SAY WHAT?

Someone once said ‘Into every life a little rain must fall’. I can see how this works as a ‘we’re all in the same boat so buck up‘ kind of statement.

However, Dolly Parton took the monsoon metaphor too far, beating it to death when she spouted ‘If you want the rainbow you have to put up with the rain’. That’s on a par with ‘If you want the diarrhea you have to put up with the dodgy kebab.’

Now I like a good rainbow as much as the next person but it’s hard to adhere to the rantings of a woman who couldn’t even kick that trollope Jolene into touch.

There’s just certain ways of expressing stuff. I work with a lot of younger people at the moment. In fact I could have fathered most of them (though if I had done, I’d never have had the time to wash my smalls). Anyway, I do sometimes wonder how I’m being perceived by my colleagues. ‘Cool, ageless, older brother figure’ I’ll accept. ‘Flatulent, feckless old uncle figure’ I will not. I’m so hip I’m practically unhip and totally down with the kids – though when they say something’s ‘sick’ I still want to locate the first aid kit…

Mind you, how people view us is a bigger deal than we may realise. A while back I wandered into the Disney store (when I indicated before that I was down with the kids, I really meant ‘kids’). I am not ashamed to admit I was eyeing up a Miss Piggy mug despite being initially drawn towards the Animal backpack.

I took my mug to the counter and the jolly girl serving said ‘Aww, how old is your little girl? She’s going to love this.’ I should just have said that the mug was for me but what I heard myself saying was ‘Oh, well, er Molly’s going to be 7 next week’…and it didn’t stop there. I begain to enjoy having an imaginary daughter (they’re so little fuss) and by the end of the conversation Molly had just had braces fitted, come top in spelling and won a 2nd place rosette at her first gymkhana. Yep, I have an imaginary pony as well.

It’s easy to get yourself verbally tied up in knots though. One time I was just leaving the Doctor’s surgery when a woman came up to me with her son and asked where the toilets were as the kid was in need. I told her that the gents were right behind her. She looked at me blankly and asked again where the toilets were. I pointed to the door directly behind her with the little man sign on and repeated that they were over there. Her voice suddenly went stern, declaring ‘my child is a little girl.’ Realising that there was no way back from this unintentional faux pas I went for the honest response ‘Wow, she’s really boyish isn’t she?’ then legged it to the lift ASAP.

Is honestly always the best policy though? When a friend asks how they look in a new outfit do you always say flattering things even if the garment gives them an arse the size of the Titanic? Personally, I want to know if I’m adopting the mutton dressed as lamb look or if my deoderant isn’t fullfilling its promise.

There are ways of saying it…and ways of not. Like those skin crawlingly uncomfortable TV ‘talent’ auditions where the obligatory nasty panellist writes their unpleasant comments off as merely ‘telling it like it is‘. Says who? You can offer a bit of tough love without being downright rude. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to make for massive TV ratings.

My favourite misconception with language comes via a classic Scots joke. A woman is being propositioned by a randy waiter in a restaurant…

Waiter: ‘Would you like some super sex?

Woman: ‘I’ll have the soup please.’

This Is The Place…Isn’t It ?

Belonging.

It’s a complicated old concept I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Without realising it, most people have a place where they feel they belong, or a person(s) that they belong with. A constant they will automatically return to.

It’s not based on ownership or entitlement, its just an inbuilt homing pigeon instinct that propels us directly to where we feel we’re meant to be. You don’t question it, it’s just how it is. It has a sense of permanence – as much as anything is permanent – and it makes you feel secure and comforted.

Relationships are complicated beggars but solid ones (be they family, friend or partner) may well dictate where you feel you belong. Train stations are great places to observe people returning to their ‘safe place’ as they reunite with loved ones. It’s comforting to observe faces light up as their sense of belonging confirms on first sight of their special someone.

A friend said to me recently that you can’t belong to a place. That it’s down to a person to inspire where you feel you’re supposed to be. However, if there’s no one to produce such a feeling then cant a location manage it?

Everything is transient. The temporary nature of life all too easily trips us up but certain things carry on long after they appear gone. Memories for instance are powerful things though in good and bad ways. Those rose coloured specs can throw a mean curve ball at times but sometimes they are all we have to go on.

