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Sep 10

It’s been a while…

Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2016 in Family, Quickie

…since my last confession.

I worked at a boxing match this evening and should probably be flaking on the couch watching television but it suddenly struck me that I should be talking to you instead.

I have thoughts about motherhood, the competitive nature that lies within. The jogging pants, the networking updates declaring achievements of marathon runs, of mummy college graduations and I must admit to feeling a bit inadequate, but that’s my problem, not theirs.

The school car park is where all of this happens. I used to stand amongst the other mummies waiting for our little snot-nosed characters to be released from the guard of their relentless underpaid teachers and we used to make small talk in the meantime. It was nice small talk, but it was superficial which was nice then, but now it’s more cackle than I can handle in my already overcrowded mind and besides, mummy groups are the straightest route into getting roped into things.

Now I sit in my car and pretend to listen to voice mails on my phone while doodling on the back of old diesel receipts, pretending to look busy. I play Candy Crush sometimes while trying very hard to maintain a serious expression. It’s quite sad, but it’s understandable.

Sometimes I do venture out, and hover outside the mummy groups. I laugh awkwardly and venture into their various circles but I don’t belong. I resort to retorts about the weather, I compliment their babes in arms, they compliment mine. Then we all go home.

I wonder sometimes if other mothers feel like me, if they have a boundary, if they’re lonely in spite of loud obvious laughter, in spite of the jogging clothes. Maybe we’re all the same, underneath.

 

Nov 26

Confessions of an Ambulance Driver

Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2015 in Hackney Cabbing, Jobs, Rantings, Taxi driving

I like driving. I always have. I remember watching my Dad driving as a nipper and looking at the gear-stick and wondering WHY? HOW does he know when to change the thing and what aren’t there more pedals? He tried to give me driving lessons when I came of age, and had a minor anxiety attack. I feel I’ll be in that seat, so to speak, soon with my own sproutlings.

 

The biggest thing I’ve driven is an aeroplane, but it was just little one, a Katana. The instructor let me take the wheel for a while and we did belly flips and anti-gravity tricks and things and I gave the instructor a minor anxiety attack and so he took control again. That was something I’ll never forget. But it’s expensive.

The next biggest thing I’ve driven is an LDV Convoy. That’s just a fancy way of saying ‘van’. It had a large water tank in the back of it though. When it was full it played havoc with turning on roundabouts what with your centrifugal forces and such nonsense. And, as every Irish person knows, you can’t sneeze without stumbling upon a roundabout in these parts. I have smelled several nervous farts dealt by passengers and co-workers on hectic days, but I didn’t say anything for I am a lady.

Now I’m an Emergency Medical Technician and I get to drive an ambulance. Ambulances are a lot like aeroplanes in that there is a lot of delicate cargo rattling around in the back. Explosive tanks.. metal things that can become dislodged… and obviously the odd delicate patient.

I hate ramps, by the way.

Getting to the point:

Being a female driver of a large vehicle, I find that the biggest novelty isn’t my own excitement, its the excitement of on-lookers. Recently I arrived at a job, and was required to reverse against the flow of two-lane traffic into a narrow junction. Instead of kindly assisting the traffic however, onlookers pointed and laughed and nudged each other. They were DYING for me to crash into something. Several of them had their phones out, recording my efforts.

No pressure.

When I successfully and safely reversed my baby into her place, and disembarked, I could literally smell the disappointment from the crowd. One bloke walked up to me and said:

‘I hope you don’t crash that thing on the way home, love!!’

So of course I replied:

‘I hope you don’t have a heart-attack, darling.’

Nov 18

Arachnophoboprophylactic

Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in Family, Humourarse, Philosophy, Strange and Unusual

I have a new theory that I have been testing out for 18 days now. It is a prophylactic spider:

spider

It is not a real spider.

But people sometimes think it is, and tend to stamp on it violently forgetting that this is not a country where large spiders tend to exist, hence its lack of legs. Poor inanimate thing.

