My closest family, friends and colleagues (who all deserve a medal for working with me) know only too well that I can display some challenging behaviour when it comes to cleanliness and tidiness.
Those unfortunate enough to work with me would testify to this. It seems I am at my most fastidious (and annoying) when preparing properly for events and life’s duties. I like things to be in order so that I can ALWAYS find something when I need it!!! (this is an understatement).
So a recent experience was a significant and stark reminder to me to get my head out from between my buttocks!
I had returned from a trip away to a third-world country, where I had experienced a lot of trouble finding various destinations. The maps I had were wrong and in no way represented the reality of where I was.
In my broken local and limited dialect I attempted speaking in the native tongue. I resorted to drawing maps in sand and dirt to ask the locals for directions. I tried everywhere to get a map but was told, “None exist!”
The line from a Talking Heads song kept tormenting me, as it played over and over in my head like an “ear worm” … “You’re on the road to nowhere”.
Nonetheless, through dogged determination, I got to where I needed to go eventually.
This one particular journey, should have taken two hours, and instead it took me eight hours, and all because of my sheer bloody-minded stubbornness. However, I was to learn another valuable lesson when returning home.
At one point, I had stopped in a ghetto-type area and had the map on the bonnet of my tiddly hire car. As I stood there scratching my head like a flea-bitten dog, a kind man with a huge pick-up truck and a few words of English engaged me.
“Hawhere you go?” he said.
I replied, “I am trying to get to …” and I pointed to the only map I could find, which wasn’t a map at all really!. The man looked at me in what I thought was a confused way, then he looked at my car … and then back at me … and exclaimed,
“Is no possible with this car!”
I wasn’t settling for that, so with internal indignant objection to his response I said, “Si, is possible, por favor you show me the track?”
The poor man was trying so hard to spare this pig headed westerner a disastrous experience and yet, I was determined to do things my way. I ended up driving about seventy kilometres over donkey tracks, through a river, over mountains and, at one point, what seemed like off the edge of the world.
Will I ever learn?….little did I know, I was about too!
Five days later, on returning home, I was chatting to “Pedro” (not his real name) who was due to go to the same place a few months later. Naturally, he asked me about the trip.
I commenced regaling the little adventure I had taking my tiny hire car on a journey from which it would probably always be scarred (!) Pedro was very polite and laughed at my dramatization and attempt at injecting humour into the story when all of a sudden I STOPPED.
“Eye witnesses report that”, first, my jaw dropped, then my face contorted and went the colour of beetroot and steam appeared to “whisper” from my ears.
I slowly rested my cold beer down.
I began to stutter, then before anyone called the “whitecoats” I elevated from my chair and disappeared into my study.
I emerged a few minutes later amidst a flail of papers and with hair like Einstein, with a detailed map of my recent destination!!!!
I had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN that I had actually been to this place about 15 years previously and made great preparations for the trip. So much so that I had sourced a reasonable map whilst at home.
Hissing and cursing beneath my breath to disguise my embarrassment, and trying to make some feeble excuse like “someone must have moved it….etc etc.(which was all rubbish)”
And so the humble pie was dished up.
This usually, very organised person had overlooked a preparation so basic that one would barely believe!
This was a reminder to me that when you think you’ve got all the bases covered; sometimes it’s worth looking again.
Maybe though, it’s these adventures that help me learn that if I act with a little more humility and get my head out of ‘where the sun doesn’t shine’, just maybe I’ll take something useful from other people’s advice!
Now, what has this all got to do with mental health?
One might argue “absolutely nothing at all”
Conversely I would proffer that this anecdotal story, whilst attempting to create a little humour, has an awful lot to do with mental health.
You see, sometimes it’s difficult to laugh at one’s own foibles. However, I have become a grandmaster (!), I’ve had to, because I keep making the most ridiculous mistakes.
Laughter is such a stress reliever, especially if it comes right from your gut. It promotes the production of hormones called endorphins, which are a natural anti-depressant.
Indeed, the actual writing of my “stories of silliness” often can be a therapeutic and cathartic process. So if this is the case for me, it MAY be the same for you (?)
I would not claim for a moment that this is a magical cure that works for everyone, but, what harm is there in trying ?
OK, that’s it for now folks, I’m off to make my next mistake !!!
With Love Peace and Hope