Sunday, 31 August 2014

Waiting Patiently... **BLOG POST**

I loathe waiting rooms...particularly doctors waiting rooms!  As you walk what seems the impossibly long distance from the entrance door to the reception area, you know that everyone sat waiting for their staring directly at you...

....looking you up and down, through their haze of boredom and bacteria, inwardly criticising and assessing all aspects of your life, purely through their evaluation of whatever your sickly form has managed to drape over its ailing frame that morning.

The good news is that, once you have survived this moment of  public ridicule and humiliation, you can sit with the rest of the Judging Panel and take the piss out of some other poor, ill sod when they stagger in.

It's during the lull between victims, such as these, that you become conscious of the possibility that one...if not all...of the surrounding people could be infectious...and that's when you start to weigh the other up for any signs of contagion. 

You look at the rasping old dear in the corner and, as her fragile body bends and buckles under the strain of a hacking cough, you think to yourself..."the only thing keeping her together is phlegm"!...before continuing your viral vigil whilst trying to avoid inhaling or ingesting any air borne spittle!

Much to my annoyance, recent events found me sitting in one of these places, lolling with the lousy...and not in a laugh-out-loud kinda way.  I was just in the process of mentally diagnosing a middle aged man, whose gait and facial expression suggested he'd spent a considerable amount of time travelling on horseback with a cactus for a saddle...when two women and a child of about six years of age shuffled in and plonked themselves down in the row of seats directly in front of me.

During the course of the 'wait' the two ladies, who I presumed to be mother and daughter, seemed to think we inmates at the surgery were part of a child-minding service, dedicated to the entertainment of the unruly kid who accompanied them.

The kid being the kind of kid whose objective in life will be to piss people off, AND given the mother's pathetic, whispered, half arsed attempt to control him...he will succeed spectacularly in his endeavours to do so...probably already having earned himself a Fisher Price Asbo at least!

This was not the University of New Mexico!

Anyway, after a while of my enduring the fact that neither women could be bothered with the boy, and my resentfully realising  that I was beginning to feel quite sorry for him...I put up with his magic tricks and his incessant questioning.... thus becoming a peculiar part of his upbringing...for  at least half an hour anyway...

Oh and, as all this was going on, to my left there sat an elderly lady, whose knees were nonchalantly positioned at quarter to three...leaving me in little doubt as to her medical complaint!!....

Still, on the whole, whilst I feel I exit these places more affected than I enter them...sometimes my life does feel a little richer for the experience.  Not necessarily from a medical perspective...but from my learning to appreciate the value of the ever unreeling film of  fascinating characters who I've encountered, as I've dawdled on the edge of madness and disease, thanks to the bizarrely entertaining company of the unusual and the un-diagnosed ...

©Copyright Lynn Gerrard 2.8.2012

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Peeping Tom...

She's very prim

But rarely proper

Yet should he touch

He'll come a cropper

And so he peeps

At what's on offer

Through the crack

In the old privy door

Poem only  ©Copyright Lynn Gerrard 2.8.2012

Monday, 25 August 2014

Tin Foil and Testaments...**BLOG POST**

I was a child of the 60's, a northern lass who enjoyed many a scorching summers day sat in the middle of the cobbled road, outside my old grannies terraced house,  popping tar bubbles with a well licked lolly stick!...a bit like an organic speed bump I suppose!

Whenever she caught me doing this, my little Irish granny would take to the street, tea towel in hand, flour covered apron flapping, to admonish me with the kind of vicious enthusiasm only someone who loved you very much could afford.

She'd go on to tell me of the monster that would get me if I kept insisting to taunt the traffic as I did...but no monster my gran threatened to conjure could scare me...oh no!...despite my tender years, I knew of a monster so hideous as to scare all other monsters into the shadows...

The Monster I speak of is...Catholicism!!!... And before you start groaning, be assured I have no wish nor want to launch into some mind numbing theological debate, I'm just going to tell you of a thing that I personally experienced, if you will allow me to (or not).

I was born into a loving Catholic family. Loving not because of Catholicism, loving despite of it!! Now in the mid sixties, when I was but a sproglet, I attended the local Catholic infant school 'Saint Pancreas of the Worthless Miracle' (I may have invented that name). It was very much how you'd expect it to be back then. 