Since Hallowe’en, I’ve noticed that laying large fake tarantulae around the place has led to a lack of spiders who would generally otherwise invite themselves into my home AND NOT PAY ANY RENT so I left them there presuming that spiders are innately carnivorous and would probably be terrified of large counterparts who might eat them. I’ve googled this theory intensely but have not come up with any answers other than anecdotal evidence so I am conducting this experiment alone, and will keep you updated.

There is one by the front door, one by the back door, one on our bedroom windowsill and one at the back of the house for extra measure. Since Hallowe’en I have not had one single spider enter my home. This is quite impressive considering the grand soft Irish weather we’ve been having lately. Not one single spider.

I’m not mucking about here, by the way. I’m very serious about this. I have regular dreams where cute little animals suddenly develop eight scuttly little legs…

squirrel

… and given that I’m the only coal-fetcher in our house I can assure you that monster spiders are lurking for I have seen them. They are there.

In the dark.

Waiting to come in to my nice warm house.

And this is why my fake spider sentinels will remain in place, ready to not pounce, ready to not eat them.

Mar 20

Your mother was a hamster

Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2014 in Philosophy, Rantings

I don’t like to start arguments as a rule, not even on my worst days. The ‘live and let love’ concept seems to make the world go around in my opinion. But, sometimes it’s fun.

Rarely, very rarely, I find extremists (nazis perhaps, though I shudder to use the term) who are hellbent on making everyone else bend to their way of thinking and this is where I come in… with a sense of humour of course.

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Albert Einstein

Did Einstein really say this? I’m dubious. It’s very easy to make a statement and accredit it to Einstein, because he’s dead. And infamous. So, I could say ‘The future of mankind’s success is based on masturbation’ and accredit it to Einstein and most suckers would believe me and be fap-happy ’till kingdom come, but it doesn’t make it true.

I had to stick my oar in.

“Agreed, but isn’t it due to the protein from meat that our ape ancestors consumed that led to the evolution of our larger brains?” I ventured. To which was replied: “I suppose our ape ancestors couldn’t comprehend that when they had a BBQ ..a vicious circle I do believe.” Score! A silly answer and sarcastic with it! I would be crazy not to confute.

dogue

My ancestors didn’t fight their way to the top of the food chain so that I could become a vegetarian.

“Would we have industrialised and eventually evolved internetz (for this conversation was on social media as opposed to my normal kitchen fights) if our ancestors hadn’t discovered the tools to hunt and cook animals? This carnivorous nature of ours must have something to do with our being at the top of the food chain. I’m playing devil’s advocate – I don’t eat meat much, when I do i’m aware of where it comes from. Not saying our kind shouldn’t eat vegetarian more often, but isn’t it thanks to meat that we are who we are?”

It was several hours until I got a response.

Are you bored yet?

“If you fed enough meat to a deer would it get smarter too ?” was the eventual answer. It was said in quotes, but I’m not sure who quoted it. This was a red flag for me.

I argued the shit out of it. I mentioned opposable thumbs. I wanted to see a deer use tools. I wanted to know why if this person was raised by vegetarians, her eyes weren’t on the side of her head instead of in front of it. AND, if they are indeed at the side of her head, why isn’t she in the media and does she have trouble finding sunglasses?

The argument continued… I won’t bore you with the details.

“Chimps would have opposable thumbs regardless of eating meat. Do u think they wouldnt be able to use sticks as tools if they didn’t eat meat? Is it because they eat meat that they have opposable thumbs ?? The point of the quote is that humans now would be better being vegetarian. For the envoirnment and for health reasons. I believe we would of still evolved if we didn’t eat meat. But as to what we would of evolved into.. Who knows.”

hip

Some conversation. The ironic thing is, I agree with this quote. I think fast food and processed meat is a disgrace. I think supermarkets should charge extortionate prices for meats that are cut up in abattoirs, and that local farmers should be the main suppliers, local economy should be the main profiter, not the global companies. My favourite foods are avocados, carrots, beetroot and mayonnaise made from free-range eggs. I also have a weakness for prawns, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

Yes. I know I should be arguing more serious things with more serious people but honestly I’m no politician and from an outsider’s point of view, I can see that serious arguing makes no difference because principles are very fickle things. All I want to do, is have some fun.

