I don’t feel anything. 

And I want to analyse that, maybe even use the internet to diagnose myself properly with a disorder. Something I can get a badge for. 

I’ll try some quick searches:

Hey Siri – am I ‘feeling avoidant’? 

Hey Siri am I permanently numb? 

Siri – am I still a person? 

Actually Siri – am I now, having reached the age of 40, just a dry husk of my previous selves – an emotionally fossilised flesh machine simply still breathing in order to fulfill the functionality required of me by my wife and child?

Lastly Siri – has my long standing depression decided to become solid state after years of molten unpredictability?

Oh sorry Siri, one more thing – do hair transplants work?

Middle age.

I wonder if this is what happens when you reach a certain point in your life – the feelings factory closes production and you have to go next door for some insulation, something to line yourself with to ward off the biting cold of middle aged wilderness. I’m not middle aged am I? 

A well built or, thicc, American military worker who lives nearby told his wife to tell my wife that I look closer to 30. So I’ll take that. For full disclosure – the thicc guy has a bit of a squint. I mean it’s not confined to his eyes. His whole face looks a bit like a squint, like he’s constantly mid chew or something. Colonel Cleft Face. (Nobody wants to) Drill Sergeant Squint. His wife looks like Sandra Bullock but better. Unbelievable.

Anyway, the lack of feeling. It’s unnerving. Or it would be if I could feel nerved in the first place. One of our neighbours (mid fifties, lives with his mum) has a workshop in which he has electric tools – sanders, saws and the like. I’ve no idea what he does in there. He could be giving pedicures to farm animals for all I know. He certainly looks the type. The type of guy you could imagine wearing a sheep on his arm like a glove puppet and taking a power drill to its toughened cuticles before giving them a French polish with a lick of tipex and sending it back out to graze, slay and wow. But whatever he’s doing used to piss me right off not so long ago. Anger, actually. Or at least, he provided a vehicle for my rage to get out and about each day.


I’m writing this during the third nationwide lockdown in the UK. Some people are calling it ‘Lockdown 3’ as a nod to film sequels. Those people are the ones that think a social media account is an opportunity for them to be comedic but they’ve got less funny bones than a tapeworm. And it’s hard, you know. You don’t leave the house and see people. Part of me fucking loves it obviously. The other part is demented by being caged in with my wife and toddler every day, counting the minutes before the internal traffic from my last binge makes way for the next. 

Lately, I’ve grown accepting of the neighbour’s din. It’s become an appropriate soundtrack to the monotony. I’m almost grateful for it. It mirrors my mood – the sound of rapid erosion from the inside out. Sometimes I recline on the sofa listening to his tools and open my mouth and imagine I’m at the dentist. I imagine the dentist’s latex-covered fingers in my mouth. Powdery and squidgy like a penny sweet. She’s Indian and all mystery. Ice white teeth arched into pink gums like little chiclets of chewing gum wedged into a baby pig’s labia. I imagine her smooth brown legs and what’s between them. I think of her twin-pack of ‘ripen at home avocados’ bosom pressing on my forehead as she pokes at my gums with that sharp hook thing that could take the fucking eye out of a diving dolphin. 

The neighbour has downed tools. Unplugged. My dirty dental daydream is over and I’m left with silence and something approaching a semi. A thirdy. Probably a quartery if I’m being honest. Still, action is action right. In the recent past, I’d have gone straight to the laptop to look at dental porn. But it’s too far away and I’m comfortably numb here in the sweet nook of my torpor. 

Inertia killer.

There’s some salt and vinegar flavoured vegetable crisps in the cupboard. They’re the most luxurious thing I’ve bought in years and they’re going to be the catalyst to smashing my inertia right in the bollocks. I’ve been holding off on them for a week but today is the day. I’m going to murder the lot of them. My heart beats a little faster, I haul myself out of the cradle of the couch with a moan and fling my legs like pillars of concrete towards the kitchen. I’m coming for you. 

About ten minutes later they’re all gone. I’m left licking my fingers like a big sad dog cleaning his paws. Then the slight stomach ache, the gassy bloat, the downing of a coke. More bloat. A slight dewiness on my face from the vinegar reaction. Clammy and disappointed. The dentist’s chair feels like decades ago.

What’s next?

And there it is again – the ’what now’? What am I supposed to be doing right now? I stare at the existential tumbleweed rolling across the floor at my feet and wonder why I’m not adrenalised by the fear behind the thought, by the ticking clock of my time on earth telling me I need to be doing something. The reminder of my failure, my imminent homelessness. Cuckoo cuckoo, you’re shit you’re shit. Ahhh. 

I’ve stopped feeling you see. I’m a fucking machine. And I’m supremely built for the next 40 years. 


Biography: Russ is a Scottish actor and sober dad, in recovery for nine years. Having spent many years in California, he is now home raising his family in the UK. He loves spending time walking with friends and is an avid sports enthusiast. He works as a voice artist in video games and occasionally pops up in your favourite crime dramas!

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