Saturday 22 June 2013

Fever Diary – March 6th 20--

I have abandoned my reading list today quite by accident. Wandering around the charity shop on Stamford Hill for a decent pair of Wellingtons, I browsed the dusty paperbacks at the rear of the store. A copy of ‘Crime & Punishment’ fell to the floor as I attempted to lever out a neighbouring collected edition of the ‘Girl’s Own Paper’. Under the admonishing gaze of the fearsome Frau Leiberman, I bent down to replace it and found that it had fallen open on a page that instantly drew me.  Before the murder, and after a drink of vodka and the consumption of a pie, Raskolnikov turns off the road into the bushes and falls asleep.
‘In a morbid condition of the brain, dreams often have a singular actuality, vividness, and extraordinary semblance of reality. At times monstrous images are created, but the setting and the whole picture are so truth-like and filled with details so delicate, so unexpectedly, but so artistically consistent, that the dreamer, were he an artist like Pushkin or Turgenev even, could never have invented them in the waking state. Such sick dreams always remain long in the memory and make a powerful impression on the overwrought and deranged nervous system.’
Standing in the 21st Century in a charity shop on Stamford Hill after waking in an alley behind Upper Street, this passage held more than a little resonance for me. The final stages of tuberculosis could definitely be described as morbid and there is no doubt that the AW appears substantially real. However, Raskolnikov’s feverish derangement seemed a world away from the way I have felt since billeting with Pedro. I am content to participate whilst still standing slightly outside all I experience. At first I was profoundly angry that I could not get back to my own rationed, grey, grubby little world. Now I am simply grateful for an unpredictable dream existence where I am seldom surprised by the twist and turns of my fate, being conditioned to expect some things to be unfamiliar and conforming to a certain internal logic.
It is no surprise, for example, that this particular book fell open on this specific page and that I happened to read this passage at this time, in this place.
Re-reading that last sentence, I realize the AW has turned me into the kind of superstitious idiot I despise.

The Wellingtons available did not fit. 

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