Monday, 30 December 2013

A-Z #11

How to Prepare for the Imminent Influx of Bulgarian and Romanian Immigrants

Apply for every single job you see
Bring an extra pair of shoes to the workplace(s)
Change your route to frequented spots. Just to be sure
Download as many episodes of ER as possible. Watch three per day
Engage in petty arguments with friends in order to diffuse anxiety
Fight only for your own rights, no one else's
Get a tank
Hide in unexpected places, such as inside a permalink
Invent a contraption and use it all over the place
Jangle all your jangly things whenever you are outside. Just to be sure
Know yourself. Heal yourself. Be yourself. Hate yourself
Love yourself
Make sure you do all your crying alone
Note down all the noises your body makes. Just to be sure
Observe your nearest and dearest; why are they doing what they're doing?
Pinch people. Just to be sure
Queue like a normal, English person
Rise above everything. Literally
Set an example (see Q)
Try not to be too weird
Uncover any statues, ornaments or figurines that were, until now, covered 
Wait for a sign
X-ray all your documents. Just to be sure
Yodel. Yes, it sounds RIDIC, but it's extremely preparatory

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Top Diary Entries of 2013

January 3rd
Nails etc
Text Helen about her arm
Think of things to do this year, esp with make believe kit

January 4th
Nails etc
Text Helen about her arm
Do 'hokey cokey'

January 26th
Text Helen's mum. Send apology flowers? 
Buy: cordial, hundreds and thousands, meat
'Hokey cokey'

February 10th
Visit Helen
Call Helen

March 22nd
Someone's birthday... 
Make appointment with tarot guy

March 28th
Doctor, 9:20

April 6th
Computer scan
Buy: cream, lotion, moisturiser, serum, key rings x6
Make a start on Helen's room
Labels etc
Get the box out

April 25th
Tarot appointment, 11:30
Ask about bitcoins
Quiet time, pm
Call Helen
Complaint letter to council
hokey cokey

April 26th
Text tarot guy about yesterday?
Get advice

May 20th
Download ideas:

June 1st
Get Helen's room ready. Call her again?
Sort out cardigans
Clean knees
Quiet time, pm (unless Helen calls back)

June 5th
Google Helen?
Watch ER

June 7th
Go to th
Try and fin
Call Helen's bro
hokey co
Get a car

June 14th
Call police about premonition? (wait until it feels really real??? call different tarot reader about it??)
Buy: cereal, butter, tea, loo roll, staplers
Put box in Helen's room

July 7th

July 29th
Get rid of car

August 4th

August 11th

August 18th

August 19th
Do something about the box

September 13th
Stay in

October 15th
Write to Helen... say it was a joke??
Go for a walk, somewhere with horses?

November 2nd

November 27th
Helen's birthday

November 28th
Look at flights
Look into selling stuff
Look into working abroad
Look into DNA testing
Look into the future

December 12th
Guy coming to pick up box, 3pm
Buy new diary

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Conversation

Are you drunk?

No, I'm not drunk

You seem like you've been drinking a bit

I haven't had a drink

You smell a little bit like you've had a drink

I haven't. I need help. I need help


I'm not drunk

Ok. How can I help?

I'm in a bad situation

How so?

I'm trying to find a job. But it's too hard for me because of my hand

What happened to your hand?

It's injured. I injured it

How did you injure it? What happened?

That's not important



So, what is it you need me to help you with?

I have troubles

Ok. Talk me through what it is you need me to help you with

I have a son. And I need to find a job so that I can see him. So that he can stay with me. His mother doesn't want him to stay with me unless I have a job

And you've been looking?


And you haven't found anything?




Is anyone helping you?

The Job Centre. I have a person at the Job Centre

And what advice have you been given by this person?

Just that I need to keep trying



But the problem is with my hand, really

How so?

I go for trials. I've had lots of trial days at lots of different jobs but they don't ask me back because of things I can't do because of my hand

And what does your adviser at the Job Centre say about that?

That I have to keep trying


Do you feel like you're well enough to work?

Yes. I can work

Ok. But what about your hand?

I can do most things. I can work. My hand slows me down at some things but I can work

Ok. And what does your doctor say?

