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 :http://dcrelief.blogspot.com/, 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.