Singlespeed bikes, Japan, getting out of Streatham, trying not to bang on about multiple sclerosis

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Despair? Maybe later, kids

Oral steroids don't seem to have delivered the euphoria I had from the IV version, and they haven't fixed my eyesight yet either, though it may be slightly better than it was at the start of the week. But unlike a lot of other people dealing with this or similar debilitating illnesses, I have the good fortune to work for an organisation of committed do-gooders, who walk the walk as well as talking the talk. Right up to senior management they're eager to have me back on board, and to do everything possible to make my life easy. It would be easy to kid myself that my talents are unique, that no one else can really do the job I do (and to be honest I tend to think that way when I read some of the stuff my colleagues let through the net) but that's the sort of conceited bastard I am; it's the flip side of deep-seated insecurity.)

One of the drawbacks of physical incapacity is that you don't get to do anything worth writing about. Tales of decrepitude don't make for jolly reading, even when you're writing them yourself. And in a sort of Keynesian economy, I'm providing both the words and the reader. Why use two people when one will do?

The photo, taken while we were in Fukuoka in November, shows Honoka, a three-year-old thug, daughter of Sachiko's friend Kazuko. Hono-chan, who regularly beats on her older brother Airu (An-kun) is making cute in this picture, dressed as some kind of French maid. But she's there to illustrate the fact that I don't want any children of my own, and Sachiko doesn't either, which is convenient. I guess I'm afraid that if I had children I'd probably screw them up even worse than my father did me and my brothers. He was a high-powered child psychiatrist, so you'd think he'd have hit the ground running, but if you saw the way the three of us have turned out you'd realise your mistake. And the knowledge that he was trying to do the very best he could, and his continuing vast generosity, make my ungratefulness even more ridiculous than it is anyway. But if you want to be your own person, to be free, it's not actually reassuring to know that if things ever get bad, he'll try to rescue me. Hell, when I got stuck in Cambodia in the civil war back in June '97, I managed to call home from Bert's Books in Phnom Penh, on the last international line that was still open, to say that I was fine, no cause for concern, the road to Saigon would be secured in a few days and then I'd get out. I'd assumed that these reassurances had hit the spot, and they were all true, but I found out about a year after I got back to the UK that my father's immediate reaction was to try to get on a plane to Cambodia to get me out. Thankfully he was held up by the fact that he didn't have a passport, and also by the suspension of all flights to Cambodia. I kind of like the idea of a senior citizen coming to extract me from a very minor civil war.


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