You’d think I’d be going somewhere with all this musing wouldn’t you? Truth is, I haven’t got a clue how it all works (or doesn’t work) though I have a feeling that sometimes the snow globe of life just needs a good old shake.

NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS

Sometimes we all need an emotional MOT. An inner spruce up can work wonders and there’s plenty of unconventional options to investigate.

Maybe you’ve always fancied finding your inner child (mine is probably in a huff). Perhaps you have a long held ambition to reach out to the universe by naked sky diving – flange or knackers to the wind.

I’ve explored a few alternative notions and although the following, painstakingly researched guide (which took a good five minutes) is not definitive, it is, at the very least, deeply flawed…

I Didn’t Know You Could Shove Something THERE…

Colonic irrigation!

The very mention could bring tears to a ventriloquist doll’s eyes. It’s supposed to inwardly cleanse, outwardly improve appearance and boost energy levels so I thought I’d give it a crack (no pun intended…OK, maybe a little bit intended).

My backside bubble bath came courtesy of a ballsy Aussie (of course) called Molly who immediately got down to the job in hand – she didnt even buy me dinner first. Within minutes of meeting I was on my side in the foetal position, arse open for business while she casually nattered on about Tim Tam biscuits and sorted out her hosepipe.

Next thing I know, my cat flap had been well and truly infiltrated as Molly began having a rummage around with what felt like a Pringles tub. She muttered something about it going up the wrong way…how many routes can there possibly be? It’s pretty much a cul-de-sac (again, no pun intend…oh who am I kidding?) So, after reversing then re-entering, presumably having consulted a map, we were off again and the tap was turned on.

I felt so violated I thought I was going to have to call the Police. Surely this couldn’t be legal? After a couple of minutes though, it sort of settled down and she even showed me ‘stuff’ that was being flushed out and through the clear pipe. It can even dislodge things that have been stuck in your tubing for years. I swear I saw the Basil Brush fan club badge that I swallowed when I was seven finally evacuate the building.

After half an hour of flushing, abdomen massage and being told everything there is to know about box jellyfish I was done. Inwardly cleansed and fairly unscathed. Did I feel massive bursts of energy afterwards and that glow other people raved about? For about ten minutes maybe but it was a tad disappointing to be honest.

I did feel that the hosepipe and I should have got married though (the fickle implement has never even kept in touch).

Oh Reiki You’re Not So Fine.

Reikie.

This is where a ‘master’ lays his hands just above and around your body, channelling the healing powers and strength of the universe in order to clear any blockages in the body that are stopping it from doing its duty.

I called up a practitioner who told me to call him Ricky. Game over. How could I take seriously getting reiki from Ricky? He told me he charged £45 for him and his wife to basically feel me up on a table for an hour with no guarantee it would help. A win-win for Ricky the reiki then but a severe loss to my bank balance.

Shrink wrapped!

Therapy.

Emotional release can be attained through counselling. A check up from the neck up if you will. If this was America, I could pop along to a therapist in the same way we go to an optitian. Good analogy – both can help you to see better – but the UK just hasn’t caught up with the USA in its ‘can do’ attitude to mental health.

Over there it’s very analytical with your every thought challenged. Over here the woman I tried was more like talking to an old biddy at the bus stop. She spent most of the 45 minutes telling me HER life woes as if this qualified her for the job as much as the dubious framed certificate on her wall.

She threw out phrases like ‘I’m holding your troubles in my heart’ and ‘I feel your pain’ (yeah and £38 plus bus fare of my money in her back pocket thank you very much). I did glean two important lessons from the session however:

1) Anyone can set themselves up as a counsellor (so beware).

2) There’s one born every minute.

For feck’s sake, SMILE

Think it, BE it!

Studies suggest that loneliness undermines health which in turn causes high blood pressure and heart disease. Urine samples taken from the lonely (well it passes the time, they’ve nothing else to do of an evening) were found to contain high levels of epinephrine – a “fight or flight” hormone.

