2016 in three short acts

It’s been a year most people say they want to forget. Yet, we’ve a few more months to go. Act IV may well be this year’s saving grace. Who knows? Right now, I’m only considering the first three acts.

Act I

Back in February, I took a short break and went to Yorkshire. I’d taken up running about 6 months before and, despite my best intentions, hadn’t stretched well enough and suffered a calf injury in late November. However, I was determined to get better and go running. It had healed come late Jan, so I went out for a run one sunny morning.

Some time during that run I picked up a cold, which turned into a persistent cough. I’ve still got it. As an ex-smoker of many years, doctors immediately feared the worst. Test upon test upon test upon test. All revealed nothing. Nada.

It’s not a lie to say this cough really got me down. I was depressed, for sure. Heck, I was scared when I had round after round of lung tests and x-rays. The concerned looks from doctors; the seemingly endless blood tests; the annoying looks from those on the commute as I hacked and hacked each morning. The wheezing. The blood. The constant tiredness.

I’m still unsure of what caused the initial cough and why it won’t go. Sure, it’s got better, but it’s there. Ironically, like a smoker’s cough.

I’ve not been running since Feb. I’m not sure when I will be able to start running again.

Act II

Brexit. Oh my, what a time that was. Personally, I voted to remain. Yet, because I’d spent time outside of the London media bubble, I was fairly certain that the leave camp would win. To be honest, the result wasn’t even half as bad as the jokes on Twitter, the endless pointing of fingers, or the racist, ageist bullshit I read every day.

And so I stopped looking at Twitter. I stopped bothering.

I dip into Twitter very occasionally now. Several times I’ve considered deleting the app from my phone. This was a place I’d spent so much time before, but today I really can’t stomach it for more than five minutes at a time.

I don’t necessarily think Brexit is to blame here, nor people’s initial reactions (despite how repetitive and boring they got). I think I actually came to realise Twitter doesn’t care for conversations. It’s not a place to discuss, to ruminate on ideas, to share thoughts. It’s quite squalid, really.


I don’t know what it must be like to have a tumour growing inside you — only the idea of ‘what if’ (see Act I). I don’t know what it feels like to have to haul around a 3.5kg (or bigger) baby at full-term, though I imagine that it’s hard work.

My wife knows both these things. Except, this time it wasn’t a baby, it was a tumour the size of a football that weighed in just shy of 3.5kg; this thing that had been growing in the lining of her womb for who knows how long and had, over the course of 8 months, got bigger and bigger.

It’s out. Along with a some other things. And so the next three months see her recuperating. For the next few weeks, at least, I’ll be her carer, juggling childcare (it’s the school summer holidays) and work (which is busier than ever — a blessing and a curse). It means I’ll be retreating from physical interactions as I have from virtual ones.

And so we’re in August. Just through the beginning of Act III. It’s not over yet, but this is the middle bit where not much happens.

At least I hope so.

So, if anyone was wondering why I’m not present much. Now you know.

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