It’s been a while, I know. Excuses? A rather ‘constipated’ brain……packed full of excess material: disbelief, incredulity, outrage and JUNK! Knowing where to start has become so problematic, that, like the constipated mathematician, I’ve had to work it all out with a pencil!…… a word jotted down here….. a sentence there……frustrated ‘flushings’ and yet more paper to hopefully capture any vestige of verbal diarrhoea that might help relieve this ‘blockage’……. Sorry, the analogy is a mess…… but so is the world…….and I still don’t know where to start.
I was never allowed an opinion when I was young. It was actively discouraged: ‘Be seen and not heard’, ‘Speak when you’re spoken to (or should that be spoken at) ‘Do not answer back’ which makes a nonsense of the previous maxim. I took all this to heart. I never wanted to be the cause of hurting my parents so obviously I would internalise my own feelings. I became taciturn – ‘huffy’ my mother would say…..’face in a permanent tuck’.So being verbal was wrong and being non verbal just as bad. As a family we had no discussions or debates. Things were told to us on a ‘need to know’ basis. To be fair I do think the regime changed with my younger siblings who were, as stories go, much more able to ‘stand up for themselves’. I can recall many occasions when I should have made ‘a stand’, answered back or had a tantrum to make a point…..but who knows what difference that would have made to my life….. sliding doors and all that.
You see my problem is this…..I would really like the chance to ‘say my piece’ to many people, both living and dead, without it altering my life as it is. The idea of never having had the life I have now with the husband, children, grandchildren, dear sisters and friends who constantly enrich it – is an idea that is unthinkable to me. When I witness the disrespect some children display, the confrontational attitudes of people towards each other, the utter greed and selfishness of humanity, I am saddened….. and confused. Where did we go wrong? The very foundations of once revered institutions and organisations have been shaken to the core. ‘The lunatics are running the asylum,’ lawlessness and disorder seem the order of the day, chaos reigns supreme…….Doof doof doof doof doof…(Eastenders finale)
‘OMG!!! Will you lighten up,’ I hear you groan. ‘We can get all this stuff on ‘The News’ ………’
I know and I’m sorry. I will steadfastly try to find a light at the end of the tunnel….’cept someone’s moved the ruddy tunnel and ‘I’m somewhat in the dark here!’ (misquoting Al Pacino from ‘Scent of a Woman’). Now, Mr. Pacino (or Al as he liked me to call him!) played the part of a blind man in the aforementioned movie. Despite his grave disability he was able to overcome many personal challenges as well as solving problems and enhancing the lives of others who crossed his path. He showed ‘true grit’ (….but that’s another movie ) single mindedness and a passion (who can forget his temper and his tango!) for his endeavours.
His confidence and courage, his experiences, his heightened senses, combined to make him an attractive and charismatic force to be reckoned with. Now he could have organised ‘a piss up in a brewery’, blind though he was – and probably without spending a penny! All of the main protagonists on ‘Planet Earth as we Know It’ have been blessed with the gift of sight yet continue to turn a blind eye to the glaring problems around them.
Everyone, it would seem, has an opinion now: many interesting, many valid, many utterly sensible, many ill informed, ill judged, poorly delivered, badly written yet all entitled – freedom of speech and all that – but sadly these are often accompannied with feelings of aggression, desire for confrontation and a ‘must win at all costs’ mentality. One certainly can get a feeling of ‘oneness’ by being caught up in ‘filter bubbles’ on social media where regurgitating like-minded points of view and perpetuating shameful opinions, gives one a feeling of ‘belonging’. Many of the people in these ‘bubbles’ will be genuinely passionate about their cause and well worth listening to, many others will be mere ‘hangers-on’ and then there are those who are just ‘looking for a fight!’ Be brave and venture outside your bubble and give some consideration to other points of view. Try to strike a balance. Do your own research ….. you know what they say: ‘Knowledge is Power’…. a little knowledge, on the other hand……….. Intransigence and narrow mindedness have already caused tension in families and among friends. This, to me, is madness. Let’s hope there has been some ‘growing up’ since the last ‘generation.’
We all (beware of apathy!) will have a decision to make ….sooner or later or whenever. I will watch and listen with interest and with as much patience as I can muster, to the ‘grand opera’….(maybe that should be ‘pantomime’ ) which continues to unfold daily (oh yes it does!). In the meantime, I shall watch what I like, I will read what I choose and I will debate with whoever helps to inform my eventual decision. I am neither a ‘shouter’ nor a flag waver but don’t tell me I don’t love my country! I will not tolerate being shouted at or being subtley bullied. I am, I like to think, open minded and a good listener. (Wine will help).
No one knows what the future holds….. surely everyone can understand that! (‘The best laid schemes’etc….)So, even armed with all the facts, with every ‘i’ dotted, every ‘t’ crossed and every wrinkle smoothed, no matter the outcome, it will still be a journey into the unknown….. and we will be travelling ‘blind’ much of the time. It will take all of us to make the best of it – post decision, (and that will be the really tough part).
When the untimely announcement was made re the next referendum, I was reminded of a real incident from my past. A dear friend had undergone a serious operation to repair a detatched retina. (This was in the 1960’s). She was a patient in the Glasgow Eye Infirmary for a couple of weeks (recuperation in hospital was par for the course then – imagine!!) It had been a very stressful time for her and her new husband. She was eventually discharged with strict instructions to keep the eye bandaged, wear dark glasses at all times, use a stick and avoid sudden head movements. Her G.P. was to monitor her progress. Only one day after her release from hospital she suddenly asked her husband to take her to her doctor. Hubby thought there was another problem with the eye. He checked her bandage, sunglasses and stick and proceeded to drive her ‘gingerly’ to the medical centre.
Tapping her way into the surgery, the good doctor helped her to a seat.
‘Now, my dear, you’re having a rough old time of it, aren’t you, but I didn’t expect to see you so soon after your operation. What can I do for you?
‘Oh, doctor, I’m worried about not being pregnant.’……