Sunday, 30 August 2015

Old Friends.....Like Bookends

What is it about friendships?   some burn bright and furious, flare fleetingly  then fade, coming to mind only occasionally without any regret at their passing.   others simmer gently, a long gestation that when poked with a stick blaze for a time and spark with promise before fizzling out until the next disturbance provoked eruption.     then there are those that are as steadfast and immovable as Ayers Rock, part of the landscape of life, looming, hovering, always in the mind's eye even when out of sight.
The universe has blessed me with a multitude such as these, etched out of the stone of time and shared sorrows,  supported by laughter and whispered confidences, upheld by steadfastness and kindness.

No matter how many hours or years pass between contact it's as though we have been linked since the foundation of the earth.   time becomes a meaningless construct, having as little relevance as age to an ant.   conversation continues as though paused simply for a breath.   affection flows freely, unfettered and unaffected by distance.

We are as bookends, bracketing our present with what has passed and what is yet to come,  our memories a nimbus following behind, wraiths in the winds of time.

You, my friends young and old, are imprinted on my soul, you have helped form me into the human i am today..........and i am so thankful for you.  

Bookends Theme (1:23) MIDI P. Simon, 1968Old friends Old friends Sat on their park bench Like bookends Time it was, and what a time it was, it was A time of innocence, a time of confidences Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph Preserve your memories; They're all that's left you

Monday, 24 August 2015

A Hat Fit For Life

What we are as adults is strongly coloured by the events and people in our lives during our troubled teen years.    that time of tantrums and tears, experiment and excitement, angst and agony.   go on.....admit that you remember what it was like......that time when you were groping around trying on various  hats, testing   them to  find the one that was  the   perfect   shape.   tossing authority style titfers out of your pram with the disgust only an adolescent can adequately achieve.....ohhh yes.....i KNOW you remember !

"Put on yer Titfer and let's go for a Ball of Chalk."

Often, lonesome teens find a parent substitute, a person with a lifestyle that's a pendulum swing away from  home,  someone  exotic,  different, a person they can practise being human with, who will open doors previously so closed their existence was as unknown as an intergalactic wormhole.   someone bearing  the perfect hat, a hat that can be worn with pride, a hat seemingly moulded precisely for that moment, a once in a lifetime time fit.    once that hat is perched on the pubescent head it can play it's part in forming the future adult.

But.......what happens if the recipient of aforesaid titfer emerges from this process wearing an Ascot Ladies Day type creation, as i did, rather than a sensible beret or boater?   What happens conform or......YOU   SHINE !!!!

The hat that found me was made of satin and velvet, with sequins and embroidery and peacock feathers waving aloft.   it glittered and sparkled with fairy dust and  i wore stars on my brow, the moon in my hair.......or.......maybe........that  was  simply too much hallucinogen!!!!   

Whatever headgear embraced you, moulded you, is you.   whether it's a cap, trilby, or top hat if it feels right then it is right......for you.    some of the saddest people i've known are those who are exhausted by a lifetime of attempting to squeeze their noddle into somebody else's idea of the correct millinery......result?  chronic migraine.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Two Wolves

My mother had that annoying yet irresistible gift of finding a song or maxim  that  fitted most aptly whatever  the  mood of the  moment.  if she had been of the social media age she would have been perfect creating inspirationals for humanist encouragement sites.   she was also graced with the ability to see the good in the most reprobate of people, even if it meant  delving  deep to discern it.   where she struggled to perceive  any redeeming features she would strive to find the WHY of a person.    i can still hear her berating my sister and myself "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."    "don't judge until you know a person's history."
Several conversations with friends and online brought her attitude back to me recently and reminded me of how often i fail to live up to this ideal while still knowing she was right.   A wise man in a very Good Book summed it up when he said "the good thing i want to do i don't do, but the bad thing i don't want to do is the very thing i do do"........or something like that.    there seems to be an element of split personality within us all, we want to be accepted unconditionally without disciplining ourselves to offer that same acceptance to others, there's a word for that isn't there?........oh yes.......hypocrisy !!
Social media seems to nurture an attitude of anonymity that permits us to speak in a fashion that would be unthinkable if the person were sitting across the room.  i've had to  stop reading the comments within online news or Facebook posts as it can be so distressing, so judgemental, so.......pitiless.   the thing's instinctual......we all do it.......i do may have found your lip curling at the lack of punctuation and poor grammar as you've read this, unless you've seen my earlier post explaining a lack of education (3/4/15)........god bless spell checkers !!   there seems to be a dysfunctional inner part of our humanity that drives us to embrace the worst of our personality if we think we can't be implicated in it's in numbers or distance.

If mother had asked me the question above there would be no hesitation, "be kinder", and if allowed more than two words i would add "whether in the presence of the other or their absence."  

A battle rages within the psyche, a battle to be better......a battle to embrace the darker or brighter side of our nature....... it's a battle we must fight till our dying day........sometimes winning.......often losing......what matters is that we never, EVER cede the battle.