Nuns, draped in the cheerless black garb of their oppressive profession, stalked the corridors with their Reaper-esque presence, fluttering here and there like bats on acid using their Rosary Beads to lasso anyone they considered harboured Protestant sympathies.

Classrooms were crowded with tired, wooden desks carved into which the faceless names of pupils past begged to be remembered, their scribblings just as lost as the voiceless babble written in blood and tears on the walls of any asylum. 

Each morning, prior to lessons, we had to endure Religious Instruction, which included reciting the Catechism en masse. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a 'summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for instruction of Christians' or 'Brainwashing via Papal Propaganda', as I prefer to refer to it!

I mean this was heavy stuff!...far too complex for kids so young they still suffered whip lash from the pull of the umbilical cord!

Regardless, Catholic doctrine insisted we chant this and so we did EVERY morning but that's all it was 'chanting'. No thought was attached to it, no deeper understanding or appreciation of Christianity was provided through this, we just coldly and mindlessly repeated meaningless words, terrified should we make a mistake and incur the wrath of the wiry, white haired disciplinarian that was our teacher...Mr Hearst.

In a bid to further our appreciation of the all benevolent, all caring, all seeing Catholic God, Mr Hearst would scream passages from the bible at us with such vehemence, that foamed spittle would project itself from his beardless gob, to cling mercilessly upon the freshly nit combed hair of the poor sods unfortunate enough to sit in the front row.

He would passionately inform us that, for every bad deed we did and each dark thought we harboured, our souls would collect black marks and that if we accrued three black marks we would earn ourselves a Mortal sin and, consequently, forever burn in the fires of Hell in the certain knowledge that the "all forgiving God, who loved all things"... would despise us with a divine vengeance, for all eternity!

Not only was this man a human laxative, he was also both disturbing and disturbed (perfect qualifications for a Religious Instructor) and so we suffered on. 

Hahaha, catholic school.
If joy did exist at that school, I don't recall it, my memory serves only to remind me of the fear each new school day brought with it.

Fear of Mr. Hearst...fear of the Nuns...fear of God...which essentially boiled down to one fear, that of being punished by any one, if not all, of the above!! 

And 'Punishment' to me, was, and remains, Catholicism defined...oh alongside 'Guilt' we must never forget the if we could!

Anyway, one day Mr Hearst, fresh and bouncy from a morning of flagellation, announced to the class that there were going to be changes to future lessons in Religious Instruction.

I'm sure many of us hoped we were shifting to Satanism just for the light relief of it but no...we weren't so lucky.

He went on to explain that should any of us wish to attend church, for early morning mass before school EVERY day we wouldn't need to take part in the class religious lesson. You could practically hear the clickity click of little minds ticking over trying to calculate the lesser of the two evils, and then he continued...

"All those who do choose to attend church may bring their breakfast into class to be consumed whilst the rest of us continue with the mornings instruction"

Thus the deal was sealed. Who could resist the potential rapture of watching the non-church goers suffer the hysterical, manic babblage of Mr Dribbly Beard whilst we, the blessed ones, tucked into the luxury of our home packed breakfast...even if it was only half a turnip?

Needless to say, I attended church each and every morning prior to school. In the small brown paper bag which accompanied me lovingly wrapped within a sheet of tin foil two slices of toast, thickly buttered by my old granny, patiently waited to be slowly stuffed into my little Catholic gob as those being schooled in the merits of eternal damnation, through sneaky sideways glances, drooled into their disused inkwells.

All I had to do was endure the strange sounds that were tripping forth from Father Adams' blue tinted lips as he stood, ankle deep, within a seemingly Vampiric mist. I later understood this display to be a mixture of Latin, Communion wine and incense!!.

However, it wasn't long before class breakfast numbers dwindled and despite the pleasure of there being less of us to relish the miseries of more of them, such joy was short lived when Mr Hearst retracted the privilege of our mornings respite.

Apparently the churches plan to lure more knees on pews through the bribery of young, innocent and impressionable children had been but a temporary success so, sadly, my days of tin foiled toast and Testaments, came to an unholy end.