Please, for the love of Eris, somebody start a fight. All this normality is driving me crazy.

 

Feb 24

I hate to interrupt you but…

Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 in Jobs, Philosophy, Something to think about, Strange and Unusual

… there has been an accident outside.

Imagine you are at a volunteer first aid meeting (if you’re into that sort of thing) where you are expected to sit and be relatively comfortable in your mindset, you are wearing your best jumper and jeans or maybe your pretty heels because you never know who may be looking at you and judging you. You might even be wearing a suit. You are expecting education on a formal basis.

It is a commonplace meeting and you may well want to be somewhere else but you are there because you are there, you are bored or needing an outlet, but you are a volunteer nonetheless.

Suddenly:

a person known to you, a contemporary if you will: runs in and announces that a horrible car crash has happened outside. You are dubious but somewhat alarmed.

I’d like that. I’d like to disturb people out of their zone of security and lead them out into a mayhem of contrived chaos. I’d like fake blood and ripped up pieces of paper to represent broken glass. I’d like to spill water on dry ground and let people wonder what this fluid is, and then flick a cigarette butt into it and cause an imagined explosion. I’d have a driver with a pretend brain haemorrhage who is the father of a child who has suffered minor injuries in the back of a crashed car (because he was wearing his seatbelt) who could give a full history of not just his father’s medical background, but that of his friend’s who is in the passenger seat and suffering an asthma attack brought on by stress.

Interesting, maybidge?

I and a fellow meeting volunteer have contrived sick plans in our sick minds because we want our stagnant meetings to have a bit of flavour, and to introduce an opportunity for otherwise bored people to go out and heal sick people on a whim. I and he would rather this be kept a secret, to which you are privy.

What say you? What sick and accidental contrived situation would you imagine if you could? Nobody is watching. Everyone that reads this blog is unjudgemental so please unleash your best! But shhhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

Think your worst. Think reality. Give us a scenario to practice our healing because we NEED it. We need to practice, they need to get their suits and high heels dirty. I would like to orchestrate the play from Hell, because that is life, that is what should be expected from us.

REALITY. Choking babies. Exploding supermarkets. Your favourite neighbour’s heart attack.

Reality is harsh, but plays are fun, and practice makes perfect.

No musicals though. Lyrics shall not be accepted.

gunnd

Is it cruel that I make light of such a thing if we’re to be rescuers? Should a love of horror be disturbing?

I fear for the day I find a teddybear at the scene of a car crash where a child has been decapitated.

Help us to prepare. Life is cruel.

Curtain opens…

Feb 1

Riot Police

Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 in Family, Jobs

Movie nights at the school. I’d bowed out of this lark at the beginning of the year but something drew me back in.

I’m not a huge fan of crowds, I hate shopping. Crowds of children are more manageable though, at least when I bare my teeth and threaten to punch them, they get that I’m joking whereas most adults don’t.

One child ran into a heating vent and inflicted a pinpoint wound in his scalp which he boasted with no pain at all but still made sure everybody knew how major the lump was.

Another was hit at point-blank range with a soccer ball and accepted the purist sorrow from a complete stranger. I did not kiss it better, but my 3 year old son passed my sentiments along.

I got to watch ‘The Croods’ for free, and I will admit to stealing a bag of sweets and a teabag from the staff room, but the biggest theft was that which could have had my family home earlier,  maybe to let go of responsibilities and relinquish them to others might make them stronger but it was nice picking up popcorn with them and re-arranging desks and hearing how things could have been done better, or worse.

I got home to my fire, and my wine, and my Criminal Minds. Study tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, then exams.

Then hopefully I will be an EMT.

Jan 9

Officer Apollo

Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 in Awards!, Jobs, Rantings

Mashing spuds earlier, I got a nice phone call. It was from a dude I work with at a volunteer organisation, he was calling to leak gossip about the boss’ mumblings at a meeting the evening before, and told me that I’d been elected ‘Officer of Morale’, and that they are going to talk to me next week about it officially.

