Oh for goodness sake, where have I been! Drawing out Lent, I should think not, as though privation were good for the soul, for this soul I mean (because no it isn't) or as though I am Greta Garbo, gawdssake, with a big loud megaphone blaring that I Vant To Be Alooooone! When actually, I don't, not really. I like the community of disparate souls that gather around the flames of blogfire and it wasn't my intention to banish myself forever to wander in the dark forest toute seule. At least not yet. At least I don't think so. And I say this with whatever shreds of strength are left to me by this wretched chronic Condition of mine, which I will neither go on about at great length nor seek in any way to deny, and this is quite a trick to pull off, so give me a few gold stars for this. I am not sure that I have been earning gold stars for much else. I have written some poems and taken them to workshops, I have given attention to workshopping other people's poems also and this continues to feel meaningful to me - in other words, like real work. And I am honing a skill that I have yet to find a title for, but let us call it Giving Myself License - GML for short. As things stand, this basically means that I park in places that strictly speaking I shouldn't, but I hope to find creative ways of extending this and will welcome all suggestions.
Went to see my GP the other day. Come back - what do expect me to blog about on my first post, post-Lent, and I can file it quite reasonably under the label Life and Stuff. Ahem. GP has been away from the practice for a while as he became the father of twins. A photograph showed from behind a box of index cards and I saw the crowns of two smooth baby heads. He looked tired but did not mind that I had come with a list of ten or so things. He is by no means the brightest button in the box but he is unfailingly courteous and does what he can with the limited resources allowed by the NHS. There needs to be dialogue between him and the specialist I see from time to time, and in order for this to happen I have to be on the case or things get stuck. So yes, much time is given over to health matters. I don't mind. I am still hopeful that if some of the issues underlying my symptoms can be addressed then a measure of wellness may be given back to me and will never believe that it was part of Anyone's masterplan that I should come into the world and be so ill for so long. When things go wrong, when something vital is lacking or malfunctioning you try and put it right and you go on trying while there is hope and while you can. That is all.
Meanwhile, you carry on and develop strategies. One of mine is to give myself license to break minor rules. Call it covert bad behaviour of the mostly uncriminal kind. If there is a queue anywhere I will, if possible, try to jump it. I park my car beside petrol pumps at Tesco Express when I just need some shopping but no petrol. I park in the bays at the back of the doctor's surgery, which are only supposed to be used by staff, when there are no spaces at the front. I do these things to save my strength and because there are times when walking up an incline can make me much worse, and standing in queues will always do that (if interested, see Orthostatic Intolerance). So yes, the other day I parked at the back of the surgery. Plenty of space there, no-one spotted me, no harm done. And you see that photograph at the top? That was taken by Mr. Signs on a lovely day in Brighton when we were having a walk and fancied a cone of Mr. Marrocco's ice cream (length of queue is testimony to how good it is). We went to the back of the queue, as one does. Then I asked Mr. S to wait while I went to investigate. Are you going to try and jump the queue? he asked. He knows me, doesn't really approve but is also realistic. Make mine a raspberry sorbet, he said. I hovered around the glass counter looking as though I was studying the various different flavours on offer. There was a kerfuffle of people choosing things and a bevy of scoop-wielding shop assistants. One of them spotted me and asked what I wanted. I walked out with two cones - simples. On our walk back we spotted the same person that had stood in front, still waiting and reckoned I must have saved us about half an hour.
Am I a bad person? This is rhetorical and not really up for discussion, at least not in my hearing. And, like I said, suggestions welcome.