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Domino Derby Of Life

It's most odd how the universe seems to make of our lives a game of domino derby, lining up events in neat collapsible rows until, eventually, they reach a critical mass and with a deep breath.......tipple topple over each other like an unruly game of skittles, as we sit in bemused awe wondering........where on earth, or otherwise, did THAT little cascade come from.

my most recent cosmic waterfall event started a few weeks ago in Marks & Spencer........where else for high class epiphanies?   whilst gazing aimlessly at their greeting card selection hoping to avoid the inevitable boredom of food shopping a voice from the void said "it's jeni? ....jeni from Theocracy Bookshop?!!" ......that's me by the way.    it was the mum of sisters who had worked for me over a decade ago.   we have a quick catch up of where, when, what and as she leaves i push my email address into her hand.   Shortly after that i joined Facebook and looked for sarah and rachel but their married surnames had floated into the abyss, beyond recall and i give up.  domino number one topples.

Over the next couple of weeks i travel the interweb highway finding several of my old team, all grown up now some with families of their own.    chatting with them about our shared past i become quite nostalgic for my bizniz and it's people, there's a restlessness that niggles in the night and wont let me sleep.    domino number two tumbles.

The hunt for faces from the past pours over into a blog post.   any hope that writing would exorcise this itch is futile, to the contrary it feeds my hunger to find more people.   one name keeps popping up "does anyone know where Lisa is?".   domino number 3 tilts.
Trying to find the right words for the blog post i randomly Google Theocracy Bookshop looking for inspiration.......and we are still there!!   didn't expect that.   there's also an article from 2011 that grieves in it's comments our closure seven years earlier.   it's written by a gentleman with a familiar name.......and there's a Facebook link !!......and he remembers Lisa.    domino number four tips.

Elsewhere, from a galaxy far far away, Sarah emails me......yay! her mum HAD passed on my address, we arrange to meet up THE NEXT WEEK!!!
domino number 5 totters.
Over coffee and M & S......there they are again.......choux  pastries Sarah and i reminisce for hours as though we had never been apart.   she tells me about her work and family, i share my theory of time not existing, that we simply step sideways into, and out of, each other's lives that's why there's no sense of distance.   she remembers Lisa.   

         ........... domino number six is almost ready to.................

..........that night i wake from a dream in which i'm peeling a............
                                         !!!   GOT IT   !!!
and they all come tumbling down in a cataract of memory and affection.
                              I REMEMBER LISA'S SURNAME

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Revolt Revolting Revolutionists

There's a saying that "youth is wasted on the young", but when i look at my Facebook people and pages i'm not so sure that's true.   Yes, the young rattle  cages and question everything but that's the job description, it's what they are created to do and if they didn't live up to the challenge we would still be trying to use square wheels  and wondering whether cooked meat would taste any better than rare rabbit and if so how to create fire.

In the olden days when i was young....ish and a bookshop owner some arcane turn of the universe turned our biz into "the place to be" for training volunteer youngsters.   in the nine years we were open dozens of gangly guys and ditzy dolls arrived for their job experience fortnight and stayed till the workforce or uni claimed them three years later.   the one thing they all had in common was a drive to change their world, to make it a better place to hang their hats, a planet worthy of their presence. 
Many of them went on to study or build a career in caring, teaching, medicine, renewables, social work, and there they are on Facebook, young adults now, some with babes of their own, and they are still attending anti fascist rallies, building wind turbines, teaching the next batch of kiddlies, signing petitions and pushing, pushing, pushing, always pushing for things to be better, for the world to live up to their expectations and hopes.

Where did us oldies lose the plot?   when did we lose that drive to agitate, to  hold our government and business up to inspection and accountability, to question EVERYTHING?   is it inevitable that our dreams and ideals decay and die along with our cells, living on only as fragments in the DNA of those who come after?   

Perhaps we run out of strength to fight for the future once jobs and children or advancing age have claimed their share of our finite reserves of energy, or maybe we allow ourselves to be diverted into inertia  by the seemingly endless parade of injustice and evil we see in the media.    those who work among the most impoverished  are known to suffer from 'compassion fatigue', a numbing of the natural feelings of horror and outrage at the worst injustices we inflict upon each other.   perhaps those of us on the sidelines, experience 'petition fatigue' when faced daily with yet another 'urgent' demand for support, so we mindlessly click the button to add our name to a list without engaging our emotions with the reality of people's lives that seem so far removed from our reality.

I am challenged by one  lovely  girly in my life who is shaving her hair in support of Macmillan cancer charity's Brave The Shave.   i'm delighted to sponsor her and hope she reaches her target donations (look on my Facebook page if you would like to back her) but,  would i join her and shed my tresses..........?  i might have when i was her age, but now............? would you...........?

Next time you see a shaven headed teen  on the bus take a moment to inspect your spontaneous reaction.......did you think chav ?........did you instinctively hold your wallet a little tighter ?..........or did you think 'good for you'  young activist for doing your part ?

My days of actively working to change the world are behind me now and i miss the challenge.    but it's comforting to know those bar shaking, stubble headed, campaigning, marching, protesting, world changing young ones are out there continuing the, life isn't wasted on the young if the one's i know are typical.