I have an amazing body. Before you reach for the absinthe whilst directing your computer to another site, I need to explain further. I’ve lived in this body for quite a while now, and while the mind is still pretty much identical to the one I was operating back in 1974, the body, like the Volvo, is prone to occasional erratic behaviour over which I have little control, and often little clue as to its origin. The body is amazing in that it does amazing things which I can’t explain, along with all the mundane things which, with the aid of Google, I can. Amazing thing number one is its propensity to stop watches. I’ve tried and tried with all manner of corporeal timepieces over the years, but clockwork, electric or solar, wrist or pocket, the longest one has lasted has been seven months. One of the drawers in the desk in the shed bears testament to this- I feel so guilty about sentencing wristwatches to their premature deaths that I cannot bring myself to throw them away once the inevitable last tock has sounded. They lie in there, like a strange bejewelled miniature terracotta army, waiting to be taken to watchhalla or wherever.Perhaps one day I’ll organise a funeral for them, and push them all out onto the big lake over at Rickmansworth in a burning shoebox whilst Her Indoors stands at the bank in a horned helmet and ponytails with the Ghetto Blaster blaring out the main theme from “The Vikings”. Perhaps not, though.
Back in the real world, my personal Timex death-ray forcefield has led to an unusual domestic upshot. My entire ability to earn money stands or falls on my ability to turn up on time, which in turn depends on my ability get behind the wheel of the Volvo on time in its private hangar-based maintenance facility, or lean-to. As I am quite a big fan of lying down and snoring, and am unable to wear a watch, I need a clock in every room. It’s a good job that Her Indoors doesn’t mind a clock or two about the place. One of the more important items in the Gables’ temporal inventory is a small silver plastic Marks & Sparks £4.99 travel alarm clock which sits atop the thunderbox in the main bathroom, and is indispensable to The Modern Gentleman in the all important art of timing the pre-leaving for work dip. Without it, one of my re-enactments of the Battle Of The River Plate involving the Airfix Graf Spee and mountains of Radox bubbles could overrun with disastrous effects on my employability.
It was in contemplation of this little clock this morning that I became aware in a focused way about Amazing Thing Number Two. As alluded to earlier, the body in which I currently reside is becoming, like the Volvo, a little clanky with age and is beginning to require nursing round tight corners etc etc. One of the things it does, and I know I’m not alone in having my body behave is such a treacherous manner, is to wake up all on its own in the night and inform me that it needs to, er, regulate its fluid levels. Luckily, thus far it has always warned me before the actual regulation has occurred, but more or less every night I find myself in the bathroom at some ungodly hour addressing the thunderbox, and ipso facto the small chronometer situated thereon. Amazing thing number two is that I’ve recently noticed that my body only does this when the big hand is on the twelve. Yes, for some reason my whole micturation infrastructure is geared to only bother me with its qualms on the hour. I think this is quite incredible. There I am, lurching around the house with one eye open, and half the brain still immersed in the dream where I am talking to a bus with legs, one of which is Jim Reeves, while the other half is navigating patchily down the upstairs hall, and accurate to a couple of minutes, something within my system is able to keep time to a standard which would I’m sure at least make NASA sit up and take notice. Equally baffling is why it should choose to do this- as far as I can tell, my body is organic, so why does it structure its activities so rigidly to the ticking of the privy clock? Thinking it all through, the final irony is that if I could consciously be in touch with my inbuilt chronometer, I could do without all those bloody clocks.
More involuntary motor neurone benefits occurred last week. Last year, Her Indoors and I won a charity raffle. The prizes on offer were a weekend away in a nobby country house hotel near Cheltenham, or two tickets and backstage passes to the One Direction gig at the O2. As you can easily understand, we were galled to be pipped to the post for the gig tickets, and had to put up with a 48 hour pass in the five star luxury bolt hole in the Cotswolds. Part of the deal was an afternoon out clay pigeon shooting. As the diary was emptier than Bob Cratchit’s wallet after tax, we decided to cash in our voucher last week.
It was brilliant- sunshine,Her indoors and guns. I was dreading it a bit, as I have always been a dead loss at any kind of sport let alone one which has as its centrepiece the use of lethal weapons. Possessing as I do the natural co-ordination of a millipede who is drunk for the first time, I must have been a river of disappointment as a toddler to my extremely sporty dad. Now, at last at the age of forty eight and three quarters, I have found a sport I can do. It turns out that I am a bit of a natural at blasting ceramic frisbee from the sky, and scored a hit rate of 85%, so maybe that’s three amazing things my body does without involving me.
Here’s a picture of us (me and the body) doing it-that’s us with our back to the camera with the gun. I know it looks like the other chap is begging us to stop but in fact he was the instructor, helping us with our posture for maximum airborne ceramic destruction. I honestly didn’t really have a clue what I was doing, it was as if I was sat in an observation lounge somewhere in the top of my skull whilst the body was taking care of business all on it own the whole time.
So that’s the story of my amazing body. Without really bothering me with the details it is able to tell the time with wee in the night and shoot straight whilst rendering neutral all small mechanical devices in the immediate vicinity. Perhaps in a former life I was a missile guidance system. Funny old world.