Saturday, June 06, 2009
Me and the world and other people's words
What is it about other writers' readings that gets me throwing myself about the place?
See, I'm seeing a pattern here. Last month on my way to Ailsa Cox's launch in Liverpool I went over very painfully on my ankle. Last summer, the night of Katy Evans-Bush's launch in London, I just about concussed myself coming out of the toilets in a restaurant beforehand by not seeing a semi-concealed step in time. And on Wednesday evening of this week, I was leaving Central Library in Manchester after a great reading by John Baker from his new novel Winged with Death (picture above, and see his book tour on this blog), and I went headlong on St Peter's Square over one of those kerbs I've always thought were lethal, the ones that rise up at an angle from nothing in the middle of a walkway, and that you just don't know are there if you happen to be looking the wrong way as I was, checking that there were no trams coming. So here I am with my foot up, my ankle swollen like a ball and a tubigrip bandage from toe to knee, a bruised shoulder and a bruised hip, and an afternoon in Wythenshawe A&E to add to my store of material and my sense that no one cares about anything or anyone else now that the recession is on us - ie I had to wait in a queue of fainting and injured people, all of us standing, while the automatic doors kept closing on us, to be treated like an object by a triage nurse who seemed never to have learnt about eye contact, and finally, after about three quarters of an hour, to get to book in, or rather to stand at the booking-in desk while two clerks discussed the silver bracelet of one of them for at least three minutes, after which I had to wait another five minutes while the one on duty logged into the computer, because it turned out they had just changed shifts. And then the usual waits, which of course you accept because there are other patients in need of more urgent treatment, but then finally when I got to the x-ray department and turned up at the counter with my card I had to wait another three minutes while the receptionist there finished her conversation about their shifts with another staff member already standing at the desk.
You know, I didn't feel very looked after. To be honest, I felt all weepy, and when the taxi driver taking me home missed my turning and started heading off into town, I wanted to burst out crying, but when he said he'd been lost in a world of his own I'm glad to say I felt like laughing instead.
Hm. Last year, when they saved John's life I thought the NHS was marvellous, and I guess they are in an emergency, and I suppose that's what counts, but I had to keep reminding myself of that on Thursday afternoon.
And this thing of other people's readings... It's as if the power of their words sends me out of touch with the physical world...