Bench Views #17 – Haxby Road Bus Stop

Did you know that there are 4,648 words for rain (not true) in the English language and that every available cloudbursting state can be experienced within a single day (true) and they all leave one feeling moist (to various degrees). And I’m now moist.

When I left home twenty minutes ago it was fine and dry. The forecast was for fog and there was not a raincloud in sight. Oh sure, the sky was uniformly grey, but it is September after all and the summer was never going to last forever. But then the fog turned to mist and and mist to mizzle (a fine word for drizzle that’s mainly used in Scotland) and so I stopped.

And that’s why I’m here typing this.

I’m perched on what passes for a bench these days inside a bus shelter. It’s a metal and glass structure that barely covers my stretched out legs, but it at least stops me from becoming more moist. Me and the bike, that is. We were on our way to the last carboot sale of the season at Wiggington and now we’re not (unless the rain stops).

The view in front of me is not exactly attractive. I mean, sure houses and cars have a certain charm, but they’re not really what you look for when you’re thinking of scenic. Still, the tree is nice.

Behind me? Hmm, not sure; let’s have a quick look. *quick look* Well, there’s a fence that’s protecting a garden. After that there’s another fence. And beyond that, it’s fields, fields, fields as far as the eye can see. When I look on a map, they march all the way to the East Coast of England where Bridlington stops them from falling into the sea (lucky for them).

Well, it looks like the rain has stopped, but the road is wet now. That’s means that if I cycle on, my bum is going to get wet, which is never a comfortable feeling. Shall I ride on and spend an hour walking around the carboots of Wiggington, or should I turn back and dry off? I think I’ll stay here and read my book for a bit and then check how I feel. Probably colder would be my guess. Let’s see.

Comfortably Numb

Lots of things happen to me. And many reactions of all different kinds arise as a result of these things. I win a prize and I get happy. Someone tells me I’m fat and I get sad. How do I stop these reactions? And do I want to (or need to)?

One way to stop these reactions, both the good ones and the bad ones, is to be aware of the presence of God in my heart. I mean, God is always good and benevolent and is an unlimited source of power and peace. Being aware of this, in the sense of staring into a bright light, can take away my awareness of other things. This can be a cleansing experience.

It’s like using using one of those absorbent cloths to wipe up a spilled glass of water. You end up with a dry surface, but also, it’s an empty surface because the glass has to be moved, and the toaster and the pile of recycled plastic bags and the kitchen roll holder and the random bottles of pills etc. etc. And it’s the emptiness that bothers me.

I could allow all of my mental processes to be blotted up by this blissful state of union with God. I could give over vast swathes of time to this emptiness. Times when I read, learn Hindi (my latest thing), watch movies, listen to music or even attend to my blog could all be subsumed by a tsunami of sweet God-consciousness.

I worry though. I worry that I’ll become zombified. I worry that my mind will turn to mush and I’ll end up like one of those people in a care home that just sit there staring into space while the world whirls around them in all its colourful profusion. That vision alarms me and, to be honest, scares me a little.

But I’m sure there must be a middle way. One in which I engage with the world and yet don’t let it affect me in a negative way. One in which I can be detached from the bad stuff and yet still be in love with all the wonders of the world and nature.

I guess that it’s all about having a balanced approach to life. And then, all the cliches flood into my mind. We all know them so I’ll not bother repeating them here. In essence – I’ll just do the best I can and not worry about what I can’t manage. That’ll do.

Right, that’s the world set to rights – how about a nice cup of tea.

A Madman in the Mechanism

Just watched this great talk by Chris Golding about the benefits of listening to people’s emotional reactions in a business context. He says that emotion can be a key to innovation and prosperity if appropriate and sufficient attention is given. So, yeah.

That made me wonder if a bona-fide mad person (male, female or anything in-between) could have a beneficial effect on how much innovation flows through a company. I mean, mad people think outside the box and they are generally immune to negative criticism, which means that they will not be put off their stride by the usual scorn and ridicule heaped on anyone who thinks a little differently to your run-of-mill cubicle inhabitant.

Of course, the maddie (not intended as a derogative term) should not be given any kind of control of the company. They must be kept in harness and only used for their innovative approach to potential product and service lines. Put them in charge and you risk a Hitler. Keep them in check and you have a Rasputin at your service. One would command an army whereas the other would command the ear of the Queen (aka Chairman of the Board).

It’s just a seed of an idea, and it can be taken further, but not now because I have to join a meeting. Don’t worry, my genius will be kept in check there; the whips and mauls will see to that.

Finding the Positives

The paths are snided with children on their way to school, but I know a back-road way to avoid them. And even if I get lost, there’s always Google Maps.

I’m busting for a pee, but I know that I have a strong bladder and I’m only a few minutes from home. And even if I get lost, it’s recycle day and so there are plenty of bottles around.

My fingers are cold and so it’s taking ages to type this, but at least it’s taking my mind off my raging bladder and the fact that I might have taken a wrong turn whilst concentrating on this. But, hey – you’ve got something to laugh at, right?

Ah look – home is just around the corner. Not lost after all. Not moist after all. And not even cold now that the sun has come out! It’s all good.

