Earwigging

I’ve been doing a lot of eavesdropping lately and from what I hear, nobody is having a great time of it. In a week’s worth of earwigging, I can’t recall overhearing anything positive.

At the weekend, I listened-in as a woman in her early 30s complained that there was a culture at her place of work where taking leave was frowned upon. She remarked that some people haven’t taken a break for three years. I wasn’t surprised to learn that her colleagues were burning out.

Earlier today, I overheard somebody talking about being battered as a child by her adoptive parents and then, just now, a chain smoking shop worker complained ‘I’ve got three kids, I need someone to look after me, not the other way round.’

In-between, I’ve heard complaints about Jeremy Corbyn , the belief that netball isn’t a sport and vitriol aimed at a flower bed – it’s one I admire on my evening riverside walks and I was shocked to hear a woman declare ‘Look at that, it’s disgusting, what a mess. They shouldn’t have wasted all that money.’

What I hear reminds me that life is a struggle, or at least it is for a lot of people. I’m so over struggling and to prove a point, I took myself off to the coast today, all alone with nothing but my Kindle for company.

I’ve eaten foods that are not good for my hips, talked to strangers and sat on warm pebbles whilst gazing at the sea. I have lots of work to do, but decided that a clear, calm head would save me hours. It has. I got heaps done in a two-hour time period and now I am in the pub about to eat supper.

I love dining alone. I don’t have to think of anything to say or protect my chips with a sharp fork.

I am sat here thinking about a phone-in I listened to on BBC Radio 2 whilst on the motorway. They were discussing the horrendous increase in deaths from drugs in Scotland and various people called in to explain why it might be happening – there was everything from ‘Drugs are too cheap’, ‘Alcohol is too expensive’ and ‘It’s all Margaret Thatcher’s fault.’ Somebody had also sent a text to say that drug addiction is not an illness, it is a self-inflicted lifestyle choice and they had little sympathy.

What struck me was the heart rending stories told by addicts who appeared on the show – one woman told of how she was abused as a child and when her grandmother died, she was plagued by post-natal depression and turned to drugs. She came off them when her partner committed suicide as she realised she had to get her life back on track for the sake of her kids. She’s since set up a charity in Dundee to help drug addicts.

There are so many people in such terrible pain and not one person on today’s radio show asked ‘Why are so many suffering and how can we help?’

We all have a part to play and the frustration comes from not really knowing what mine is. How can I help a drug addict in Scotland? I am not sure. I’m back to thinking that as I can’t change the world, I’d better concentrate on changing myself and hope I am a nicer person for it. It does however remind me of how incredibly lucky I am.

Right now the other thing on my mind is the cream profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce which are currently calling my name. I blame the sea air.

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