• Michael Noctor

Do I look ...

It’s a damp morning in the West of Ireland; no rain, but a moist feel to the air and it’s not a soft day, thank God, type of day but more like a wet miserable one only I’m not feeling wet or miserable coz it didn’t rain while I was on the first of my three forty-five-minute pace-walks, I say pace-walks but my pace was snail-like compared to the little blonde woman who was ahead of me this morning, going like the clappers, making me feel old until I realised it’s okay to feel old coz I am old and undoubtedly looking older than my fifty six years coz of my beard.

I think I’m going to keep the beard. I’m not sure why. My Spanish teacher once asked a guy in class, who was sporting a moustache – and a seriously hairy one at that – why he was cultivating under his nose what was growing wild under his arse. He was mocking a very mockable lad. I felt sorry for the chap. The teacher once told me he was a brother of the Dublin footballer, Anton O'Toole, and it wasn't until Anton died recently that I discovered my teacher had fibbed. I went on to be the his favourite student and became living proof that motivation can work wonders after I’d gone from N.G. in the Inter Cert to a B in honours Leaving Cert. I’d met Gema from Madrid and fallen madly in love. I’m going off in a tangent. Back to the beard:

I like that photo because it’s so much better than this one:

Still one of my favourite photos coz it reminds me of the precious nature of life

It has little to do with vanity and here comes the first one of the blog, and the first one of the day: LOL. We all have an element of vanity, even those of us who are far from beautiful. We all like to look our best but for me it’s more about health and thinking that how we look on the outside gives some indication as to how our insides are doing, which is total bollox coz I was at my fittest and looking fairly well when I was cut down by the rare Septic Arthritis bug. Rule number one of Fight Club: There are no rules. It’s the same when it comes to Life Club, in my opinion, or maybe it’s more appropriate to say no guarantees.

I’m experimenting with an Eckhart Tolle technique at the moment. It’s much too early to elaborate on as I don’t want to seem like a fuckin’ eegit if it doesn’t work out the way it’s working out right now. Early days, indeed. Ah, what the hell, it has to do with awareness and how you are not your mind – his words, not mine – and I’m using the theory/practice not just to stay in the moment as much as possible but to do the right thing or what I consider the right thing more and more. I’m writing this coz every now and then someone contacts me to say they liked my blog and that it helped them in some way. What can I say? I’m just a nice guy.

My time in the West of Ireland is drawing to a close. I prefer drawing to coming. It suggests an image of something being drawn or painted and I am savouring the moments spent in the beautiful nature of my surroundings.

In the years following my father’s sudden death I developed an obsession with the temporary nature of life. Roddy Doyle described it in one of our Facebook Messenger exchanges as the finite nature of death, oh, look who’s name dropping … and here it comes, you know what it is, the second one of the blog, and the day – LOL.

The thought for the day is – with the beard, do I look like Ernest Hemingway?

Good morning from the West,