Sunday, 1 January 2017

Prompt 1 - The Weather Outside the Window

1. Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

The Weather Outside My Window.  But not the current weather.

Last night I slept a little better.  I'd taken extra drugs to help myself.  After the previous nights I knew that without some solid sleep getting through another day would be more challenging than I would like.  I aimed to be asleep by midnight and nearly managed that feat.  Nearly.  And I set the alarm by my bed.  A foolish move.  It's an alarm with a mind of its own.  Sometimes it will wake me by sounding as if it could wake people in the next street.  Often though it won't wake me at all.  It decides, "No, I don't want to sound an alarm this morning.  It's all too much effort today.  She will just have to stay asleep."  If my alarm clock was an old-fashioned knocker-up then nobody on this estate would get up on time.  If it was the knocker-ups' knocker up, a most important role, then the people of Newcastle would either sleep blissfully until mid-morning or wake early and scared and be in a bad mood for the whole day.  I should sack my alarm clock.  Sack it and just use the alarm on my phone which comes with the advantages of reliable frequency and volume.

It's not only that.  My alarm clock is on an old Roberts cube radio and CD player.  It is of an age.  And it buzzes.  That electric hum.  For at least a couple of years I have thought in bed, at least a few times a week, that I need to replace it with something silent.  It's not a complex job and most people would have completed such a simple task a year ago.  But I'm autistic and it's the kind of executive function thing that autistic people can struggle with.  I choose to play the autism card here.  It's less morale sapping than playing the useless sod card.  It's also got some truth to it.  Nevertheless, I'm going to get the job done.  I am.  Or just unplug that annoying, temperamental, demon possessed machine unless I want to play a CD, an event that becomes more of a rarity as the years progress.

I dragged myself out of bed this morning - well that's an odd chap of a phrase.  Dragged myself out of bed.  How does that work?  As I typed it the imagery was there, impossible in life but amusing.  Maybe though it's possible for a story.  If someone could drag themselves out of bed in the same way that someone else might drag them, willingly or kicking and screaming, what person would they be?  Would some part of their being split off to drag the other part out of sleep?  Or would this have to be a time travel thing - heading forward each night to get their future self up the following morning before returning to the sleep from which they have just woken themselves?  Would they be dragged into an upright position?  Or would they fight the process and end up falling to the floor each morning?  I think story-wise I prefer the splitting version of the character.  A bit of bi-location never did anyone any harm.  It's not a trick I've mastered but there are tales of holy men managing to be in two places at once.

So no, I didn't drag myself out of bed at all.  I got up.  Willingly but still feeling a little of the effect of extra drugs.  After dressing I opened the curtain of my bedroom.  It's a challenging task because I have so much in front of the window.  I have to climb the armchair to reach the curtains and that's a dangerous feat when feeling the effect of the drugs.  If ever I'm going to become a successful tightrope walker I'm going to have to get off the meds.  Perhaps that's not a likely scenario.  More likely is that I will never even join the local circus school.

The curtains were open.  Because I had just opened them.  And I saw it.  The weather.  Yes, this free writing is about the weather.  You've read through four paragraphs without even a hint of the weather outside the window.  This is only the first prompt and there I was writing about things that might only have been related to it in my own head.  Now I can mention the weather.

The window was completely covered with condensation.  It had been cold in the night, the coldest night of the winter so far.  I rushed to find the designated towel I use to wipe down the condensation from windows.  We don't have this problem with most of our windows but those in two of the bedrooms need replacing.  They are double glazed but you wouldn't know it from the insulation they don't provide.  That means as soon as it's cold we have a condensation issue.  It's an issue but it's not the end of history.

After wiping the window I looked at the street outside.  It would have been strange had I looked at the street inside.  I'm not sure we would have bought a house suffering the malady of having a road passing through the bedrooms.  It would make getting to the loo in the middle of the night dangerous.  As things stand the worst that happens is I might stub my toe on the legs of the bed.  If I was likely to get run over by a juggernaut I might choose to stay in bed and ignore the urgent cries of a distressed bladder.  Not that I'd be able to sleep very well with juggernauts crossing my bedroom tarmac.  I'm being a bit unfair there because the street outside isn't known for a proliferation of juggernauts.  It's a quiet cul-de-sac not a major trunk road.  Even so.  Exaggeration makes a point and who knows, they might want to build an extension of the A1 through our house.  It wouldn't be an ideal situation, especially for someone who couldn't bi-locate and guide themself safely to a toilet.

My head is now considering the homeless.  Those who sleep on the street.  Those who have cars and people passing through what is a bedroom of unfortunate circumstance.  They sleep.  They have to.  I am not sure I would manage such a life.  And yet.  They manage somehow.  Maybe that's a topic for another writing prompt.  This one is about the weather.  Not about what we are told to call "the homeless problem."  That's a phrase that psychologically has a subtle meaning that homeless people are the problem rather than homelessness itself.  While we might rationally know that the "problem" isn't "the homeless" it's a concept present in the phrase that we use.  They have the problem.  They are not the problem.

I looked.  The street was covered in a thick frost.  Ice.  The roofs of the houses were similarly covered.  It had been the coldest night of the winter so far, a reminder that winter in Newcastle can be a cold time and that not every day can be like Christmas morning when it was thirteen degrees.  Ice.  My thoughts turned to the winter and to the way our streets seem to be the most icy in the entire city.  On some days getting from our house to the main road can be a struggle.  This morning would be fine with a little extra care.  Not that I will experience it today.  I have to wait in for a parcel to be collected.

That's a pity because the sky was clear and it looked like the perfect winter morning.  All I wanted to do was eat breakfast and then go out and experience it.  The chill, the light, the sky the palest of blues, the stillness of the air and the way my face would feel that it might become as crisp as the grass.  I'd love to look at the ice on the plants if there were any - although the evergreen trees and shrubs seem clear.  I'd love to see it all and to travel and sit by the sea and listen to the calm of the water.

This is the morning for being outside and enjoying the smell of the cold.  But I am inside.  Waiting.  To be honest going out would be difficult today.  I have a very stressful appointment tomorrow.  It's my day in court.  And the thought of being out is almost too much.  Today is the day for surviving.  Not for thriving.  Not for being spectacular.

But God it looks good out there.  And I just received a text telling me that my parcel will be collected in the next hour.  So I don't have to wait.  Maybe I'll manage it after all.  See the sea.  Smile as the air juts against my skin.  And then find tea to drink somewhere and smile again.  I can try.

Oh the weather outside is delightful,
But my mind is something frightful.
But since I've got a place to go,
Let me flow, let me grow, let me glow.

(Bungalow, mistletoe, puppet show!)

Day one is done.  Written.  Four days early.  Okay, okay, I admit it.  I'm posting this on January 1st.  But it's not January 1st.  It's December 28th.  I'm getting a run up because I couldn't wait to begin.  This year I've posted nearly daily in a gratitude group.  I started that early too.  I won't be posting in the group next year.  It's been very helpful for me to keep up that discipline.  Hopefully I can keep up this new discipline and write freely.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this progresses.

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