A Mother Suddenly Appears

Did you hear the one about the comedienne who was paranoid that everyone was laughing at her? No, seriously! She got in such a state that she couldn’t get up on stage anymore.

She’d start off by saying ‘hello, Birmingham’ (or wherever she was) and her eyes would widen when everyone started to laugh. By time she’d finished saying telling them her name amidst peals of raucous laughter, her nerves were shot and she had difficulty finishing her set.

Each joke had them roaring louder and louder – some of them even weeping with the funniness of it. You think that, as a comedienne, she’d be happy, but inside, all she could think of was getting off the stage, running outside, getting into her car and driving until there was no more road to drive on.

In the end, she couldn’t even get on stage. It had gotten so bad that her pre-stage fright had her chewing her nails until her fingers bled. And after that, she was just a health-hazard with little trails of blood following her around as she tried to avoid the spotlight.

And the worse thing was that she wouldn’t – couldn’t talk to anyone about it. She used to have a friend. His name was Bill and he had these lovely eyes the colour of the original Fairy Liquid. But he’d gotten into the habit of abusing her by feeding her chocolate. So she’d left him. There’s only so much chocolate a type one diabetic can take.

Since she’d left Bill, she only had her mother – an overbearing woman who had the habit of cruely mocking her only daughter.

Oh wait – do you think that maybe this was the problem?

How I Write Blog Posts

Here’s how I write a post:

  1. I write a random title. For example, this one is called ‘Twaddle’ (nonsense talk) at the moment
  2. I start writing the first thing that comes into my head, correcting the grammar, spelling and syntax as I go along
  3. I keep writing whilst watching and reacting (in terms of what I write) what has gone before
  4. I change my general direction (or not) purely in terms of what thoughts are triggered
  5. When I get close to having expressed a complete idea (one that could have a distinct title) I start looking in my mind for an ending
  6. I write a rounded ending
  7. I change the title to suit. For example, this is going to be called ‘How I Write Blog Posts’ (copy -> paste)
  8. I give it a quick read through to make sure it makes sense (it rarely does)
  9. I add a category and tags
  10. I post it
  11. I read it again
  12. I edit any small mistakes I initially missed
  13. I forget about it.

Organise or Let it Be

There must be some sort of personality type grid with Organise in one corner and Let it Be in the other.

Whatever.

But I feel them fighting inside me.

Mostly it’s Organise that wins. The fact that all these words are (hopefuly)┬áspelled correctly demonstrates that principle.

At other times, you gotta just let stuff be. The sun is out, the sky is blue(ish) – I just let those things get on with being themselves. No sense in getting her up about them.

But there are things in the middle that I just don’t know what to do with.

Things like:

  • Memories
  • Old laptops
  • Mortifications
  • Last year’s socks
  • Memorabilia
  • Old friends
  • Writings.

I don’t know whether to leave them where they are so that they rot in-situ or whether to dust them off and arrange them neatly in some well-lit place so that I can look at them.

I’d like to write an autobiography. I guess first of all, I’ll need to do something extraordinary. Much though I’m enjoying it, sitting on a wall typing this doesn’t qualify. Even sharing such blinding insights as you’re reading now doesn’t cut it either.

I’d like to dig out the contents the attic and garage, attach an rfid chip to everything and then pack it all back.

I’d love for someone to come along and catalogue all the people I ever knew and then present me with an indexed book containing photographs and information about them all.

I’d love to get on with publishing all the things I’ve ever written. All those long-lost stories. All those posts on blogs and forums. All that utter twaddle.

Yeah, on second thoughts – maybe just let it all be.

Heart Key

Heart Key Ring

Strikes me that there are at least two ways to change the way we communicate, in order to have a better relationship with our significant others.

One way is excruciatingly exhausting and the other is very easy.

First, the difficult way. This path is is the one beloved by marriage guidance counselors and couples therapy experts the world over. Call me cynical, but I suspect that this is because it makes them rich. What am I yapping on about? Yep, you guessed it: talk more.

To be fair, it’s not just about saying more words, it’s about saying the right words, and it’s about listening too. And don’t get me wrong, it’s great in theory, but in practice – it can be exhausting. I mean, who knows about anyone to be able to say the right thing to them?! Heck, I don’t even know what to say to myself most of the time!

Which bring me nicely on to the easy path. Done properly (with love) this is a method that has the potential to stop each and every argument dead in its tracks. It is guaranteed to prevent you from putting your foot in your mouth (again), saying the wrong thing (again) or winding your partner up  beyond their breaking point (yet again).

It’s short (almost brutally so) and therefore easy to remember. It’s simple to apply and so it’s open to anyone. And it’s effective in any circumstance, when used compassionately.

What is this method? Well I’ll tell you immediately after this short break:

Here’s the advice: STFU already!

Sunday Morning (Going Slow)

Is it just me or is Sunday a really slow day on WordPress. People are off living their real life I guess. Hmm.

Anyway, last week I gave you a photo of a tree. This week *ta-da-da-daaaaa* I treat you a photo of that tree’s twin!

Another Scottish Tree

They can both be found, unless they’ve moved, on the Lochs Walk on the Bowhill Estate in the Scottish Borders. I can’t remember what kind of trees they are, but if you go (or have gone) then please let me know and I’ll update this page.

Happy Sunday!