Since the body’s stress hormones help fight inflammation and infection, doctors believe loneliness contributes to the wear and tear of aging. Being the eternal singleton truly is the unwanted gift that keeps on giving…

So what have scientists offered as an antidote? Smile therapy. Keep a rictus grin glued to your face until you’ve convinced even yourself that you’re actually in a good mood.

There’s a fine line between a grin and a leer though and when I tried smiling inanely at anyone and everyone I freaked several people out and attracted the unwanted attentions of a nutjob called Gladys.

BOOZE

Merlot or shiraz.

Works everytime.

DREW-RASSIC PARK

My names Drew and I am a dinosaur!

Apparently acceptance is the first step towards enlightenment but good God – when did it happen to me? I am still so young and vibrant (to all my friends – SHUT UP! I AM). I pride myself in my effortless immaturity. I am hip, cool and groovy – kids still use those terms right?

Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans it seems. Not sure what I was busy planning but I certainly seem to have been looking the other way. I was probably busy eating a Twix or something, I don’t know, but here we are, well into the digital party and I forgot to R.S.V.P.

I now seem to be constantly and unavoidably hit with barrages of technical babble just to enable me to get from A to B. A piece of poop for the majority it seems but, for me, you might as well ask me to scuba dive in a saucer because, frankly, I don’t want to play.

I think the online world has caused us to lose way more in life than we’ve gained. It’s become an iron lung we cannot seem to function properly without.

Whatever happened to :-

  • Talking to people face to face ?

  • Being able to spell ?

  • Forming proper sentences ?

  • Shake & Vac (OK, not a relevent example, but what DID happen to it?)

Call me an old fart if you like – and, after a quorn stew, you’d be uncannily accurate in that accusation – but we’re fast becoming a world of illiterate strangers.

Go on public transport, into any bar/cafe/restaurant or in pretty much anywhere there are living breathing people and all you see are heads looking down at some sort of appliance, ignoring their partners, friends and the outside world in general. Wasn’t the advance of communications supposed to bring people closer together rather than making us more and more distanced from one another?

Walking to work, its impossible not to notice that the bulk of my fellow pedestrians have earphones in and eyes fixated on a screen, thus cutting off two major senses. They don’t even look up at crossings to check if a truck is approaching.

It’s a pretty embarrassing demise if you get flattened by a tram just because you were too distracted watching a clip of juggling kittens or something equally trivial. No minister or vicar could deliver that eulogy with any dignity.

I have a friend who doesnt even use a credit card and steadfastly refuses to be forced into getting one, preferring instead to pay by cash or cheque! This may be extreme but there are many things in life that are thrust upon us with no choice, so if you can dig your heels in about other things I can see the twisted appeal. I’m not advocating we go back to barter and exchange – I don’t have any camels to trade at the moment – but often the simpler things in life remain the best.

A sunset, angel delight (Flake optional), a genuine belly laugh with that old friend who shares your sense of humour, turning on the radio and hearing a song you love – the list is endless and none of it involves charging anything up !

Maybe those of us without the natural inclination or desire to form relationships with computers should start a support group?

I concede that part of my aversion is a complete lack of interest and that now, more than ever, the working world largely rejects you if you’d rather cut your googlies off than create an excel spreadsheet but it’s square pegs, round holes people! We can’t all be good at everything. Some of us are just on a more spiritual plain (again, to my friends – SHUT UP!)

Mind you, if that shepherd job I’ve applied for turns out to involve electronic sheep that only operate on j-pegs I’ll be hugely disillusioned…

Perhaps I’d just prefer a hassle free life? A less meddle-some existence? Just yesterday, my email provider, for no valid reason, forced upon me changes in the format and design of my messages. It hasn’t made things better, its made them worse…way worse (with no option to change settings to suit). Why BT why? I was happy with the way things were in my limited little PC world (good name for a shop that – what do you mean there already is one?)

My name is Drew and I’m a dinosaur…and proud of it !!!!

LET ME HELP YOU (whether you like it or not…)

I know this is the digital age and that our daily interactions are meant to be faster and more streamlined but, retail and public service outlets – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I BESEECH THEE – will you please stop pushing other unwanted information upon us !!

