The Super-Smile Stays
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced since my prognosis has been dealing with the loss of my super powers, like walking in a straight line, standing on one leg for more than three seconds and not tripping over a toothpick.
My father, a short Norman Wisdom-like man, fell over his own feet all the time and would glance angrily back at the pavement after, looking to place the blame, which was hilarious to us kids. I, on the other hand, just kissed the concrete for the third time this month, spraining wrist and tearing up elbow, knee etc.
It makes you wary – but not as wary as when I attempted to go into the sea earlier this year, and couldn’t get back out. Soon avoidance becomes a natural response and you stop taking chances.
So I was thrilled that, on the trusty husband’s arm, I managed to dive into wild surf this week. As soon as you’re buoyant all pain vanishes, even if you nearly drown trying to get out.
Here in Barcelona, where we’re belatedly spring cleaning, there are so many ways for the incapacitated to move about that people who would otherwise be prisoners in their homes are in town squares hanging out with their friends.
Our own natures limit us; we avoid things that look too problematic. This year I was persuaded to adopt the opposite approach. I’m leaning into the stuff I avoided. I’m having to adapt my travel arrangements but that doesn’t mean I’m not travelling. Next month I have to skip some long-planned events for practical reasons but I’ll be having a week off in Turkey.
Before that I’m launching ‘Bryant & May’s Peculiar London’ at several London venues to be announced (including one at a fab limited-capacity venue which I really hope comes off). In between, I’m having some pretty serious hospital tests carried out. The problem for me is that if the results are bad again I still have to wear my public super-smile and act as if I’m invulnerable.
What if I can’t attend events? Just how far ahead dare I arrange stuff? Suddenly I’m turning down work all over the place. Can I remain super-powered for a little longer? (The super analogies are coming up because I’m binge-watching ‘The Boys’ and finding it surprisingly good.)
It’ll be interesting to see how I react to the month ahead. Wish me luck.