Are you kiddin’ me?

imageWould I be correct in thinking that people become more cynical as they get older or have more ‘life experiences’?

I certainly have, or maybe it was there all the time, lying dormant waiting to purge to the surface…I don’t think my glass is half empty or anything like that and I’m not a miserable sod, although you’d be perfectly within your rights to form that opinion based on my blogs. I think I can see through people quite clearly and also have a tendency to inwardly question most things, particularly situations I have no control over. Actually I do now outwardly question anomolies and always ask for clarification backed up with an email if appropriate – with age comes bravery. Now while I don’t always accept things at face value, I won’t be requesting written proof of friendships, for example or a signed weather contract from the BBC (that would just be silly) but I hate to be taken for a mug and so my antennae are permanently on red-alert for all those that think they can get one over on me. And no, I’m not paranoid either…

A typical example of such a scenario is a routine visit to the dentist, you know, where you go every six months or so, just to get a check-up. I’m always wary of their post exam recommendations. I keep excellent oral hygiene, so why do I need to have a filling after every other check-up? I didn’t notice anything untoward before my appointment but now suddenly I’m guilted into following the advice of the expert, having the filling and parting with my cash. It’s funny though, how they can never factor the treatment into the check-up appointment either, so I pay for my check-up and then have to book another appointment to come back for what is essentially a ten minute job. Very rarely do I not return, as I should trust my dentist, shouldn’t I? But secretly I don’t, hence a small part of me resents him as I’m not qualified to question his professional opinion, and I don’t want to lose my tooth, so back I go like a lamb to the slaughter. I had extensive dental work about ten years ago that meant parting with a lot of money and I suppose when all the treatments were complete, I had told myself, that was it! No more lining my dentists pockets – the practice did in fact move to a very fancy Georgian townhouse during my frequent visits back then, so I’m sure I’m entitled to a breeze block or two of the new premises..

Another real bug-bear is having a car service or MOT (NCT for those in the Emerald Isle). Recently I realised my car was way out of date and so got booked in with the local garage, held my breath all day and finally got the news. It needed various bits and pieces doing that cost me an arm and a leg. The rebel in me is always tempted to say, ‘thanks, I’ll think about it’ but of course as I would then be driving illegally, I can’t do that, so once again I have to trust what the expert says in his garage jargon speak. The thing is, my car was trundling along just fine, it was only a conversation with a friend who’d recently had an MOT that caused me to even check the expiry date on my own! So in fact I HAD been driving illegally for a few months anyway!  (keep that to yourself) I have no reason to distrust the hard-working garage boys but how do I know that what they’re telling me is true? Okay, so my car always seems to have a light or two winking at me from the dashboard, but I’ve never once seen smoke coming from the exhaust and okay sometimes the passenger door wont open AND sometimes it will – we have an understanding… Again, I find I’m not in a position to question their authority. That old saying ‘knowledge is power’ is very true. Perhaps I should have taken up an evening class in dentistry or car maintenance during my twenties instead of touring the pubs in London. Just to prove I’ve every right to be cynical, as I got in my car on the garage forecourt to head for home, I switched on the wipers to clear the earlier raindrops away and realised they weren’t working properly, kind of bumping off one another as if not aligned correctly.  Back out of the car and into the garage I went, seeking out the kindly mechanic to point out the fault, ready for a showdown.  He was very gracious in rectifying the problem there and then, stealing my thunder into the bargain, but how do I know what other little mishaps might have taken place under the bonnet? Do you see my problem here…

I hear about people being scammed in the media and I honestly can’t believe how stupid (too harsh?) they are, to have succumbed to whatever misfortune has befallen them (I do feel sorry for them a little also, as they must feel pretty stupid enough themselves without me adding to the misery) The most horrific incidents, in my humble opinion, are not of the financial variety,  but the stories you read of women meeting strangers they picked up online, and taking them home only to realise too late that they are about to become the subject of a battering and/or rape. The most common trend at the moment seems to be giving out bank login details, REALLY!! Wouldn’t everybody question that??  Oh, and another good one I recently read about, described a man who was sending a lady he met (and fell in lurve with) online, lump sums of money so she could set about packing up her home in a foreign country before coming to live with him. Do I need to finish this? You guessed it, the poor fool never heard from her again and needless to say, he never saw his money either! 

Is it any wonder I’m cynical? I’m not suggesting everybody is a potential scammer or has a hidden agenda but its best to be on the lookout and surely that old saying, drilled into us by our parents ‘Never get into a car with a stranger’ should mean we are already programmed to keep our wits about us at all times – Just Sayin’

Back off!

Bug imageThis was a post I was saving for a rainy day ( or dry spell, depending how you look at it).  But I’ve opted to run with it this week as the subject matter nearly knocked me for six and cause visual impairment earlier in the week – I kid you not!