Yesterday, I headed to the Post Office. I just wanted to buy a stamp (for those of a youthful disposition, that’s a small sticky square thing that pays for the delivery of a letter…oh, hang on…a letter is a written document that people fold into an envolope…an envolo…oh for feck’s sake…google it.)

Anyhoo, before I’d even finished uttering my request, the woman on the counter butted in…

‘Who is your broadband provider ? Whoever it is, I bet the post office have a much better deal you know‘ she forcefully declared before shoving a pamphlet into my hands.

This was just the overture…

‘And if you don’t mind me asking…’

(I DO, not that it would have stopped her)

‘How much do you pay for your mobile and line rental? We do a much better deal than everyone else right here at the Post Office.’ Another leaflet was thrust upon me.

‘I JUST WANT TO BUY A FIRST CLASS STAMP !!!’ I wailed, desperately hoping that this Stepford salewoman would take the hint.

She didn’t.

‘And what about your house insurance? We do a lovely little deal here at the Post Off…’

‘NO! NO! NO!’ I yelled, forced to be abrupt as she failed to notice me curled up in a ball rocking and crying by this point. The lengthening queue weren’t impressed either though it was obvious from their glares they didn’t realise that it wasn’t me causing their delay.

The counter woman looked a little crestfallen but how else could I get the message across how ridiculous this all was? ‘I’m a little peckish – do you do cheese & ham toasties here at the Post Office? How about podiatry? I’ve got an ingrowing toenail that’s giving me jip…’

I decided to wave the white flag and retreat, slid my letter back into my pocket and sloped off, drained and defeated even though she was STILL pushing unwanted information at me. Let the next person in line have a go at getting her to give them the ACTUAL thing they came in for.

On my way out I was accosted by another staff member asking if I needed any services that the automated system could help with. Despite noticing that the queue for this was even longer I let out a freeble, babbling whimper ‘I just wanted to buy a stamp’ …

‘Well, we have lots of options for that here at the Post Office’s automated service…you can have first class, second class, recorded delivery, then there are all the weight options…’

I actually ran out of the place, headed into the nearest newsagents and was charged £27.50 for my stamp though, by this point, I didn’t care.

Sometimes less is more. I don’t always need or want MORE options that don’t help. I want simple, uncomplicated, straight forward. Remember how easy that used to be?

Go into any clothing store and you have the same problem trying to navigate through a formerly simple transaction.

You just want to buy a pair of pants and leave before anyone notices that you’re no longer a 32 waist but is this possible? Nope because you get held up by someone trying to force feed you the dreaded store card.

The staff clearly loathe and feel uncomfortable doing it but obviously have no choice so they pretend to wrap it up as a great deal even though, at it’s heart, it’s just putting the public further into debt so people higher up the organisational chain can get a bonus.

For the hapless few that do go along with it, they’re stuck for half an hour giving intimate details of their financial and personal life not always understanding exactly what they’re signing up for. For all they know, they may have just promised to name their first born after the store manager.

If you don’t go for the debt and destitution option, there’s usually some other card or add on they have to inform you about, oblivious to the fact that your eyes glazed over ten minutes earlier and that you’ve actually outgrown the garment you tried to buy during the time it’s taken just to purchase the damn thing!

So I have come up with an easy yet effective method of cutting the crap in order to get your task completed quickly so that you are free to get on with the rest of your day. A system so simple you’ll wonder why you hadn’t thought of it yourself…

Fart & Go.

You have to put a little bit of preparation into it beforehand – downing some green, cruciferous vegetables perhaps or scoffing something overly eggy, whatever it is that makes your insides churn and flatulate.

You are then ready to head out into the wide world, fully prepared to unleash the beast whenever you anticipate that a load of customer service babble is coming your way.

For example :-

Counter person ‘…and have you got one of our fantastic new…’

YouPARP !!!!!

Counter person (totally taken aback) ‘I err, was um…’

You (grabbing bag with purchase in and leaving) ‘Good day to you.’

Voila ! Job done (no pun intended, I don’t advocate following through unless it’s a particularly complex transaction)

So, consumers of the world, there you have it.

Just Fart & Go !

Good day to you 🙂