Friday, February 8, 2013

Younger / Elder

The first night of Carnival brought snow flurries.

…and an American, Nave from Las Vegas.  He was a cordon bleu chef and a blue water sailor, confident and condescending, an aspirational figure who didn’t quite live up to the dream.  He’s the sort of 28-year old who used to trouble me at 24.   They seemed to bounce between comfortable postings and conjugal women effortlessly, where I always needed to be a striver.  Maybe I was trying too hard?  Why not give up the maths and sciences and learn to cook and tie knots.  Maybe that was the real secret of life?

A lifetime later, I can smile and credit his panache without falling for his charms.  I’ve seen them come and go; starting with John Catoline on the Experiment and trending through this.  As a result,I know exactly where he’s heading.  And I’m happy with my life, proud of my family, confident in my aspirations.

Although a four-month’s blue-water sail is still tempting…

The first night of Carnivale brought music.

…and friends in trouble. There is an epidemic of prostate cancer alerts among my peers.  It’ a difficult condition – no way to really check to see if you have it.  They just go in to see the doctor about some non-specific symptom and within days they are in surgery and radiation therapy.  And we sit down over coffee and talk about how their dreams now focus on months, not years, and how the next test result due next Monday, will dictate the terms of the coming year.

It’s unnerving: life can change so quickly, so unexpectedly.  As an expat I always feel especially vulnerable to a sudden health crisis, dependent on work and travel for keeping a visa and paying the bills.

What if…?  How could I prepare?  How would I carry on?

Seriously, I couldn’t.  I sympathize and support them; I feel the cold wind on my back.

The first night of Carnival brought reflection amidst the revelry. 

From the first night, onwards, we all wear our masks.

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