Trust Held

I almost lost my seventeen year old daughter at the weekend. I let her go to a music festival, trusting in her judgement and in others. Part of that trust was misplaced. She made a huge error of judgement, did something incredibly stupid and ended up in intensive care on a ventilator. No drugs were involved. Except alcohol is very much a drug.

Behaving irresponsibly with it is something probably many of us have done. I know I have. We experiment, we find our limits.

I let a girl – a really good and sensible girl – a really inexperienced girl – go off for a long weekend, out of my reach, out of my jurisdiction, out of my hands.

She failed her own test. Tested her own limits. Stopped breathing.

Her friends, others there – young people – young people who so often get a bad rap – seventeen and eighteen year olds – saved her life with their quick actions. They, the medics there, the staff in the hospital she was taken to – all of them – in the hands of god – returned my girl to me.

She’s fine now, home. She’s shaken, she’s weepy, she’s in some disbelief.

Chris Nelson put life in context for me today. My trust is very much shaken. But also, weirdly, very much reinforced in others.

My daughter, my whole family, owe a huge debt of gratitude to every single hand that reached out and put love and care into action. I can’t ever begin to repay them. I can hardly bear to think of the consequences had they not. But I can’t stop thinking of them.

At least one person lost their life at that festival. How many more ended up in hospital I don’t know. From speaking to the nursing staff and others there I know that two hospitals admitted people – both young and old – with various injuries and complications arising from drugs, weather, conditions at the site, violence.

Eighty thousand people with access to almost unlimited freedoms gives license to act stupidly, irresponsibly, dangerously.

One mother, allowing her seventeen year old to participate in what I never felt quite right about, going against my own judgement, facilitated what occurred.

I’ve made some dumb decisions in my life – like mother like daughter? I’ve been incredibly lucky that none of those decisions have resulted in near death. This was not one of them.

How do I ever trust myself again to…. just how do I ever trust myself again?

One of the reasons I think I have always trusted, despite it sometimes being misplaced, is the belief in inherent goodness in people. Yes, sometimes, I’ll be wrong. But a lot of times, most of times, I won’t.

Rachel fucked up big time. She knows that. She’s learned something it can take a lifetime to learn – that life is precious and we can’t afford to play roulette with it.

I’ve learned that my faith in people is not misplaced. That there will always be people who rise to occasions, go above and beyond, because they’re good people. There are far more of those about I believe than the, admittedly, many who don’t.

I hope Chris won’t mind me quoting part of his poem here, the first post I read today, something I needed badly to hear, the post that prompted this post of mine. I didn’t want to share my stupidity, my daughter’s, our pain, our naivete, but maybe sharing it will help us and others. Chris’s words certainly helped me.

‘With head high

Stepping out into day’s silent arms

Trusting that the wire will hold…

…As you raise your head once more

And look towards the skies.’

Life is trust. To live is to trust. We hope, we pray, we fail, we fall, we rise. We go on. Trusting, because what else can we do?

My trust, overall, was not misplaced.

My belief in others, in love and goodness, in the hand of god in my life was, in fact, reinforced. Mercifully and with thankfulness that will last my lifetime.

I asked my daughter’s permission before posting this because it is not my wish to humiliate her or to cause her more pain. But, what happened at the weekend, how many people were involved in saving my girl, how much I appreciate the NHS, how grateful we all are for the final result and the care shown, is a testament to love and trust in action. My thanks to Rachel for allowing this. Our whole family’s eternal thanks to each and every one. My trust is held.

Sane With A Touch Of Mad

So here was I earlier congratulating myself on having two ‘sensible’ daughters now in flats. Knowing how to take care of themselves. And budget. Grown up stuff.

The phone call I received last night just after midnight from the sexual health clinic did make me laugh. I thought it must be one of my sixteen year old daughter’s friends who’d been here last night. I must admit, in the earliest seconds of the phone call, I was going, ‘Who? What! When?’ Doubting my own sanity, you know? But I did chuckle. They said they were sorry for phoning me so late at night and would call back the next day!

Turns out several other people were laughing for different reasons.

Someone thought they had won a holiday.

One was obviously slightly concerned that Yahoo had contacted them to report suspicious activity on their account with the threat of a jail term where ‘you know what’ might happen.

Apparently, the one referring to, how shall I say this, love of animals, particularly on a Saturday night, caused some hilarity to the young man in question.

Her future mother-in-law was questioned about being an illegal immigrant with threats that if she didn’t do the conga and post it on Facebook she’d be spending some time in Barlinnie at her majesty’s pleasure.

Now I know that my daughter has a rather weird sense of humour at times but she’s 24 for crying out loud.

I blame it on the stress of being a nurse. They like to let their hair down now and again. Oh, and alcohol too, obviously. 😉

But at least she did apologise.

“ I would like to apologise to anyone who may have been affected by my antics last night. Some individuals may require a more formal apology but due to the nature of the behaviours I’m unsure who these people are.. If you feel you fall into this category please do not hesitate in contacting me directly. Thank you.

Ps dear vodka we are overrrr!”

