Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

I hate Jamie Oliver

Well, no I don't hate him, of course, because I've never met him, but if I was my mother, no doubt, I'd believe he was to blame for this behaviour.

She's just barged in here, she could clearly see that I'm doing something and just to "drop a subtle hint", I made a deliberate point of not looking up and of furrowing my brow studiously. She doesn't ever ask, she doesn't wait, she just rushes into a diatribe. This one was about "this program" (I wasn't watching TV) is a Jamie Oliver (I'd lived in Spain since he was 17, heard of him, never seen him), did you know he's dyslexic? No, but lots of people are (and haven't died from it, come to think of it, it doesn't seem to have stunted his success very much, point?), he can only read 12 pages and he goes to sleep (well, that may be true, but that's not dyslexia as I know it), but you should see how he ... 

(I'd stopped listening long before this) Look, I'm doing something right now (I'm really not interested and if I were I could watch it online ...)

(Words in brackets are thoughts unvoiced, because there's no point.)

To give her one point, at least it wasn't to tell me about the plot of Emmerdale or Corrie, or who she wants to win Strictly Come Dancing. Agggrrrr! :)

So she storms off in a huff, slamming doors, believing herself to be the "injured party". I'm "wrong" for not wanting to hear what she has to say about nothing of any interest to me at a time when I'm concentrating on something else ...

And something similar happens at least 20 times a day.

Monday, 20 October 2008

You Can Definitely Spot a Liar

"Maybe you have good instincts. Or maybe you just have a lot of experience with liars. Either way, it's pretty hard for someone to pull a fast one on you. You're like a human lie detector."
Can You Spot a Liar?

NOTE: If you intend to take the quiz, I suggest doing it now (I'll wait here), because some of my comments might influence your answers otherwise.

Mine is certainly the result I hoped for - I doubt my own abilities so much, because they're dismissed so often - yet, I do put my ability down to both instinct (that I'm learning to trust) and considerable experience with liars.

The most interesting question was the one asking which reaction is the indication of lying; someone who continues to defend themselves after the subject has been changed, or someone who is happy it was changed.

Or, as this states:
Watch and listen carefully, when someone is accused of something and they are innocent, usually they will resent the accusations and want to explore the topic further. When the conversation changes direction is the person glad the subject has changed instead of wanting to know where this fantasy came from. The guilty want the subject changed.
I don't bloody Adam and Eve it!

If I had a pound for every time my mother said that my continued protestations of innocence were PROOF POSITIVE that I had to be guilty of what she was falsely accusing me of, well, I'd probably have enough for a world cruise.

Come on, she has to know that she's deliberately doing this.

And of course, my mother has appeared happy for subjects to be changed or dropped herself and observing her do this has become my barometer for gauging what she really means and, an antidote to her tendency for confusing, "Long answers, beyond what is normal [...] often used to distract and deflect."

Those haven't been the only traits (by far), that I've observed that have made me believe that she's telling untruths, perhaps even knowingly, but one tends to "excuse" old people on the basis that they probably don't have a clue nor remember what they've said and, would therefore find lying impossible.

And, despite 50 years of observation that tells me otherwise, one tends not to want to believe that one's own mother is prize porkie pie teller either, but I've seen enough of these behaviours recently to think very differently now. And, the more research I do, looking for answers, the more it looks like we may well even be dealing with a full-blown case of pathological lying.

The key to the problem, I think, can be summed up in, "Be sure that the more insecure someone is the more they are prone to lying."

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who demonstrates greater feelings of insecurity than my mother (other than me, as a result of it.) She absolutely refuses to acknowledge it though and has spent her whole life avoiding everything she doesn't like, instead of confronting and overcoming fears.

Now she's had around 80 years experience in massaging the truth, trying desperately to make herself look better than she feels she is. You know and I know that her laughable actions have the exact opposite effect to the one she intends, but she just doesn't have the education to see that, despite the fact that she is very sharp in other ways and very capable of duplicity.

However, reading this explanation:
Young children learn from experience that stating an untruth can avoid punishment for misdeeds, before they develop the theory of mind necessary to understand why it works. In this stage of development, children will sometimes tell fantastic and unbelievable lies because they lack the conceptual framework to judge whether a statement is believable or even to understand the concept of believability.
That statement rings so true, I can honestly say that it seems my mother has never mentally progressed past this point of maturity. She doesn't want to.

Fantasy and wishful thinking make things true for her, without any need for actual experience, knowledge or dealing with grown up things.

It's all terribly sad really, but that does not excuse the lying and, especially not the egotistical, cruel, nasty backstabbing that goes along with it that - also probably because she's practiced it so long - she truly appears to enjoy.

Unfortunately too, my human lie detecting ability, no matter how good, is not entirely infallible and it certainly was duped in phone conversations, such that the whole situation presented to me while I was still in Tenerife, bears absolutely no relation to reality, that I am now seeing for myself.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Magic Mushrooms

Garden variety toadstools

"You see the mushrooms in this risotto ...", says I, about to explain the dish.

"They're from the garden?", asks my mother.

Don't give me ideas! :)

The lawn, until it was cut this week, was one huge mass of toadstools, mostly in wet areas that never get any sun. That's most of it. And the reason, I'm told, is because, previously it had been a cow field. [1] Since that was around 30 years ago, we can probably conclude that fungus spores have very very long lives.

