On Saturday, the floor of my bedroom collapsed and tipped me and the bed sidelong – I saw the mattress rising up above me, pointing at the ceiling, as I slid down into the hole.
I’d been lying peacefully in bed, awake, but eyes closed, planning my day. I opened my eyes to begin it – and the world turned upside down.
I clutched wildly at the mattress as the bed reversed and tipped up the other way. Then it whirled in circles like a carousel before wallowing sickeningly, like a small boat in a rough sea, leaving me sicker than I’ve ever felt when on a boat.
By this time I’d realised that the bed wasn’t actually moving. I was enjoying my first experience of vertigo.
The fun continued when I sat up. The whole room folded into origami and flipped and flopped about until I didn’t know which way was Norwich, and fell over on the bed like a rag doll.
My renegade left ear had upped its game again.
My right ear you’d like. It’s a modest, respectable ear that does all that’s required of it without feeling the need to draw attention to itself. In the whole of my life I doubt I’ve spent as much as an hour thinking of my right ear, or even being aware of it. Qualities I appreciate in an ear.
I feel now that I haven’t appreciated it enough – have even mistreated it by having holes punched through it and inserting metalware.
But not for my left ear a life of blameless obscurity. It wasn’t going to settle for being ignored while hands and feet, and mouth and hair – useless hair! – got all the attention. So, about twenty years ago, it turned on me.
At first, it was merely irritating. It would feel as if someone was pressing their thumb against the outside of the ear. For hours. Annoying, but easily ignored.
So the ear upped the ante. Imagine a tiny balloon being blown up inside your ear-canal, so it pressed lightly on all sides. Not painful, but a bit more than annoying. It would make me shake my head and rub at my ear, as if whatever it was could be dislodged.
Imagine that balloon being steadily inflated, so the pressure grow and grows. At some point it passes beyond annoying and becomes painful. And then more painful, and more. The ear wins. It has my complete attention. It’s impossible to think about anything else.
Still it plays games. Years go by without the slightest trouble. More years pass without it ever going beyond the ‘annoying.’ Still, the slightest grumble from it has me instantly on edge because it can accelerate faster than a Ferrari, from tiny grumble to howling at the moon in minutes. It can then continue for a fortnight, or stop after five minutes. I never know which. And now I’m always going to be waiting for the world to start spinning as well.
So there’s been no work done on the Sterkarms this week. Not much done at all. It’s very frustrating, because I don’t feel too bad until I try to do something – when I rapidly become sick and dizzy and have to give up. ‘So you’re forced to lie on the sofa and watch old films,’ said my brother unsympathetically. And I have.
But I want to write!