My doctor says I can work. Look: she wrote a letter


Ok. So, your doctor says you're fit for work

Yes. My doctor says that. But the people at the jobs think I can't do things because of my hand


To them, I am ill. To my doctor, I am well. I am ill, I am well, I am ill, I am well

Do you have any other health problems?




How are you feeling? In general? About stuff in general?

You mean, am I depressed?

Yes. Do you think you might be?

Of course I'm depressed


But I want to work. I just want to find work. I want to work hard

And how often do you drink?

I'm not drunk

Ok, I'm just trying to get a picture of how things are for you. How much do you think you drink on an average day or during an average week?

I'm not drunk




What can I do? I want to see my son

Well, if you're telling me that you feel like you're fit for work, it seems like your problem is more about you not being able to find the right job than you not being well enough to work. Yes?


Ok. So, it seems like your adviser at the Job Centre needs to put you forward for things that are better suited to your needs. Have you spoken to each other about that?

I don't know

You should

But there are no jobs for me. What can I do? I go for trials and then nothing. Every time. What can I do?

You need to ask your adviser at the Job Centre to give you more nuanced advice and put you forward for jobs that you have a chance of keeping

But people take one look at me and decide about me straight away. Every time. Every time


What can I do?


What can I do? Please. What can I do?

I don't know. I don't have an answer. I'm sorry

Thursday, 5 December 2013

One Day at a Time

I just flipped. I can't really remember what I said, but I know it wasn't pretty.

Kate is in her late fifties. She's a cleaner and has been for the past twenty-odd years. She looks worn out, stressed and a pretty wired. Like she hasn't been sleeping or eating very much.

She talks about her job for a little while; how she's been signed off work with stress since she blew up at her line manager; how she's struggling on the £86.70 per week she receives in statutory sick pay but how the thought of going back to work makes her feel like she's going to vomit.

She talks about the problems she's had with her hips; how the new, harsher schedules at work are making it really difficult for her to do her job because of her joint pain.

And then she starts talking about her son.

He's 30. Engaged. Into football and snooker. A good lad. And dying.

He'd had this cough. He'd had it for ages. A couple of years. I kept telling him to go to the doctor. Eventually he did and he was given antibiotics but it didn't go away so he went back to get more. But his cough just got worse. He'd be coughing day and night. He'd have these terrible coughing fits that would last a good three or four minutes. Really violent. So he went back to the doctor again and insisted on a referral to a specialist. And then he got a diagnosis of this fibrosis thing, or ... I can't remember the name exactly... and he didn't tell me about it for ages.

It turns out that Kate's son is a very poorly man.

It turns out that, without a lung transplant, Kate's son won't live much longer.

It turns out that, even if he has a successful transplant, Kate's son probably won't live for more than seven years.

Kate reminisces about her son's engagement party a few months ago.

He came up to me while I was dancing and asked for a Mum hug. And he held on a bit too long, you know? And, I know it sounds silly but I knew that something was wrong straight away. You just know when it's your own kids. And he wouldn't let go of me and he wasn't even that drunk. And he just said, 'Mum, Mum, I'm really scared'. And I just held onto him. My boy.

Kate battles her way through the tears taking little gulps of air. She says that this is the first time she's really talked to anyone about all this.

She talks about her son's partner; how supportive she and her family have been. She talks about getting the coach up to the hospital in Newcastle with her son to see specialists and how lovely the doctors are there.

She talks about trying to be a strong mum for him at the appointments at the hospital. But she says she feels like she's letting him down; that she had to leave the consulting room early last time because she couldn't bear the look of concentration on her son's face when he was trying to take in what the consultant was saying to him. 

She talks about how she hasn't seen her partner since he walked out of the house last night after Kate head-butted the bathroom wall and made a hole in it after an almighty row. She says she doesn't blame him. That they love each other. That she's finding it difficult to control her anger. That she needs to be better at taking things one day at a time. 

So, who knows what will happen with this disciplinary at work. To be honest, I don't really think that's what I came here to talk about.

Kate exhales slowly. She does this a few times. She says it helps her to stop shaking.