I haven’t watched The News yet today.
I feel so thankful that I’m not in it.
So far this year I’ve experienced howling gales, lashing seas, flooded homes and businesses, stranded cars, overturned lorries, upside down waterfalls (on Mull), furious whirlpools, ferries cancelled, bridges closed, flying roofs and fallen trees – all from the comfort of my own home. My personal discomforts? Picking up the lid of my blue bin and the pieces of a smashed plant pot. I can quickly find an extra layer of clothing to put on when the howling wind forces its way through hitherto unrevealed cracks and disturbs my comfort or the draught causes me to stretch out for the fleecy throw to protect my cooling knees. I might even have had to turn up the heating and make myself another wee cuppa to help me endure the chaos I can hear outside, chaos over which I have no control.
I went out to ‘do my bit’ two days ago and started picking up litter that had been swirling around merrily the day before. I did what I thought was a reasonable stretch and deposited it in the nearest bin. It wasn’t my bin but then it wasn’t my rubbish. I was secretly hoping that someone would come out and challenge me but I knew that wouldn’t happen. They would have been looking out, with some amusement, from behind their curtains and perhaps asking no one in particular, ‘Who IS that crazy person out there attempting to stem the tide of litter in this wind?’ (and maybe their dog would have replied,’ ‘Tis Canute, from the bottom flat….the Good Fairy will rescue her soon….’)
You see I have done the same judgemental thing myself. There is a lady in the complex who makes it her mission to do what she can to keep our surroundings tidy and presentable – going far and beyond her home limits. Some people may call it interfering, I call it caring. I’ll admit, I was in the ‘interfering camp’ at first but I’ve changed my mind – for now. Live and let live I say, however, sometimes I would feel perfectly justified in ‘interfering’. Here is an example…
A friend and husband were shopping in a Morrison’s supermarket – not their usual town. It was not particularly busy. As they scanned the checkouts to see which one to approach they spotted a little girl of about three years old, sitting on the end of a conveyer belt at an unmanned checkout. She was dressed in pyjamas and dressing gown and had a soother in her mouth. There was no adult near her. My friend called a passing assistant.’Whose child is that?’ she asked in alarm. The assistant shrugged. Someone should do something! Should she call a manager? What if the child falls? Should she, as a complete stranger, go over and talk to the child – even lift her down ….all these questions were running around in her head when a young , well turned out mum(?) appeared from an aisle with an armful of shopping and made for the child.
My friend had to be restrained. Why had the staff tolerated this crime? Had she done it before? Has she been warned never to do it again? Did she and the staff even thank God that the child was still there?….
Human behaviour never ceases to amaze me – but parents behaving badly towards children is the pits! I remember one of my little innocents in a P.2 class who was in obvious agony and needed the toilet. Having urged him to go a few times I decided to take him outside the classroom for a quiet word.
‘Please Miss, ah waant tae go bu’ ah cannae…… ma troosers are oan back tae front… ah wis hurryin’ up tae take ma mammy’s tea up tae ‘er an’ ah pit them oan back tae front…. noo ah cannae go……’
‘Oh dear, Danny, is your mum not well?’
‘Naw Miss, she was oot late an’ wis too tired tae get up…..’
We solved Danny’s immediate problem. I continue to hope it was a ‘one off’. From storm ‘Abigail’ to storm ‘Henry’ interference has not been possible, however I’m sure there are many little Abigails and Henrys out there, where interference would have been completely possible and well justified. It takes courage, however, to risk physical or psychological trauma to oneself when intervening in what is obviously a crucial revelation. Ignoring or sweeping under the carpet situations which are morally unacceptable can only create future issues with regards to trust and relationships, as well as making life difficult for all concerned. ‘A stitch in time saves nine’, a proverb which is very true, ‘Procrastination is the thief of time’, ‘Never put off till tomorrow…’ etc., etc. I have found that time wasted worrying about a problem is actually worse than dealing with it. I’m coming down (tentatively) from my high horse, for the moment, as I am completely drained of ‘wisdom’ and Pinot Grigio. The sun is over the yardarm, well actually it is not, it has gone with Henry’s wind… now we just need to keep an ‘I’ open for ‘Imogen’…. well blow me!
The teacher was attempting to bring some organisation to her class of new starts.
‘Now’ she said ‘I want you to listen very carefully. If you wish to leave the room, that is, if you need to go to the toilet, I would like you to tell me if you wish to do a No.1 – that is a little tinkle – or a No.2 which means you would be a longer time out of the classroom. Do you all understand?’ The children nodded solemnly.
The following day, the teacher observed little Chantelle ‘shoogling’ in her seat. ‘Chantelle, do you need to go to the toilet?’
‘No Miss’ replied the child. The child continued to ‘shoogle’. Again the teacher urged
‘Chantelle, I think you do need to leave the room!’
‘Please Miss I don’t need to leave the room but I do need to fart and I don’t know the number’….