4 Feb 2013

Post 381: January is bloody over, hurrah!

No this sadly doesn’t mean I magically feel better and although my relationship with alcohol isn’t all that symbiotic, it is a relief to be able to drink again. My whole life really isn’t about this,

and parties these days are more about ‘making the effort’ (most of the time sadly)but giving something that is a biggish part of your life up for a month I would recommend just so you can either enjoy the health or other(eg financial) benefits or really savour taking it up again, Christ, I almost feel like taking up smoking again just so I could quit. Twisted logic eh? Anyway, I have my dad to thank for taking me out to lunch on the 1st Feb where I had steak and a glass of Malbec.

My kind of enabler. It was after he took me to the opticians. Glasses are sadly not a solution to my massive vision problems.

The stroke has meant my right eye sees about 30 degrees above my left eye so I see double (I don’t even have to drink for this to happen!) so despite already having glasses I’m going to get a lighter pair which I’m hopeful won’t make my eyelids feel like they have to work so hard to stay open.
I actually received the type of email this week that makes me feel a bit better and doesn’t make me want to desist from making all effort. It was from a stroke survivor called Cameron and it said that it sounds like I’m doing the right things –ie that ‘I go places, meet people, do things’. Which could really be a motto for my post-stroke life.
I have quit trying to be an attractive person, anything about being attractive about me has gone, if it ever existed, that was in my 20s, instead I focus on avoiding and damage limiting things that make me unattractive, this may sound somewhat nonsensical but maintaining being attractive and avoiding being unnatractive are very different things. Some might say always smiling is attractive, now I would say perpetual frowning is unattractive. I physically don’t know how to smile anymore, I just don’t (can’t) unless something f*cking funny has just happened in my general vicinity. Instead, my face is the perpetual frown and tired eyes of an exhausted person. It’s all I can do when in the presence of someone else to fight this frown and it’s a b*stard.
I just figure the least attractive thing about someone could be if they were boring and unfunny, so I try to be interesting and above-averagely funny, not an easy thing when all I feel capable of is sleeping. For starters if anyone offers to take me to something, I always say yes, or I better have a damn good reason to say no!
Attractive vs trying to avoid being unattractive is a way of life now but you’ll agree it does sound like a double negative. Now, I remember a while ago, a friend of mine correcting herself because she had not framed what she had said in positive enough language. At the time this seemed ludicrous, and I think I said as much as it seemed a disingenuous affectation – trying too hard to be positive which sounds like bullsh*t, but about a year later I read something about the brain processing positive words quicker. Now, I’m not the kind of guy to automatically reconsider my position but I’m not a dick. Egg is ever so slightly on my face and given that the apparent reason for my constant feeling grimness is slowness of nerve impulses in my brain, anything that speeds the b*stards up is a help. My latest tactic in the ‘War on weirdness’ (TM) is to take up Speech therapy again. After all, when you meet someone and make a first impression, it is very much how you sound as well as what you say that people judge you on - and people saying they are non-judgemental is patent bollocks. Apparently a lot of our mind is made up for us subconsciously in the blink of an eye according to a book called ‘Blink’ I listened to in 2010 .
So, speech therapy, my first session is today and my counsellor Cathy (who used to be a speech therapist) has recommended a former colleague because she’s the type of person I’ll get along with. This is vital because my speech therapist history has been a bit chequered. When I last gave Speech therapy a try in 2009, Elmridge’s community speech Therapist was a miserable old battleaxe with the air of a disgruntled Teacher some of which were doubtless caused by my obvious antipathy towards her. She was soon dispatched. Awful humourless woman! Her and her exercises can f*ck off and all.
Before I left hospital, I didn’t have much luck with the therapist. I remember saying to her at the 2007 Christmas party, ‘you seem to have forgotten your Hat and Broomstick, perhaps a little harsh but so very true! I still have fond memories of my Frank Cooksey speech therapist Annabel, who I just used to laugh with. Speech Therapy is not easy for therapist and pupil. From one thing that’s not easy to another. My physical training is probably the most important thing I do. It is not forward looking, it is about maintaining what I’ve got and a big part of it is walking holding on, seeing as the last video provoked some comment I thought I’d post another one complete with a bit of commentary from my dad who is obviously not familiar with the camera!
It is horrific!
Seeing as I’ve said the only thing that’ll make me smile is something properly hilarious happening in my general vicinity I’d ordered up a double dose of funny on Saturday. My mate Sacha

(easily the funniest lady I’ve ever met) taking me to see Canadian comedienne Katherine Ryan

at the West End Centre in Aldershot. Now the West End Centre is my undiscovered gem of comedy – it is 45minutes drive, has a car park and as a space takes about 60 people. Jose, my physical therapist and trainer lives 5 minutes walk from it. He has always been quite rude about Aldershot but it seems fine to me. As a non-local I think you were more likely to have your head caved in when the town was full of squaddies a few years back, in fact my mate Paul who was a squaddie in Aldershot

a few years ago was supposed to be meeting us there but he got some weekend shifts doing his new job as anaesthetic practitioner which is knocking people out in a more controlled way.
Despite Jose being a little disparaging about Aldershot there’s a nice new restaurant development and judging by how busy it was I wouldn’t describe Aldershot as too down at heel, both restaurants we tried to go to were full and had huge queues. First Nandos,

then Mezzo, La-di-da. Better than f*cking Oxshott.
So Katherine Ryan – I’d seen her on 8 out of 10 Cats

and she has that glorious combination of being pretty, hilarious and a bit mucky. Jimmy Carr can be as filthy as he likes, a pretty girl doing it has a certain Je ne sais quoi and as the West End Centre is such a small space she was right there!

Her warm up act Jeff Leach was also pretty funny. Jeff is a 6’4” man not afraid of his metrosexuality

, obviously a bit of a ’man about town’, not ashamed to share his sex addiction or piles stories. Here is a name to look out for in the future. Obviously, I hate him out of sheer jealousy. Seeing Sacha again was brilliant, she no longer lives down the road-has moved in with her other half, she’s got a new job and is one of those people to whom being busy comes with the turf. Energetic, funny people are in demand, that’s how it is.
Last but not least I was taken out for Lunch yesterday by the mum and stepfather (Caroline and John)

of my oldest mate Dominic.

If people can be bothered with me I will be bothered with them! End of Story.

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