I wrote this some time ago, and have toyed with putting it up on the blog. Then I thought, fuckit, I am gonna put it up.
I have had a fiddle around with it, changed a few things.
And no, The Hole is not a euphemism for The Vagina (yes, Kathryn, I am talking to you, you minx)
Let me start with an analogy or two.
I was once treating a fellow who had a full stubbie of beer thrown at his head. He was ok, but he had a big cut in his scalp. Gently, I rinsed off the clot that adhered to his hair to see what the damage was. Then – whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, arterial blood spurted everywhere. His drunken girlfriend picked this moment to start an argument with me. I had to have her escorted out by security.
Another one. I had not been to the dentist in about 2 years. There had been a funny taste in my mouth for a few weeks, and a few teeth that I could not use to chew. I went to the dentist, because it was about time, not because I made any connection with the symptoms to dental problems.
The dentist took an X ray. Saw a cavity. Started drilling, and then a large cavity opened up. A sharp intake of breath from him – “I am afraid you have to have a root canal.” I did not know what this meant at the time, and thought he was being overdramatic – nobody had died, for heaven’s sake.
About 5 appointments, much pain, countless injections and a $3500 total bill, I had a new tooth. It did not feel like the old one, but it remains functional. I now take better care of my teeth.
Both times, a hole was uncovered.
What I have here is not a mess, a “stage” or a “sticky situation”, it’s a hole.
A hole is best characterized by it’s size, shape, covering and the thing that is missing from it, what has been taken out, or what, indeed, has not been there to begin with.
The hole is big, bigger than I thought.
It is deep, shaped like a water well, with a little space to sit down at the bottom. It is dark in there. It is very easy to fall into, as there is no guard rail on the outside, no “keep out” sign. There is a frayed rope ladder that can be used to get out of it.
It has been dug over years, sometimes forgotten about, sometimes made deeper.
It has had a plank put over the top of it, to cover it up and stop myself or anyone else accidentally falling in. The plank was made of fragile chipboard, and, with rain and weather, it has become mouldy and fragile. It had been thick, thick enough for somebody to jump on, but it has now become thin.
A couple of times, the plank got holes in it.
With increasing intensity, objects were thrown into the hole to make it less deep. Expensive objects, large objects, grand objects.
Large, complex objects did not fill that particular hole very well. They would for a little while, but the objects shifted and left large gaps in between. The objects were not stable, and disintegrated quickly. Lots of food and wine was thrown down the hole to plug the gaps.
I initially avoided visiting the hole, because it was generally not a nice place. However, because it was in a state of disrepair I started making a few trips down into and around the hole. I wanted to see what the damage was, and what might be best to fill it in.
It was scary down there; dark and lonely. Claustrophobic. I could not be in there for very long at a time.
So afraid of being alone, I invited, dragged other people down there with me to keep me company. I pay some people to visit the hole, but, strangely, I am not good at taking them down there.
I got used to sitting in there a little while, by myself. It was cold and dirty, and smelled dank, but I got used to it.
I was frightened of the dark in there. Then I learned that the best way to stay in there a while was to close my eyes, and let the cold and dark envelope me for a while. I would then stand up and dust myself off.
I learned that I could use the frayed rope ladder to climb out. With the plank on top, I had neglected the rope ladder badly. Occasionally, I sit on the side of the well, pull the ladder up, and apply duct tape to the frayed parts, to make it strong again. I have become good at climbing up the ladder. Over time, I have become more able to negotiate the ladder with agility and strength.
I am making semi-regular visits to the hole. It is never that pleasant, but it is bearable. I am getting to know the hole intimately, it’s size, shape and dimensions.
Coming up is good. Sometimes the outside is rainy, sometimes cloudy. The sun does not come out very often, but when it does, it dazzles me, and I have to squeeze my eyes shut. I disliked the rain and learned to feel content when it was cloudy. It was reassuring to see a ray of sunlight through the clouds, but I am not quite ready for the full force of the sun. Perhaps I feel I don’t deserve the sun. But, saying that out loud, I know that does not make sense. Experiencing darkness, I need the light.
I learned that I must take a torch into the hole, to illuminate it. I’ve learned that the mobile phone reception is not always good down there.
I often have to take some music down there, as it makes the time down there infinitely more bearable.
I did some interior design in the hole, to make it a bit more homely.
Occasionally, I get stuck down there, and get panicky. At these times, I scream for somebody to help. Sometimes people come; these are not always the ones that I expect to see. Sometimes nobody comes. Sometimes I hear the voice of somebody I know well yell down “there in a minute”, but they don’t come.
Each time this happens, though, I manage to scramble out. Sometimes only by the skin of my teeth, but I get out.
For a long while, I had a male who hung around the hole. He watched the plank rot, watched me struggle to repair it, but never actively helped with it. He watched me fall down into the hole, but never quite caught me. When I first started spending a bit of time in there, I called for him, but he was elsewhere and didn’t hear me. After a while, as I got more comfortable in and around the hole, I stopped needing him there.
After spending a lot of time filling the hole with large objects, and having them not fill the hole properly, I had a thought. Maybe there was room for others to hang around the hole. I desperately set about trying to find people to help me fill or cover the hole, but quickly realised that there was no use. The hole is deep, and there is really only room for me at the bottom of it. The landscape around it is treacherous, too.
Some serious renovations in and around the hole are required. They will be expensive, risky and take time, but will be worth it.
I need to count on doing them by myself, but if other people are walking past with a shovel and a pick, and look qualified, then I will let them work with me. I will need to watch that they are not making a bigger mess than when I started. They have to help and not hinder the renovation project.
I must always shine a light inside the hole, so I can see where I am going.
I should visit it often, and keep it tidy and maintained.
The hole will be filled with small, regular objects that pack closely together and do not shift, and provide a stable surface on which to raise the bottom of the hole.
I will dig at the sides of it, to make the opening wider. Soon, it will be more like a valley than a well, contiguous with the surrounding landscape.
I will also carefully cultivate the surrounding landscape.
When the sun shines on the renovated hole, light will automatically reach the bottom, and beautifully illuminate the surrounding landscape.