I’ll jump right in. Have you ever been casually choosing your plums in the fruit & vegetable section of the supermarket and somebody leans in over you to reach the lush juicy ones at the back of the pallet? A bit rude, yes? Invading your personal space, yes? Sometimes without as much as a nod of ‘excuse me’.Not so unusual I hear you mutter. Manners appear to be a thing of the past, but I digress, that’s not my beef. When that somebody is wearing a nurse’s uniform, that’s the moment I could scream!! I really could have a melt-down there and then. Can you imagine the headline? ‘Grown-up has  temper tantrum in among the apples and pears – onlookers report hearing her screech – ‘unclean’ before collapsing in a heap! Thankfully this hasn’t happened yet but you never know…I immediately abandon the plums and recoil in horror. Why why why would anyone wear this garment to do their food shopping or ANY activity outside of the workplace?? Think about it, what gruesome task did the owner of said uniform have to do before wearily clocking off and gracing the aisles of the supermarket??? We all know the unsavoury jobs that those working in the healthcare industry undertake every day. We all heartily applaud them, they are the unsung heroes and I know this.

It’s been bothering me for years, the amount of bugs and odd looking stains being carted around on uniforms up & down the country, not to mention what bodily fluids have been absorbed into the fabric, I’m getting goose bumps just writing this! I know that most are worn with pride and I understand this, I really do, but for the love of Mike, PLEASE change out of it before you grace the rest of us with your presence and your bugs! If you really must insist on doing this, then please have the decency to make sure its not ripped under the arms or worse still adorned with sweat-marks! Can you see how gross this is people? It’s not really a very good representation of the ‘clean, safe environment’ we expect our health centres to be, if that’s what the staff look like when leaving it. Just as an aside – I particularly LOVE the tattooed, heavily be-jewelled individuals sporting the uniform, takes away from the splash marks down the front I suppose and really adds to the charm of it all – NOT.  Oh, and can I mention ‘nail art’ here? What are you thinking people? I feel I’m going to burst a blood-vessel. If I’m ever unfortunate enough to have a hospital sleepover and someone comes at me fully equipped with five inch, coral painted talons ,with a sparkly bit at the tip, I can only imagine how equally colourful my language would be!

Apologies if I appear unsympathetic towards our stalwart, overworked, underpaid, undervalued healthcare staff, I’m not undermining all the good work they do, I simply can NOT understand why anyone would be happy to remain in garb that saw better days, doing a job that necessitates interfering with bodily dysfunctions. Now, there are the community staff going from house to house tending to the sick, who have no choice in the matter, so fingers crossed they’re adhering to the usual precautions and avoiding doing the weekly shop between clients, you know who you are… Earlier this week, I was coming out of a supermarket and l literally bumped straight into a nurse  on a mission, it seemed, to empty the place of produce. Amid the hasty apologies, her metal fob-watch caught the sun and nearly blinded me, but that aside, she was nicely turned out in her uniform with a toddler on her hip, sucking his thumb AND her tunic collar – excuse me while I go and vomit…

There must be a niche for someone like me in society, that could go around with a clip-board, sporting an air of importance in public places, calling these people to task. Maybe an on-the-spot fine could be introduced? Latex gloves would most definitely need to accompany the clipboard. I’m not touching that uniform. Picture it, I could be the mystery shopper of uniforms, I wonder if the Health Service would have the funding for such an esteemed position? Unlikely, but if you don’t ask…

You could argue that aprons and gloves are  worn for protection so surely the uniform cant be THAT offensive? Well, did you know that a study carried out in the US in 2013 found that 60 percent of health workers’ uniforms sampled by researchers tested positive for pathogens, including the germs that can cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections and drug-resistant infections. Am I boring you yet? Now do you see what I’m getting at? Ugggghhhhhh. I suppose you could also argue that the majority of nurses are female, therefore they are most likely to be found among the supermarket aisles,  grabbing something for dinner before racing to pick up children from school with no time to change, let alone have a shower! No sexist remark here folks, it’s a well-known fact that females dominate the nursing profession. I’m too lazy to get stats for you, just take my word.

We’re not living in the dark ages, every facility surely has a changing/locker room, some even have showers so you can scrub those bugs right out. Imagine! How decadent! And not to state the obvious here, but please don’t put your rubbish bin out before you head off to work in your nice clean uniform (I’ve seen it happen) as this bug exchange works both ways. Pity the poor bugger in isolation with a low immune system and in you stroll along with all the nice germs you picked up along the way. No ‘thank you’ letter to pin on the staff notice board coming your way from him, no thank you very much!

