December 26: xmas with my olde dad part three

We are sitting watching Bony M on Top of the Pops 2. It is Christmas night entertainment. These are the big hits of 1978. My dad turns round and looks at the clock. What time is it? he says. Eleven o’clock we say. Morining or night? he asks after a moment’s hesitation. Look around. We’re all around sititing watching the telly. The blinds are drawn. What do you think? I don’t know, he says, looking round. I can see his point. Here we are in 2014, watching a programme from 1978 with a confected simulacrum of a pop group singing about the exile of the Hebrews to Mesopotamia hundreds of years before Christ as though it were an update on a package holiday by a low-cost carrier.. A few minutes later the same question. Is it eleven at night or in the morning? Night, dad. That’s why it’s dark outside. It’s dark in the morning too. He’s right there and all. A few minutes later the same question. At this stage Abba are singing a happy song about being in love. !978. That was all up the spout by then too. They were divorcing. Basically, my olde dad’s main relationship now is with Time.They track each other; lose each other’s scent; lay traps for each other. I thought there was something wromg when he was eating his cereals after Christmas dinner, which we have about five in the aftrnoon. I suspected then that Time had given him the slip. If he does not follow his strict regime of events in the day, mostly food events, he’s adrift. Last night at half-one I was still trying to get him to go to bed so that I could sleep in the living room. He was still convinced it was the morning. He kept saying I haven’t done anything today.I just got up.. There is a passage in Proust where the narrator is astounded as to how each time we wake up from sleep we wake up with our own identity intact. It reassembles itself from the swirl of sleep in a sudden, miraculaous adjustment every time we wake up. With my olde dad that miraculaous reconstruction that should happen every time we wake up is starting to disintegrate.

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