Her equally ‘aged’ friend has just facebooked me an apology

“Eh yeh I think I did do a shift at the sexual health clinic last night, sorry!”

Young ones, eh?

It’s been ages since I’ve done that. What an old fart I now am. 😦

Can We/Should We Legislate For Stupidity/Foolishness/Foolhardiness/Silliness/Inanity/Folly/Senselessness/Absurdity/Idiocy/Lack of common sense?

I hate to use that word. Stupid. It’s insulting and derogatory. Suggesting someone is stupid implies that they are stupid about everything, that their intelligence can be measured completely by one thing they have said or done.

I have done some stupid things in my time and I have said some stupid things. (I’m not actually going to tell you what they are. That would just be stupid. I don’t need to be laughed at again for the same ‘crimes’.)

How did I know what I had said or done was stupid?

Well, sometimes people told me. Brothers are bastards, at times.

Sometimes, I knew, all by myself. I’m not stupid.

What did I do when I realised the error of my ways or words?

Blushed, was usually first.

Think, was next. ‘Shit, did I really just say/do that?’

Apologise, sometimes came next, depending on the circumstances.

Learning something new often happened. Checking my erroneous facts. (Should have done that in the first place).

Acquiring or adopting a new life lesson. ‘I’ll never say/do that again.’

Large doses of common sense usually prevail when we have done or said something stupid. We learn from our mistakes.

I am also stupid about a fair number of subjects. I know next to nothing about physics or chemistry or astronomy. I am sometimes fascinated by information on these subjects but I don’t really know enough to have an intelligent conversation with an expert. I would be able to ask lots of (quite possibly stupid) questions. I would be able to take on board certain facts. I might even learn something.

But I’m not overly interested in any of those subjects enough to really crave more knowledge. So, I guess you could say, I choose to remain stupid about them.

Is there a difference between chosen ignorance and stupidity?

Perhaps that depends on who is defining the two or whether they choose to see them as one and the same thing.

I do see them as interchangeable, at times. I am ignorant/stupid about given subjects.

As opposed to, I am ignorant about a subject but I’m not stupid enough to say that I know anything worthwhile knowing about it.

Intelligence levels have been measured in many ways for years. People take tests to enhance their own perception of how intelligent they are compared to the rest of society. (Or to feel totally deflated, depending on results.) Membership of Mensa is quantitative of IQ but misses so much other information. There is no qualitative judgement of a person’s variety of intelligences.

A truer definition of intelligence might be observed by studying humanity as a whole or watching individuals in action, carrying out skills that leave you stunned at a person’s ability. They may or may not score highly on an IQ test that, by definition, only measures one aspect of a person’s being.

Emotional intelligence is not taken account of. Does it take account of creative intelligence? Is there such a thing as spiritual intelligence? Or physical intelligence?

I choose to see intelligence in the skills and abilities and personalities and traits of a person.

But that doesn’t mean to say that we all cannot be stupid, at times. (I’m still not telling.)

Which brings me back to my original question. Can we, or should we, legislate for stupidity?

Our central and local government does it a lot.

It creates laws that govern everyone even while many people would not have done that deed in the first place.

Case in point. A number of years ago a ruling was passed in the city where I live that drinking alcohol in public was banned. This was meant, as you can imagine, to prevent people from swigging cider and cheap wine as they walked along public highways and byways. It did not, in fact, have the desired effect. Those people who were going to be stupid enough to become wasted in a public place still did it. They found ways to circumvent the law. They’re not that stupid.

What it did manage to achieve was another altogether different aim.

Anyone who chose to go to a public park, for instance, to picnic and share the delights of flavoursome cheeses, crusty bread and a bottle of red, was now breaking the law if they did so.

Perhaps law enforcement officers would have used their common sense and ignored the crime if they had happened upon said picnic. Perhaps not. I’ve never been brave enough to test it out.

Ahh, those previous delights of yesteryear; mulling over life and its ultimate meaning with my best friend, while we munched and squaffed of life’s little pleasures. All gone.

Now, I think that’s just stupid.

I may never want or have the opportunity to picnic in a park with my best friend again and partake of Bacchus’ fine wares.

But, I’m not selfish enough to deny others the carefree pleasures of youth and the memories those times create.

So, while Jack and Jill (apologies to real Jacks and Jills) are ‘getting wasted’ and ‘out of their heads’, a whole generation of youth, not to mention ‘auld yins’, are missing some innocent pleasures and breaking the law if they choose to flout it.

Stupid? Well, I think so.

Passing a law, such as the above, attempts to deal with one tiny aspect of a problem. It doesn’t prevent it. It doesn’t solve it.

There are laws being added to the statute books ad infinitum. Much against the advice and measures once advocated by Lord Palmerston. ‘A little law reform,’ was his answer.

Can we or should we legislate for stupidity?

We’re all guilty of stupidity from time to time.

Usually, common sense prevails.

I vote for common sense.

http://belsbror.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/levels-of-intelligence/

With thanks to the above post for compelling me to blog about something that’s bothered me for years.