Walking, starkers, back through the apartment to the bedroom, I'm visited by thoughts of death.
Whoa! That sounds heavy, Paul. Did something dreadful occur in the Small Tiled Room of Ablutions? Something about which you've been coy?
No, far from it; thanks for asking. It occurs to me --- as I take in my skyline view of Stockholm --- that I'm now much cleaner and neater than I was the last time I passed this view. It then strikes me, quite cheerfully as it happens, that if I were to drop dead on this fine sunny morning of Day 13991, now would be better than earlier, because now I'm in a fit state to be found!
Hard upon this thought, I'm amusing myself by compiling a mental list of some ideal circumstances for dropping dead.
Isn't this a trifle morbid, Paul? Ideal circumstances for dropping dead, Paul? How can there be any, for such a fine, strapping, lusty blade as yourself?
Please, people, please. Spare my blushes. This is not a serious speculation, it's strictly flippant: wool-gathering of the most mischievous kind, because I have a mischievous streak a few feet wide! Actually, the list turns out to be longer than I expected, and I offer it here for your ghoulish delectation; these are some of the ways in which I'd like to pop my clogs, and any one, or combination, of them will suit me fine.
- Owing people large sums of money; it's never a good idea to peg out with things vice versa!
- When freshly emerged from my ablutions. Nobody will want to handle my carcass when I'm all grubby and flaky from bed... to say nothing of bodily functions yet 'unfuncted', as it were.
- If seated at a table, sometime between courses. It's best not to have a bowl of anything fluid or glutinous in front of one: this is another human dignity thing, and anybody else present when one's lamps go out would always have a tragicomic memory of one's emphatic squelching splat.
- I was born during British Summer Time, so expiring in the months of Greenwich Mean Time would be peachy; I'll feel I have an extra hour under my belt.
- Having, at long last, plucked up the courage to ask out the attractive woman that I diffidently acknowledge every day: whatever her response, I'll at least feel nicely valiant as my knees buckle for the last time.
- While answering the door to Jehovah's Witnesses. When they ask me one of their standard questions such as, "How d'you think God feels about all the evil and corruption in the world?", I'll save my last breath for replying, "Wait here, I'll ask Him".
- During a conversation with one of those 'friends' who go in for personal-disaster oneupmanship. I'll hear them out while they spend an hour recounting all the misfortunes that have befallen them that day; I'll try to hold on until they say to me, with a triumphant smile, "Top that!" So I will.
- Having set up an auto-reply on all my e-mail accounts etc., something along the lines of: "Thanks for your message. Unfortunately for you I'm now deceased, and don't have to put up with your whinging any more. BTW, If you don't hear from me in the next fortnight, this will turn out to be true. OMG!" In fact I might do that right now....
And there you have it. I'm sure that if you put your mind to it, you could come up with many more situations in this vein. So might I, actually, but at this point in my day I re-enter my bedroom to dress, and other considerations come tumbling in...