Crashing gears

There’s a pal of mine whom I won’t see ever again. He’s sick you see, very sick and said he doesn’t want visitors. He’s in the hospice now and he’ll be cold in his coffin when we meet again. This is very real and very present, right here with me now. My Da, like my friend, is near eighty and has been sick as well and naturally enough he became worried and depressed. ” An ulcer possibly”, he was told by which stage he’d stopped coming up to the pub, a two pint of Guinness habit too rich and heavy for his sick stomach. He got the all-clear recently, his form picked up immediately and he went up to his local last Friday to meet the lads. Spoke briefly with him Saturday, and he said that he “wouldn’t be running back to the pub any time soon”, cause he’d felt like death later that night. So life goes on and we wait above in the pub for news of our friend and hope that my Da’s stomach gets a little stronger for his two pint habit. 

Betwixt and between the Da and the kids, it’s a fragile middle-age for me. Now forty eight, not sleeping or feeling great anymore and trying not to spend too much time ruminating and contemplating. It’s very much a funny old rock and roll world keeping the existential creepy crawlies away. There’s a girl at work with me, doing the same work as me, getting married this week. She’s a bit of guilty lash but much nearer Daughter Darla’s age then mine, and straight away the sound of the crashing gears of the conveyer belt, grinding slowly and relentlessly. 

Worked in a high rise flour mill once, where they had a central vertical elevator going to the 6th floor where it flipped over at the ceiling top and started back down. The perpetually moving belt was used to shift sacks of flour between the floors. Hard men were able to step on and off gracefully, avoiding the stairs, but there was a big gap between the thing and the floor so you needed to be nifty and have your shit together to get on and particularly off the thing. Trying to impress, I hopped on at the earliest opportunity and immediately felt the adrenaline rush, ceiling becoming floor as you travelled upwards. 3rd floor was mine but I missed it, the huge gap. No panic said I, get off at the next floor and come back down the other side, missed again. I fell off the thing (dived backwards) near the top ceiling, and am reminded of that elevator ride every day on the journey, except this time I can’t get off.

Beer doesn’t help, well not strictly true, too much beer doesn’t help and this morning, after a weekend when Limerick near smothered in the sunshine and the scumbags smiled, well too much beer isn’t helping. Oh it’s just a little hangover, like you get sometimes; when you shouldn’t makes things any more difficult then they are and wait until tomorrow for significance. Just a little hangover, when the food looks different on the plate and your hands look mad and you walk into things and stub your toe. It’s nearly home time and the evening chores beckon. An evening abstinence rears its penitent head, but we’ll go to the pub later when the care is in the scratcher.

2 responses to “Crashing gears

  1. When did you work in a flour mill!

  2. Ta Ger.

    Summer 1977, the same summer that Marc Bolan died, for about a month.

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