Saturday, 28 February 2009

MULTIPLY Writing Prompt #8: I can't get no satisfaction


OK, I almost grew up with the stones. In the sixties in London it was Beatles or Stones, and being a Londoner I was more with the Stones. Funnily enough I like nearly all their music, but the song “I can’t get no satisfaction” got on my nerves. I found it monotonous and not so rocking. Two days ago I was driving home in the car and the local radio station was running and what did they play – “Can’t get no” in the original version by the Stones and I found it really good. The things that happen to you as you get older.

Now I should try to associate a few facts with the song. I was full with satisfaction until I left school in London at the age of 18. After school I worked around the city in office jobs, it was a good life. At the dance halls in London on Saturday evening, the time of Twiggy, mini fashion and taking a walk down the Kings Road in Chelsea just to be in, but somehow I was not satisfied. I just wanted a little bit more. I realised the world was a lot bigger than the streets of London and decided it was time to look around. Mum was not really very happy about her daughter’s wander thoughts, but basically she let me get on with it. Eventually at the age of twenty I left home and travelled to Switzerland. Today, not so far, but in 1964 it was half a world journey. I suppose I was looking for some satisfaction in life. Did I find it? Well yes, in a way. I think the main attraction for me was using one of those foreign languages I had learnt at school.

Eventually I met Mr. Right (well I suppose he is, we are married forty years this year) but I then had no time to think about being satisfied or not. I had two children and my husband brought his son and daughter also into the marriage (I was his second wife), so I was bringing up two Swiss children who could not speak English, and my own two, one of which is autistic. It was just a matter of getting on with things. As the Stones sing “And I try, and I try, and I try, and I try, I can’t get no…..”. I was trying for ten years and at the end of the ten years I realised I was not satisfied to where I had arrived. I had been a housewife during this time. We were living on one wage, and there was no room for luxuries. There was something else missing. If you remain in the place where you grew up you have a small infra structure around you. You have contact to your school friends, to relations, to neighbours. If you pull up your roots and wander away, this is missing, especially in the pre-computer era. This was my problem. My husband would often meet or have contact with old school friends, working colleagues, but I did not. I had no past history in Switzerland and nothing really interesting to contribute to a conversation.

I found the solution. The children were older, more independent, so I started working again. Being in a foreign country, I did not find a job in an office at the beginning, and so I worked in a children’s crib for two years as a cook. I was cooking for children from the age of 2 up to 7. Their mother’s went to work and left them to be looked after in the crib during the day. I also had the responsibility of looking after the babies during the lunch hour when the children’s care people were absent. Sort of changing nappies/diapers on approximately ten babies when necessary and I enjoyed the work a lot, so had again found some satisfaction. I now had contacts, had an environment where things were happening during the day, had things to talk about at home. I could also take my youngest son, aged 4, with me which was ideal.

From this job, I found another later in an office where worked my last day yesterday after 29 years and am now from today retired. I have had my ups and downs over the years. There was the day when I found things becoming more and more blurred when reading; result being I had to have reading glasses. Today I have to wear glasses all the time. I was at the doctors once when he took a blood sample. I cannot remember why, but he discovered that I was diabetic. This resulted in a life of taking tablets – I am not yet on the needle. Two years ago I had the first symptoms of Menière disease the cause of which is a problem in the inner ear affecting the sense of balance. It is not ever present, but comes in bouts when you least expect it. My father also suffers from this complaint, but he is 94 years old. As you get older you can be lucky when you have everything under control. Over the years I also had three operations to remove my twin sister/brother. This was something from a Stephen King story, but there were no eyes or bones, just a collection of cells. Seems I must have absorbed it when I was born, and it decided to start growing again when I was fifty years old. I must have been a terrible person, not wanting any rivals from day one. My last problem was last year when I had “burn out” and had to stop working for a couple of months. However, I eventually returned to the work process more or less fully recovered, but taking a sort of happy tablet once a day to make sure that you kept on the satisfied side of life..

Upon reflecting over my life up to now I don’t think Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were really thinking about me when they wrote the song (they were thinking more about earning money), but it applies quite well.

Writing Prompt #8: I can't get no satisfaction

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