Where’s Tony?

On Maundy Thursday I headed out with my companion Tony to my local supermarket, whilst there I bumped into my sister, or rather she bumped into me, Tony as usual remained quiet, my sister invited me to hers for tea.  So paid up and made a quick exit to my sister’s car, rushed into my house packed up a few things and promptly came back to hers for tea.  After a lovely evening I returned home only to discover Tony had disappeared, Tony who doesn’t make much noise, apart from a few gravelly ones had vanished from sight or hearing.

I was low, Tony who guides me through many obstacles on a daily basis helping me avoid bollards, and helping me find edges to pavements so I don’t walk into the road (how gallant of him).  Tony with his bright red and white suit lets motorists know when I’m wanting to make my journey across the road and to drive with caution.  I go into shop and he doesn’t have to say anything as his non verbal communication lets people know that I may need a little extra help or just to talk a little louder too me.  He isn’t heavy he’s good at waiting for me in shops he stands against a counter whilst I hunt for cash as I’m normally holding on to him.  At home he may stand for hours before we head out together and sometimes he likes to sleep in a folding position in my bag, yes indeed the importance of being Earnest does spring to mind.

I know people who have similar partners sometimes we meet and clash from time to time.  Tony has a habit of knocking people if they get in the way, some can even skip over his feet, some ignore him not realising who he is or why I have him in my life. Sometimes people avoid him when they see him or move so Tony and I can get past.  Oh I did miss him his familiar feel and constancy.  Whilst still on the hunt for him I had another companion Claire who isn’t like Tony she isn’t as tall for one and her feet don’t make as much noise, she doesn’t wear red either which is a hassle.

Well  I asked my sister if Tony had either been sleeping in her car or had been staying at her house, rather odd really as my sister really doesn’t need Tony in her life, well I hope she never has too anyway.

So yesterday Claire and I headed up to my local supermarket just on the off chance he may have stayed there, well I asked if they had Tony, oh well they thought Tony may have belonged to another chap who also has a similar companion (shock, horror).  Well there he was the staff treated him well, he is still in fine fettle.  Oh by the way his surname isn’t Blair even though he wears red and the fact that I found him on the day of the UK snap election is no coincidence is it?  Well just to let you know Tony wears red because he supports deaf people.  So now Tony my trusted red and white cane is sticking with me and is currently safely standing in a corner of my lounge waiting for my next trip out 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day to remember

A few months ago I was invited to a wedding reception by a couple of friends from my school days who were getting married, it was totally unexpected but rather nice.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to go or not, due to a number of reasons but particularly down to concerns regarding my recent health issues.  Nearing the time of the wedding reception although I was feeling better, I wasn’t sure about going as I was concerned about travelling alone.  Amazingly one of my friends was coming to my area on some business and said they would come with me all the way there and some of the way back on Sunday, so I accepted.  He got a good deal on a hotel too.

The day before we travelled to Blackpool I met my friend with mutual friends and their daughter in a local café where we put all our plans together, the couple offered to give me a lift to the station which was great too.  That evening I booked my assistance they said they couldn’t guarantee the help as it wasn’t 24 hours in advance which rattled me a bit as it’s not always possible to book ahead, plus I had done some last minute Christmas shopping which delayed my call.  The people I ring up at Journey care are fantastic though.

Our lift got us to the train on time and the assistance turned up, so that was a relief.  Although our train was on time it didn’t arrive on time at our change over stop which meant we missed the train we were to catch but fortunately there were more trains to Blackpool from that stop than I originally thought, so we hopped on the train and arrived in time to do a quick call in at our hotel to drop our things off and head straight to the wedding reception.

My friends daughter spotted me if I remember rightly and found a table with my friend Mrs Bubbles and her husband Benedict Bubbles, we were all rather hungry, I hadn’t eaten till early that morning, fortunately I had a few flapjacks with me which I had baked a couple of days earlier! I managed to go and see the bride who looked lovely in purple and white.

I looked around and spotted a woman from my school year and her husband who I spoke to for a while, when I was at school we had little to do with each other really, however,  we then had a great conversation, which is probably the first proper conversation I ever remember us having. Eventually they came over to join us.

