Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Monday, April 24, 2006

Not in the office now

'build it up build it up build it very tall/build it very tall then stand back and watch it fall'

It's 9am in greenborough, and thanks to dance beebies i've finally solved the problem of how to get my clients out of bed. And it means i'll have to do a lot of dancing in the mornings.

I was a little daunted by the idea of being here 24 hours at a time, and lets face it, sleep-in shifts are not appropriately named at all. But it's not too bad, and compared to being in an office this is decidedly mellow. And the money's so much better.

All the time i'm in this house i'm not spending any money. Whilst it would have been nice to spend last night in the company of a beautiful woman, at least i can come home and take her out for a nice meal. And maybe think about some new clothes and a haircut.

Yes, it's a different world of work now. I need a coffee before the dancing starts again.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Greenborough Blues

"Hi there, nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too, I haven't seen you at this group before."
"No, I'm new, so just getting to know people."
"And whereabouts do you live?"
"Oh, you're a long way from home."
"I suppose I am, yes."
"Is your social worker with you?"

Obviously working with people with learning disabilities you prepare yourself for the fact that anything can happen. However, what's surprised me so far is how many times I've been mistaken for a service user. I should start wearing my ID badge more often.

It's been entertaining in the house, anyway. I did my first lone, 24-hour shift on Wednesday, and apart from being kept up for several hours, and a minor panic when I thought my client was about to die, it was not bad at all. I don't know how it's going to feel when I'm doing this three times a week, but we'll see. And just think of the money, and the experience. And we're going to have some fun, right?

Friday was a team birthday, and of course I had to come out, meet some people, and generally make a good impression. This would have been a lot easier had I not had a gigantic bite mark on my neck.

I've certainly made an impression the past two weeks.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Not what you were expecting?

"So, these bits here? What do these mean?"
"Oh, those are your sleep-in shifts. You start at 12, finish at 10pm, sleep in the house, and then wake up at 7.30, go home at 3pm."
"..and then I do it all again the next day?"
"That's right."

It's the end of week one in Greenborough, and I'm dazed. The job wasn't quite what I had in mind- it's one house I'm based in with two service users. Who seem very nice- but I'm not sure what it will be like being there 26 hours at a time. I'm going to have some scary responsibilities- giving injections and the like. Additionally I'm likely to find myself at a loose end quite a lot of the time- the idea of sleeping in means that if I'm needed, the tenants will wake me up. I don't sleep particularly well at the best of times, and I suspect I'll be permanantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

On the bright side, the huge number of overnight shifts means that I'm unexpectedly quite rich. And I'm thinking a video ipod might alleviate some of the boredom. Or a portable DVD player. Or a PSP. Or maybe just a new laptop. Hmmm...

To most people this wouldn't be a massive deal, but as someone who's got used to saying "I could never afford that", I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams. Wow...

Of course, this time and opportunity must not be wasted. Maybe along with my ipod and my toothbrush, I should be taking along some hefty social theory books. I'll enter the Greenborough coccoon as a secretarypiller, and fly out a beautiful social worker butterfly.

Like I say, I'm a bit dazed. It will all start making sense in a few weeks. Right?

You've gotta have faith

As part of the big flashy overhaul of my site, I added on a little traffic counter application. I was so excited about the big orange star I forgot about it.

So, it turns out most of my readers live in the UK, are in their mid-twenties and live in Willesden. But there's surprisingly many people from the east coast of the united states. And surprisingly many started their visit here:

I'm guessing the title of that post might have attracted some attention. Whilst *clearly* an ironic statement on how a certain type of conspiracy theorist- no matter how outlandish the theory- must feel a sense of completeness and professional satisfaction once they've neatly sown their favourite scapegoat into a beautiful and twisted tapestry.

But whilst my counters can tell me the country, the IP address and even operating system of every visitor, what they sadly can't tell me are the motivations of these people. Maybe it was a hate-crazed isolated conspiracy theorist looking for a soulmate. Or maybe a world-weary researcher, whose unfortunate and eternal task it is to investigate and document the scarily-frequent anti-semetic conspiracies that roll down the internet like the proverbial boulder. But one can see why these theories exist- for those troubled by difficult questions, obsessive jew-hating provides an easy, catch-all answer for any situation.

"Why is there so much poverty in the world?"
"That'll be the jews"

"What's going on with the conservative party?"

"Why haven't you done the washing-up?"
"Jews again I'm afraid."

Yes, some people can't resist a bit of scapegoating, even today. But as humans, we seek out easy, unproveable answers to the things we're not capable or motivated enough to understand. Can I prove we're not all in a gigantic computer program? Nope. Can I prove that the jews aren't controlling the media (I hear that one a lot)? Well, you can't prove a negative. Except that most jewish people I know would never allow something as dire as Little Britain to go out on BBC2- they would have left it on Channel Five. Can I argue with a flat-earther? Nope. God-botherer? Well, I try...

For some people it's hatred, for other people it's love. In all cases it's about blind faith providing easy and unchallegeable answers. For a certain type of Christian, for example, God is always the answer.
"Why is there so much poverty in the world?"
"It is God's will."

"What's going on with the conservative party?"
"God wills it so."

"Why haven't you done the washing-up?"
"Yeah, God's will again mate."

