Like isolated John, up there in Wales, I too have been feeling a bit lack-lustre recently. I have been blaming it on the weather, which has been set to winter mode since the premature close of autumn last year, sometime in mid-november.
I think the weather - which today is being blown across Britain by a 30 mph wind up it's arse - has also been a contributory factor in my back problem (getting much better, thank you), and that problem itself has been a major contributory factor in the way I have been dealing with idiots, or people who I have been unjustly treating as such, due to back pain. I have rediscovered that the absolute best, short-term remedy for back pain is alcohol, and I have been self-medicating in my local pub every evening before I go home and continue the treatment with a few glasses of wine over dinner.
Booze certainly relaxes you, and muscle-spasms all but stop after a few drinks, but it also loosens inhibitions, which can have negative as well as positive effects. We all know the positive ones when using it to soften up a female dinner-guest prior to jumping her (sorry ladies, but I thought I would just come right out and say it), but I have reached the age now where such opportunities are few and far between, so instead I end up softening myself up and making inappropriate suggestions to bar-personnel who are young enough to be my grand-children.
Pubs are not only frequented by idiots, but they are also the favoured haunt of violent men. It goes with the territory. Back-pain tends to make the average male feel extremely vulnerable to physical attack, and as we all know, the best form of defence is offense. My technique in dealing with tricky situations like these is to drink as much as possible, choose the most violent-looking person in the room, then be as offensive toward him as sobriety will allow. So far, this has worked, but I think that my age has saved me in later years. I like to think that I exude an air of indisputable authority when I am shouting foul language in a slurred voice at night-club bouncers, but it could be the case that my victim feels a sort of disgusted pity for me, and cannot even bring himself to touch me, let alone hit me.
So there we have it - I have spent the last week or so sitting around in my local, occasionally letting out an involuntary scream of pain as I limp to the lavatory, and leaving the pub manager wondering whether he should bar me for sexually harassing the staff, being unacceptably rude to other customers, or both.
I have one very real fear which is attached to getting extremely old (not that I will ever become so if I carry on behaving like this), and that is losing my inhibitions. Inhibitions - I have come to understand - serve a very valuable purpose in society, and one loses them at one's own peril.
I really don't want to become one of those old men who roll their trousers up to their knees in public parks, swear at children and young women or ask total strangers for oral sex. That would be just so undignified - but would I care? It's the 'not caring' bit that is the most scary to me as I sit here, staring through an open door which leads to a short - if untrammelled - future life on the other side.