Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Domestic abuse and if onlys...

I was the recipient of domestic abuse.  So difficult to say - harder to accept.  Even now, almost ten years after I 'escaped' I still feel a little - silly, I suppose - saying it.  Thinking it.

I think my reluctance stems from a few reasons.  One (and this will sound terrible, even though it is true) I'm middle class.  It doesn't happen to 'us'.  It happens to others. On council estates (this from a woman who was born on one).  One has a mental image of a garden filled with rusty cars and other detritus and stray dogs (although that doesn't seem to happen a great deal any more), unkempt houses and people milling about at all times of the day and night, beer can in hand. Raised voices as well as fists.

Another reason is the fact that one equates domestic violence with physical violence which is even more ridiculous from my standpoint since most of the violence I was blessed with was, in some ways, far more damaging.  If I, a victim (how I loathe typing that word. Not because of any strong sentiment regarding my not being a victim but because it seems wrong, belittling all those women - and men - who arrive at casualty with broken bones and bruises) have difficulty accepting my former position then how on Earth do I expect others to?  Mind you, I can be delightfully contrary.

Despite how I try to dress it up, bundle it away in the furthest corners of my mind the fact remains that I was abused and the effects remain. It is very frustrating (actually that is a huge understatement; I'm furious with myself for allowing it to still hang over me but, although I believe I'm better than I was, it still hangs there, like dear old Damocles' sword) and I wish I had the ability, the strength to change and become a powerful Amazon.  Unfortunately I'm not of that mould   I am a wimp. A coward - even Flavia's guinea pig has me sussed and under his tiny paw.  Sometimes I catch myself thinking that next time I'll do things differently - only to remember that (as far as we know) there is no next time. Just this one and I can't help feeling I've blown it.

I don't want Flavia to make the same mistakes. I think she's stronger than I ever was (which is good); she doesn't appear to worry about being ridiculed because of her personal style and doesn't pull punches (whilst I'm always terrified of giving offence).

If there is a next time I hope I remember enough to know I need to kick butt.  My turn to be the kicker rather than kickee!

Monday, 3 December 2012

A Supermarket Rant(let)

What have they got against pedestrians?  I don't care what they say, how they prate about 'carbon emissions' and doing their bit - what about boring, basic stuff?  I have yet to come across a supermarket that has trolley bays right next to pedestrian exits; they're placed solely for the convenience of the driver and to hell for the rest of us.

Since we don't have our own transport I've pondered this problem for a while and have decided it's all down to money; there is a limit to how much a pedestrian can carry/pull even if they're going by bus.  In the store you're limited by the knowledge that if you impulse buy then you will most assuredly regret it - sometimes even before you've left the shop.  It's amazing how that extra bag of onions or those yoghurts found nestling at the back of the reduced to clear section can take up space (and multiply their weight an infinite number of times).  That being the case we aren't so desirable as customers.  So we are abandoned meters away from the way out.  I have no doubt whatsoever that the planners (all of whom are drivers) would argue that the trolley bays are close to the exit.  All I can say in answer to that is that they've never had to lug shopping.  Sometimes every centimetre counts!

Mind you, I also find it highly frustrating that, after hauling your shopping out of the trolley (the sides of which have, miraculously, grown in height) you then find the contraption on the handle does not fit that on the chain (or there was the wonderful time Tesco had two different types of theft deterrent and, of course, they were incompatible).  So you can either abandon your trolley (with token or £1.00) or put your shopping back into it and start pretty much all over again whilst using language that would make a Russian sailor deeply envious and probably propose marriage.  Then one can indulge in the, 'find the lock that fits,' game (all the while casting desperate looks towards the road because you know full well this will be the one and only time your bus is actually early, you also know the driver will not only not wait for the timetabled departure time but will take what appears to be highly perverse satisfaction from ignoring the desperate knocks, pleas and supplications you perform outside the door).

In an ideal world the trolley bays would be placed in areas most convenient for the shopper (mind you, in an ideal world the trolleys would have sides that folded down or, better still, converted into a ramp to try to protect your arm/shoulder muscles from developing like Arnie's) but then when do supermarkets ever consider the consumer?  They claim to, I know but we, the customer, know that it's a load of hooey.  Like changing the packaging or moving displays from one end of the shop to another they just like messing with us.  I am still trying to understand why cottage cheese in Asda is placed with the sandwich fillings, on the opposite side of the aisle to all the rest of the cheeses.  It's a mind game, some highly evolved form of intellectual warfare and they're winning.

When Flavia rules the world (I'm too old, tired and lazy to go in for the whole world domination thing...I'll let her do it and just reap the rewards for myself) I think I'll create the biggest supermarket of all time, make things as awkward as possible regarding displays, goods and (of course) access - and egress - and then put all the supermarket bigwigs in there.  Not only would it give them some hint of what it is like for mere mortals such as myself the satisfaction would be immense.  Hell, I might not even charge to watch!