This is why I love the winter time in the mountains, the light is spectacular.
One of the “things” about getting older is that you’re meant to know yourself a little better. You’re meant to know your character and what type of a person you are. Anyway, somebody said to me today….. you’re really good with people. I snorted something unintelligible because really (or so I thought), deep in my psyche, I’m not a people person at all – the quintessential cat that walk alone. People are complicated and full of twists and turns – straight lines and no bumps are not common .
I suppose, therefore, it’s an eye-opener or a reason to press pause when my black and white has a smidge of grey. I am, on closer examination, a keeper of secrets. People tell me things, a great many things – the good, the bad and the ugly. Apparently I’m a good listener, empathetic and I don’t judge – who knew. The thing is though, does one have a limit? How much stuff can you take on board before you’re full and more importantly how do you get rid of the stuff? Spring cleaning the mind – now there’s a title for a self-help series!
When DH and I go to visit my mum and dad we often drive past a hobo sitting forlornly on the side of the road with a mismatched, ragtag bundle of meager possessions. He’s a big man, long hair and a full beard – filthy dirty with a puce colured coat and head down, never looking at the passing cars. I always wonder how he ended up in such a dire state?
“I used to be somebody you know
People used to look me in the eye, shake my hand and call me sir
That was before
That was before that night – I signed the deal and they told me I was the best
Everybody wanted to buy me a drink and I didn’t say no
Dave wanted to drive me home but I told him to piss off, I was no girly that couldn’t hold my drink
I got in the car
I killed him you know
They say I hit him so hard that he ended up in the ditch across the way
Just 16 he was, on his way home from football practice
They put me away for a while but I got parole for “good behaviour”
Bloody joke, no booze inside.
And now, sleeping rough,
My family moved away, no forwarding address
They deserted me – the bastards
I’m afraid, especially at night
I hide behind the station
Under the boxes
They hurt me when they can find me
They take my stuff,
I’m all alone.”
Postscript – I wrote this a few weeks ago and didn’t get around to posting it. The irony of the situation is, when we went to fetch my parents for Christmas lunch at my brother’s today, there was a plain wooden cross in the spot where he used to be. Willie, that was his name, died on 17 December 2012.
I was watching a documentary on the evil scourge that is domestic abuse…
She fell to her knees, her arms clasped over her head
He was shouting
She could feel the rage, coming in waves
She daren’t look up,
He would kick her, he always kicked her and that last broken rib had taken its own sweet time to heal.
She could hear him swigging from the bottle,
The ugly sound as the rotgut flowed down his throat to ignite the physical onslaught that would surely follow
He was bad tonight, she had seen it as soon as the door burst open and he’d come staggering in, his eyes burning with malice
He’d been laid off, again.
Three jobs this year, come and gone like the few cents she made from doing the washing for Number 24 on Nob Hill,
She closed her eyes and prayed.
So I was having a think this morning over a mug of tea (cue fanfare and loud comments of “oh no not again”). I hooked up with my best friend this week for a chai and a chat as she having multiple marital issues. In a nutshell, plenty of money, gorgeous offspring but a total ratbag of a husband. We were sitting on her patio overlooking her newly renovated home with everything material that your heart could desire and she turned to me and said “I’m so very unhappy”. There are various good reasons why she can’t leave his podgy backside and make a new life for herself but that’s for another session, enough material for a book and a movie series.
This whole convoluted cornucopia was the source of my early ruminations. DH and I live in a very old house, it’s a reasonable size mind you (especially for two) but it’s well worn. There’s a lot of DIY work that needs doing and the job jar remains alarmingly bulbous despite everybody’s best efforts during the odd spare 5 minutes grabbed at the weekend. On some days it irks me to the point of despair but on most days I don’t even give it a second thought. You might wonder why, given my type A personality (if I have it correct type A people are those who like everything just so, well-ordered and neat and tidy – if not type A then whatever letter goes with those characteristics, also known as pain in the behind by some.) Well you see, it’s because of those darn little things:-
– When I get home from work and my husband greets me with a loving warm smile, every day.
– When we’re at a function and his eyes will find mine from wherever, just to check in.
– Because he knows that, no matter how upset or miserable I might be, a cup of tea will always cheer me up.
– Because he respects me and my opinion and we talk, a lot (I think the talking is more a result of us having been together for a goodly while than a natural thing but whatever).
Don’t get me wrong, this is not an all out love fest and there are days when he irritates me so much that if I owned a pair of Jimmy Choos I would be sorely tempted to crack him over the head. On the whole though, when compared to a freshly laid floor, the little things win every time.
I am really busy – life at the moment is a whirling hodge-podge of work at the office, work at home, eat and a sprinkling of sleep. The cliche’d rollercoaster, merry-go-round, hampster wheel, treadmill were never more appropriate! DH is in the same leaking canoe and we pass the hours ensconced at a desk in front of a computer.
Two nights ago, I was to be found perched on our bed with my laptop trying to reconcile a client’s unadulterated abomination of a general ledger. The night was crystal clear and the attraction of my study had lost its appeal hence my migration to cosier climates. On the television was a BBC documentary about a group of wounded soldiers preparing to mount an unaided expedition to the North Pole. The range of injuries was diabolical and despite my best intentions to focus on why one and one wasn’t making two I was drawn to their enthralling story. Their courage, determination and positivity was quite spectacular, especially in the face of incredible odds.
I looked at their faces and it was as though I had been doused with a bucket of cold water. Here I was, complaining about how stressed I was, how much I had to do, how jolly unfair life was in general – reality check! Before I could talk myself out of it, there was hot chocolate in a thermos, blankets under my arm and a very reluctant DH in hand. To be honest, the thought of smacking him with the thermos was in the forefront of my mind because of the repeat commentary “I don’t have the time for this”. We sat on the patio, toasty and comfortable and the heavens provided the light. We talked and we laughed (quietly, it was late and we have neighbours) and just for a while there was him and me.
“One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson
PS: I see in the last two weeks all I have managed to do is still be busy – perhaps it’s time I actually listened to myself instead of just writing it down!
(All my personal opinion – no insult intended – just a thought.)
Do you think about the hereafter? Irrespective of your religious inclinations (or not) do you ever ponder the prospect of life after death? If you’re a Christian (like me), the whole heaven and hell thing is apparently what lies ahead. One would deem it safe to assume that in heaven it’s all moonlight and roses, everybody gets along, there’s no poverty or crime or war or hunger – utopia. The thought did cross my mind though that does utopia exist because all residents are in spiritual, ethereal form and the thus there’s no wing size envy or covetous desire of somebody else’s better fitting robe?
In fact most religions seem to believe in the afterlife in some shape or form with a liberal dose of reincarnation thrown in for good measure depending which way you lean (Wikipedia has quite an extensive write up here if you’re interested). The thing is if you’re a big bang theorist then what’s the deal? When you pass on do you decay and go back to forming part of the earth again – which has a distinct religious hook to it?
Alternatively, do I really care what happens when I depart this mortal coil? When I’m dust, ash or anything in between will it really matter what part of the cosmos I inhabit. This metaphysical, philosophical internal debate happened while pounding the pavements last night after work. Perhaps it was the most spectacular sunset to grace the skies for quite some time, perhaps it was an overdose of sweat and heavy breathing – whatever the reason, my conclusion is that the hereafter can look after itself, the here and now needs my full attention and (on most days) it’s a whole lot of not too shabby!
(The parking lot is is bloom)