Thursday, 22 January 2009

Ambulance And Irony...One Year Later.

It was just a little over a year ago, January 18th, 2008, that an ambulance tried to customise the rear end of 'mid-life chrisis, divorce mobile'. My car, my baby, my Rover 820 sli, complete with all the 'toys' and the customary furry dice, was dead. May she 'rust in peace'.
I knew that I had needed more exercise, but this was ridiculous. A rather extreme way for the National Health Service to tell me: 'Mr. Klahanie, you need to do a bit more walking'. Walk I have, you don't realise just how much of a convenience your car is, until you no longer have one. It has meant that going to the shops takes several trips. It has meant that doing things like buying large bags of dirt for my garden has been cancelled. I recall, in the good old days, going into a DIY shop and buying some top soil. I noticed a sign in the DIY shop. 'Money back guarantee'. So I asked the lady at the counter: "Does that sign mean that if I am not happy with this dirt, I can bring it back?" She laughed.
Prior to that rather surreal mishap, I had been volunteer coordinating a meeting for a mental health organisation. After the meeting, I had offered one of the members, a valuable friend, a ride back to their home. It was a very cold night, I worried my friend would have to walk home alone. So after a night of positive interaction, of genuine caring and empathy, we headed for that collision course with fate, a fate that would have an impact, in more ways than one, on how I would determine where my life went from there.
I try to live my life with a positive outlook. I endeavour to be caring, kind and empathetic. If I know someone needs support, a caring word, I try to be there for them. Sometimes a small gesture, a 'hi how are you', is all it takes to make a person know that people care. So with this thought, I figured that it would be a kind expression if someone from the mental health organisation would phone up and see how the passenger in my car and myself were after what had transpired. We never got that phonecall, that act of kindness never happened. This hurt us both. It has left me with a sensation of disillusionment. This lack of a small act of kindness, concern and caring, contradicted my ideals.
Maybe I expect too much. Perhaps my expectations are just too high. I suppose it could be construed that I have irrational sensitivity. Maybe these expectations are part of my mental illness. I have to stop being so naive and realise that, no matter what line of work folks are in; people are people. Complete with their own quirks, their own idiosyncrasies, there own highs and lows. I guess sometimes, people are just too busy to demonstrate acts of kindness. I consider that very sad.
Yet, one year later, I am filled with enthusiasm and a resilient positivity. Instead of dwelling on that night and the puzzling indifference, I am moving on, big style. I have discovered new and exciting outlets in my ongoing desire to social network. I have had the great privilege to meet and interact with genuine, empathetic people. The power of empathy, 'A Symphony of Empathy' a thought provoking collaboration blog I did with dcrelief :, was a display of what I truly believe this all about.
We have begun to formulate a group of bloggers who wish to work through their mental health issues, through the therapeutic power of the written word. We are establishing a 'community of empathetic bloggers' and that gives me the strength to carry on in a world that can be so cruel.
No, I never got that phonecall. Yet somehow, with all the new positive avenues I embrace, it doesn't matter anymore.


  1. Dear Gary,
    You have my utmost respect and gratitude for so many times you have been available for me. Maybe I was shy or angry, or veiwing negatively a life I did not seek. Still you always lead me to a place of kindness and self-love.
    Through your chosen example I have happiness and some (quirkiness) good humour that lets me breathe; noticing the beauty around me.
    Blessings to you Gary for the many kindnesses you give each of us.
    In love and empathy, Dixie

  2. Dear dcrelief,
    Thank you for being such a shining example of empathy and genuine caring in action.
    I was hurt and disappointed when nobody got back to see how I was coping. I did not feel valued, but that taught me to seek out genuine folks who took the time to show they cared. You are one of those special people. I thank you very much for your comment. I am most grateful.
    Warm wishes Gary xx

  3. Dear Gary,
    It is indeed disappointing to find out that some do not share your own feelings of genuine concern. But I am glad to know that you can take solace in your blogging pals, of which, I hope, I am one.
    Maybe, also, you are right to say that we who have experienced mental ill health are perhaps more sensitive to other people's seeming indifference. But, hell, they should have rung to see if you were ok!
    I, for one, will certainly continue to try to live up to your ethic of positive empathy. You are an inspiration and your blogs provide much needed levity and laughter.
    Yours, as always, with Warmest Wishes,

  4. Gary,

    Very inspiring!

    I have often wondered if many fail to show their concern due to an innate fear of having to connect with someone who is sick or has been injured rather than a true lack of concern.
    I recently extended an invitation to an old friend, who's wife is terminally ill, to attend a gathering at my home. I learned that from the time his wife's cancer returned, few of his friends have kept in touch. I don't think they stopped caring they are afraid of facing the impending death of someone too young to die.
    Of course we should always reach out to those in need but as humans we can let our fears overtake our humanity.
    Finding humor in adversity is not easy but it beats the alternatives.


  5. Dear David,
    Thank you kindly for your comment.
    Good sir, I consider you to be a great blogging pal. Very much a part of the ethos that embraces empathy and uses blogging as a positive, therapeutic way of expressing just who we are.
    What a great community we have going here. May this positive momentum grow ever stronger.
    Thank you David, my most honoured blogging pal. You, good sir, inspire me.
    All the very best, Gary:-)

  6. Greetings Roger,
    Thanks again for another thought provoking comment.
    You are indeed right and I have witnessed similar situations to the one you mention. People can be somewhat aloof in settings that make them uncomfortable. Perhaps this is fear of visualising ourselves in similar circumstances.
    Humanity needs to challenge fear. Remove oneself from uncomfortable comfort zones.
    Humour in adversity with a touch of irony works for me.
    Thank you Roger. I send you positive wishes, klahanie aka Gary.


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.