Caroline told me about ‘The Fear’ this weekend. I knew about the fear but just hadn’t got around to creating a name for it. Many have written about hangovers in their 20’s (shake ’em off with a coffee and a run) or 30’s (shake ’em off with hair of the dog), but in the 40’s there’s a new phenomenon. You regret the Jaegerbombs of course but that’s simple cause and effect. You can deal with that because that is a tangible known entity. You drank poison, you feel bad when your body reacts to it. Wait it out and the liver does it’s very clever metabolising thing and in a couple of days it passes and you’re good to go. But The Fear is the intangible. The Fear is the bit you have no control over. Because The Fear is the nagging feeling you’ve said something to someone but you can’t remember what it might be. Over 40’s drunkeness has that added component: memory loss. So for example I was out at a big party on Saturday and I remember everything right up until a plate of pork arrived and then I remember walking home carrying Mrs G’s shoes at 3.30am. There’s an unaccounted gap of about 5 hours where I recall fleeting images of people and sounds but not one single conversation.
The Fear lasts until Wednesday. It’s Wednesday because it’s acknowledged by those who live through The Fear that is sufficient time for the the phone to have rung with an irate aquantaince who frankly cant believe how crass you are or for news to have traveled back via Facebook or the wifes network that some terrible truth has been told or some awful insult made. The coast is essentially clear after 4 days and you can either have said nothing that’s going to cause someone to get a divorce or you didn’t say anything at all and as you suspected you spend the whole night with your jaw slack trying to control your eyes.
It’s Tuesday morning as I write. Two more days of The Fear.
Another breakup. This time it was an old school friend who rolled back into town. Her husband had a fling with someone he met on a conference. I’m always baffled by men who feel the need to admit their infidelities whilst at conferences. On the scale of infidelity the fling at conference is low down in the foothills (falling in love and eloping with your wife’s sister being the summit). I know from my perspective it wouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker, but it would dent things irretrievably, so it’s something I would rather not know about. So he blurted it out. They decided to work through it, give it a go. Decided to work on their relationship. The sound of death. Once a marriage is being worked on it’s finished.
These break ups are becoming more and more frequent. The hand grenade rolled under the family unit. Everyone moves into smaller houses. Two decades of equity is split and devoured by lawyers and then the second tier bottom feeders get to work. The estate agents, the solicitors all chipping away so everyone walks away poor.
But there’s no new ground here. We all know this story. The new game is guessing who’s next. The friend who loses weight and starts wearing wacky waistcoats. The former housewife getting a new executive job now that the kids are in full time education who travels a lot. The guy you know who is still very keen on strip clubs. The one who always gets blind drunk on those girls weekends away and dances too closely with the 25 year olds. The signs are everywhere. Who’s going to be next to crack?
It’s all bullshit of course. We’re all on a personal journey, finding our way, trying things out. There is only really one fire way to determine if a couple is solid and it sits by the Aga waiting for them to come home. Dogs rarely get mentioned in custody battles because people with dogs don’t get divorced.
theories on the cusp of middle age.
OK people, we’re now 17 days behind schedule. The good news is that the book is back from the editor (Mrs G) and subject to a few changes it is almost ready for upload.
The next step was to design a cover. Now I was going to get one of my lovely design friends to have a look at this for me but in the spirit of the experiment I decided to have a crack myself. This is after all, “self” publishing. But not being particularly confident with these things (I designed it using word!) I would quite like your opinion on it. So please cast your anonymous vote below.