Unfortunately, further persecution orchestrated by Catholicism didn't end there for me, and to this very day I genuinely remain affected by it, still, such tales are for another time.

Catholic School
In summary,  for all this regime of the righteous wanted to bully and beguile me through their God-threats and their attempts to mould my mind and bend my knees to their way of thinking they failed miserably, I'm delighted to say, serving only to delineate their world of manipulation, deception, corruption and despair.

However!! Miraculously!!...all was not completely lost!!...

During the reluctant period I spent in the clutches of the Catho-holics.........they taught me to appreciate a thing which I probably wouldn't have appreciated as much,  had it not been for the tyrannical experiences they put me through, and that was...

...that regardless of any of their cruelties, notwithstanding the miseries and mental scars those Catholic teachings pressed upon me, I had a true taste of Heaven every single day, thanks to the unconditional love which overflowed from the contents of the little tin foil parcel.

Yes, those days taught me a vital lesson in lovely, feisty, little Irish granny........made bloody good toast!!......God rest her soul...........Amen!...

©Copyright Lynn Gerrard 2.8.2012

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hallelujahs and Hypocrisies... **BLOG POST**

Some time ago, as (once again) I suffered the immeasurable agonies of a queue, I happened to find myself grid locked in front of two middle aged Christian women.

How did I know they were Christians? 'Cos they began every effin' sentence with the emphatic proclamation ..." Well, as a Christian!!!!"

I was in Edinburgh at the Fringe at the time waiting to see a show and the queue was quite voluminous and these two women were all but perched upon my shoulder each competing with the other as to who God loved best via the verbally volleyed details of 'Good deeds they had done and souls they had saved through their 'Christian' ministrations'...

Mercifully, I was momentarily distracted by two flies copulating in mid air, however my attention soon returned to the sainted duo when I heard one of the anointed heatedly berating a member of their flock...

"I don't think she's fit to be part of our group...blah a Christian...blah blah...and as for her husband...he's as bad as her...blah isn't Christian... blah blah...neither of them are any good....blah blah...I'm going to have a word with...( didn't catch the name...probably 'God'! )...and tell him we can't be having the likes of her or him coming to our Church"...

This tirade went on for some time halting only when the time arrived to enter the venue. I went on my way to watch a magic show and they went on their way, taking their Christian magic with them whilst no doubt continuing their generous castigation of all those they considered less virtuous than themselves! (I'm sure they loped off to watch 'Tokyo Shock Boys')

Also, whilst remaining attached to the "As a Christian" thread, just before Christmas last a random offering on the TV caught my attention when the programme, which was highlighting public offenders, focused on a homeless guy who had set up a little camp for the night in the vicinity of a Church Hall but was told to move on by the police as the Christians from the Community Hall had complained saying they considered his presence would intimidate their members and deter them from entering their hallowed halls !!!

Well, we can't be having that can we eh?...Poor honest Christians being threatened by the fragile, despondent, nasty vagrant guy menacingly hugging a rain soaked blanket on a cold, wet winters night....oh no indeed...we mustn't have the untidy destitute fracturing the warm and all loving ambience of their Christian gathering!!

Absolutely not, I mean, their blessed Christian knees may become arthritic from all that praying for the needy but don't let any of those dirty needy little f***ers come near them or their polished pews!!...

My final rant on this subject comes as a result of a particular news report from some time ago, which outlined the Russian president Vladimir Putin's controversial "gay propoganda" law,  which many feel has as good as legitimised homophobia! 

Included in the report was footage showing scenes of extreme violence towards some members of the gay community. And I'm telling you this to get to THIS point...and that is, that one guy, who had sprayed pepper spray in the eyes of a gay man, when asked "why"? replied that " As a Christian" it was his duty to "help him"!!!!!

I'll shut up now 'cos my temple's throbbing, but you get the point? You can see it eh? To regurgitate my usual, I couldn't give a flying shite as to who abides by which religion and NO I'm not saying all 'Christians' are the same the end of the day...I am in absolute agreement with the person who said....

" I'd rather spend time with a rough around the edges sinner than a well polished hypocrite!"........HALLELUJAH!!...

