The Call …

Years back, my father wanted a mobile phone.

For emergencies he said, to keep in his car glove box – just in case.

He wasn’t interested in web browsing (what’s that? I can hear him say), apps (what are apps?) so I bought him a “large key” mobile phone.

Easy to read, easy to use.

I programmed in some hot keys so he could dial me, my sister or the car recovery rescue company quickly.

Three large key buttons that he could easily press in an emergency.

My sister and I stored his new mobile number on our phones under “Dad” (very original) and he would make the odd call every now and again to us (not to the car rescue number) to check his memory of those hot keys.

He died back in 2013 and he is sorely missed.

On going through his things shortly after his death I recovered the phone from our box of his memorabilia.

I decided to charge up the phone to see if it still worked (and to check whether the pay as you go credit was still available).

I was over my sister’s drinking tea as she was cooking some food in her kitchen.

I took out his mobile phone (I was planning to surprise her that I had found it and it still worked) and pressed the hot key for my sister.

I could hear her scream from her kitchen as she saw the call from “Dad” on the display of her mobile phone, vibrating and ringing on her work surface.

Dad would have laughed out loud.

My sister didn’t …..😎

I’ve still got the phone ……it is safely stored away …

It’s a nice thing to do …

I’ve been thinking …. again.

Standing back and just observing life.

Working out a few things.

And talking to my daughter, J.

We do this on occasions, probably not nearly as often as we should.

We were talking about helping people out.

Accompanying friends to hospital appointments, dentist visits, giving them lifts in the car etc. 

Just being there.

Being available on the phone when needed, sometimes at the oddest times.

Sending a random, impulsive, supportive text or message to somebody who has been out of your sight for a while.

Setting up a future visit for a chat.

Something for you both to look forward to.

You can learn to get better at this but some of my friends seem to do it instinctively.

They reach out and support but certainly not for any personal return.

As J says “it’s a nice thing to do”

What a lovely way to describe it.

For the giver this support is amazingly rewarding.

For the receiver it can be amazingly helpful at a difficult time.

And sometimes at just the right time too.

Life is busy, we all tend to fill up our capacity, but we don’t always look out for those outside of close family.

We don’t keep check, not deliberately, but we just don’t.

Look at the list of your recent phone calls, in and out, look back at your diary.

Who did you call, who did you meet up with?

Who keeps in touch with you?

As the lady says ….. it’s a nice thing to do.

She’s right.

Trust me.

It is.

One warning though.

You need to be in a fit shape yourself to help others.

The demands on your time can be addictively flattering and demanding.

So you need to look after yourself, both physically and mentally, and know how much time you can give….. 😎

Stand back and be amazed …

It must be my age.

I’m finding everything to enjoy.

Nature, people, events and opportunities.

Perhaps I am seeking things out now whereas before I just went rushing with the flow.

This blogging universe, is a great example.

I only got into it 4 months back, but it has been a revelation.

I’m left mostly speechless by my fellow bloggers’ writing, thoughts, issues.

A whole new set of connections I didn’t know existed. Across the Globe.

It’s as if my senses have been fine tuning over time to receive and appreciate even more data.

And the data is not filtered or ignored.

A couple knocked on my front door yesterday asking me if I thought the World was in a declining state of doom and gloom.

If suffering everywhere meant we needed to appeal to a higher power for resolution.

I said

“I can see that viewpoint but I don’t share that perspective personally”

“I think life is just great with a few tough challenges of course”

“Peace, Poverty, Climate Change, Working Together all need to be priorities”

“ but nothing is perfect”

“But there are people to meet, places to go, support to give, advice to take on board, nature to see, things to do”

“I think this is an amazing time to be alive”

My doorstep callers were very sympathetic to this very unexpected burst of optimism.

I suspect other neighbours they had visited didn’t necessarily share my view.

The couple nodded when I encouraged them to look around, take it all in, and be amazed.

It felt a little like role reversal but I think I cheered them up.

And I hope I don’t get excluded from their future visits …..😎

No speaking needed …

I seem to be mixing lately with a few of my friends who do not need to actually say anything to communicate with me.

I’m starting to recognise the glance, the look, the body language.

No trouble at all.

It’s as if they are communicating telepathically so words are no longer necessary.

My acknowledgment tends be a smile or a glare.

Only a few friends have this power.

It’s enormous fun though, providing my interpretation of the message is correct.

In the early days it started with “Don’t say it!” when I felt I could just anticipate the response or question.

I was usually right.

Then it develops into “ No!”

I can, of course, get it wrong on occasions – but that adds to the appeal ….

Now and again a text message will arrive on my phone just after I mention I haven’t heard from X in a while.

Some call it spooky.

I call it lovely …

It’s time to look up …

I rarely moan.

I rarely get irritable.

This evening I got irritable.

And wanted to moan.

I arrive at my yoga class nice and early every Monday evening.

I await the finish of the body pump class held in studio 2, where the yoga class is held straight after it.

While I’m waiting I watch the karate class held in the main hall where the Sensei runs the class with a caring but authoritarian style.

He chides them when they don’t listen to him and hugs them when they need some support.

They love him.

You can see it in their eyes as they flit around the karate mat.

At the side, on chairs, there are a collection of parents seated facing the kids.

One parent has a laptop computer open and is staring at the screen.

The other parents are all on their smartphones, texting, checking the news, looking at the weather forecasts, you name it.

Nobody is looking at their kids.

What a wasted opportunity.

How sad for the kids who are trying to impress both the sensei and their parents.

Parents lost in their internet world, but missing out on the real world right in front of them.

When I was young my parents used to watch me, cheer me, support me, smile at me when they came to watch.

Glorious eye contact and supporting body language.

Always.

So my request is – just break away from the technology and look up.