So whether it's a new job, love, religious faith or just conspiracy wackiness, always beware of the easy answer. But "It's a lot more complicated than that" never started any cults.

Happy Easter everyone.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Testing mobile posting

If you can read this, i can now post through the phone. Which i was able to do a year ago...

New words required

Sometimes English just doesn't have the words to really sum up what you're feeling at the time. I wish our language could be more like German, where *every* possible opportunity is covered. For example, a policeman directing traffic has a rich vocabulary to draw on, so even when his foot is run over by a rogue rickshaw driver, he can merely sigh and utter the universally agreed noun, and passers-by will nod sympathetically and say "Rickshaws, eh?".

It makes for a closer, more understanding country. Well, compared to us at least. The Friday Thing have a regular column devoted to inventing new words, entitled Neologisms. For all I know they may have invented that word too, so I'd better not use it here.

OK, we need a word that can be used to describe the following two situations, which are happening to me a little too much.

Scenario one
Czech Flatmate is hanging out in my room late at night, and we've had a few drinks.
"Oo, mind if I just catch the last two minutes of Hollyoaks? Just want to see how it ends."
"Hollyoaks? What is this?"
"Sort of a cheesy but harmless teatime soap. It's pretty addictive after a few months though."
"OK, but I hope this is not one of your weird programmes."
I turn on the TV, and Andy is standing in front of Mel, his hands behind his back and a small trickle of blood is running from his mouth. Closer inspection reveals that a gigantic wooden spike is sticking through his chest, in a freak accident which might just be a clever visual pun on drink spiking. But there's no point in explaining this at this point, as my flatmate is horrified.
"This is disgusting. You are disgusting! Why would you want to watch this? You are weird."

Scenario Two
It's a Sunday morning on the last day of my holiday, and some chilled out music is required to go with my coffee. So I download a very early episode of the now sadly defunct Sleepy Sunday Show, and listen to it in bed with a nice coffee and the Sunday papers.
"And that was another sleepy sunday song on the sleepy sunday show. Maybe you're still lying in bed at midday, with a nice coffee and the Sunday Papers..."
"And on this show we try and bring you some of the most beautiful accoustic music from Scotland. And now, inexplicably, I'm going to get my ten year old son to review The Incredibles, in a very loud voice."
Of course, at this moment my flatmate's walking past.
"What the hell are you listening to?"
"Um, some of the most beautiful accoustic music from Scotland?"
"Doesn't sound like it. You're weird..."

OK, anyone suggest a word to describe why my flatmates all think I'm weird. And why my Mum always thinks I like really violent gory films...

*I wish I knew this word.

G minus 1!

I was pretty determined not to waste this valuable week off, and my first for almost a year. Plan was to travel, organise and chill. Well, two out of three ain't bad.

Wednesday I took Czech Flatmate to Oxford, in what may have been my best day out in ages. Thursday I might have made my mum think I was mental. Otherwise, I feel like I've done *nothing* this week.

Which is good; I don't think I've been this chilled out for a very long time. And I'm going to need it- it's hard to say when I next get a weekend off, never mind a whole week. I'm due to start my new job tomorrow, and I'm going to need all the energy I can get.

Of course, I probably should have contacted my new employers this week at the very least. It would help to know where I'm supposed to go and at what time.

Hopefully I can't go too wrong just turning up at Greenborough Town Hall at 9am. I hope they're expecting me. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Hardest Part

I'm at the bar having a fag with Northern Nurse, talking about life and stuff. Meanwhile, a woman in her forties standing behind me is occasionally indecently assaulting me. Ordinarily this would be a cue to have inappropriate fun, but right now I've got more serious things to deal with. And I'm nowhere near drunk enough.

It's my last day with the Team in Borehamwood, and I've promised myself no speeches, no tears and too much hairgel. All week I've been gradually saying goodbye to people, and all week it's been getting more difficult. Manager presented me with a lovely speech, a kiss and a tardis money box. I can tell Glinty bought that one along with the Muse t-shirt. Who else were they going to ask to choose my present?

But for now it's quite fun. Senior Nurse is high on several glasses of wine, and, as I always expected, great fun. Meanwhile, the social workers are proving a hit on the dancefloor, and someone's made a joke about me having Cocktail Party Syndrome. I'm being handed centuries of experience and advice on how to manage in the new job in Greenborough and for only the third time, feeling very optimistic about it.

Things get more difficult as we start to leave the restaurant. Having just finally realised I'm never coming back, I've had to go to the toilet to compose myself briefly. Glinty is apologising for not doing the same, and I hold her hand and tell her that I know exactly what she's feeling because I'm feeling the same. I can't tell if she believes me.

A drunken discussion continues at Senior Nurse's house at 1.30am, and at exactly 2.35am I'm on the platform at Borehamwood saying my last and hardest goodbyes. Sassy Nurse frets about me travelling home this late, and as the train pulls in I get flashes of the scene in Northern Exposure when Fleischman turns away from Maggie back to New York as the city calls him home. Glinty and I hold on to each other for as long as possible before I open the doors and step onto the train. And as the train pulls away, I turn on The Perfect Song For Leaving. There's three different peoples' tears on my cheek as my train pulls into the tunnel and heads to London at a painfully high speed.

I knew it would be that hard to get to Greenborough. That's maybe why I put it off for so long.