Regular readers know what I do for a living, but as there are a few new members to the flock (welcome to you all !) I will tell you about my job again.
I am a carer for a man, Paul, who has a brain injury. He is by no means incapacitated physically, if you met him you probably would not realise - at first, but when five minutes later he wants to know who you are again you might get an idea that something was up. He does get tired easily but his biggest issue when it comes to daily life is his lack of memory. Since he can't be left alone, but doesn't really like going out, my role is mostly to be there so his wife and family can go about their busy lives without worrying
Like make sure that when he decides to make a bacon sandwich he remembers that there is bacon cooking under the grill, or hold the cable if he wants to mow the lawn so he doesn't forget it's there and
I've been good friends with Paul and his wife since before he had his injury which was acquired after a heart attack that caused his brain to be starved of oxygen, and surprisingly he does remember me from before. Well if you were to hear my voice ( I am a bit loud) you would know why that isn't really that surprising, but actually what this means for me is that I am lucky to have a job where going to work means
Even if it is like my own personal groundhog day.
Paul can have a conversation with me about something he watched on the TV the night before, he is still very intelligent and has always loved history, especially anything to do with wars. But two hours later will completely forget we had that conversation and so we have it again.
There is a photograph in the lounge of a couple on their wedding day, the picture is one of his daughters best friends who was actually his carer for a couple of years when he first became ill. At least once a week he will say "who are those people and why have we got a picture of them ?"
I find it amusing, even he laughs when he asks me and I tell him that I've already told him twice this week. My nickname for him is "Memory Man".
His sense of humour was not damaged, in fact we often have a laugh and it will be at either his - or my - expense.
But today took the biscuit.
I was sat in the kitchen sorting some stuff out. Pauls daughter came back from the shop with a newspaper and sat with me while she read it. She held it up to show me a picture taken in China of some dogs that were kept in cages waiting to be eaten.
It was pretty horrific, but I said that if it was chickens we probably would not be so shocked. In China dogs are traditionally food in the same way that chickens are here, so perhaps the Western world needs to stop judging the Eastern world by its standards. After all, even though we are all aware of how bad the conditions are for battery hens a lot of people will still buy poultry products that are not free range as they are cheaper.
[I should add that I ONLY buy free range products, and I'm not comfortable with the idea of people eating dogs - but that's because I can afford to pay the extra for free range and I am from a culture that does not eat canines. If I were on a tight budget, or Chinese, I'm sure I'd feel different.]
The next item in the paper brought to my attention (she read it to me) was about a soldier who was being prosecuted for punching an Afghan prisoner who was trying to escape - at the cost of two hundred thousand pounds of taxpayers money.
My thoughts on this - if he had shot him in battle he wouldn't be being charged, but even in wartime there has to be standards, and you can't just go around punching people. There are rules about how prisoners of war should be treated after all, and while I don't agree with ANY war I can see how there might be justification for reprimanding that soldier.
What I really took issue with was the cost, especially when soldiers are dying for the lack of proper equipment due to cuts in the defense budget.
Anyway, she finished with the paper and went out leaving it on the side.
Twenty minutes later Pauls brother in law turned up, came and sat in the kitchen and picked up the paper.
"Oh my God Cowgirl look at this picture. . ."
Yup. The dogs.
Same conversation. I guess he didn't care for my (voiced again) opinion so went back to reading.
"Good grief, listen to this . . . "
Yup. The soldier.
Same conversation. That went down like the proverbial lead balloon, and he went off to find Paul who was watching the TV.
Half an hour later Paul came out to the kitchen for a coffee. We chatted for a bit then he picked up the paper.
"Blimey, look at this. . . "
You guessed it. The dogs.
At least he saw the point I was making with my opinion on the subject. Then carried on reading.
"How fucking ridiculous..."
Yep. The soldiers.
And again. At least Paul and I can have an intelligent conversation even if we disagree.
And even if by now I'm starting to feel like the afternoon is stuck on a loop.
A couple of hours later Pauls wife came home, and sat in the kitchen, and picked up the paper and said
You know how it goes by now I'm sure.
Then this evening I'm on the train home and I hear one of the people sat in the seat behind me say to the person next to him . . .
"Look at this picture of these poor dogs in China".
I moved seats, I really did not want to hear another version of the same conversation I'd been having all fucking afternoon.
Update - just read a post on JWMoxies blog that has got me fuming. If you care about anti-discrimination the rights of LGB people then please go and read it, and sign the petition.
And while you're over there have a read of the rest of her blog.