Getting better

I had a beard for so long. “It’s quicker to shave it than to grow it,” I said. I look completely different clean shaven. I look much older with the beard. I don’t miss it really. Until my agent needs me to have one…


I had to turn down a meeting because they wanted me hairy. It was only a money meeting but still. Big fat shiny gold coins. But just coins. Probably not worth hankering after the hair for coins. I like myself shorn, and its booking the jobs.

I’ve been taking some downtime the last few days. I’ve had some sort of throat illness for over a week. Lots of coughing. Lost my voice mostly for a day or two. Need for sleep. I haven’t been telegraphing it here as there’s been other stuff on my mind, but I’m relieved as it seems to be retreating now. Last time it was six weeks coughing, mostly only at night. Daytimes and acting I just sounded sexy. As soon as I was horizontal I started drowning.

My bronchial bits are unreliable. Everything shut down in that department when I was twelve. I lost a year of school to double pneumonia with lung collapse and buckets of phlegm. I learnt to get good use out of the bits of my lungs that worked, so now they’re pretty robust. I also had to get used to the sound and feel of hacking my guts up, and to stop caring if I had to make a horrendous noise.

As a result I can hold my breath longer than you can. That’s one of my takeaways. Obsessive breath training for years and a fine set of lungs. I can make myself heard in a storm every day for months.

But there’s damage in the engine room. If a bug gets in there, the pathways are well established for it. We learn our weaknesses as we learn our strengths, and my big voice is because I need to flex those muscles to keep it healthy.

Mel and I have cleaned every inch of my bedroom so the experience of not sleeping surrounded by dust is probably helping. But I’m still feeling off kilter, still coughing a bit – not quite right.

The last few weeks I’ve been very antisocial. Partly below par and partly busy, also feeling wedded to the van as I had to move it every four hours and either pay over the odds or sit in it. Friends have tried to haul me out of my solitude with varying degrees of success. I’ve been studiously avoiding large gatherings, and casually ducking away from meet-ups. Partly the cough, partly just where I am right now.

The next two weeks I want to get more sociable. They’re quieter than what is to come this summer. I’ll be in Oxford for July and the first half of August. I’ll be in Cornwall in June. I want to see my friends while I can before things get busier. Time to try to switch off the hermit. If I don’t have a long grey beard I shouldn’t behave like I do…


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

3 thoughts on “Getting better”

  1. Your writing is convincing. I didn’t realize it was fiction until I got to the disclaimer. When I got to the part about the van, I remembered the posts about the van but I probably thought they were true at the time too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: