ON a good day nothing much would happen. A bad day could well be life changing.
For a while I liked that simple separation when people asked how my day had been, then I realised it was little more than a basic signifier that most days meant very little in terms of the story of my life. Anyone’s, in fact.
It got to the stage where I thought it was all pointless — one day after the next, all very much the same. No steps forward, no steps back. I still feel like that sometimes but when you look at your life as an ongoing diary or as a calendar, you realise just how much happens.
When I turned my metaphorical calendar over to December 2003 (I doubt I had such a thing), I in no way expected my father to die that month, but he did. What I did anticipate was a month of pre-Christmas pub visits and spending more money than I had.
I also did not anticipate arriving in Sydney one night just two months later or to take part in a banquet in China with Government officials, be called the c-word by a prominent then young British artist or told to eff-off by a former pop star. I didn’t expect to ever work nights in a plastics factory or have my face cut open by a bloke wearing a ring at a university do in Nottingham.
I certainly didn’t expect to end up face down on a gravelly road while out running the other weekend, followed by trips to the hospital and dentist. I did though.
These things happen and when they do you tend not to forget them because they are, by and large, exceptions in what is for most the humdrum day-to-day existence of cleaning, shopping, working, eating, drinking and sleeping.
If you swam with dolphins every day it would just be a job (admittedly a good one and not one I could do unless said dolphin struggled to complete more than a couple of lengths of its local baths), but as a one off it would undoubtedly be a pretty spectacular thing to do.
Being too close to comfort (well, if there wasn’t an enclosure it would be) to polar bears, emus, lions, tigers etc is something you could only dream of as a kid. It only happened to the likes of David Attenborough or Rolf Harris — I’ve been up close to the latter. Shook his hand, but that’s another story.
Normal life, if there is such a thing, can easily get me down, but it shouldn’t really as there is generally something to look forward to or, on the other hand, a stab in the heart that is really worth getting down about.
For those who have been stuck in flats and small houses in lockdown — I have at least been coming into work — the normal changed and became something worse than, er, normal, because it must have seemed that life would never return to, er, normal.
So until that next encounter with a violent animal, celebrity paedophile or angry artist, or the at present unlikely trip to somewhere spectacular, life continues for most on its not always so merry way.