Monday, August 6, 2007

Don't be afraid of your freedom!

In the dry ice and strobe lights my hair is pulsating like a damp, hairy jellyfish, my fringe bobbing over my eyes, hopelessly just off the beat of the music. My friends and I have formed a loose, baggy circle on the packed dance floor. The circle shifts and changes shape like a smoke ring, but never breaks. Our bodies jerk and bend and groove as one, all teenage knees and elbows. Everything tastes a bit of cider. I make my lips into a blissed out ‘O’ shape just like I’ve seen Ian Brown do on Top of the Pops. It’s 1990 and we’re doing our self-conscious best to try and look cool and not slip on the booze sodden floor, whilst dancing to this. The lyrics didn’t especially mean anything to me, I found it all a bit cheesy, to be honest. It did kind of sum up the spirit of how I felt at the time though, albeit in a slightly clich├ęd way. I did feel free to do what I wanted (any old time, ahem). Life stretched before me like a freshly concreted driveway, just waiting for my size 11 Converse-booted feet to leave their imprints all over it. And I’ve been happily running amok on that concrete pretty much ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no travelling minstrel, I don’t carry my belongings over my shoulder in a spotted handkerchief bundle tied to a stick and my home isn’t wherever I lay my hat. I’m not the Littlest Hobo on two legs. But I have spent most of my adult life doing exactly as I please. Call it a life in pursuit of responsible irresponsibility. So my ulcerative colitis has thrown bit of a spanner in the works. It’s taking liberties with my liberty. And I don’t like it. I want to be able to jet off at the drop of a hat; I want to be able to say yes to things, an unconditional big fat affirmative yes. I want to go on the rides at fairgrounds without having to worry about needing to ‘go’ and not being able to get off. I want to go for long walks in the countryside without fretting about where the nearest conveniences are. Hell, I want to be free to go to a dingy indie club any old time and not care that the cubicles in the toilets haven’t been cleaned since 1990.