26 November 2005

Event density

It's almost midnight and I can't sleep. Had trouble falling asleep last night as well, and a number of nights before. This afternoon I rested but didn t sleep, even though I was tired enough. In spite of the one Lexomil I took, which PYL prescribed but which I try to avoid, is there yet another sleepless night looming?

We were struck this evening, already in bed, with sad news from Holland, or rather from Suriname, when word reached us that A.'s nani, her mother's mother, had passed away the day before yesterday, well into her eighties.

Another reason might be that my father would have turned 66 today. He died almost ten years ago, 9 April 1996, aged 56. I believe his untimely death, of a brain tumour, extended over a year and a half between hope and fear and with his personality affected, has been the most traumatic experience in the lives of all of his family members, and certainly in mine. It sure has dampened my own expectations as regards a long life. After almost ten years, you talk about it less, but he remains present, especially when you realise he hasn t known any of his now seven grandchildren.

When I met PYL yesterday he said he was convinced that my malaria attack had everything to do with continued lowered resistance over our recent concerns over M.'s surgery. I don't know, although that cold sore I made such a silly fuss about at the time was directly related to it. But in fact he must be right: we're still digesting those days, and we were probably naive in thinking that a week at the seaside in Cameroon would help us put the thing behind us. And now the realisation that my malaria was not so innocent has been added to it.

M.'s recent object of intense affection, Sharlene, is sleeping over today, but for a sad reason. Her mother had been courageously trying to set up a little commerce here and found out today that the container she had had filled up back in Europe with various stocks had arrived and been pillaged empty while still in customs here. Just a little fait divers.

Another fait divers I happened to hear today: a new local secretary in the office had been hiding under her bed with her family one night last week after heavily armed bandits had gone through her street in the quartiers robbing one house after the other. In her case only the door had been blown out by a salvo from a Kalashnikov, nobody got hurt.. There had been heavy shooting for two hours in the street, but police and the army showed up only hours later.

Honestly, I am not making this up. There is the general fact that events come in such density here, not only to us (just look at the freak event catalogue this blog is becoming) but to so many others. I think all this plus the malaria on top has made my nerves ends rawer, or am I just getting more sensitive these days? Sitting around all day doing the obligatory resting does not help a lot of course.

Even rereading Tom Wolfe's The bonfire of the vanities (can anybody tell me about a more masterful novel written in the last twenty years?) was almost too intensive, too rough on the nerves, which is also due to the man s awe-inspiring writing talents of course. I am now in much safer, balmier hands with The history of Tibetan Buddhism by the Dalai Lama, and believe it or not, I can actually feel a physical difference inside between reading one and the other!

Thanks for listening. The Lexomil seems to be kicking in finally. I ll try to go and sleep again.

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