I have always been good at writing things, then stopping with the realisation of just how true my words are. As though I had just read someone else’s words, and suddenly felt an affinity to them. I can’t remember my words from yesterday, but the feeling, as though I were a deer caught in the headlights is still as clear, as the second I felt it. It’s now 9 years since I last left the house without being carried out, which of course means my knowledge of the outside world, is only what I see on the TV, combined with my memories. Which means the truth of my life, is that I’m live in a bubble, and in many ways, it is for me, as though time stopped 9 years ago. What I wrote yesterday was something along those lines, and their truth felt a bit like a bullet hitting me between the eyes. I already knew from the odd trip I have made by ambulance, that the world has moved on. There was one more than others that brought that message home at the time, the discovery of the M74 flyover that crosses a large swath of Glasgow’s southside, it had quite simply not existed the last time I went to work by Taxi. At that point, they had started the demolition, that would allow it’s construction, but I had never seen or even thought about what the finished item would look like. I had even missed somehow the fact that it is now long open and carrying traffic and yesterday’s written words, made me think of it and much else that I must have missed in those years.
I remember on Jeffery’s 21st birthday, Adam and I travelled to Aberdeen to put flowers on his grave. I hadn’t been to Aberdeen for about 10 years, as quite simply, I had never been in a position to afford the train travel or the time off work. The city had changed so much in that time, yes, I still recognised it as the place I grew up, but it was different from even my last visit. That didn’t surprise me, cities are always changing, evolving and moving with the times. You accept those things when you haven’t been somewhere for a long time, as that’s life. Even the idea that if I stepped outside my front door and walked up the main street, that I wouldn’t recognise my own neighbourhood, somehow doesn’t seem that odd now either. I guess my glimpses of the world from an Ambulance, has made that point known, but, there is more to the world than just buildings, things that are more subtle, but just as important.
What prompted my words, was a conversation about incontinence wear. I was trying to explain, that although I was aware of the fact that things had changed dramatically in the past 9 years, the simple fact that I hadn’t been into a chemist or a supermarket, that I hadn’t seen or picked up a pack, meant that in reality, I had no idea, how things had really changed. It is all very well sitting here, seeing things on the TV screen or online, but quite often there are items, that you have to hold in your hand before, you know just what they are like. Even though something might be inside a plastic pack, you can still get a really good idea, by squeezing that pack, just how bulky or thick, how heavy or how dense things are. By touch and the size of the pack, you can build up a fairly good image, even before you buy or open it. My memory, and, therefore, my knowledge, and not just of sanitary products stopped 9 years ago, I am locked in a time bubble. Without a doubt, the majority of your modern world is totally unknown to me. I may be aware of things, but being aware of and actually seeing, feeling and using something, is a million miles of a difference.
It is a bit like knowing the world through a picture book. Yes, I will recognise nearly everything that you use daily, but personally, I have no concept of size, when it comes to anything that isn’t pictured with a human holding it or beside it. Of course, I can apply logic, a chocolate bar is never going to be the size of a car, but my logic, includes a huge dose of knowledge from a time, that no longer exists. It is a little like being locked in a CGI world. What I mean by that, is that a skilful programmer can create something these days so well, that our eyes are finding it harder and harder to work out what really exists, or if it only exists on the screen. I have little to no perspective on your world. I guess a perfect example of my isolation, is that you will daily use touch screen technology. The closest I have got to this was having to learn, how to turn off the alarm on Adams smartphone. I knew the screen was the key, but my natural reaction was to tap at it, which did nothing. Adam had to show me how to sweep my finger across the screen. In a few short years, I had gone from the go-to person at work, when a problem appeared with anything that contained a computer chip, to having to be shown what I bet, almost every three-year-old knows how to do.
There is so much out there that I would now feel lost when faced with, that I would have to ask for assistance with. Things that I bet would gain the response of “Where have you been for the past ten years, living in a cave?”. Well, they wouldn’t be far off. It may be a lush one and very comfortable cave, but in many ways, it’s no better than one. I have in the past on a couple of times wondered how I would react if I were to be suddenly cured. I remember in both those posts, being more worried about how long it would take me to firstly physically recover enough to be once more part of the world. More importantly, how difficult the mental adjustment from someone who is dying, to someone who is once again going to live a normal life span. In neither, did I even consider the difficulty of simply adjusting to the modern world. I do remember musing on how hard it would be to get a job, after so long out of the job market, but now, I think I am totally unemployable. I may have well been in a coma for the last years, as I now know little of any of the things that once made me an essential part of any business that had a call center that sold any product. I fear, I might not ever be able to operate one of the phones, far less the systems behind them.
Even though a cure is an impossible dream, and a job, an even more unlikely one, I didn’t see this happening. Nor did I ever think of it as a problem, but the longer I am isolated, the more and more I will be reliant on Adam, not just for my care, but to simply to interact with a world, that I no longer have the first idea about.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 22/01/2014 – I am ill
I’m ill, a stupid thing to write on many levels but I am ill. I haven’t been feeling myself for several days now, but I don’t have the coughing and throat pain that Adam has, an illness the has prompting several people at…..
You never really think about how much things change on the small scale. Like yeah, cityscapes change and building are constructed/demolished, but you never really think of how much the small things change like technology. It really makes you think.
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When my car broke down last year, a nice person offered the use of their iPhone. Since I’ve only had one (cheap) cell phone — which I haven’t used in over a year — I had no idea how to use the iPhone. (I would’ve had the same difficulty with any cell phone.) It was like I was looking at some gadget from the future or a prop from Star Trek… I felt stupid and embarrassed, but I got over it. And I’ll bet that all the people who use these gadgets would have similar difficulty in using technology from my era, like a pay phone. 🙂
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