Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Kissed by the axe

Unfit for work this week, I've been comparing the nuances between co-codamol and trammadol for a spasmodic symphony of pain from a cricked neck. Co-codamol seems to ease the spasms, it also makes me queasy and dopey. Trammadol, aka tremmadol, relegates the pain to something of an irritation, whilst hitting me with the buzz of a dozen double espresso's.

Back at the ranch, it seems the rumoured axe has manifested and culled the herd.

First they came for the poor performers,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a poor performer.

Then they came for the long of tooth,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't long of tooth.

Then they came for the weak and sickly,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't weak and sickly.

Then they came for me,
    now just another weak and sickly, long of tooth, poor performer.


Someone up top is divorced from the ugly reality of a demoralised workforce, brutalised by repeated deep cuts, haunted by survivor's guilt.

Now I must focus on uncricking my neck, so it can be kissed by the axe come Monday.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Premonition of incipient nostalgia

I'm in the calm at the centre of the storm. I've been badly buffeted by the storm's arrival, and there will be more distress before it's over, but just now I'm enjoying the respite.

Ordinarily I'm so tired, caught up in the drudgery of working and commuting, that I fail to raise my head and take in the scenery.

Today, my mind is settled, and I'm at peace. In this oasis all things seem to sparkle with intense vibrancy under the solstice sun. A premonition of incipient nostalgia perhaps.

This brief moment in time feels like a gift. One last chance to value what I have before it becomes what I had.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Recall furiously failing

Fallibility of memory, the curse of middle age, is upon me. A thought will occur to me, causing me to rise and walk into another room to get something, but by the time I reach my destination my mind is blank. Now what was it I came here to do? I’ll look vaguely around until my eye happens on some chore waiting to be done, which I assume is what I came to do. Leaving the room, I look back, with that nagging feeling of something forgotten. The moment I sit back down, it hits me, the memory of what I’d intended to collect. So I rise again, sometimes with the same result. On the bright side, it gets the chores done, and since there usually is a flight of stairs to traverse I get some exercise too.

When we say we can’t remember, we really mean we can’t recall. The memory is undoubtedly resting comfortably somewhere deep within our noodle, barring brain injury and neurological issues.

I have trouble with the passwords I need to remember to access systems at work. Often they are so fiendishly complex they defy mnemonics and can only be remembered as a movement or pattern across the keyboard. I’ll sit, fingers poised, mind blank, recall furiously failing, then a shiver will pass through me, leaving the desired memory in its wake. I imagine somewhere a gland has released a squirt of neurochemicals to reconfigure the neural pathways to allow the memory to rise to my conscious mind, the excess drugs flooding the hypothalamus causing me to shiver. If only I could do that on demand.

The flip-side of failing recall is the unprompted recollection, the memory that surges from nowhere. While my dad and I circumnavigated the lake at Roundhay Park this morning, he explained how the sudden recall of a childhood rhyme had gotten him thinking about memory:

Here’s the church,
And here’s the steeple,
Open the door,
And here’s the people

While he remembered the rhyme he couldn’t recall the hand movements, but by the time we spoke he had rectified that with a little help from google and youtube. What left him puzzled was the randomness of this memory surfacing. Like a prime number divisible only by one and itself, the memory had only been recalled this one time since it was formed many years ago.

How many memories do we have laying dormant, to be triggered to recollection just once?