Mrs Bubble, Una Stubbs  (the one I had a great convo with) and I ended up having a picture taken when Mrs Bubble suggested we all said pooh and wee. Mr Benn the groom came over to chat as well later.  Mr DJ came over to get messages to record for Mr and Mrs Benn which I thought was a lovely idea.

At around 5 we ate buffet food we all managed quite well considering there were many people who were visually impaired and some of them had guide dogs, as far as I know there were no crashes and bangs oh  sorrys said which can happen in those sort of situations.  I stayed with a friend sometime ago, who had other friends staying too, we all kept saying sorry to each other because of bumps and crashes, they named it the sorry house. Anyway there was a meat feast and some pizzas and quiche and desert to fill our bellys, I personally found the sweets a bit too rich for me but the rest of the food was great.

There was much laughter, people buying one another drinks (I don’t think I got opportunity to buy drinks) and  discussions varying from books to school and music.  The in house entertainment was a woman who could play various instruments  and sing which was quite good, I wasn’t sure whether it was all completely live or not but I certainly saw the instruments but it was very loud.  I think it was around 8 we had a meal I had lasagne, which was tasty.

The disco got going just towards the end, there was what I call a group karaoke going on, first with Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, earlier on we had Oliver’s army by Elvis Costello. I joined in with the singing but not the dancing till the last track came on.  Apart from being grabbed by one person to dance with me, which I found rather uncomfortable, it was enjoyable both the singing and the dancing.  After saying goodbye to those I could Father Ted and I returned to our hotel.

I surprisingly slept quite well but it took a while to get comfortable as the duvet didn’t quite reach my shoulders.  The bizarre thing about my hotel room was that there was no window. There was also a lot of banging, however I have the beauty of lying on my hearing ear to block out the noise.

The following morning Father Ted and I had a delicious breakfast which was well worth the money, ahhs and oos could be heard when we had entered the restaurant because of Father Ted’s dog who is a gorgeous black Labrador who is a force to be reckoned with. After breakfast  we  headed straight off to the station to catch the train home.  At the station we met up with several of the guests at the previous nights do, and travelled home with one of them, who I will call Dougal, I don’t know why that name, a nice man who had few words but gentle ones.  Father Ted and I went our separate ways and I caught the last leg of the journey home, I was pleased to find I didn’t have to wait long for the bus either.

I want to thank Mr and Mrs Benn for inviting me and everyone who I spent time with over that period of time, it was fun and a privilege to be with such lovely people and certainly a day to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musings from an introvert

If I say to you how do you describe an introvert and if I told you I was one what would you think and say.  Most people when you say your an introvert they naturally assume that an introvert is quiet and unsociable, doesn’t have a lot to say and are not leaders or change makers.

The truth is an introvert is someone who gains energy by being on their own and finds social situations overwhelming and draining.  Whereas an extrovert is energised by social situations and is probably the sort of person who cannot cope with silence for too long and would get edgy and bored.  There are those who lie somewhere in the middle (they are known as ambiverts) but normally there is a dominant trait of being either primarily an extrovert or introvert.

I’m now going to address some of the misconceptions about being an introvert. One  assumptions is that they are not sociable.  In a group for instance if an introvert is quiet it is deemed they are not engaging.  Not true in a group an introvert is fully alert, they are observing, listening and waiting patiently for a spot to put their point of view across or a make a comment.  I remember a time when I was at a friends house quite a number of years ago and we had some kind of party I think. After the food we all sat around and plenty of chatter was going on It may have appeared to some that I wasn’t happy, but on this occasion far from it, I was basking in the happy atmosphere of my friends, I was also feeling the joy of the connection I had with the group, I didn’t feel I needed to speak just being in the presence of that particular group of people made me feel content.  So don’t assume that if someone you know in a group is quiet don’t assume that they are bored or antisocial , but just make sure that they are ok and having a chance to speak if they want to and most important of all enjoying themselves.

