Long-term resident

Universal WHINGE

There are days when the personal and the political mesh in a way that can only be described as immensely depressing. Days when I get tired of living in a state which locks people in jail cells for 22 hours out of every 24, simply because they have (peacefully) backed a political option that that state doesn’t want to know about. And tired of knowing that if the country in which I’ve made my home ever seriously tried to become self-determining, at least a few of its citizens would be slaughtered. I’m fed up, too, with the fact that – at the time of writing – the elected president of this same country could be barred from office by a handful of judges for having put up a banner with an awareness ribbon on it (for God’s sake). And although I don’t live in the United States or Brazil, it saddens me on a daily basis that these two huge, culturally fervent countries are in the hands of men who suffer from severe personality disorders and an ignorance so mind-boggling it defies written description. As for the prime minister of the country I was born in – and his coterie of odd-looking ministerial lickspittles – his comprehensive lack of interest in the 784,900 UK citizens currently living in EU countries has made us all feel more abandoned than a dog chucked out of a speeding car. Not that England seems to be going anywhere fast, on the contrary, the entire country seems to have got its wheels stuck in the nativist sludge that the die-hard Brexiteers have been merrily spewing up for the last four years. And the fact that the whole sorry Covid-Brexit-backstop-law-breaking catastrophe is being stage-managed by an over-privileged compulsive liar who looks like an unemployed jester, only adds insult to injury.

On a more personal level, I’ve had enough of going out into the street, walking around for a few minutes, then rushing back home to put on a mask I’d forgotten about. And talking as I now am of Covid-19, I’m equally weary of the fact that aside from making people sick – or in the case of three people I knew personally, dead – and causing all kinds of other problems (despite the insistence of tens of thousands of thoroughbred halfwits that it’s being spread by somebody’s ’deep state’ or a cellular network or a Jewish conspiracy) it’s also slowed down the already snailishly slow publishing industry (as I know from having submitted my seven as yet unpublished novels in English to 63 different literary agencies in the UK, only to get back 20 rejections and 43 stony silences).

In short, there are times when my regular daily dosage of three anxiolytics strikes me as being woefully inadequate, and my age seems far too advanced, and the world feels increasingly as if it is spinning out of even the most modest amount of control. There are mornings, like today’s, when I lie awake in bed, wondering what it is I should bother getting up for: the unpublished novels, the revolution that’s always stuck just around the corner, or the breakfast I never eat. Then I tell myself to buck up, and bear in mind the simple fact that not all days can be of wine and roses. Perhaps the fact that some of them can, is enough reason in itself to keep on keeping on. But on those days when things look grim, there is simply nothing for it but to write a grousy, grouchy, whiny, semi-coherent article like this one.

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