Am I coming down hard on healthcare workers? Yes, I suppose I am. I rarely, if ever see a fireman, in all his regalia (pity) standing in line at the checkout or in the schoolyard for that matter and policemen only pop in to the ‘one stop shop’ on their way to catch villians. Shouldn’t we be preventing the super-bugs from being carted outside hospitals as well as exterminating them from within the walls?

Pop on some trackies, it takes but a moment, go on, try it!  Just Sayin’

You know your problem?

Headstone picYou might be one of those individuals who enjoys a good ol’ kick back over a carbonara (with life-long friends, even new friends or people you’ve just met) discussing the in’s & out’s of your rectal prolapse or the merits of your ingrown toenail. Well, can I interject here? Yes, we all have our little ailments, aches and pains and moan about them on a regular basis – particularly as we get older and they become more numerous. However, I do NOT wish to know, if you WILL NOT do anything about it! What? ‘Your body’s a temple’ I hear you cry? Well it might be a shadow of its’ former self, by the time I’ve finished taking the shine off it!

Now believe me, I’m all for trying the natural route first, if that’s your bag, but COME-ON people, if there’s a very nice, apparently safe chemical answer out there, then just bite the bullet and try it. You never know, it might just cure you, once and for all. If your doctor said ‘it’s okay’ then you trust your doc, don’t you? (Did you really waste the poor buggers’ time with THAT?) Look on the bright side; you can then focus on another part of your anatomy to devote your time and energies. See? Every cloud…..Of course, I’m not advocating that you ‘block-book ‘yourself in at your doctor’s…

Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh but recently, I’ve gone through a phase of hearing from a variety of different people about an assortment of minor aches and pains they’ve been afflicted with – but couldn’t possibly take anything for. I call this bunch the Minor Afflicted Brigade (MAB). I myself, am someone who will definitely reach for the painkillers at the first sign of a headache (and why not? I haven’t got the time to entertain it) so you can understand why this would rattle my cage. I’m also not suggesting anyone rush out to panic buy from the chemist either.

Think about it. Why did the good people at GSK or SmithKline Beecham or wherever, spend all that time, energy and money (not to mention the poor lab rats) formulating a product that would zap your pain, bust your bunion, soothe your sufferings etc etc?  I realise there will always be a percentage of people who revel in telling all and sundry about how bad they feel. That’s a given – how it’s affecting their life, how it’s the most excruciating headache they’ve ever experienced blah, blah, blah, yet they haven’t managed to reach for the paracetamol. If you’ve spent hard cash on all the natural remedies (you fool) and let’s face it, rubbing a lavender stick across your forehead is about as useful as a chocolate teapot, then PLEASE dip your crusty toe into some of the TRIED and TESTED methods – or SHUT-up moaning about it!

Now, let’s be clear – I’m talking minor ailments here. I’m loathe to mention ‘man flu’ but I suppose I must. We all joke about this but if it actually were flu (you BIRK), you’d be lying half-naked on a hospital trolley in the ED corridor, waiting about 20 hours for a bed – but you wouldn’t be aware of any of this, because if it were real flu you’d be too delirious to care. It’s a cold, nothing more, nothing less. Pop to the chemist, dose yourself up and be off with you! Again, let me make it perfectly clear, I’m referring to those with simple run-of -the-mill complaints that could easily be remedied with a visit to the local pharmacy. They have EVERYTHING in there. It’s the equivalent to being let loose in Willie Wonka’s Emporium – for those of us with an addiction (undiagnosed) to the sweet stuff, it’s a Nirvana in fact and pharmacists have the big words to label your affliction, give it life, reassure you of it’s importance and to send you home with your feathers all fluffed up nicely.  Ah, that’s better isn’t it…

Now, we’re all fairly intelligent types here, we can determine if something needs more than a band-aid or tweezers but think of the poor sods who have to listen to you drone on and on about that hard necrotic bit of skin on your big toe, or the fact that you just don’t like taking tablets. So – you mean, you don’t mind that your toe might fall off or you like having a banging headache? Where’s the logic in that? There is none. Nor is there any kudos for the person who can always top someone else’s ailment with a horror story of their own – complete with gory magnificence and projected in glorious fabricated technicolour. In fact, these people are nearly worse than the above. Nearly, not quite though (I think they just like an audience). Lucky to be alive, these exhibitionists AND oh so lucky us, that are present to hear them tell the tale – and with such exuberance too! How do people think this kind of information can be well received? I would rather chop off my leg (dosed up on painkillers first, of course) than relay in the style of Hans Christian Anderson the trauma of childbirth, for example. Yes, a joyous occasion, but OH HOLY MOLY!! I like my friends, I want to hang on to them for another while, they don’t want/need to know that my bits were stretched, torn, pulled, dragged and sewn back together into some unrecognisable shape or form. Too much information? OF COURSE IT IS!  Surely this is on a need-to-know basis only?

