May
29

Tell Me Why I Don’t Like Weekends

People love weekends. I imagine most people loving the three-day weekend this week.

I like weekdays. Why?

During the week, I stress constantly at work; I work in a stressful job in a stressful environment. I sleep poorly. I eat whatever is quick because I feel tired. On the train home, I slide down the seats like a bag of wet sand, and into an exhausted snooze.

But weekdays mean people. Weekdays mean being out of my flat and out of my head. Weekdays mean things to do.

I failed to learn to make friends very well. I mean, school, especially boarding school it’s easy. Close proximity and common problems glue people to together naturally. Human nature tends towards tribes. I’m sure there are a lot psycho-social terms and reasons.

I blame my dad; don’t we all blame our parents. But in single-parent family, when the parent is an alcoholic and a vicious one to boot, anger is the only form of communication. I failed to learn anything resembling social skills. But that was just on the bad days. Good days he deserted us, preferring the company of barflies and girlfriends.

But that means being alone often. I learn mostly by imitation. The imitated people on television as best I could I guess. In real life I gained weight and my disability affected me more and more.

I used to wish I was an alcoholic or religious so I had a ready-made community.

Friends tended to be people who reached out to me rather than the other way around. I craved company yet felt horribly anxious around people. Everyone, over the years who reached out to me, I owe a great deal. Boyfriends and a husband filled the void when I had them. More-ready made company.

It took years – decades – before any doctor correctly diagnosed my bipolar disorder. I realise now how much energy I spent containing my disability as best I could. I failed often. As I got older things worsened. I experienced a hormonal imbalanced un-diagnosed as well. Naturally, ageing exacerbated it.

Now meds control those things and I learn as best I can to reach out and try to make friends. I started learning to build friendships. Social anxiety and utterly poor social skills dog me still. Next I need to learn to try to pre-plan socialising on weekends to avoid too days alone. Particularly lately as I struggle with a bout of depression.

But today, I don’t like weekends.

Time to reach out.

May
15

Hatter Spends a Life

A Very Short Story: Hatter Spends a Life

Sometimes my flatmate and I refer to Hatter as “Catdog.” He acts like a cat. Back when his behaviour was very bad, he’d leap up to the work surface in the kitchen when he wanted to steal food.

More like a cat – Hatter proves again and again he has nine lives: His run off and run straight across Purley Way a number of times. He once yanked his lead out of my hand and ran into Purley Way, just on the wrong side of the kerb, angled toward the road a bit. White car rushed towards him and he turned his head just in time to miss the car with everything but some of his hair.

Earlier today.
A small bit of background: Hatter and I have practiced recall for a long time now, and Hatter generally runs back when called these days. So we (my flatmate and I) allow him a little bit of off-lead time. He walks on the grass near the river and we walk on the path.

Suddenly Hatter drops his ball, starts barking and rushes towards the Wandle.

“HATTER!” I shout, just as the sound of dogs fighting rips through the air.

I fling the bag from my shoulder and run down the bank toward the water. A large mastiff-sort of dog has Hatter by the throat.

Of the couple walking the dog, the man clips his dog’s lead on his collar and pulls back. The dog pulls forward, now tethered to a pivot point. The pivot causes the dog mass to continually fly around in whichever direction inertia dictated.

“Just stay there!” I shout to the man and grab the conjoined dogs, who from the Hatter-side, fall into the river. I try to pull them apart, but the mastiff’s jaws clamp down. I call out: “Come down!” at my flatmate standing on top of the bank.

I push a couple of fingers into a gap in his mouth, towards the back. Little by little I pry and push my fingers through and pull up on the roof of the dog’s mouth — an advantage of it being a big dog, I suppose. The dog’s head moves up and Hatter squeals. I yanked hard at his mouth and finally he relaxes his jaw.

His owner drags him away. He and the woman mumble worries I can’t hear but I and the flatmate say something to ease their angst.

Hatter hyperventilates and coughs while I check his throat for blood. I see no blood. Hatter moves around like Hatter always moves around. I conclude: the big mastiff-type dog had grabbed him by the collar.

I reckon that is life number 4.

That was ealier today. Hatter sleeps soundly on his pillow. I may catch my breath again any time now…

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