Control

I had a therapist once – ah, there she is, just round that corner, just where you can’t quite see her – who said if you don’t control your own life then someone else will control it for you.

Another time – it may have been a long time later, or maybe a long time before – she said it was more courageous to let go of control.

At the time (whatever time that was) I didn’t notice the discrepancy in what she had said.

She doesn’t make mistakes, this therapist – mark my words; she does not.

And so I am left, with these two oddities, trying to make sense of them.

Today, I thought I knew what she meant.

My circumstances are such that I go into the town – anything from ‘many’ times a week to . . .

Circumstances change, don’t they?

Do I change more than other people change?  Do I have that capacity?

With exciting things in the news, I have taken to buying a particular newspaper (print) nearly every day.

There is one side of an apparent divide – for years, I read an – opposite – newspaper – a –

I used to read a socialist newspaper because that seemed to be the done thing with people I met in the local university when I did my degree there as a mature student.

And I have got tired of that paper.  I was not brought up a socialist.

That sounds so awful, because yes, I do care.

I’m British.  We’ll get this said.  With splinter groups all over – the Scots want to rule themselves (some of them) – and Wales wants more power, as far as I can gather – and we’re in a mess with Brexit in part because we need to look after the Irish – those that are not completely with us, but will remain with the EU when we have left it – when we do . . .

I’m not going to get into all that.

What I was going to state, with those splinter groups going off all over the place – there are two of them now in our parliamentary system . . .

know – isn’t it a row in the House of Commons?  Who would have thought the people who look out for our interests would carry on like that?  Who would have known – before we got television in there, and they screened it?

Anyway, I suppose I’d better say that I’m English, in particular.  (And very sorry indeed that so many of the Sc . . .)

I don’t want to get into all this political stuff – I’m a babe in the woods as far as that is concerned.

But I’ve got interested – and I’ve stopped (mainly) reading this paper that is basically a – it is one that is more interested in the Labour party, it seems to me – and the one that I’m buying now is very much a Conservative paper (Dad used to be a Conservative) – and I am interested in what is being said there.

How to sit on the fence.

No – that’s me, not the paper.

I go out earlier in the morning than I used to, so I can buy this newspaper.

I waited half an hour or more for the bus – it’s usually only about ten minutes.  I was fretting.  If you don’t get to a shop quickly enough, they sell out.  Who would have thought?

The bus came just when I was wondering if I ought to chance it, walk to the next stop, where there is more of a choice of buses.  Had there been a snap strike just as there might be a snap election?  There was a bus strike earlier in the year, and very awkward it made things.

Got on the bus.  Got off the bus two stops further on.  That takes you to the village.  Large supermarket there (large-ish).  Got the paper there – thought they would have one.  Paid with my card to save my change.  But they know me in there and don’t think I’m odd at all.

Ooh! It’s all coming out today.

This must be the ‘don’t control’ bit.

Anyway, I felt more soothed then – I’d got my daily fix of Conservative news in my bag – I could proceed at a normal pace (for me) – and went to the bus stop there in the village.

Got the number 12, which you don’t get from the bus stop I usually frequent – and it took a route I wasn’t expecting once we got close to the bus station (where I usually get off).

It might not be going to the bus station, I thought.  It seemed to be doing its best to become a splinter group all on its own.  I jumped off, along with quite a few other people, at the Centre, and waited.

I seem to find reasons to wait aplenty.  People, I am sure (I have such a robust inner life), must wonder what I am waiting for now.

But I was waiting to see where that bus would go next.  The lights had stopped it, and I was wondering if it would turn left (and therefore to the bus station) or right – I thought I might have got on that bus into the town before – I might have made this mistake before . . .

The bus turned right – and I was right (therefore) to have jumped off the bus with all those other people – I could walk towards the bus station from there – the shops, that is, that I wanted to go into over that way.

I know, I know – what has this got to do with anything?

It marks, anyway, just how important this newspaper has become in my life.

I can understand what this newspaper is saying.  They don’t all agree with each other, those journalists in this newspaper – and I might not agree either – but I can understand what is being said there.

The newspaper I used to read – over years, this section in it was no longer speaking to me, nor this, nor that.  Gradually, it lost me, that newspaper.

This one that I’m buying now – well, it is one that my literature teacher at school used to like.

And that takes me into my past again.

This literature teacher used to like this newspaper at a time (I was 16) when I could not understand what it was on about.  I was too young (there are some savvy 16-year-olds, I am told).

But I wasn’t politically-minded then – didn’t have a clue.

I’m doing homework now, probably – I wouldn’t at all be surprised at myself – that I couldn’t do then.

Where all this is leading – I controlled my own life this morning.  I thought I was, as I stood (albeit pretending I wasn’t – walk a bit, stop and turn for a while – no, I’m not really doing something that – seems – so odd – as to watch where a bus might be going – what would be odd about that? – but I might be watching out for someone I said I’d meet – that person is late, look – oh, I bet she is already in the restaurant we said we’d go to -)

What does it matter?

On the one hand, I was controlling what was happening with me and the bus – in case I needed to get it again – and all this to do with a newspaper.

On the other hand, I had all this (uncontrolled) reasoning going on in my head as to why I was in a place that was unusual for me, these days.

Ah – maybe I have left that sunny lane I walked along before.  Maybe I found a turn-off, and was drawn into it.

I thought – you control what you can or other people will control it for you.  But you can’t control everything.

 

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