It is often enough said in the context of Parkinson’s that our past is gone, our future uncertain and therefore the only remaining reality upon which to cling is the present. We live for the moment, squeezing joy out of that toothpaste of misery.
That certainly applies to me. My friends and family often accuse me of wilful impulsivity. Accuse is perhaps too strong a word. But there is no doubt that my predilection for unusual and unexpected actions does sometimes wrongfoot them, leaving them wondering why and how. Take this morning for instance.
Actually let’s back up a bit to put everything in context. The pub in which I commonly imbibe, The Broken Arms, had a terrible week with barmaids falling like the casualties at Passchendaele. One by one they succumbed until, by Sunday, even Lady Eleanor and Amazing Grace had to concede defeat. This is not normally amongst my more successful or appropriate expressions to use with the fairer sex but it was the case that they “looked like death warmed up”. I suspect I’m no longer on either of their Christmas card lists because of this inappropriate transgression.
Eventually, more or less anyone who could pull a pint found themselves behind the bar. It was pretty much as I would imagine a World War I trench to be. Just step over the bodies. That sort of thing.
First thing Monday morning, I knew something was not right. A definite tickle at the back of the throat, my cheeks pink and my temperature rising sharply. By lunchtime, my temperature was now one of the reactor cores at Chernobyl, and my cheeks as red and inflamed as a baboon’s arse. Not pretty. I retired to bed.
Fortunately this particular bug, whatever the little blighter was but Covid it wasn’t, was one of those 48-hour types. I felt like death warmed up. My mouth and throat looked like one of the Lascaux cave paintings, only messier. Leaving aside the associated nausea and flatulence (I may have to destroy the mattress), the entire episode passed through my system like Hurricane Ian.
By this morning, the storm had passed and apart from a slight feeling of weakness and a sense that I had not really kept enough fluids down on the previous few days I felt fine. I woke early (around 4:30 AM as I recall), with an overwhelming and inexplicable hunger for croissants.
Under normal circumstances the ensuing chain of events would go something like this: awaken, yawn several times, be vaguely aware of pastry in some form, turn over and go back to sleep.
Occasionally a variant of this along the following lines might occur: awaken, a bit of yawning as before, stretch, extract myself from bedclothes and attempt to stand vertically, gingerly make my way downstairs, dazzled every few seconds by the newly installed motion sensitive lights. Find some of last night’s pasta on the side in the kitchen. Eat it, at the same time wondering why it tastes better now than it did when served six hours earlier. Continue to ponder this weighty matter as I head back upstairs and attempts to go back to sleep.
You will however notice that both of these activities involve waking up and going back to bed. None of them involve getting dressed, picking up money, car keys, a four pack of Red Bull and a McDonald’s sausage and egg muffin, and heading up to Maidstone to join the M20 to Folkestone, then the Channel Tunnel and France.
This one did.
And had it not been for my failure to pick up my passport would have ended even further from home. After a very brief flirtation with the idea of trying to see if my credit card served as a sufficient ID to get into France (it probably would have done pre-Brexit), I pulled over into a layby, switched off the engine and fell asleep. Couple of hours later and I was back at home, in bed and wondering if I had dreamt it.
The fast food wrapper and half drunk Red Bull proved otherwise. I have always been impulsive even before Parkinson’s but this was Royal impulsivity in velvet robes and ermine, encrusted with precious stones.
I spoke to Shel about it. She knows me better than practically anybody outside my family. I don’t think even she couldn’t quite believe it.
“You know” she said “you can get croissants in Britain”.