I am returned unto you, good as new. I got a message from Doug at Blogger Support who suggested I had fallen victim to a minor bug and said I should use the 'pick new' link and change the template. And I did and here we all are, soon to forget the trauma.
Today is not my birthday but it is to be my birthday party, which I am co-hosting with my friend Peter (safety in numbers). He is nine days younger than me so he is technically not yet 40; when I say technically, I mean: he is not yet 40. But he has kindly condescended to still associate with me in the farce that we are of an age. I turned 40 on Wednesday and felt very little about it. I still look younger than 40 (you know, I look about 38) and though I admit this might be the beginning of a horrible remainder-of-life spinning little homilies, I even thought up a way of explaining to people half my age (i.e. my students, some of Mia's friends) what it is like to be 40: 'Imagine being twenty and then waking up one morning and you're 40. That's what it's like'. I found it very slightly annoying, when my grandmother said in her 80s that she didn't feel any different (mentally, she was physically very delapidated and she knew it) from when she was 20, and I would think 'but what about the things that have gone on around you, all the experiences, all the maturity and wisdom, etc'. But now I suppose I get a very, very slight inkling of how it might be possible to feel that you remain essentially unchanged despite everything you've seen and done. And that is even more annoying. As I said to some of my students last Wednesday, when I was 20 I wished everyone 40 or over would just crawl into their graves and wait to be buried. (When I told Mia this she said she didn't feel that way about 40 year olds when she was 20. I am sure she did have a much more mature attitude. I put mine down, in part, to being so involved in music etc and the punk rock aesthetic and feeling somewhat oppressed by old people's culture.) That said, I remember when I first met Mia, she was 23 and I was 31, and she was of the opinion that 31 was a somewhat amazing age to have reached. Which is not to say she thought I should therefore top myself.
Anyway, so the party, I am intrigued as to how it will turn out. On the one hand I feel an incredible obligation, because I have asked all kinds of people to the same place, and have really no idea what'll happen, of course, but particularly in this case because the only connection many of these people have with each other is me (or Peter, who I think has invited even more people! That might be a good thing, because people won't expect to have some connection with each other necessarily). How can I juggle it all? It feels like a terrible sitcom where someone has to be doing two things in two rooms at once, and keeping on making excuses to go from one place to another. Except it will be 50 things at once and all in the same room. But on the other hand I just have to cast off this stupid white man's burden attitude to other people's social relations. People know how to look after themselves socially (I tell myself). If they don't, then my lousy efforts to help won't get anyone anywhere anyway. Phew, I am relieved. The party is to be held at a Brunswick hotel which I must say I have issues with but it will probably be a pretty good venue all told. Cautiously optimistic.
We have taken to letting the dogs in in the morning and in the evening for sleeping time, which they are doing now as I write this. Millie is of course an indoor dog through and through and considers this long overdue restitution to her injured dignity at being relegated to the back step ever since Charlie arrived on the scene. Charlie has usually had the attitude that being let into the house is like being let into a china shop and being told to explore her inner bull. But with a beagle's nose. And so it's all been about sniffing everything everywhere, whatever she knocks over and pulls apart. There are two baskets in the living room, one of which Charlie likes so much I think she just wants to consume it. She has bitten quite a bit off the edges. She has ripped up the pillow that's in it for cushion purposes. However that said she has settled down quite impressively to something reminiscent of respect for the requirements/obligations of an indoor dog life, and after about 20 minutes or so of rampant Charlie behaviour she usually goes into that general beagle power-sleeping, which is not only like a power nap (deep sleep in seconds) but also establishing oneself as a powerful presence via sleeping. I am going to put them outside in a minute however as I want to go up to Broady plaza and, firstly, buy some breakfast provisions at Bi-Lo, and secondly get a money order from the bank for 12 euros for a Skaldowie single I stupidly bid for on e-bay a few weeks ago. Not that I don't love Skaldowie and their impressive psychedelic folk-rock that no doubt rocked Poland to its otherwise staid foundations in the 1960s, but I promised myself and everyone around me that I would stop buying crap off e-bay and then I went into a trance and did it again. I stopped myself almost immediately at a tiny little bid on this single, but no-one else wanted it after that, so... NO MORE, that was something a 39-year-old might do but not a responsible homeowner in his 40s.
By the way I say that being 40 means nothing to me but I did do a band flyer last night of someone trapped alive in their coffin. I'll have to think that one through.