I saw these grey painted doors set into a grey brick wall built onto grey concrete and thought yup, these dull doors are for me today! And then I thought – hmmmm… a letter box and flap is kind of a door-within-a-door just for letters, isn’t it? 🙂
I get really annoyed when people don’t have good manners – particularly living here in the ravenous dog-eat-dog world of busy London. If I hold open a door for someone, or step to the side to let someone walk past, or give up my seat to someone on public transport, I expect at least a smile of recognition or maybe a ‘Thank you’ in return – after all, good manners cost nothing, right? And of course some lovely considerate people do smile and say thank you, like polite people should.
But when I invariably DON’T get a thank you or any other acknowledgement of my action, I have a really bad habit of smiling and saying loudly ‘You’re welcome!’ as if they HAD said thank you. Sometimes I get an embarrassed ‘Oh, er, thank you’ mumbled in return, sometimes I get an insolent stare, to which I smile sweetly and say ‘thank you’ expectantly, and sometimes I just get completely ignored. But whatever the response, for some reason I get great satisfaction in not allowing such basic rudeness to go unchallenged.
I’m not usually a get-involved-in-dispute, rock-the-boat person in public, but I honestly believe that one little consideration – a polite recognition in some form or other that someone has gone out of their way to do something nice for you – is an important line to hold, however busy your day or stressful your journey or otherwise preoccupied you may be in your own insular self-importance to the exclusion of all others.
And I think probably the best response I have ever received was from a little boy holding his mother’s hand, who, when I held open the shop door for them, smiled and said thank you to me even when his mother just barged past and didn’t even acknowledge me. She looked down at him when he spoke, and he responded quite critically to her ‘Mummy you’re supposed to say thank you!’ – It absolutely made this grumpy old woman’s day 🙂
Hmmm… I’m not generally the world’s most spontaneous person, as much as anything because for me life has not historically lent itself to the freedom – the luxury in my book – of spontaneity. Well, apart from my very beginning – I was born in a hurry as my mum went into spontaneous labour three weeks early, and as I was lying in the transverse breech position I was eventually delivered by emergency Caesarean Section in the wee small hours of the morning.
I had a lot of sore skin and bad breathing allergy problems as a child which, while growing up, seriously restricted what I could eat and what was safe chemically to come into contact with – in fact I was in and out of hospital several times throughout my formative years due to particularly bad flare-ups – so inevitably a lifestyle of learned caution and careful consideration was born positively out of necessity rather than negatively out of negligence on my part.
I had my first baby a scant month before my nineteenth birthday, and then two more in relatively quick succession (with my third baby born just two months past my 21st!) and as a young mum of three I tended to continue to be cautious for my children’s sake. So I may appear to be a bit of a stick-in-the-mud by some people’s standards, but I owe no apologies for that. I have always had personal responsibilities that took precedence, first to myself and then to my children, but not (I feel) ever to answer apologetically to the uninformed opinions of rest of the world at large.
However in spite of my obvious lack of spontaneity I don’t really consider myself to be conservative at heart – I can still be a reasonable risk taker when the odds weigh favourably enough, and I certainly haven’t lived my life quietly hiding in the shadows respectfully toeing the societal line without question. I studied full time for my degree as a single-parent 30-something adult, graduating with a First Class Honours Degree at 40 – two years after I first became a grandmother – so am certainly not averse to venturing into unknown waters in the right circumstances.
Personally I feel that had my lifelong health issues not restricted me so badly in early childhood and beyond, I may well have developed more spontaneous behaviour from the start, continuing on from my unconventional and unpremeditated entry into the world. But like it or not I am where I am – still living cautiously with my ongoing allergies well into my fifties, with all three children grown up safe and sound and out in the world creating their own lives, one with a successful career and two with young families of their own.
No gap years, no travelling the world, no spontaneous ‘fun’ in that sense for any of us. But I have to say I’m very proud of all of us for simply doing our best in life with whatever hand we’ve been given… 🙂
So, apparently this week Fandango is curious to know how I deal with stress? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… oh… well… um… maybe laughing maniacally at my on misfortune isn’t exactly the level of response required here.
Historically I’ve always dealt with stress by comfort eating. Currently though, due to recently diagnosed problems with my digestive health, I’m having to be VERY careful about what I eat – including eating minimal animal fats, salts and sugars, which I must admit pretty much make up the bulk of all my usual comfort foods… sigh 😦
So right now on top of the stress of everyday generic life stresses AND being menopausal I’m also trying to deal with the stress of NOT comfort eating by distracting myself wherever possible from my cravings for comfort food. Colouring in, listening to music, walking, crying and feeling sorry for myself… And when that doesn’t work I’m stressing myself out even more by beating myself up for not coping, creating an even bigger internal mess of stress.
But I’m determined I’m not giving up on it all, my ongoing internal health is important to me so I’ve decided to try to help reduce my external stress factors by giving up instead on all news of Donald Trump messing about playing chicken with China and Iran, Theresa May messing about playing chicken with both the European Union and her own parliament, oh, and America making itself even more not-great-yet-again by banning abortion…
My blood pressure just can’t handle it all any more, I feel like I need to ban all news coverage for a while. So I think I’ll take to sitting here with my fingers in my ears going la la la la la la la… a bit like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, but at least hopefully my digestive system will be happier 🙂