It all flows from one decision – to drink more water through the evening than I've been doing. I think this is good for my stomach and kidneys apart from anything else, like skin. With the concoctions I am subjected to, I figure the more diluted they are, within reason, the easier it all is on my internal organs.
Inevitably, it means that I wake earlier, because it's not good for the bladder to retain a cocktail of chemical residue for any longer than I can help. It's like what's brewing in the witches' pot in MacBeth. Besides, my stomach has a dull persistent pain when I waken in the morning, and activity eases that, so it's a 6 am trip to the bathroom for me.
I have to be careful, because I may not be fully alert, and my legs may not function well. On the right side, there's not much synchronicity between joints – hip, knee and ankle. This is danger time. Concentrate.
It's cold, so my right arm in various positions has a bad tremor. All I have to do to stop it is to change that position, or hold the arm with the other hand, and it ceases immediately, but the tremor soon comes back.
I bathe my hands and face, left-handed, because the right won't cooperate. Trying to make a two-handed cup for water fails, because I can never get it to my face without losing it. It's hayfever season, and washing face and eyes thoroughly does much to keep sneezing at bay.
Now, with this activity, I'm fully awake. I could go straight back to bed, but I don't. I do the exercises that I practise every morning for balance, muscle tone and strength. I always do them in lots of twenty.
But each morning I am noticing one sad thing. All these exercises are getting harder and harder to complete. Doing them regularly should make them easier, and for a while there it was, but something vital is being lost each day.
This morning on the most difficult exercise, I made it to nineteen, but it was impossible to do the final one. The brain was giving the order, but the biceps and triceps weren't listening. If it all stops dead, there's nothing you can do about it.
I completed the rest of my routine, but felt sad. I've never not made it to twenty before.
My body after exercise is always very weak, and I can only just crawl back into bed. I get out the Kindle, and start to read. It's wi-fi, so I can read the ABC News headlines and see what miseries humanity has managed to inflict upon itself in the past few hours. There's plenty to choose from.
If I felt like it, I could read the New York Times or practically any other newspaper, but this morning I didn't. I read what's static on the Kindle – what I've chosen to put on there. A long article I've had for a day or two by an absconder from that dreadful cult in the USA. You know the one. It litigates the pants off anyone who criticises it. Evil, evil. I finished reading the script for Meet Joe Black and now I want to see the movie. I read some very funny stories from P G Wodehouse – A Wodehouse Miscellany. It's free – you should get it – or just dip into it online. But not till you've finished this, OK?
THE SECRET PLEASURES OF REGINALD
I found Reggie in the club one Saturday afternoon. He was reclining in a long chair, motionless, his eyes fixed glassily on the ceiling. He frowned a little when I spoke. "You don't seem to be doing anything," I said.
"It's not what I'm doing, it's what I am not doing that matters."
It sounded like an epigram, but epigrams are so little associated with Reggie that I ventured to ask what he meant.
He sighed. "Ah well," he said. "I suppose the sooner I tell you, the sooner you'll go. Do you know Bodfish?"
And so the charming story goes on.
Then I was tired again, although it was 8 AM. My body was relaxed after the morning's ablutions and exercise, and I felt cheered after the exercise failure by the ingenuity of what Wodehouse's mate Reggie was not doing. I turned on my side, glad my head and stomach felt fine, and drifted off....
It was after 9 am. I felt deliciously warm and relaxed, and for this brief time it was as I had felt nearly every day that I woke up in more than twenty-two thousand mornings of my life.
Oh God, if you haven't felt normal for nigh on a thousand days, you don't know how good a sensation it is.
I didn't want to get up, but it was important for me to pop pills, and that meant eating breakfast. I had no choice. But I did lie there for another ten minutes of perfect, perfect luxury. The enchanting illusion of blissful normalcy.
11:07 AM. That's not bad going. By the time I correct this and post it, another hour at least will have disappeared from my life.
But there's one thing I'm going to do in a few minutes. I'm going to do that one last freakin exercise – no. 20 out of 20. No, not just by itself; that's cheating. The whole bang lot. Twenty.
You reckon I'm joking? You don't know me all that well, do you?