I doubt there are stripes for this, but a tattoo might not be out of the question.

Talk about tachycardia. My heart began to thump at the enormity of the job on top of my already extremely dubious title of ‘Chief Fundraiser’. An imaginary Imp popped out of the toaster and immediately convinced me that I now have the potential to let a lot of people down. But, then again that could be the DTs.

Depression (yawn) and anxiety are a pain in the ass. Why do these people have so much faith in me? it wonders. I am Eleanor Rigby, wearing my face that I keep in a jar by the door. Could be I’m a sucker for offering to do things or not saying no? Doing things is fun! That’s the irony. When a job is well done it’s a great buzz and the weight goes away.

Those potatoes got mashed very well this evening.

How does one raise morale in a volunteer workplace though?

Do we have a Silly Hats Day?

I know bowling should enter into it, a big old barbeque in the Summer maybe, but what else is there? I’ve no imagination with this sort of thing, not really being a people person per se. I like weirdness (see above) so have a large capacity for inappropriateness. Plus! There’s very little you can do around here that doesn’t revolve around booze which is getting boring.

Please let me know if you know anything about this sort of thing, any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

Jan 5

Goddessing in its highest order

So. I believe I was telling you a story before I got distracted.

Once upon a time, not so long ago I was blessed with experience, an entirely different experience which is difficult to write about as most life-changing experiences tend to be. It was an adventure of the Goddessing sort of order.

I’m not a sort of Goddessy sort of person though, let’s just sort that out right now. If I had an altar, it would consist of several old birthday cards, a dead fly, a box of matches and an empty vodka bottle. My chalice would have coffee stains in it and my coven would be ignoring my texts. Nope, I’m not that sort that embraces Wiccan technology. I do love it though, when others bare their souls to me. I call it Goddessing here, because these souls just happened to be female, as a lot of souls tend to be whether they like it or not.

It happened during the Costa Rican adventure, which was an adventure within an adventure which is what happens when one is caught on-the-hop and one hopes that nobody is filming anything for fear that one would be caught in the act of being a gobshite: A fight-or-flight situation, if you will. They were quad-biking, these people. There were Minors. There were Majors there too but these Majors were highly trained in the ability to predict, prevent and warn against accidents so there was that element of false security because accidents always happen.

So, there was an accident.

The road was beyond bumpy, I had known this from my adventures the evening before and in my infinite wisdom I had thought ‘Ah sure they’ll be grand!’ in my Irish way. It was as though somebody had made a perfectly good path, then chewed it up, gotten drunk and spewed it back up and then poured acid all over the remains. Large pointed rocks stuck out at weird angles, scree and sandy pebbles made wheels spin, pot-holes the size of posh televisions threatened to pick up  the bikes and knock them into the ditch along side us. Total concentration was needed which was difficult given the view of the idyllic deserted beach to the left and a steep embankment of spooky wood with enormous Jurassic-leaved plants hiding alien forms with scuttly feet and eerie cries on the right. Distraction was everywhere, as was heat-exhaustion. If that doesn’t teach teenagers what rough is, I don’t know what will. I hadn’t accounted for the bravery of photographers though. Their angles escaped me, and it wasn’t the perilous road that was her peril. It was the slippery leaves, the things that were least likely to cause injury. It’s the innocent things that get you, in the end.

quad

The posse stopped all of a sudden and voices of alarm could be heard above the throbbing engines of the strange unpredictable excitement.  I turned my head as the paramedic ran past, and in slow motion it dawned on me that an accident had occurred, and that I might be needed.

I baulked.

I don’t have much experience with medical emergencies bar those that have happened to my family. I didn’t want to get in the way, didn’t want to be useless, didn’t want to waste my training, didn’t want to make mistakes and have people scorn me. Nothing seemed quantifiable.

The confusion cleared as I saw what had happened.

