Tuesday, September 08, 2009

James Bond Daily: The Plight of the Aging Spy

007 muses about life, on pp.018-019 of You Only Live Twice:
The state of your health, the state of the weather, the wonders of nature -- these are things that rarely occupy the average man's mind until he reaches the middle thirties. It is only on the threshold of middle-age that you don't take them all for granted, just part of an unremarkable background to more urgent, more interesting things.

Until this year, James Bond had been more or less oblivious to all of them. Apart from occasional hangovers, and the mending of physical damage that was merely, for him, the extension of a child falling down and cutting his knee, he had taken good health for granted. The weather? Just a question of whether or not he had to carry a raincoat or put the hood up on his Bentley Convertible. As for birds, bees, and flowers, the wonders of nature, it only mattered whether or not they bit or stung, whether they smelled good or bad. But today, on the last day of August, just eight months, as he reminded himself that morning, since Tracy had died, he sat in Queen Mary's Rose Garden in Regent's Park, and his mind was totally occupied with just these things.

First his health. He felt like hell and knew that he also looked it. For months, without telling anyone, he had tramped Harley Street, Wigmore Street and Wimpole Street looking for any kind of doctor who could make him feel better. He had appealed to specialists, GPs, quacks -- even to a hypnotist. He had told them, 'I feel like hell. I sleep badly. I eat practically nothing. I drink too much and my work has gone to blazes. I'm shot to pieces. Make me better.' And each man had taken his blood pressure, a sample of his urine, listened to his heart and chest, asked him questions he had answered truthfully, and had told him that there was nothing basically wrong with him. Then he had paid five guineas and gone off to John Bell and Croyden to have the new lot of prescriptions -- for tranquillizers, sleeping pills, energizers -- made up. And now he had just come from breaking off relations with the last resort -- the hypnotist, whose basic message had been that he must go out an regain his manhood by having a woman. As if he hadn't tried that! The ones who had asked him to take them to Paris. The ones who had inquired indifferently, 'Feeling better now, dearie?' The hypnotist hadn't been a bad chap. Rather a bore about how he could take away warts and how he was persecuted by the BMA, but Bond had finally had enough of sitting in a chair and listening to the quietly droning voice while, as instructed, he relaxed and gazed at a naked electric light bulb. And now he had thrown up the fifty-guinea course after only half the treatment and had come to sit in this secluded garden before going back to his office ten minutes away across the park.
Listening to: Bess Rogers - Only One
via FoxyTunes

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