Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Reveries during my quotidian walk

This morning for a change I went on my usual walk through Chinatown and up Harris Street. On the approaches to Darling Harbour the crowd-control fences had been put up leaving gaps so people could pass through. On the evening of 31 December those gaps will be closed off to limit the number of people who can go onto the Pyrmont Bridge and into the pedestrian area of Darling Harbour.

I saw a fat middle-aged man standing by the wayside and smoking, further down, past the Western Distributor, and he made me think of the way we fetishise longevity, as if living a long life were always the best thing. Having seem mum in her last five years of life I tend to wonder, myself. But the medical ethos means to strive to preserve life at all costs, so the medical profession goes all gung-ho about longevity, and getting people to live healthy lifestyles regardless of the cost emotionally.

The death of Carrie Fisher, and even more the death of George Michael, puts paid somewhat to those qualms. Who wants to live forever if it means going without the substances that we need to get through every day. I intend to read Fisher's memoir, in which she talks about self medication to deal with her mental illness. I've been living with mental illness for 17 years now, and I'm still struggling with the demons associated with it. It doesn't really help to know that you can "get help" because those people are just going to try to get you to stop the self-medication, which is not what I want. Why should I do something that I don't want to do just so that I can live 15 years longer?

So here's to George Michael, dead at 53. He was born in the year after me. By the time he came around musically however I was in my 20s, and well past the peak music-listening years, so he never had that much influence on me. And anyway I'm not gay. I think. Some people become gay in their later life. Hmm.

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