 © Copyright Lynn Gerrard 2.8.2012

Thursday, 14 August 2014

To Pee or not to Pee... *Blog Post*

I hate using public toilets and the challenges they force upon you. Challenges like, trying to decipher which loo is actually vacant 'cos the little red & green indicators on the doors are permanently stuck half way between both, just to test your level of assertiveness!!

I also happen to think that the method you choose, to determine the status of occupancy, tells you a lot about an individuals personality...for example...

...there's the dominant user who just barges in, violently pushing at each door until one finally surrenders and slams open with such force as to frighten the shite out of the poor constipative in the adjoining cubicle! (bonus, I suppose).

This is the kind of person who would fearlessly elbow a pensioner under a bus just to get ahead of the queue and out of the rain!

Then there's the timid little mouse who edges its way in gradually and stands with its back against the sink, feverishly biting its nails as it tries to work out, via telepathy, which of the loos are free, because it doesn't dare run the risk of confrontation should it inadvertently attempt to gain access to an occupied stall.

Of course, the mouse could take the ultimate risk and get down on all fours to check underneath the cubicle for legs, but that could involve a lot of embarrassment, awkward explanations...and possibly death, should an occupant choose that very moment to vacate its haven.

Horror defined, would be if either of those risks were  undertaken, only for the mouse to discover the occupant of that particular loo was none other than the pensioner pushing 'dominant' from our previous encounter!!...hence the prospect of 'death'...

Now, this poor mouse is the kind of person who would not only let you use her as a doormat, but would happily oblige by having the word 'welcome' shaved into her back hair (if she possessed any...which she probably wouldn't...but that's why we have permanent marker).

Obviously we're in need of an inbetween here, and that's the cautiously confident loo-user who breezes in, scans the room, spots the 'mouse' at the sink, asks if it's waiting for the loo, to be told the lie "no thank you" through tremulous little squeaks and thus is able to proceed, with confident strides, towards the toilet doors where it cautiously, but firmly, gives them a push until, eventually, an unoccupied lav is revealed, resulting in immediate access...

....much to the misery of the mouse who, by this time, has crossed her legs so tightly as to compromise circulation!

This kind of personality is the kind which is able to smile warmly whilst looking a 'Big Issue' seller directly in the eye before delivering a stoic..."No"...

Oh and whilst we're at it, let's not forget about the other detestable attributes of these places.  I mean, have you ever been bursting for the loo and rushed in, quickly pulling your necessaries down, only to sit your unsuspecting backside upon a warm seat??? too....*shudder*...How vile....someone else's buttock heat permeating your pores!

Or worse than that,  A WET SEAT!!!.....Arrgghhhhhhh!!....Oh yes, I've been there and sat in that!!!! I was so repulsed once I considered a skin graft!!!

Oddly, there's also a kind of bizarre etiquette which is frequently applied in these establishments, like the 'walking-into-a-smelly-cubicle' etiquette.

This usually happens when you're in a queue and a kindly soul, having completed her own toiletry needs, holds the door open for you to enter and thus tend to those toiletry requirements of your own.

Now then, that's all very well, but if the previous occupant has left in her wake an odour of such toxic proportions as to paralyse your nostrils and remove the lining from your nasal cavity, then there lies a big problem...Because...

...the unwritten rule is that you persevere with the heinous whiff, as, given you have entered this area of your own free will, you are now, consequently, fully committed to its occupancy and have no choice but to suffer all odorous terrors therein.

Indeed, to do otherwise, and instantly vacate the urinal, would be seen as a direct insult upon the previous occupants bowel movement and ultimately its life choices, particularly those connected to all things dietary ...and simply not the done thing!!...

'Course, what IS acceptable, is that as you leave, and hold the door ajar for the next in line, you whisper a discreet "I-am-not-responsible-for-the-olfactory-meltdown-you-are-about-to-experience" as your paths momentarily cross.

It's a bit like a relay actually, such whispers being repeated and passed on and on until the foul bouquet is completely eliminated.

Yep.....seems the call of nature is often one for help!!

© Copyright Lynn Gerrard 2.8.2012