, or indeed you’re a woman who has slept with a man, you’ll know what Neanderthals we can be in the morning? No matter how civilised we are, when we sleep we are dragged to a place in a cave a with a flickering flame, a thousand generations ago where we idly cuddle a club and pick at parasites in the fur on our bum while we snort and gasp our way through slumber. In those few blissful moments between sleep and awareness, the twilight world, we still exist in our prehistoric state before we fully comprehend the soft pillow and chime of the alarm.
I’ve seen women make the transition between sleep and wakefulness gracefully, blooming into a new day with a flickering of the eyelids, a purr and a smile. You’re a lady you see, made of sugar and spice and all things nice - even should you fart a little while you stretch, it’s not the cacophonous racket that we make, more of a squeak than a fanfare to greet the new day.
What tends to happen next to the male of the species is a lot of scratching, bottom and belly scratching mostly, which I think is probably a genetic hangover. My Spaniel still does it, he wakes up and straight away puts his foot in his ear and waggles it about to rearrange the tangled fur in there.
And every morning, almost involuntarily, unconsciously, we check to see if our testicles are still there, to make sure that the bollock-elf hasn’t stolen them away during the night. (Italian men do this once every five minutes, draw your own conclusions).
So on Friday morning I went through the whole sordid business of slipping unsalubriously back into the waking world. With a scratch and great deal of rubbing at the dried spittle in the corners of my eyes, and the usual mild panic and pushing at the baboon on my chest, I followed my instinct and my hand went to check on the family jewels.
And I discovered I was rich.
Bear in mind this is an involuntary action. There’s the same result every day, you don’t hear men mutter, “good, still there”, it’s a bit like alarming the car, we know we’ve done it but it’s reassuring to hear the “beep beep”? So I spat out the pillow and rolled over testing knees and elbows for signs of rigor mortis, and knocked, as I always seem to, the open book by my side off the bed perilously close to the glass of water by the bed….before the message from my fingers finally arrived at my brain. Something was different, something had changed.
Something that required a more thorough examination. It was almost immediately apparent what the difference was. How should I put this, picture if you will the contents of my scrotum…..no? Well let’s say it’s a miniature solar system, just the two planets of relative size, the earth perhaps, and venus, except today when my universe had suddenly gained a moon. Not a full grown planet, but a substantial celestial object nonetheless.
I lay and worried for a bit, then switched on the tv and retrieved my glass of water. Then I checked again, with the same out come, One…two…two and a half.
Time for coffee and shower and the rest of the morning ritual completing the transmission from knuckle scratching Neanderthal to urbane, civilised man about town (yes I’m laughing too!). All accompanied with the affected nonchalance of a person denying an urge to give in to mild panic.
My doctor’s surgery is on the way to the office and I arrived at 8.37. The waiting room was already full of coughing and sneezing adults and leaking children. It’s a shared practice, the receptionist asked my name (three times between ‘phone calls), and told me that my doctor was away on holiday. I told her that I thought it was rather urgent and she offered me an appointment with the locum next Wednesday. I told her that I didn’t think it would wait that long (by my estimation if I went to bed one night and woke up with the something the size of a cherry in the morning, if it grew exponentially, by the time my appointment arrived I might have to return with a wheel barrow), she said it was the best she could do. I told her it was delicate, she said there was a lot of influenza around. I told her that in that case I would sit in the waiting room with my scrotum exposed and show it to a doctor if they passed by. She said she would see what she could do….
Some hours later the good lady doctor asked me what appeared to be the problem, and I suggested that she might like to put on some gloves.
I have a fatty cyst, it’s completely unattached and quite unremarkable. Absolutely nothing to worry about. Boy, did I feel silly?
Not in the least.
Except that when she offered me the prescription and said not to drink alcohol I nodded gravely and completely ignored her. Generally the problem with drugs and alcohol is that alcohol is a diuretic, it makes you pee a lot and dilutes the efficacy of the drug – but whatever the hell it is that she gave me really doesn’t agree with booze. I was a naughty boy (and I think my last act was to email as much to a friend).
So, I’m enjoying a second childhood, I’m sober and I have a pocket of marbles.