Insular. Sooner or later things make you insular. Whether it’s the gorgeous immersive bliss of new love or worst of the worst, lack of hope and absolute despair. Whichever side of the penny it is, it’s stamped with the word, insular.
Then once in a while, there’s a bolt out of the blue yonder. Sometimes the bolt is sought out of desperation or the need to change a path you’re following. A wise sage may be sought to act as a lighthouse and new hope springs up on the not too distant horizon.
Sometimes you stop being insular for a moment. A ripple hits your radar and gains a little momentum and turns into a wave. Not an ocean basher of a wave wiped up by an unabated offshore wind breaking in explosive white plumes and dancing spirals on some rocky peninsula. Not one of those.
Just a tiddler that, if you would were to stand too close to the waterline, would just emerge your shoes and wet your socks , leaving you feeling uncomfortable until a fresh, dry pair could be sourced.
You see something that makes you say, ahh, bless. You’re not so insular.
That little wave gives you a time to take stock of what you have and you’re grateful for a while. For as long as your socks remain soggy.
Alcoholics call these incidents, ‘moments of clarity’.
Except those moments for alcoholics are like ocean bashers. I’m told it’s so immersive that it provides the impetus for change or reason to dive back into the temporary, life destroying comfort zone of the bottle.
Being insular winds in the receptors that allow you to indulge in these moments. These are good, if not great moments.
Under normal circumstance there’s no reason to go out and seek these waves because ‘I’m alright Jack’. To seek them might be scary and maybe give answers to questions you just don’t want to ask.
Then again, sometimes, even when the radar is switched to its minimum setting, something gets past the barrier.
A crunched up old lady shuffles painfully into the hospital canteen. Very ,very, slowly. Adorned on each side by a lady, one in uniform and a one in civvies.
‘Sit down mum,’ Mrs Civvies calls into to her ear.
The nightie and hospital issue dressing gown hid much of her diminutive, frail, hunched over figure and she descended into the chair after the assurance of Mrs Civvies, stating factually, ‘The chairs behind you mum.’
“I’ll get you a coffee. A cappuccino, you’ll like that.” And off she goes to join the lunchtime masses queuing.
The old lady is left with the uniformed nurse.
“Am I alright?” she asks quietly.
“Yes – there’s a nice cappuccino on the way.”
“Ohh” – she looked very forlorn from the next table where I sat tucking into to some peach crumble, school dinner sty-lee.
“What’s up love?”; the nurse enquired close to the old ladies ear.
The old lady looked lost. Proper lost.
“I just want to hold a hand.” She quietly mumbles.
The clock stopped.
There’s a bolt out of the blue. The ocean basher hits. A huge wave of emotion almost overcomes this crumble gobbling tuff man who’s stood tall on this planet ever since he was born. Oh yes, I’m as tuff as they come. Right?
A moment of clarity hits harder than that recounted to me by my recovered alcoholic mate. Perhaps I should permanently re-adjust my radar to let these moments in more often.
Then I may realise more often.
Forget the Bugatti Veyron, the world’s fastest accelerating road car, keep your euro millions multi rollover winning mega fortune, the world is never enough when all in the world you need is a hand to hold.
Richard Barnes – July 2011