Another occasion where a similar thing may occur is in meetings in a workplace or any other place where a more serious discussion is taking place where important decisions are being made. If a colleague or friend is being quiet don’t assume the misconception I mentioned above.  Here’s what happens when I’ve been in meetings, a discussion takes place, I’m taking everything in, observing the interactions between different people, listening to what people are saying and how others are responding, mulling, analysing and processing all that’s being said, by the time I’ve come to some thoughts of my own the chair has moved on to the next topic, this is common amongst introverts, I only learnt this recently, I thought this was me being slow, far from it I just process and handle information differently from external sources.  What I used to do in situations like that a few hours or days after that meeting I would go to my boss and share with him or email him some of my thoughts regarding that meeting.  So if there’s anyone in your office/church/group who doesn’t appear to be engaging in meetings, either give them a chance to speak or ask them to see you if they have any comments to make regarding the meeting that’s just took place or  to send them in an email or speak with them later.

It’s easy to assume from observation that an introverted person should not be considered for promotion or take charge of a particular project that involves other people.  Introverts given the right dynamics can really shine in groups, they make good chairs in meetings as that truly is an observational role, they can set the pace, and tend  not to shoot from the hip as much as an extrovert is likely to do and consider a decision carefully before opening their mouth.

Introverts love people it’s just the way they interact with others is different and the amount of time required.  Introverts generally prefer one to one conversations rather than group discussions, they can become more extrovert in those circumstances and anyone can see that an introvert has a lot to say on many subjects, introverts are less comfortable with small talk and prefer to get into meaty topics of conversation but  also like diverse conversations, where the topics are stimulating.

For me as an introvert it can be difficult in groups the conversation flows and I can’t get a word in edgeways, the extroverts are constantly interrupting each other with hardly a breath of space.  I can’t tell you how many times I start to say something in a discussion group and I’ve been interrupted or over talked.  People will say they don’t hear me, others say that’s not the case they can hear me fine.  So I can sit in silence knowing full well that a conversation will take place that I can’t enter into much as I want to.  I then feel drained because I’ve say spent a few hours listening to everything everyone else has been saying digesting it all etc, without feeling I’ve participated.  People then have the perception that I’m antisocial or aloof, which is not the case.

The additional hearing loss I have doesn’t help, I’m having to concentrate more in noisy environments, I often think if I wasn’t hearing impaired I probably would be more of an extrovert.

Another misconception is that introverts don’t know how to have fun.  Well that’s not true. I certainly love having fun, just not in public places and only with friends who I trust, who I can let my hair down with, in those situations I can be just as crazy and silly as any extrovert.

A recent experience for me is a great example of how I can interact as an introvert.  Every couple of months or so myself and 3 fellow female friends go to a local Chinese and have a meal and chat.  It’s great, it’s a small number of people in not too busy environment (although the environment can be noisy sometimes) we all get chance to chat, share and laugh while having a nice meal.  I find my conversation flows easily with others and I don’t feel drained when I go home.  I can enjoy myself with a group of people being sociable and its possible in certain situations that people would not even realise I was an introvert because even I can be loud and outgoing.

So next time you see someone or know someone who seems generally quiet but pipes up on a one to one, your most likely dealing with an introvert.  If that person tends to refuse invites to large parties or gatherings you may well be dealing with an introvert.  If a family member tends to be seemingly passive in a crisis they may well be an introvert.

Generally introverts are better at speaking than writing.  I can speak well sometimes if I’m prepared, but not if I’m put on the spot.  Introverts are great communicators their style is just a little different.  So please don’t assume they can’t do public speaking or write for a publication, you may be surprised what they can come up with, if given some warning!!

Introverts don’t really feel comfortable  being in the limelight and find it hard to do self promotion, but again I think it’s down to preparation and timing, just being thrust in the limelight is difficult for an introvert, but if they are given time to emerge gently then they can handle it better.

Finally  a note to my extrovert friends.  I value you very highly, those bubbly outgoing  social butterflies, I think you are awesome.  It’s easy to assume that extroverts are thoughtless individuals.  Well many of my extrovert friends are pretty thoughtful and caring people.  Have recognised my need for one to one time, so I respect their need for loud open spaces.  Some of them will recognise that I’m quiet and will ask me if I’m ok or if I have anything to say.