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2 Jan 2011

Post 263: 2011 arrives (with a fizzle)

I have been thinking about what to write in this post for a couple of days. I'm not really sleeping well either which helps nothing.
I'm not a sociopath, i.e. someone who just says the first thing that comes into my head. Arguably, I think I have quite an effective tact filter but have found myself thinking lately when someone blathers something that wouldn't interest anyone at all, I have resisted the temptation to say 'excuse me, you appear to have mistaken me for someone who gives a sh*t' – apparently that's quite harsh. Someone I don't know all that well wrote me an email today asking about what I do with my post stroke life. I had to think about it and came up with this – I suppose the only bit missing is that 7 days a week, I put myself through a physical training regime which keeps me in shape but normal humans would 'give up' on but I'm not in the habit of letting people down
'Firstly, thanks for keeping up with the blog - it feels that writing it is somehow more worthwhile. It does sound like we would have been unlikely to have crossed paths. Before my stroke I was very London-centric. I lived in Brixton, worked in Victoria and a lot of my friends were quite centrally-London based. Now, I live totally differently, friends aren't just on my doorstep and I'm rubbish at being alone, so life is now about meeting new friends and asking existing friends (nicely – sometimes almost pleading) to make plans to come and see me or take me to an event. This has pretty much become my life now. Feeling alone is pretty much my idea of hell, so I try and keep busy and in good company.'

'I like to think I've always been compassionate. I was always the type to proactively listen to peoples problems, but having this happen has made me appreciate others more, my parents are a great example. Since I went to Uni in 1995, I was always fairly independent of them even though we've always been close. Since my stroke they have been unbelievable. I often used to joke after 2 years in hospital. 'I've seen more of them in the last 2 years than in the rest of my life!' They gave up holidays and a peaceful retirement to try and make my bloody awful hospital sentence less unpleasant. I like peace and quiet too but I hate being bored and idle which is probably why I go to so many shows, probably too many given my fatigue and resources, but what else would I do? Sleeping and watching telly alone are dull.' Especially sleeping alone.
Audiobooks are one place I take refuge, they certainly increase the breadth of my knowledge and give me the ability to voice less bullsh*t strewn opinions about things. In the past I have been less than generous with my opinions on the city and those who work for financial institutions, investment banks and stockbrokers (here is just one example of my ranting) , anyway, the book I listened to before to try an explain the virtual 'end of the world' 'the Trillion Dollar Meltdown' was interesting but perhaps a bit dry so I turned up 'The Big Short' written by Michael Lewis, the same guy who had written 'Liars Poker' (my musings)
Now it's easy-ish to say you saw a financial crisis coming with the benefit of hindsight. Lewis doesn't actually do this, instead he cleverly and wittily tells the story of a few guys who did, and my conclusions were pretty much unaltered although I am slightly more incredulous that financial Armageddon basically happened. If anything, I recommend some of my more firebrand friends listen to it as a jargon-reduced way of understanding why the taxpayer forked out billions to prop up a banking system that nobody likes anyway, because apparently banks need to be prepared to pay for 'the best' people. The very same 'best' people who practically brought down the system, ironically they must be sniggering all the way to the bank! B*stards. who should take the flack for this? Well plenty of people, Banks for inventing these investments backed by worthless pools of money that clever Maths PHDs said were perfectly safe, misincentivised mortgage salesmen in an America who were simply rewarded on the total number of mortgages they sold rather than the total number of performing mortgages they sold (where performing = people who could actually keep up repayments). It was a sick joke, a fraud and a scam, dressed up in what turned out to be the emperors new clothes. I am gutted to be in a world where we do this to ourselves, where the greed and power of the few subordinates the happiness of the many. I accept totally that power has to be concentrated in a few hands to represent the rest of us, it's just such a shame that the interests of a few seem to be so different to those of the many and how money and power are so corrupting. I'm no idealist so I'll shutup, I'm just existing because I'm allowed to, this isn't remotely funny so is hardly worth reading. I will try and make this funnier in 2011.
Big thanks go to my friends who made time for me over the New Year Period. Richard 'He Shoots, he scores' Lloyd and his six months pregnant wife Vicky who have moved in down the road (in Claygate) (I went to their wedding in October last year)
On New Years day, I had two separate visits from mates of mine who had obviously had as large a New Year's eve as me, James Renshaw, a mate of mine from college and a friend, who I have got to know through facebook, Froniga. 2011 will doubtless be more graft and a lot of the same as 2010, on the Physio side I have committed to get Ian trained and accredited by ARNI (action for Rehabilitation of neurological injuries). Ian is a jack of all trades and as he is my main trainer, it makes sense for him to get some neurological speciality input from an organisation that has got people like me walking again.
I keep trying to find the girl who'll help me through this and despite being in touch with a few she remains elusive. I should probably just stop going on about it. The kittens are growing up into very nice cats, and are now less convinced that anyone showing an interest in them clearly must want to kill them. They are quite happy to be fussed over and are totally dedicated to Susan (my housekeeper), as is she to them. My neighbours have just got a dog, which is not the nightmare it might sound like, he has been an angel (so far). Dylan (next doors 8 year old) is thrilled. At last, he finally has a play companion with as much energy as him!

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