Blimey. What a stressful day. I’ve been really anxious for most of the day and it was only a combination of cake, ice cream and two episodes of “Sex Education” that has brought me to a stage where I can calm down. Honestly, getting older and removing all genuinely stressful aspects to my life, is not a very easy thing to manage. Now, it’s just one trivial issue that has caused me to worry all day whereas it used to be a combination of being sworn at by a 13 year old, managing an underperforming member of staff and getting Senior Staff off my back about exam results. In the unlikely event that I ever look back on this post, I’ll just think I was desperately searching for issues to worry about. There are so many complex and terrible things going on all over the world at the moment and here I am, feeling awful pressure about the TV contract we have.
It started with the Tottenham v Brighton match which was pay per view. When I went to order it with Sky Box Office, I got a message telling me to contact Sky. I did that, fixed the issue and then got sweet talked into paying for BT Sport through Sky to save me £30 a month. I phoned BT to let them know and got sweet talked into paying for Sky through BT saving a total of £70 a month. These two phone conversations took nearly two hours a few weeks ago. Everything was installed today but now we don’t have as many channels to watch and I can’t record programmes on the second TV.
Volunteering at Samaritans is very good for my mental health because it has taught me the benefits of opening up about my feelings. There are three ways to contact Samaritans: phone, email and online chat. I’ve just completed the first phase of the training that will help me respond to online chat. Yesterday I worked a shift, answered two phone calls and responded to three emails which were pretty gruesome; there’s a lot of people out there who are in genuinely difficult situations and for whom suicide is the only way out. My volunteering has shown me the benefits of opening up. There are a lot of emails to answer and some people write a huge amount which I imagine is very helpful. Writing things down can in a sensible, ordered, rational manner is a very calming way to deal with one’s anxieties. Hence, this post today.
When I finished the second paragraph of this post a few minutes ago, I looked at what I’d written and a voice in my head said “Diddums”. I haven’t thought about that word for over fifty years. I’ve just looked up it’s definition: “something to say that you feel no sympathy for someone who is behaving like a child”. I guess we used to say it to someone who, when the ball hit them on the leg and we all shouted “LB!”, complained that “it’s not fair”.
So I’m sure I’ll get over it. When I look at the issues, they are all very trivial. Writing down what’s happened and how I feel about it is very cathartic. In my defence, Roo spends her day reading the newspaper, reading books and watching TV. Not much else apart from the occasional visit to the Nursing Home to see her Mum. Although we both decided to make this change to our TV service, I feel responsible. If, as a result of these changes, some of the pleasures of her life have been removed, I’m going to feel bad. I do feel bad. I’m not especially worried that I can’t record Newcastle v Chelsea on Saturday but if Roo feels her life closing in on her some more, I will feel terrible and responsible.
“What if something’s on TV and never shown again?” This terrible thought has been occurring to me all day so I felt a need to play “The Outdoor Type” from The Lemonheads’ seventh album. It’s genuinely funny but also describes me perfectly. A lot of my teacher friends ARE outdoor types and love camping and walking through the great outdoors. In this song Evan Dando sides with me. “I never slept out underneath the stars. The closest that I came to that was one time my car broke down for an hour in the suburbs at night. I lied about being the outdoor type”. I know plenty of people whose idea of bliss is to escape to a mountainside in the Lake District and walk and walk and walk before cooking beans on an open fire and nestling down on stony ground. For me, walking Bruno round the streets of Hassocks listening to a podcast about Paul McCartney’s first solo album before returning to the warmth of home and a comfy bed is all the escape I need. Thank you anyway.
“I never owned a sleeping bag, never mind a mountain bike”. Absolutely. Me neither but I have spent hours of my life listening to people discuss the merits of different bikes. I used to teach with someone called Robin who owned 15 bikes. “I can’t go away with you on a rock climbing weekend. What if something’s on TV and never shown again. It’s just as well I’m not invited – I’m afraid of heights. I lied about being the outdoor type.” Brilliant. I never get invited either. Thank goodness.
I haven’t played any other tracks from this CD for many years but listening to it now, it’s very good. The variety of styles is impressive; “Losing Your Mind” is much sadder with an insistent electric guitar adding to the sense of doom. “Hospital” is upbeat, cheerful and a great pop song until we realise that Evan Dando is singing to a very sick person. “If I Could Talk I’d Tell You” is also a great pop song. The chorus goes “If I could talk I’d tell you. If I could smile I’d let you know. You are far away. My most imaginary friend”. Sounds like Evan Dando needs someone to talk to – or maybe writing these brilliant songs is his way of expressing his feelings.