Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
I was talking to my girl last night, and she was telling me about her hopes and fears for the future, having just finished the last of her A-Level exams and looking forward to a summer of work and festivals - in almost equal measure.
Her mother is a classic fashion-victim along the lines of 'Ab Fab', and the rest of her family (aside from step-father) seem to be incurable artists, and poverty-stricken as a result. Maybe it is because of this that she seems to be heading in the direction of a career in the National Health Service.
The thing is that what she seems to be the best at is caring for people. What strikes everyone around her first is that she seems to be able to get on with everyone, and although she is not particularly attracted to 'wiping the arses of old people' as she put it, she thinks that someone has to do it, and it might as well be her. For this reason (and that she is not optimistic about her exam results) she thinks she may need experience in the low-paid sector of the health-care world before she can embark on the midwifery course that she has her heart set upon. Always trying to find ways of being helpful myself, I suggest that she could practice by wiping my arse for me, but - for some reason - she did not immediately take me up on the offer. Ungrateful child.
During the course of our conversation in the pub garden, I commented that - in my experience - all nurses were rampant 'go-ers' or, in other words, I have never met a nurse who did not treat every day off as if it were their last, and to attend a nurses' house party was like being confined in a small space with about fifty drunken nymphomaniacs - an experience which can be very gratifying for a young man such as I (was). She gave me a knowing smile when I said this.
Maybe - I suggested - it was the day-to-day misery of their ill or dying patients which is the driver that pushes all female nurses into grabbing life - and men - by the horns when they let their hair down. I told her about a nurses' party at which I was the only male once when I was very young, and she gave me another knowing smile. Maybe she was just trying to imagine me as very young.
About half way through our chat in the packed pub garden, a man walked in who I did not like the look of, so I kept an eye on him whilst trying to concentrate on what she was saying. After a while, she stopped and asked me why I was staring at the man, who - to her eyes - looked like everyone else and did not deserve the attention.
I realised that she could not see what I could see - possibly because, as I said, she likes to see the best in everyone. I told her to watch because - any second now - he was going to start going mad and causing trouble, even though he was not at all drunk.
Within about thirty seconds, he started kicking various objects, including the benches on which other young people were seated, and I called the landlord over and we threw him out, shouting and swearing on his way.
There is - she told me - a very good course on midwifery in Jamaica of all places, which she is thinking of going over to enrol on. If she does, I hope she will be as good at caring for herself as she obviously is for others. There can be a negative side to empathy, as any battered wife can tell you.
I'm off to the seaside in a minute, just to get away from the gulls in town.