Friday, January 03, 2014


Ever since I was 16, stood with my friend Ian Megginson on the corner of St. Andrew's Street in Cambridge, I have said "Oh dear" to myself whenever I see an ambulance. It was a remark that Ian made as we waited for my dad to pick us up, low key, but its humbleness impressed me. The expression seemed particularly pertinent because I had recently called for an ambulance myself after discovering my dad in the night, kneeling on the floor of the bathroom, his eyes white, rolled back in a fit. Ian didn't know about this incident, no one did.

I have had to make allowances over the years, so that when I am passing a hospital I am not constantly saying "Oh dear... Oh dear... Oh dear... Oh dear." Passing a hospital means I won't have to say it at all. When I am in company, I will say it audibly once if I see one ambulance, but if I see another shortly after, I whisper it so that it can't be heard. However, this is not my only linguistic ritual.

I will often say "Love" to myself out loud, apropos of nothing, in case I should die suddenly, to increase the odds of it being my last word. For all my contingencies, it will probably be "worried".