28 Apr 2013

Post 394: Second week trying to somehow get by

I have survived week 2 of operation ‘enforced survival’, two to go. You might think that is a slightly melodramatic name, so sue me. I could have gone for operation ‘I will not roll over and die’. I should be so lucky.
My strategy for dealing with this has been to beg people to do an evening meal here, a weekend day there and work around any events I’ve had in the diary. One of my biggest worries, how to handle my morning routine (showering and washing myself, then breakfasting) has been handled during the week by a combination of my brother (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and Jose (Mondays, Wedensdays and Fridays). Knowing I’ve had these guys doing my weekday mornings has been a big help, it has seriously reduced the fear. Thanks lads. Evenings have been a different kettle of bicycles ;). They’re a bit of a funny one, because it’s obviously about being fed something non-fattening as I’m always trying to lose weight and maintain a high protein, low carb, medium fat diet. Despite not being fussy about what I eat in any way shape or form, if food gets put in front of me, I’ll eat it –I’m just grateful to eat!
Perhaps a bigger deal than I’d imagined was dealing with the solitude in the evenings. I’m sure people who have lived on their own know what I’m banging on about. When I used to live on my own before this, if you felt the sudden urge to not be on your own you’d get up and go out, you’d meet someone for a drink or go and have dinner in a restaurant or wander round Tesco’s, basically, any ploy to be where there are other people, it’s a strange sort of mammalian impulse, ‘safety in numbers’ I guess, the impulse to be alone does happen but not nearly as often. It’s got to be to do with feeling safe, I think, sadly disability means you never feel completely safe on your own. Asking for help is a nasty grey area because there seems to be a point where people’s goodwill runs out and it feels pretty undignified asking for more help, plus my experience with former carers in Oxshott and some less than kind nursing staff in hospital has rather undermined my faith in human nature and any confidence in myself to be the type of human being that people want to be around. Because, what my stroke has meant to me is that what I can give in any relationship is seriously undermined. I do everything I can (eg Concerts, lunches, even offering to pay for travel to/from here) but it doesn’t seem to be proportionate (and quite rightly you don’t pay people to be your friends, people hate it, I don’t like it, plus I’m hardly flush, the offer of reimbursing expenses is always there). I rely on a group (thankfully quite a large one) of real friends (mainly my university friends, the loyal (and charitable) friends I have met since coming to London and some real gems I have met recently, not forgetting my family whose patience with me has been unsurpassed.
As an independent, employed, late 20 something my family and friends had probably hoped I could fend for myself, which I was doing just fine at until Christmas 2005.
Changing the subject ever so slightly: Probably quite a controversial statement is saying that 90s music was far better than the 80s. I would go so far as to say the 90s was a golden age for music and a lot of the 80s was a bit cack. I have a few mates (obviously who are slightly older) who might be incandescent that I’ve dared say such a thing but this is my blog and what I say goes. FACT! No, I’m not that much of an idiot. I have discovered that putting FACT after a statement does not make it so. FACT. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is I make it my mission to go to any 80s/90s band revival gigs and decent comedy shows at the larger London venues as I can get my hands on. It’s what I do. I glumly might speculate it’s all I can do. Luckily they’re a big part of operation ‘enforced survival’!
When I put out my undignified ‘HELP’ appeal on facebook a few weeks ago, I had one or two encouraging replies, they largely meant I got through the week just been and next week isn’t looking too disastrous, but always having a different person who doesn’t know where things are or how things work as I suspected has turned out to be the hardest thing. When just explaining where things are is exhausting things can get a little tedious for people doing their level best. The cats and I will be so pleased to see the Palmer’s.
