On the ferry coming back from #housemoving, I listened to the announcement on the tannoy. Is it still called that? Anyway, I have heard it and not listened a thousand times on my many forays into the so-called civilised world – and back again.
All children are to be restrained. Dogs too, only, for them, a harness or lead. What on earth else would you restrain a dog with? A garden hose? And what does it matter what any dog owner chooses to use as restraint? It is nobody’s business but theirs. Now, children must not be lifted over the rail. Well, thanks for guiding me there. It has been tempting, in the past, to lob my children over the side, but I resisted the urge, in the light of the fact that I am not a monster and do completely adore my children, however much they might have made me want to scream along with their current tantrum. These announcements come in two languages, just in case we only speak Gaelic, and it takes a few nautical miles to shut up. Nobody listens anyway. The urge to stay calm if the ship is sinking is almost a joke. I doubt there has ever been one soul who stayed calm at such a time.
It thinks me of this Nanny State. Everything needs to be said twice and there is no rule bending. I asked the woman at the tiny wee village shop if she could spare me a spoonful of coffee as I was dying for a fix and had forgot to bring the jar with me. She replied that she was not authorised to do that. Another time, another shop, I asked the woman behind the counter, after purchasing my purchases, if she could put this scrunched up bit of paper in her bin. I could see her bin, right behind her, its maw open, its belly barely half full. No, sorry, she said, I am not authorised to accept anyone’s rubbish. Well, I thought, on my smiling departure, nor am I. I’m sure it’s written in my DNA somewhere.
This week was a riot of Social Service visits and the guy to fit the personal alarm. Of course, the alarm thingy went wonkychops. Because the phone line now goes through the alarm, everything turned on its head. Rising suddenly from an afternoon doze, I heard my daughter’s voice. She lives over 100 miles away, so it was a surprise. Hallo Mum, she said, hallo……? Thinking she had turned up unexpectedly, I leapt up and went in search. She was nowhere, but the alarm, which connects with HQ in the civilised world carried her voice. Puzzled, we chatted for a bit whilst I expected the alarm dudes to interrupt with an admonishment. Since then, the phone hisses like a snake, telling me quite clearly that we have a fankle. Needless to say the alarm fitter doesn’t live on the island, so he and I had a wee chat about things and he guided me through an unplugging and a re-plug somewhere else. It worked to a degree, as the alarm is now back to itself, even if the phone still snakes at me like a python pre-strike. I am not authorised to sort such complex fankles, and, yet, I can, with guidance, and I did. The python might beat me however.
It is tempting to fall into line (pardon the pun). It is so easy to say NO, without recourse to even a wobbly yes. I have learned from my mammy’s knee, to be practical, to use my common sense and I am glad of it, because those who allow the ridiculous All-For-One rulebook to, well, rulebook them, just stop thinking for themselves Our brains are huge. Even when in the grip of dementia, when each little carrier of blood closes for ever, the brain is resourceful. There are so many ways to move forward, if we employ this hugely intelligent organ, but it is our own choice. I don’t believe that an All-For-One rulebook will ever make the best seller list, because each one of us is different in a million ways. We are not one. We are not we. I am I and You are You. It is a very encouraging thing to remember, especially when one of us feels strongly that we don’t fit because we don’t agree with the rest. Actually, on interviewing ‘the rest’ I found many discrepancies of thought and belief. What puzzled me was the need to comply and it is out of fear, every time. If I stand for what I think, I will be left all alone on this dodgy rock with the moon filling up and a Spring tide on the rise. That, my dears, is Fear talking.
So, although I am not going to raise anyone over the rail of the ferry, nor let my dog run riot between the decks, I will still fight the All-For-One rulebook when I come face to face with the ridiculous. I will question everything and then choose my actions. As a teenager I was a rebel without a cause, apparently. I just knew everything was nonsense but did not have the intelligence to explain it to myself, let alone anyone else. Now, I am older and wiser and have worked out a braw expanse of space in between Notice and React. I recommend it to everyone. It’s called Think Space. Inhabiting it allows me to accept what I see and, then to question it, and, finally, to react. We are told to ask questions, to question everything. Buddha, Jesus, Mandela, Luther King, and hundreds more of the deep thinkers, who refused to go along with a One-For-All rulebook, all urged us to question. I want, sometimes, to shout it from a rooftop. Don’t become a people who accept everything. Don’t take the easy way and fall into grumbling. I am not calling for a riot. I am asking myself, and you, to use that spectacular piece of kit inside every head, the one that could decide to die at any time, as it has done right here in this wee island home.
Think on that. And then react.