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Bad backs

29 November 2005

It's interesting, I think, how sometimes one thing can come to straddle everything you do. Grief can do this; so can passion; so of course can pain. Specifically, just now, so can my spine.

I can't remember if I said, that a couple of weeks ago I fell down the stairs? I was watering my chillies, which are all on windowsills up the staircase; and I was going down sideways, for better control of the watering, and I must have sidestepped a stair, because next thing I knew I was hanging in mid-air, only waiting for permission to fall. Which in the end I gave, as I had to; and so fell, and so wrenched my back appallingly.

And since then, everything has been governed by my back. It doesn't stop me, I haven't changed my chosen rounds, I'm just constantly aware that all those rounds are mediated by degrees of pain. I worked hard and diligently on my copy-edit, as you know, but that was unaccustomed hours of unbroken sitting at a desk (it's one of the healthier - hah! - aspects of my ordinary working day, that it is much broken up by little walks hither and yon, which keep my spine mobile; not so when I'm checking a manuscript), and that hurt. M'friends Val and Kelly invited me to Thanksgiving dinner, and please could I bring a pumpkin pie; this necessitated a swift appeal for recipes (my US editor's grandmother's was good enough for me - thanks, Susan) and a couple of practice runs; but my pastry-rolling table is not quite the right height for me to work on, so that hurt. And then on the day I dropped the first and best pie on the carpet, and had to dash off a second, which wasn't good; and then there was a train ride, and a strange bed at the end of it, and it's all hurt. And the RSC is in town, which means a lot of theatre-going, a lot of ouch in narrow rows of seats; and then at the weekend I had to spend my time shifting everything I own away from all the windows, so that nice men could come and rip out those windows in a blizzard on Monday and a freeze today. Admittedly they are replacing them with lovely double-glazing, but fuck, my house is cold just now; and the shifting hurt, and the cold ain't good, and I'm going to go and have a deep hot bath right now, as soon as I've moved the chilli-plants out of the tub. Which is where they've been sheltering from the nice men, keeping warm; but the gaffer was in there this afternoon replacing my bathroom window, and he asked how long I've been growing chillies, because he does the same thing, so now we're swapping seeds and fruits and tips and such. Which is more or less where I came in, with the chilli-growing thing; and so a sore goodnight...

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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.