Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Clink, clink

The southbound Northern Line train makes a dirty, chugging guitar riff sound similar to the effect Dave Davies of The Kinks famously created by stabbing his sister’s knitting needles into his amp. As we trundle towards Camden Town I find myself watching a man watching a girl. The man is clearly captivated by the pretty young girl standing opposite him. He can’t take his eyes off her. There’s nothing menacing or seedy about the way he’s looking at her, he’s not smacking his lips and salivating, I just think for this one brief moment, on this particular morning he’s fallen a little bit in love with a girl sharing his carriage. Almost with a sigh, his knees relax a little and he leans into the upright handrail, taking it in his arms in a silent Rudolph Valentino embrace. Gently he rests his head between shoulder and bicep and from this new tilted angle continues to gaze at the girl. I am watching a 45-year-old man turn into a teenage boy. For the first time the girl notices her admirer and for a split second there is eye contact between them. The man quickly looks away, feeling the blood rushing to his cheeks. Nervously his fingers drum on the handrail. His wedding ring taps against the tubular rail making a clink-clink sound. Like the click of a hypnotist’s fingers, the clinking of his wedding ring appears to bring him round. At once he snaps out of his daze and the 45-year-old returns to replace the mooning teenager. The wedding ring has brought him back down to Earth with a bump. Maybe that’s one of the roles of a wedding ring? It’s not just there as a reminder of the vows you took, but also it’s there to remind you not to go gawping at girls on your way to work. There are times when I think I might need a little reminding that I’m actually in a long-term relationship myself – with ulcerative colitis. Because now my medication has things under control it’s all too easy to forget I still have a chronic illness. For life, so they say. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that I can forget about all the pooing and stuff, but a little clink-clink wedding ring type reminder once in a while wouldn’t go amiss. It would be all too easy to think I’m cured and everything is back to normal. It isn’t. I need to remember that the old UC and me, well, we’re still very much an item. In sickness and in health and all that.