Phoning it in

*For those expecting humour; the management would like to apologise for the tone of recent posts and assure readers that normal service will be resumed as soon as the author can find the funny bone which he apparently lost in the recent move*

In the last fortnight, it has surprised me how many people have asked how I am, and actually meant it. I’m talking about genuinely concerned people, who are actually waiting for a real answer to that question, because they really do want to know that you’re ok.

The problem I’m having is that, for the first time in my life, I really don’t know how to answer that question… I mean, I really don’t know whether I’m alright or not. I have felt more alive in the last 5-6 weeks than I have in the previous 15 years, and flown higher than I ever hoped I might again. But I have also been smashed hard into the ground for flying too close to the sun, and had to address damages of my own making. My brain is alive with a million things to say, but not a single clue who I’m supposed to be saying them to. I have experienced happiness, and made others happy. I have experienced devastation, and also been the cause of it. At times like these it becomes very difficult to answer the simple question “Are you OK?” and very easy to become lost in self-pity, simply because you don’t know whether you’re ok or not. So, you assume you’re not and start looking for someone who will kiss your sprained ankle and make it better, rather than saying “Well… if you didn’t want to fall over, perhaps you ought not to have run down the stairs!”

Perhaps some of the best moments of the last week though, have been surprising (and often surreal) phone conversations. Surprising, not only because I don’t normally like talking on the phone, but because, in all three cases, they have involved people whose voices I have never been so happy to hear. The first was a conversation I could so easily have had before, but avoided until it was too late. The last, was a very kind old friend; uniquely placed to offer their perspective on a potentially dangerous dilemma. It was the one in the middle however – A bittersweet, teary conversation with a troubled young girl who means far more to me than she thinks she does – which pulled me out of my self-pity.

Sometimes we think we are in a burning house, when it might just be that we need to turn down the lights and give our eyes time to adjust to the brightness. But, even in situations that really are beyond repair; if it becomes impossible to escape without causing pain, the very least you can do is to limit the damage. To my shame, I did not.

If you love someone, they should never have to figure that out for themselves. If someone is important to you, then so should their happiness be; if they are unhappy, move heaven and earth to make them happy; if you can’t make them happy, at least listen.

Finally… If you are a comedian at heart, don’t write this kind of sentimental nonsense. Here’s a song, for Lea, for me… for anyone else who wants it.

I know I didn't try very hard with this picture... sorry about that. See disclaimer at top of post.


2 comments on “Phoning it in

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