Arawa was our mother, our earth. I and Curly were employed as mothers to the children on this trip, but Arawa was our guardian to keep us mothers grounded. We went to her if we wanted somebody we could trust, she was our person we could call Home. She is the all-understanding type, a worrier, a warrior, our sense of humour when we were out of our depth, she also had a love of photography so she was always there taking sneaky shots of weakness and heartfelt emotions and we were all secretly thankful for that, she had a way of hiding our flab. She was hurt.

She had slipped from the rising embankment while trying to climb above our sweaty heads for a panoramic view of bike and beach. She lay on her side clawing desperately with one arm at her leg, her face was ghastly as she wore an expression of horror. Our mother was in need of help and I didn’t know how to act.

I ran to the side of the experts and offered my help from a distance.

Paramedics  threw me a Sam-splint.

“Have you worked one of these before?” they asked.

“Sure!” I lied. But. I have the ability to speed-read and thankfully this shit comes with instructions.

A Sam-splint is a pliable structure with a foam exterior and a metal innard, it comes in a 36″ roll which can be formed into a rough support for a damaged limb. I folded it in half, moulded it and loved it to its fullest extent because I loved its recipient. I made a heel, and studied her calf like a sculptor and did the best that I could.

“Good Job!” they said. Afterwards they offered me a Cheers in a verbal sort of way, the sort was like the American High Five and not as cheesy maybe but still feels very, very nice.

We suffered a gruelling ride in a big 4×4, all expenses seemed a piss-take when it came to CostaRican back roads because she felt every miniscule. Rugged maybe could describe it, but to say that it was a hole that had a road in it, would say it best. She screamed with every bump and I held her and asked her to focus, like I had focussed at childbirth. At least childbirth gives you something at the end… this woman had nothing. We both blessed her with all the Goddessing we could manage and she felt our being but she was at a loss. Pain. PAIN. Indescribable. Focus. BREATHE. I was amazed that she didn’t pass out. Bravery in Goddessability.

She was planted in a foreign room. They demanded an extortionate amount of money (tens of thousands!) for her to be treated but of course she had not got that money straight to hand. She was a film executive but even film executives would not ordinarily have that many digits at her disposal. I was fairly disgusted. Helicopters are expensive I suppose. Thank goodness for fortunate friends at the end of embarrassing phone conversations. I say embarrassing, but I have a feeling that the person on the other end of that bank balance would be only to glad to help because Arawa is that sort of person.  If it had been me, I would have probably lost that limb. Such is extortionism.

Broken Tibia and Fibula in a foreign country.  Imagine that you fell in a way that BOTH bones in your lower leg were fractured. How much pain would you feel? Imagine that the muscles in that leg contracted in response to this trauma, pulling the limb into a strange contortion so that every motion brought you into a fucked-upededness pain that you had never thought imaginable before? This is pain at its worst, and you are all alone, no insurance, no help. You pay thousands or you remain alone, you lose a limb. Forseeable thwartapossability and thousands of dollars for release. I didn’t know Costa Rica (America?) was Third World. “Gimme Money or you’re fucked”. I was suddenly glad of Irish Health Insurance and so was Arawa but she had no access to it because it was out of hours. Nobody seemed to care. She was so apologetic, disgustingly apologetic. Such is the irony.

You’d want help in the way of immediate medication, pain relief, if you can’t breathe and your leg was all fucked up?

What if you didn’t have medication? What if you couldn’t afford it? How long could you scream?

What if you only had two women. Me, and a scantily clad yoga instructor to help you?

Breathe” How useless did we feel?

“FUCK OFF AND FIND ME MEDICATION! I love you” That was what she felt. Dichotomy. Can you imagine?

We were all she had. And she is overly thankful to us in hindsight as we are to her but she can’t see this because SHE WAS IN EXTREME PAIN AND MEDICATION IS EXPENSIVE. Birth is nice because you get a baby out of it, but could you deal with PAIN OF AN EXTREME NATURE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY FOR TREATMENT AND YOU GET NOTHING BUT ABNORMALITY AT THE END? She felt embarrassed, but it was the healthcare system that should be embarrassed, not her. America is pretty, but it seems backward to me.

