In hospital there was a man in the bed across from me who annoyed me.
He appeared to be a stereotypical football fan. Not only loud-mouthed and bombastic, he was more concerned with his team’s performance than the more pressing matters of life… such as why he was in hospital in the first place.
He was a conspiricist, convinced the hospital had been designed to block mobile phone signals. This was despite other patients on the ward having excellent reception and making calls at will.
Hanging as far out the window as he was able, to get just a little more signal, he announced to the person on the end of the phone, us on the ward and the passers-by below, “They’ve told me that if I can keep some mashed potato down I can go home!”
Had that been it there would have been little to write about, however he continued, “I’ve tried the mash here; it’s awful. The problem is I’m a fussy eater so I won’t be able to eat it.” To my astonishment he announced, “I’ll just discharge myself then I’ll be able to watch the match at home tonight.”
All was quiet for a short time. The call ended.
He sat on his bed, head in his hands for a few moments before announcing to everyone within earshot, “I’ve just been scolded like a five year old. My old man says that if I discharge myself he’ll punch me in the guts.”
He caught my eye, I nodded in acknowledgement. “About 35 years too late” I thought, saying nothing.
It’s possible our priorities are out of kilter, that we’re blind to our own stupidity. Sometimes it takes the tough love of someone you trust to figuratively punch you in the guts, pull you up short and bring you to your senses…
And how do you react when they do? Are you mature enough to graciously hear what they say or perhaps, like a spoilt brat, dismiss it out of hand?