Such a big thankyou goes to one of my favourite girls in the world, the lovely Alice Icely, who kindly dropped her sons off with her mother-in-law and took me to see a band we vaguely remembered from the 90s ‘Counting Crows’ at the Hammersmith Apollo, a superb venue for live stuff, so naturally I’d had a go at getting tickets and luckily I’d got them. The 90s was certainly a golden age for this kind of guitar and piano driven indie rock’n’roll. It is quite ballad heavy rock’n’roll blues and the lead singer has a voice straight out of grungeville, Seattle. Thankfully,It isn’t the absurdly disingenuous ‘lets be positive for the sake of it’ crap that bands like ‘Two Door Cinema Club’ churn out. I do try to be positive but reality sadly seems to be a bit shit. Counting Crows did however commit the #1 sin that revival tours from 90s/80s bands sometimes make, that of not playing their most popular song, ‘Mr Jones’. I don’t understand why bands do this. I couldn’t give a f*ck that they’re tired of playing it. Us concert goers pay their wages. Play it and look like you’re enjoying it – the capacity crowd would have gone beserk – what’s not to like? F*cking Primadonna rockstars, not content with their cushy ‘not real’ jobs. Their ‘Musical Integrity, dude’ somehow comes into it. Harumph. So, that was Monday survived, I love Alice – it’s a happy coincidence she’s ended up marrying my oldest friend Dom. Tuesday, I had down Marcus Brigstocke’s show ‘the Brig Society’ in the diary and I had asked the lovely Mel (seen here looking after the last of our takeaway Nandos) to take me. Mel is one of the brave few who have decided that I’m worth getting to know since my stroke. She’s a kind soul and is quick to tell me off when it looks like I’m about to be a miseryguts. Good on her. Like my other science teacher friend Rachel teaching is the thing that dominates her life and I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like. Still, I’m grateful that she (and Rachel) have given me the chance to be their friend.
Now, I have seen Brigstocke a couple of times – at both ends of 2009 . Now back then I was finding a lot of common ground on his rants about how all organised religion was tosh but now all he does is pour himself a glass of champagne, put on his Fabian society corduroy and complain about how ‘unfair’ everything is. It is yet more Champagne Socialism which is one of my pet hates. I try and keep politics out of this blog and separate from most of my post university friendships because I seem to be at ideological loggerheads with a few of the more misguided ones. I just believe in taking the opportunities you’re given. I can’t be doing with idleness. I see a lot of the way I think as logical common sense, but apparently it’s only logical common sense because I am right-wing. I would of course argue it’s logical common sense because I am right. As much as I enjoy the occasional ideological scrap online, I do understand how people get bloody tired and fed up with constant moaning, something I almost certainly do too much of. I don’t want people to get more tired and fed up with me than they already are. My point is this: Get a real reason to complain before doing it rather than complaining on behalf of people who would more than likely tell you to f*ck off. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all lived in a Utopian world where everyone cared about each other where everything is fair? Well it would be and socialism is a nice idea in theory but a disaster in practice, but that won’t stop the bleaters, people like Brigstocke. These people are often very charismatic and funny, but they don’t half talk shit. Still, challenging my perspectives is what I aim to do. Champagne Socialism is just an example of a deeper malaise – that of caring about things that you don’t really care about. eg Religious Fundamentalists that work themselves up into believing that blowing yourself up and killing other people who don’t believe in the same nonsense will earn you favour in an afterlife that has no empirical evidence it exists. I sometimes can’t believe people are that stupid!
Thank goodness I can call that rant to a halt, it is much more important that I let people know how important and grateful I am in helping me survive. So, I’d made it to Wednesday where I’d booked to go to a charity comedy gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre with Isabel, a quite amazing lady who to me has been the find of the last few years. While Gary and Gwen have been away she has literally offered to help whenever I have a gap in my evenings and what’s more she is competing in a triathlon in a couple of weeks to raise money for the Dom Pardey Trust. She doesn’t think she is, but what a saint! Please look for the method of donating by paypal after looking up Isabel Gomes on Facebook. Taking her (or rather her driving me and sharing her babysitting costs is the least I can do. We’re going to some good stuff in the next few weeks. And finally, a great big thankyou to Christian and his wife Terri (the Cheds) for looking after my wellbeing this weekend. We had one of our customary wine, cheese and Homeland watching sessions which are bloody great! And Cheese (one of my cat) couldn’t resist cosying up to actual walking humans that could actually feed him. Thanks for staying over Friday and Saturday nights guys and just as an addendum, thanks to Gary for writing out a lexicon of ‘how to deal with Dom’ what a help it’s been, especially in the mornings when I’m often too tired to speak!
Apologies if this is a bit long and boring for some people.

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