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Lounging in McDonald's


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Tuesday is my Burger and Chips day at McDonald's, prior to my afternoon stint at Oxfam in the music section of the local Book and Music Shop. The place is crowded, I love the ambience of the place. Crowded! And yet down the High Street the Burger King is virtually empty - difficult to know exactly why one place attracts while another is shunned. 

Just to say that since Xmas I have been tapering off the anti-depressants. I tried it a couple of years ago with disastrous results. This time I consulted with my GP and I have stuck to a preplanned reduction, not accelerating simply because of "feeling good". From 40mg I now take just 10mg a day, and next monday is the day when they finally go into the bin. 

The last time I tried I ended up almost in the mad-house. I've probably told this before but really can't remember. In the middle of all the depression and anxiety I had the task of taking a couple of large carrier bags of stuff to my daughter's place, about three miles away. After this, to collect the grand-children from school. It was raining, the wind blowing. No car and the buses here are unreliable. A three mile walk in the wind and rain, with two heavy bags. My eye was on the clock, and the minutes ticked away before I knew I had to leave. The time came, I stood up, and I grabbed both the heavy bags. It just struck me then how impossible it was. I just stood in the middle of the lounge and seriously, it was in my sliding mind the time for the white-coats to come and take me away. I remember simply standing there and saying:- "I need help"......and I meant that I needed to be sectioned, taken away. My dear "other half" (who in all the long years has never said anything like "pull yourself together" or any other bullshit) just thought that I needed help with the task at hand. She said to give my mate Terry a ring, ask him to give me a lift to my daughters. It was something to do. I rang him, and thankfully he was in, and in ten minutes he was there outside. My best mate. 

Not only did he take me, but he then drove me down to the school to pick up the little kiddies, then he hung around for a few more hours (missing his own dinner) after I poured out a few of my problems to him. It brought us closer. Really, he had saved me from the knackers yard. Once or twice I've tried to explain to him but I think he just looked upon it as a small favour. 

Gratitude. He was the mate who died from a sudden heart attack just a couple of months ago. What can you say? 

Anyway, next monday is the end of the tablets day - all being well. The tapering off this time has been fairly uneventful, actually feeling better the less I have taken. Maybe a bit over-emotional and teary at times, but fairly stable; but that said, an undertone of simply feeling very little at all - hard to explain. But I do know that my heart leaps at the sight of "little ones", their faces - children delight me!

Well, I must go. But may continue once I get to Oxfam. I had intended a slightly different post but as usual the words just wrote themselves irrespective of my original intentions.

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Now at Oxfam. I always bring my own music, but the Ramone's "Rocket to Russia" was playing so I've left it on for the moment - their cover of the old Searcher's hit "Needles and Pins" (or is it "pinsa"?) has always been a favorite.

Posting my previous story, I was remembering (or trying to) a little haiku. I've found it....

For those who proclaim

they've grown weary of children

there are no flowers

What I was going to write before, my original intention, was about trying to describe my actual state of mind recently - a sort of void with all the various thoughts/moments spinning around and about. It's all a bit strange. But just by chance I picked up on a book by Jung, "Psychology and the East" and hit on a passage that was immediately relevant, about the disintegration of the conscious mind and the protection it needs from the "centre". An image really grabbed me:-





The guy is "centred" even in the storm of revolving "selves" which each have their own disintegration into other "selves"! 

"Be still and know that I AM God"

Well, I'm not making much sense. Back to the Ramones!



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Had to laugh as I read through (for a second time) the graphic novel "Slaughterhouse 5" by Kurt Vonnegut.  The "hero" Billy Pilgrim has the serenity prayer up on his office wall:-

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

Then it says of Billy that the things he could not change were the past, the present, and the future!

Which jogs my memory of the opening lines of Four Quartets by T S Eliot:-

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden


All "unredeemable"?

Spoiler alert

The end of the same poem:-

Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.


(You can tell I'm not very busy)


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  • 2 weeks later...

Did the graphic novel depict this scene? ;) 



“You sound to me as though you don’t believe in free will,” said Billy Pilgrim.

“If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings,” said the Tralfamadorian, “I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by free will.  I’ve visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more.  Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.”  

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse–Five


So it goes.

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