You miss so much when you don’t appear interested.

I wonder if the parents really know what they are missing?

I think the children do.

It’s time to look up …

A Blogger’s Delight …

I’ve only been in this blog space for just over 3 months and I’m still shell-shocked and delighted at what turns up.

I’ve appreciated the follows, the likes, the comments on my own posts of course – as you would when you write stuff that other people appreciate.

Some blogs I follow just seem to stand out as “must reads” as they hit my inbox.

But there’s one in particular.

Yep, there’s one.

I rush to read it, drop whatever else I am doing, and reflect and smile and feel sad and feel angry because what she says invariably strikes a chord.

V of Millenniallifecrisis (http://millenniallifecrisis.org) writes like she knows what I’m thinking.

Even before I’m thinking it.

It’s a bit spooky.

It’s nice.

This lady needs a break.

She needs a hug,

She needs a few more on her side.

She needs a load more on her side.

Nobody told me this might happen in this blog universe.

I’m just very lucky I guess.

Check her blog posts out.

She’s a bit special.

Like me, you’ll be glad you did …

Noise. Life. Accept it …

 

I’ve never been a big fan of background noise.

Though I can, at times, shut it out quite easily.

 But it’s becoming hard work.

 

When I read or just want to sit and think I much prefer total silence.

 

So a trip into town with my book in my bag was an attempt to have a relaxing cup of tea in the local coffee bar

And read my book on one of those new comfortable settees they have just put in.

 

As I ordered my cup of tea the enthusiastic barista behind the bar continued to make the latte coffee for the lady in front of me. 

The milk heating machine then sprung into action with its screeching and bubbling.

Then, while this was going on, he threw (almost) the used coffee cups, saucers and plates into the dishwasher (or jet washer) and switched it on.

He could really multi task that guy.

 

As I sat down, a young lady brought her baby (already screaming at some high decibel level in the buggy) into the coffee bar. 

 A few older children, now apparently free of their parents in the queue, were running up and down chasing each other. 

And screaming.

 

The book stayed in my bag.

Stop being irritable I told myself.

See it differently.

This is real life with noise, activity, contact and communication.

 

As my friend Andrew tells me “You are a long time dead, you can have as much silence as you wish then”

He is a cheerful soul.

 

He is changing my thinking a little though by his spin on life and he doesn’t know it.

 

Noise is life.

Being enjoyed, 

Being endured,

Being experienced … by us all.

So I won’t wish for perfect peace.

Well, not on a permanent basis 

 

Time to lose …

My watch was losing time.

About 5 minutes per day.

Not a big deal in the scheme of things.

But big enough for me to seek out a new watch battery.

Hold on!

Didn’t I just replace it less than 3 months back courtesy of that chirpy guy on the market stall in town?

It could be the watch of course – I’ve had it quite a while and the electronics may be on the way out.

Off into town I went and the chirpy guy on the market stall recognised me immediately.

“What can I do for you today?” he said as I approached his stall.

“I need another watch battery I’m afraid”

“Didn’t I see you a few months back? – the batteries should last for 12 months!”

He then took my watch and swiftly inserted a new battery.

I offered him his normal price of £4.

“No, no, no – this one’s on me!”

“No, no, no, you’ve replaced the battery and that’s ok with me. I was in business once and you cannot give stuff away!”

After some persuading he took my money and continued to smile back at me.

“I hope to see you in about 12 months, I said, with either this watch or a new one! “

“If I’m back again in 3 months I will however take up your free battery offer ….”

He gave me another big smile.

He was not used to dealing with many customers like me.

I think I probably made his day to be honest.

My assumption is that it really might be the watch that is at fault and not his batteries….

I have given him the benefit of the doubt.

So watch this space …. literally. 😎

A phone call away …

It never ceases to amaze me.

My friend called me on the phone this morning.

That part is not amazing, I’m pleased to say.

A catch up call.

He does that often.

He’s always very, very busy because he’s great at his job.

I appreciate it.

It is morning in the UK.

But his call is from a hands free unit in his van on his way home from work.

In Adelaide in Australia.

It’s about 6pm there.

Our call is private, he is cocooned in his van, cut off from external distraction.

I’m indoors, on my own …..

We can talk about anything and everything.

We normally do.

This contact would have been impossible in this way say 50 years back.

We are now in amazing times with the technology, the flexibility, the facilities.

The only issues today are time difference and deciding to call.

The last one is the showstopper.

We often say we are too busy, but he finds time..

I’m blessed I know….

When will you make that call?

Friends will be friends …

In my life, friends can have a range of what I sometimes jokingly call “maintenance values” …..

Most of my friends, fortunately, are just so easy to keep in touch with, are mutually supportive and just great to have around.

I define them as my zero or very low maintenance group.

No preset agendas, no serious mood swings, no surprises, no watching what you say.

Just the sheer enjoyment of meeting up, listening, chatting, etc.

But there’s one.

There’s always one.

Text messaging with him is a whole new ball game of misunderstanding and potential misinterpretation.

If he can misread a text he will.

The glass isn’t half full with him.

It’s empty.

I prefer to do face to face communications with him for sanity reasons.

Having some body language clues can be priceless.

We have known each other for over 20 years and he’s still delightfully unpredictable (you can see that I like a challenge).

He gets offended at the least thing and eventually apologises for his bad mood (by that time I’m totally unclear of what the original crime was)

Underneath all of this external minefield of angst and stress is a really caring, great guy trying really hard to get out.

That’s why we are still good friends.

But it’s been a very close run thing lately.

I do make allowances for his busy job, his hectic shift work patterns, his volatile style.

Yes, I keep hanging in there.

The good times are really great.

The bad times are grim.

Hope I stay the course..

I don’t give up easily.

And I just hope, one day, he might appreciate it …