Wednesday, 4 September 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: I am a Rock

Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SELF.

Glacial erratic in Feldbrunnen

Have you ever had that feeling you were in the wrong place at the wrong time? Reflecting on my life, it sometimes seems that my destiny was I, me and myself. Of course mum and dad were great. I was unique, the only one, and they taught me how to eat, walk, sleep and be the perfect person I am.

It all really started when it was decided I should be educated. I was quite good at it really. In my first school I managed to work things out with a little bit of help and assistance from mum and dad. It was then the basic addition and subtraction and sorting out mathematical problems which were the necessities of every day survival. Mum did the shopping and had to know how to deal with the job, paying in money and being sure that she was given the right change. This was a case of not looking a fool and not being cheated and so she passed this essential knowledge on to me.
Problems began when I qualified for a higher schooling, a so-called grammar school in the British way of life. It was now not just a case of 1+1=2 but (a+b)2=a2+2ab+b2 or something like that. I could actually do all that stuff some 45 years ago, but as the brain ages, so does the memory of how you did it. Naturally mum and dad were totally unable to cope with this game of numbers and letters known as Algebra and so it all began.

There was also the problems that Pythagoras invented to tease the brain in our school days, finding triangles with the squares on the hypotenuse of a triangle with a 90° angle being equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides, where you finally wrote a Q.E.D. at the end to prove that that was that that was to be proven. How could a mum and dad work that out? Actually dad could, but not how I did it. He had his own way or arriving at a total, being a keen lover of football permutations and having complicated constellations when placing a bet on a horse (horses). He never really lost, now and again won, but always broke even. I was on my Todd (Todd Jones – alone for those not knowing the cockney language) with my scholastic problems and that was now to be the story of my life.

Not forgetting grammatical problems, where the local language incorporated using two negatives in a sentence which definitely did not result in a positive, as such problems were not even realised (example She ain’t got nuffing= She has not got nothing which in the normal way of speaking would be She has not got anything – get me?).

I was not one of those children at school whose parents dealt with life at a higher level. We were working class, doing it all by learning. Some learnt it and some tried to learn it. I was the cuckoo in the nest that had to learn it, with no visible help. And the foundations were laid on how to become a rock, without really wanting to.

The result of this Freudian experience is that I always had to did it on my own. I acquired a sort of psychological barrier between me and asking for help. As life continued, so did the problems. I organised my first excursion into the unknown, a move to another country and job, without support from anywhere. I just confronted mum and dad with the final solution. That seemed to be OK with them, although mum was sure that the foreigners might do something to her little girl. Everyone was a foreigner that did not speak English or live within bus distance of our home.

I survived. It remains with me that I never actually ask for help, but have made progress and at least hope that someone can help me. Of course Mr. Swiss is always there to assist when I have one of my surprising falls, through lack of balance or not looking where I am going and he always picks me up. Even that is not always a success, we are both not growing younger. My days of rock are dwindling and I am slowly becoming gravel.

It is not that I actually prefer to rely on myself, but I never learnt it another way. I just cross my fingers and hope that a good Samaritan is near when something happens to me.

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  1. It's funny how families work. My maternal grandparents were both working-class with only a basic education and not what you would describe as highly intelligent, and yet they produced five very intelligent offspring. Three daughters and two sons. The eldest daughter (my mother) is very good with maths, my two aunts are both extremely good with languages and music (like yourself), one uncle was a computer engineer before computers had reached the everyday masses and were still shrouded in mystery to most people, and the other uncle an expert in logistics. I appear to have the proclivity for language and music, but not so much the maths!!

    1. I was good at maths at school and passed my GCE in maths, my best result was Biology of all things. Where my youngest got his brains from we are not sure, but he studied law and works for the Swiss Government in the media branch.