Thursday, August 02, 2007

We're All Bruised Beneath the Skin

The blues have been on the blogosphere for the past few weeks. A combination of summer flu and winter colds, facing the ordinary, pressures of home life and performing below par in exams. Some have closed their blogs, some have resorted to anti-depressants, others have just medicated or drunk their way out of viral lethargy or decided to back off and have some quiet time. For me, it’s been a pain in the arse at work because I work with a couple of wankers that make the whole experience difficult and the frustration of knowing that financial freedom depends on the revival of the Real Estate boom and the fact that three grown adults are living in a house barely big enough for Mrs Tiggywinkle. Even Jeremy fisher had a long back passage!

Then there is always that person that lights your day, makes you realise that your problems are absolutely nothing or if they are serious, give you the comfort that they are being shared by others and that if they can deal with their misfortune, then so probably can we.

There is such a man. He works next door to me. I may have mentioned him before. He’s tall, about 6’ 4” with long legs and an athletic build. He has a bum, unlike most men his age which I’m guessing is early 40’s. He hasn’t deformed the back of his trousers by inserting a bulging wallet, on the contrary, his bulges are exactly as they should be! He has a really decent bum. He dresses casually but well-tailored and obviously expensively. He has an enormous and confident stride but there’s something very tragic about him.

The first time I saw his face, I took a breath. Not one of those “OMG he’s drop dead gorgeous breaths”. No, it was one of those embarrassingly audible “Jezus what happened to you” breaths. This fellow has obviously been in a fire. A severe one. His face is just about melted and he has no ears. Reconstructive grafts have done the best they can to give his lidless eyes some expression and I suspect his lips have been formed from the darker skin on his inner thigh (that’s where they get ‘nipple’ skin for breast reconstructions apparently). He has a Michael Jackson nose ‘nuf said. His fine brown hair grows over 75% of his head but simply won’t take root just above what is left of his right ear. What is there, is impeccably trimmed and well groomed. His hands too have been ravaged by flames and a couple of his fingers are missing but this man smiles . . . greets strangers confidently and gives the impression that he’s just glad to be alive. I suspect he is much loved.

We all have our crosses to bear I guess, and I’m happy to help anyone bear theirs if they need a friend but it’s nice to know that we are all basically of the same ilk. Touched by blessings and tragedy alike and as some will tell you, sometimes they come together in the same package.

He doesn’t avoid the gasps and gazes, he strides confidently up the hill back towards his office carrying his juice and sandwich. He has an energy that shows even though he’s been dealt the cruellest blow, he’s full of life. He tips his head and every time I see him he says ‘G’day . . nice day”. I’ve never had the courage to ask him his name or what left him in such a state but I look forward to our little meet and greet at lunchtime . . he makes me feel very humble when I complain about the trivial but also makes me feel rather relieved and amazed because he seems to treat the gazes of others as part of life and not worthy of disdain, he’s just getting’ on with it!


Grannymar said...

A very thought provoking post Baino. It reminded me of something I read in the New York Times about three years ago.

"We don't have a disease. So we can't be 'cured.' This is just the way we are."
Jack Thomas, a student at a school for autistic teenagers.

Baino said...

True that! It's weird isn't it. When I was young, I wouldn't have looked twice at anyone with a gammy leg or any other disability. One of my best friends was born without an arm below the elbow and I love him to bits, there's nothing he can't do except clip his own fingernails. And you look at people like K8 and Sean with a blessing that out-weighs the curse. The stigma of disability aint what it used to be thank goodness. I do have a problem with ADHD though . . .I'm still thinking it's an excuse for poor discepline and a rubbish diet. But I'm prepared to be challenged on that one!

Baino said...

. . . and I don't mean to be interpreted as patronising at all . . .sometimes type betrays us. I am just amazed at the resilience of some when others (like me) get the blues over seemingly silly things.

Anonymous said...

Pain is most definately relative. I got sick of talking to one neighbour of mine because of the constant bitching she was doing over her ex-boyfriend. You'd swear she was the first woman ever to be dumped by the sound of her. Goodness knows what she'd be like if anything really serious happened to her.

It's amazing how very bad things happen to the quiet folk, yet those who are constantly looking for sympathy rarely actually suffer. There's that Ying Yang thing again.

Daz said...

In reference to K8's comment, that reminds me of the music of Kelly Clarkson, which I believe we have spoken about before.

Imagine if she got burned to the cusp of death - she's have material enough for at least seventy fucking albums, each one more horrendous than the last ...

Baino said...

K8 too true. I guess my point is that everyone has an issue to deal with but I gotta tell you . . after a couple of days off browsing yummy mummy bloggies I'm amazed at the number of young women who are on anti-depressants (all Americans I might add must be easier to get over there).
Daz, trust you to take this to a new level you perverse little boofhead. Kelly Clarkson makes my ears bleed but I can't bring myself to wish the same on her!
OK we can all go and have a good cry now. Very cathartic I might add!
Tomorrow I will post something silly to cheer us all up.

Kate said...

Perspective sucks. But at the same time, it's such a good thing.