It’s a risky business, greeting people these days. It’s in our DNA to enquire after health – a simple ‘How are you?’ could tie you up for hours on the intricacies and failings of the small bowel  (I only popped out for milk!) I’m surprised that so many of the MAB manage to get through their day, to be honest.  If the leg was so bad, how did you manage to run for the bus, or post that picture of yourself at the peak of Ben Nevis?

Hats off to you people – Just Sayin

The Long Goodbye

train pic

If you are reading this, then I thank you and ask you to be gentle if you do decide to leave a comment. You see, this is my first blog/rant. And although constructive criticism is always welcome, I implore you not to set up an ‘I think she’s crap’ blog in retaliation…

Anyhooo, on to the juicy stuff, the blog itself – let me explain; I WILL rant, I WILL beseech, I WILL criticize (generally), I WILL poke fun (generally) and I definitely WILL blow a fuse – sometimes! All of the above will be delivered tongue in cheek and no animals will be harmed in the process.

Once the idea for a rant blog had set in, I started making a list so I wouldn’t forget all the things that get my back up. It’s a long list. The title of this should give you a hint as to its contents. No clue? Read on!

I’m one of those people who like to exit an occasion with the minimum of fuss and it’s become more of an issue for me as I get older (why is this? I’m not ancient!) For example, if I’m lucky enough to get invited out to a dinner party, I’m already thinking about ‘what’s an acceptable time to leave?’ It’s not because I won’t be enjoying myself. If I’m there, I know I’m enjoying myself – I like these people! I just know that at some point in the evening, I’ll have reached the stage where I need to not be there anymore.

Would it be ‘ok’ to have a pre-arranged signal in place with my husband? Something along the lines of: if I ‘dry cough’ three times in succession, can we just jump up quickly and say we have an early start and run for the hills…? Probably not, other than him thinking I’m choking on an olive, we’d still have to do the goodbyes… Should I just excuse myself under the guise of ‘popping to the loo?’ Quickly grab my bag en route to the door and make a run for it, in the hope that aforementioned husband will realise and follow…? You see I find having to air kiss about 3-10 other couples, with promises of texting in the week to arrange a catch-up, very awkward. And that’s having consumed alcohol! It’s never a quick ‘toodle-pip’ and you’re off home to bed. Oh no, usually the hosts are so kind and giving, they want to ‘gift you’ some of that gorgeous leftover meringue that you loved so much, all nicely wrapped up in tinfoil, then they can’t find the tinfoil, realise they used it all up cooking, start looking for a bespoke Tupperware container, no luck, so it ends up in Great Aunt Mabel’s Royal Albert bowl which they received as a wedding gift… At this point I’m frothing at the mouth! Then there’s the promises from me of returning said bowl intact but already having nightmares about dropping it on the way to the car. The ‘farewells’ have now moved to the hall and all remaining couples have joined in the well-wishing, which is quite boisterous due to the alcohol consumed over the course of the evening. Everyone is squashed. Personal space is invaded and completely new conversations have started while one of the hosts goes on the hunt for your coat, bolero, poncho, snood, motorbike helmet, bowler hat, cello case etc, etc. At this point, I’m having a small (not so anyone would notice) stroke. It’s ok, I’ll take an aspirin when I get home, don’t wish to add to the drama taking place…FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE, I just want to go home NOW! Why can’t I just do that without the fuss? For this reason, I try to never give up my coat on arrival and sometimes there’s a tussle with mine host and occasionally I’ll fib and say ‘I’ll keep it on, I’m cold’, so I spend the evening roasting away, while reassuring everyone that ‘No, I’m fine, REALLY’ through gritted teeth and consequentially sport a prizewinning beetroot for a face for the remainder of the night. For this reason, I find wearing a light jacket is always preferable. I practically will others to be the first to leave, so the spotlight’s on them and then I’ll jump on the bandwagon, start spouting something about having to make a move too, long day tomorrow, early start, was fabulous, must do it again soon (and I sincerely mean every word of that) in rapid fire sentences and take my leave before the party in the porch really kicks off and someone suggests we do tequila shots!

I feel the same when it’s my turn to host. If someone wants to leave (and let’s face it at 3 in the morning with school/work the next day I’m not going to put up much of a fight) I’ll quite happily say ‘of course, no problem’. Steer them to the door and hopefully not injure them while closing it firmly behind them, brushing off all concerns from the remaining guests, along the lines of ‘ will she be ok getting a taxi on her own’ with ‘of course, she made it on her own, didn’t she? She’ll be fine…’

Am I alone in feeling like this? This fear of the long goodbye is not an indication of how well the night is going – I’m not a party pooper, I love a good party as much as the next person, really I do! Surely I’m not turning into a social pariah?

Shouldn’t there be some kind of rule that allows us to leave an event without all the fuss and drama that goes with it? Just sayin’…