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Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Rocking Horse Syndrome

Sometimes I wonder whether I've lost this blog between the purpose of what it was for and what it is now. Until it finds its way I guess it will stay hidden in cyberdom for some time to come.

And yet of all the options, would I like it to become a journal? A place where thoughts can leak out?

I used to keep journals. The last proper one was in a big red book in 1994. I had just moved away from Northampton and had moved to Coventry.

In the English language when you "send someone to Coventry" that's slang for ignoring them. This shows how much the City is held in estimation in the nation's psyche. Coventry was, and I guess still is, a dump. But I had warmed to it.

I had rented a house with my friend Sheleigh. I have some good memories and some bad. But the good ones are the ones that have stuck in mind, and that is what counts.

Sheleigh and I would write in that big ol' red book. She never really wanted to, but I guess she didn't mind humouring me. She preferred to listen to the day's accounts written by me, while smoking some pot obtained from our hippie next-door neighbours. But the memories of Sheleigh and I decorating the house, our night trips and endless rendition of "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone", our jokes and friendship are the things I remember the most.

On our first night in Coventry, Sheleigh and I, young and so beautifully foolish with all the courage taking your first steps of independence gives you, talked about our dreams. I, the ever bull-shitter, began to talk about a syndrome I had declared to have discovered: "The Rocking Horse Syndrome".

"People," I had declared dramatically, "all run about here and there thinking they are moving forward, but all they - all WE - are really doing is running on the spot going nowhere. If we just stopped to think about it, unless we take inroads from the inside we never really go anywhere - but life is a rocking horse and we its riding children, tricking us in our naivety to believe that we are galloping onward. I had thought that moving would have changed me."

And Sheleigh had snorted at me bringing me off from my diatribe, saying, "Give it some time, we've only just moved in."

And looking back now, in a way I was both right and wrong. In the end when our lives come full circle maybe we will realise that in the grand scale of things we haven't moved further than a grain of sand on the beach trying to make the sea, but nevertheless life is not a rocking horse. I am no longer that boy in Coventry.

We really do not appreciate the moments we live in until they are gone. This is another one of those jokes played on us by life. Like the one where you are just getting used to living and you have to go and die all of a sudden, this is another piss-take. You never really appreciate something until you experience its passing.

Whenever I remember back to my great childhood, it will always be with a sense of sadness. Not for its going, not because I would have done anything differently, but merely because I didn't show it the full appreciation it deserved.

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