Oh, the mushrooms in the risotto, actually didn't come from the garden (honest): they were of the Shit Ache, Shit Take, Shiitake variety.

[1] The real reason, I discovered when the issue was fixed many years later, was that the area was wet due to a slow leak in the water supply that came into the house under it. But, hey, it's obviously better to make up some fantasy, rather than take all the trouble to investigate a problem and deal with it! 

Friday, 10 October 2008

Chronic pessimism

The lack of ambition, the closed-mindedness, the mean and hatefulness, blaming others ... listen to people around here and you are frequently confronted with those and many of the other 10 traits of losers (oh, yes, I know someone who exhibits all of them.)

Chronic pessimism seemingly affects a high percentage of the population here. It's a nasty, mindless habit, displayed by countless numbers of "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells"; professional wingers who just aren't happy until they have something to complain about.
Yes, of course I complain too, but I do try to limit it to things that are genuinely complaint worthy.

As I discovered recently, I don't see the glass as either full or empty, apparently, I just see what is: reality. No, I don't like reality either and, it surprised me greatly me to discover that I'm basically "balanced" in something. That, in itself, is a bloody miracle.

Yet, I attempt to not whine publicly unless I am seeking help with finding a solution to a problem, or better yet, describing my own solutions to problems that someone reading my whines may come up against too, but lately, solutions are blocked at every turn by a chronic affliction like this:
"I'm not talking about slight pessimism now and then, but serious, consistent, and unrelenting pessimism that makes people shy away from you and causes you to miss out on the beauty of life. Such pessimism is both stifling and paralyzing."
Yes, I've called it stifling before and, that is exactly what it is. Everything is awful, everything is impossible, there's nothing can ever be done ...

Since I got back to the UK in June, I've been confronted daily with this bitter, relentless, negativity and pessimism, droning and whittling away at what tiny little bit of resistance I have left. This mindless complaining and the negativity doesn't just destroy organizations, it destroys hope, sanity, people.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

One year

No Smoking

I promised myself that I’d write a progress report if I managed to go a whole year without smoking and I have, today. Even after a year, I still crave cigarettes constantly. I still can’t sit and do nothing, even for 30 seconds. I dare not think about it: writing this has provoked the worst cravings I’ve had in 365 days.  I still have a cough that I didn’t have when I smoked. I get breathless, which I didn’t when I smoked. In addition, I’ve had a year filled with major stresses and losses. The year has been hell actually, thank you, but I still stuck to this 100%.

How? Well, after a really bad experience with nicotine patches – that may even have been a mild heart attack – I’ve been too bloody scared smoke, because I just could not go through that again.

I’ve had only coffee and fruit as replacements. The former as it does help me with cravings and fruit, because I figured that if I overdosed on the latter it would provide the double benefit of clearing more poisons from my system, faster. (I’m still waiting for it to help me lose the weight I’ve put on.)

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to give up smoking: I think it’s an entirely personal thing. I personally, don’t think I could have done it at all if I’d told anyone (even me) in advance, or got help, even from a professional, who would remind me and make me focus on the one thing I really HAD to avoid thinking about.

The right way, for me, probably would have been to have thrown myself into a DIY project for a few weeks. Alone. With Prozac.

If smoking is an addiction, I actually don’t think it does the potential ex-smoker any damn good to think of it in those terms, because that makes it seem a much bigger deal and more difficult hurdle to overcome, even than it is. And at this point you need to have belief and confidence in yourself and your abilities, so it would also be counter-productive to think of yourself as “an addict”, with the inference of weakness and other negative connotations.

Frankly, I don’t believe it to be true anyway. Who says we’re addicts, other than manufacturers of smoking “cures” (who need us to be “dependent” upon them); medics and others with a vested interest?

It seems to me much better value to forgive yourself for merely doing what was socially acceptable and perfectly normal at the time. (If you’re as old as me, they hadn’t even begun telling us smoking was harmful.) Maybe taking up smoking because all your friends did, or because you thought it made you look more grown up, or whatever excuse, is a bit pathetic when you really analyze it, but since so many of our peers did it, can you really say that only the “worst” people smoked? No, of course not! Maybe it just shows that we’re human? I prefer to simply accept that and move on.

Can you do it?

Well, if I smoked, eventually 2 packs a day, from when I was 14 to when I was 50 (my mental arithmetic makes that 36 years) and I’ve managed to go a whole hell-like year without, I think anyone can. Seriously. I didn’t even want to give up. I’m independent and strong willed enough, but I know I can lack self control when it comes to denying myself pleasures and I’m certainly not one to let anyone else try to deny me them! Smoking bans, to me, are like red rags to a bull and I might have given up 15 years earlier, if it hadn’t been for someone trying to tell me where I could and couldn’t smoke.

Yet it can’t have been impossible, can it?

The truth (not that I’d admit this in public), if we can face it, is that it’s really only uncomfortable and I suffer bigger discomforts. But even after a whole year without smoking, I’m not willing to say that I’ve (yet) given up permanently and I’m not going to make the mistake of being complacent. There’s still work to be done. And lots of TLC to award myself.