These things happen to teach us. We all learned from this. And we all became better people because of it. And there is no shame in that. Some things are not our fault.

There is no shame in pain. We all feel pain. Every one of us. Nobody needs to feel sorry, apart from the crappy system.

We all learned something, through our nakedness, because we had to beg in out darkest hour such is the nature of life, each and every one of us. Truthfulness speaks: In a strange country it is bad that in strange places you need money to pay for accident. Arawa deserved more than what she got.

When we are naked, may there always be one who will always spread her arms and shield us and make light and tell the world to mind its own fucking business. That will be our friend and wherever we all have friends may we have the strength to find them and not be afraid to ask.

Stick with it.

We’re all broken in some way or another.

Every system will someday be healed.

 

 

 

Oct 2

Mind over Matter

Posted on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 in Family, Jobs, Strange and Unusual

I sat on the floor at the back of the van, dangling my feet over the tarmac below.  A cool wind blew through me despite the oversized jacked I’d just put on.  I’d just spent two hours helping two men clean a housefull of gutters, which involves hoses and ladders and cross-breezes and accidental drenchings.
Mr. P walks over and tells me I don’t look well.  He advises me that as a fellow employee, he would advise me to bring them all home, lest I infect him and Ladderman D. He tells me that having to miss half a day’s work to go to TAT’s to play Tiger Woods would be worth the loss of earnings.

That gave me the idea. 

* * *

The battle raged as it had done for the last 27 years.  Constant enemy attack was commonplace inside the keeps, but the troops were well fed, well numbered and constantly prepared to defend their walls at whatever cost.  Recently they had been working harder than ever, but the atmosphere was running hot and cold, and their Queen was becoming weary.

She sat in a cold tower high above her kingdom.  Constant sounds of invasion clammered below, but were drowned out by the queen’s thoughts as she hatched a plan. On the sixth bell she sent for her messenger.

~

“You heard me.” The head of defence paced nervously around the main room that served as control centre.  “Direct orders.  We need to monitor sector 4 closely and relax it’s defences.”  He gazed over the see of confused faces and began to lay down the plan in detail. 

The orders didn’t make sense to these loyal subjects.  They had been told to let the enemy in.

A northern representative piped up.  “This could have disastrous effects, sir.  Head of State really isn’t going to like it.  Be it a direct order from our Queen or not, it still poses a great risk.  The enemy is clever, and can find doors within our castle that we have no knowledge of.  Once they enter, they can hide and infiltrate our system quickly.  By the time we catch wind of this, it may be too late!”

“This is why we must also prepare.  A message has already been sent to your sector.  There will be a great gathering tonight, where we will be merry and replenish.  Stocks of medicine have arrived, rest assured we will not be found weak.  We are preparing for a minor controlled invasion in sector 4 which will be over in a matter of days and then, my good people, we will re-emerge stronger than ever!!!”

The room erupted with cheers and animated chatter.  Meanwhile… elsewhere in the castle, a portcullis gate slowly opened.

* * *

The computer hummed and keys tapped names and numbers onto a spreadsheet.  I lounged on the couch nearby and passed the Xbox controller to a guy sitting to my right on a foldup chair smoking a cigarette.  I tried to speak, but the words got stuck in sticky sludge and made me cough.  He took a swing.

“Umm.  I think I’m sick.” I said.  TAT swung round in his leather office chair instantly.

“You’re shitting me!” He exclaimed.

“Doesn’t sound like it to me…” Xbox boy chimed in; “she sounds kind of husky to me.  One sick cat.”

TAT sank into a pool of groans and wore an expression like that of a hound in the rain.  The decision slowly dawned on him that maybe a day driving the lads around whilst sitting in the van reading a book might not be such a bad thing after all.

Today.  I am sitting on the couch with a duvet wrapped around me swigging echinacea straight from the bottle and playing Tiger Woods with glee.

Project ‘Mind over Matter’ executed succesfully.