Just as the party is starting to get too much, the end of the party looms large. A phone call comes in today which might well result in me commuting to Oxford for two weeks, rehearsing in the daytime in London and performing in the evening in Oxford. My initial reaction is “of course I can do it. I’ll just have to stop drinking to maximise my headspace.” It might also prove valuable to get a motorbike. I can scream up to Oxford after rehearsal that way, be self determined, and never have to worry about leaves on the line. Just diesel on the road, and various eejits trying to murder me. It would be a hell of a warm-up for the show, an hour and a half howling down the M40 in leathers. It’ll make for an exhilirated performance, which is probably no bad thing. But it would mean no drinkies after the show. Also probably no bad thing. It’s good for me to have externally applied reasons to get off the juice. I’m always better at abstinence if I can sublimate the reason for doing it into doing it for somebody else’s benefit. And what a lovely problem to have, that every single one of the ducks went quack. Now I’ve just got to pluck them.
I’ll be glad of an enforced period of temperance. My liver won’t meet my eye when I look at it these days. It’s always quietly crying. “Remember when you used to look after me?” I’ve been look looking for an excuse to give it some TLC. This might be that excuse. A summer of Shakespeare.
The work will be lovely, if I can make it work. Lovely people in the room. Lovely places in the world to go to. I’m not going to allow myself to get excited until I’m certain I can do this. But seriously, the sober motorbike route sounds pretty good to me. It’s the right time of year for biking. I’ll get there sweating instead of freezing. But there ought to be less rain. And the drive up will be a very good space and time to change my head. I’ll be playing two parts that would’ve been played by the same guy in Shakespeare’s company, in two different shows written many years apart. If I can make it work. And I think I can. I’ve been experimenting this year with partitioning – with taking on more than I’d normally take on. I’ve discovered that I’m calmer now than I used to be. Multitasking comes easier now. And easier still if I take the old liquid forgetfulness out of the mix. There’s a little fire burning in my belly at the thought of what might be to come. But I’m so used to disappointment that I’m holding back on celebrating until I’m totally sure I won’t have to wave goodbye to it as it flies away.
Tonight though, one more party. I still haven’t been home. I’ll sleep there tonight though at last under my own sheets and Pickle. And I borrowed some socks and pants from Tristan so I don’t feel like a toxic liability anymore. It’s the little things.