It must be said: for the past few weeks, I’ve been in a hella lotta turmoil.
Making a massively mammoth life changing decision isn’t the easiest. Particularly when the ability to dither is on option. It’s a whole load of, “Right-o! Choice made. Let’s go with route number 1. Done, deal, let’s do this” only to arise the following morning heavilly leaning down route number two.
As a youngster making decisions came easy; I’d feel the right way to go in my gut, do it and not turn back. As I’ve aged I seem to have lost this decisive streak and turned to more of an unsure nature; do I? Don’t I? But what about [insert newist factor to incorporate here]? It’s a bastard. And uses up copious amounts of A4 paper (so many pros and cons lists strewn about my bedroom).
But – aside from the truthful “I’m in turmoil!” answering to my nearest and dearest – to the vast majority of peers I pass who ask me how I am the response is always either a, “Tops mate!”, “Grand my friend!” or “Simply swell”. No clue at all to the uncertainty taking over my every waking (and often sleeping) hour, no hint at the stress swindling through my circulation.
It makes you think, doesn’t it? If you can mask hurt, upset, pressure and pain around many a situation in the company of counterparts, what are they too shrouding with a veil of “fine thanks”? The lottery girl at New World, the man I pass every morning whilst crossing the bridge to go to the lake, the next door neighbour I wave out to when we’re both bringing in the wheelie bins (not an often occurrence it must be said; usually rubbish retrieval lands on Deb or Henio’s shoulders); what’s going on behind the shutters of face saving?
And it doesn’t even have to be a big issue, event or decision one may be fretting over. Some people may even be presenting a contented front while inside they’re purely plain unhappy. Caught up in the repetitive hum drum of everyday life, worrying about a seemingly small woe, fretting about how the bank will balance out with the festive season. You just don’t know, do you?
And it goes the other way. The peaky, pinched woman who snapped at the operator at the counter in front of you and earned herself the label “bitch”; maybe something much more was barricading through her brain and the un-working Fly Buys was just the last straw? Or the hectic tooting of the man at the roundabout as he swore at the slow drivers; just in a bad mood or actually in a hurry to get to a place of immense emotional importance?
I mean, you just don’t know do you? More often than not (a good 99 per cent of the time in my case at the mo) we get caught up in our own worries and problems, forgetting that those around us are too dealing with similiar shit. More often than not, all around have a certain stress or lingering longing that proves difficult to push away. I know for one I have been rather partial to the whole, “grass in always greener” envy eyes; case in point, our blind schnauzer Angus.
As I sat wallowing on the couch (shades all pulled up; I was on the home front now, no need to plaster on a smile) I watched Angus as he pranced around the kitchen in search of his dog bowl, loll about the lounge in languish and give a little growl as Otto attempted to skive off with his Superwine. By George he’s lucky, I thought. No worries or conundrums in the world. Then I stopped myself;why I seriously jealous of a sightless schnauzer?
Mate, Angus probably has eons of worries of his own. He may wake up after a night agonising of whether to sleep on his beanbag or the floor, anguish all day about what time we shall all return home, be angst ridden all afternoon that on his evening stroll he may see that bullying Bijon Frise. You just don’t know, do you?
(Ok, this is a majorly stretching yarn thread to put my point across; pretty sure Angus turns up pretty stress-free on the turmoil trumps. But just go with it, yeah?).
Anyway. This all came to my attention this morning as a result of passing the lottery girl at New World and giving her my half of our standard stranger-greet; sunny smile, the upbeat “how’s it going” and on the way out, “catch you later”. Today instead of her usual response (“good thanks how are you?” and “until next time!”) I received a sad little upturn of the lips and a limp wave.
“What’s up” – quick check of the name badge display – “Emily**?” I asked.
She sighed a downtrodden sigh and a rogue rascal tear streamed down her cheek. “My boyfriend broke up with me,” she divulged. “And I’m just so sad.”
After an awkward back pat (hard to do over a big fuck-off Lotto counter) and run through of all the standard questions and phrases (“how long were you together?” “Were you expecting it?” “There’s plenty more fish in the sea” – que shudder at my fall into using much hated banality – and, “time heals all wounds” – que second shudder) I asked when the break up had happened.
“Three weeks ago,” she sighed.
Jolly Scott! Three weeks?! That meant 21 days of turmoil and tears for poor old Emily here, of which I’d probably passed her for our standard stranger swap a good fourteen (New World have insanely low priced yet juicy mangoes, all right?) and not once had she let on a single sign. It was all a fascade of bouncy beams and enthusiastic thumbs-ups (also one for her hand gestures when dishing out the Triple Dips, it must be said). It had just happened to be this one moment of mask slip, else I never would’ve known.
Because you just never know, do you? Not really. So next time that erratic driver behind me beeps his horn and bellows, “Go!”, I might think twice before letting rip my middle finger and mouthing “wanker” through my windscreen. He may very well be headed off to hospital, or a big deal, or any number of worrisome things.
And for now I’m going to stop wallowing on the couch like some primadonna princess. And console Angus before his walk round the block that no confrontational canine would mess with him whilst I am at the helm.