Hello, my name is Paddy, I always say I am a compulsive gambler, I have not had a bet since my last post.
I had a birthday during the week, not one that is usually recognised as significant but as it represents about 50% of my expected lifespan I'd say its significant. So half my life has passed, and half of that was dominated by gambling. As a student I spent up to 16 hours a day in the Vic snooker club in Limerick, playing two poker machines simultaneously, the hypnotic beep beep of the high low gamble "feature" was the soundtrack to my student years. My generosity was bottomless, I gave those machines everything, I sacrificed my own well being, my food, my fare for the 80 miles home, I gave them my soul, just to make sure they were full, and kept singing to me, I can still hear it now.
There are other sounds that still stay with me, the sound of a cash machine counting the money, back in the old days, when I frequented the bookies in Ballybricken. It's impossible to explain the surge of relief and ecstasy I felt, just after entering the security number, waiting for the insufficient funds message, then, the glorious whirring, whizzing sound of that machine as the notes danced from some cold repository to my warm hands. What is certain is that it would be gone, quickly and inevitably, but for that few seconds as the machine sang, I rejoiced. To this day when I hear that sound, I feel the sensation, the rush, doped on dopamine.
Another sound that has the opposite effect is the closing of a door. To this day I do not let a door close unless I'm facing it. Why ? If I hear a door close behind my back it transports me to those nights the bookie doors closed behind me, after the last race, and me out. Often I was beaten, but even if I did win I would find some other way or place of relieving myself of the load the winnings represented. The closing of the door represented the return to the real world, the bookies was my Narnia, it was a fantasy word I preferred to inhabit. Even now, when doors close behind me, I shiver, I feel dread, guilt and hopelessness. Thankfully those are transient feelings today, but once upon a time they were my shadow, both awake and asleep.
Anyway, this is not what I had intended posting about, but much like my journey to this stage of my life, I got here and I don't know how. What I intended to write was though I almost have a half century behind me, my real birthday will be on May the first this year. I will have had a year where my every living thought and deed was not driven by a force that I cannot understand, resulting from decisions and choices I made. Somehow I ended up talking about the beep, beep of a poker machine, and the glorious tune of a cash dispenser. I haven't even got to the online stuff, but that's for another post. The funny thing is I'm closing this post but those two sounds define over 20 years of my life, and I can still hear them now, I often do.
So, fuck this, I'm off to meet 10 or 11 like me .
I like them, when I mention those sounds , they can whistle them and smile. That's our arrival tune, here's our departure tune.