On Control

Create disorder

Apply new rules and boundaries

Bingo! You’re in charge!

~

n.b. The need of many people to have control of as much as possible in life seems to be rooted in anxiety.

Exerting control of the immediate environment and surrounding people reduces initial anxiety levels. It leads to very tidy living spaces and regular habits, but can also make relationships difficult to sustain. It can lead to the dropping of friends, partners, even close family members, who may not comply, or play along with the individual’s need to completely run their own show as a way to reduce anxiety.

Of course, we all want the world to stop from time to time. Life has many challenges and other people are wriggly and inconsistent, hard to read and strangely human. “Hell is other people” wrote Jean-Paul Sartre and for some this can be true, but thankfully people can learn and change.

Living alongside, working with and loving people is hard work from time to time, as (thankfully) people can never be totally controlled, despite the endeavours of authoritarians.

It seems that learning to ride the peaks and troughs created by other people, being inclusive and learning to enjoy a bit of give and take, (although tricky for an anxious person – me included), is the healthiest approach.

We need someone to show us how to live in such a way, ideally this would have been our parents, but if that hasn’t been possible, we must look out for each other by offering helping hands, sharing and loving.

I believe that if we can enjoy the happiness of others, then happiness will come to us.

Happiness is other people…ask any grandmother!

~

CLP 14/08/2020

Silver

The harsh-sunned pool laid flat still

Mirror to the willows’ feathered limbs

A float-glass plate decorated with green

Fronds and strands held still beneath

No flow, no breath

I lean on the stone parapet

See my silhouette’s sharp outline

I am about to leave this scene

When a metallic flash, a flip, a soft splash

The surface cut from below by a butterfly kiss

Yes, she’s there, but not for long

But she’s there

I smile to myself and wander happily on

~

CLP 10/08/2020

Hotel 4**** (221 Reviews)

The lawn immaculate as Mary
The Cedar of Lebanon adorns the garden
Gifts of shade and shelter beneath its boughs
Verandah a place of repose
Guests read piously in wicker chairs
The chapel home to a magnificent pipe organ
Through stained-glass windows
Pews reverentially curve around the high altar
A place of celebration and prayer
A modest Christian retreat

I had arrived late, ruck sack dusty
At this Internet-located
Recommended overnight stop
Where you had checked-in earlier
Met with an eye-brow of surprise
That two guests with different chromosome compositions
And un-familial surnames
Booked just one room
Albeit a room allocated in the annex
Not in the elegant mansion house

A room located past the pond
Through the back of the garden
Up creaky stairs to an improvised corridor
Above the old stable block
With steps that go up a quarter-flight
Then down a half-flight
Past the showers and wash rooms
With wooden doors like slatted gates
That do not reach the floor

Our room is interesting
Wall striped-paper
Dazzling light bulbs
A handbasin
A wall mirror that reflects from my chest down
Two small single beds with sheets and blankets
Yards apart
A retreat from the time of Dunkirk?
No continental comforts here

You laugh at my crest-fallen face
The room, the short beds
Your hearty response lifts my gloom
The only proper reaction to this
Pre-booked, no-refunds, high season
Imagined romantic rendezvous
That belies its online presence

We went to supper down the town
Where a street fight starts
Between two groups of over-heated youths
Brawling outside the open window of the restaurant
I call for assistance and follow the barman out
He breaks it up with a strong voice and local knowledge of names and faces
We have finished our meal before the police arrive

All is done and dusted, the street long-empty
When we walk back under the early summer blossoms
Beside a stream running in the stone gutter, between the path and road
We climb stairs, chuckles renewed at this place
Choose not to move the beds together
The night is too warm, we too full of dinner
We kick off blankets and sleep

Until woken by blinding sunlight and inquisitive wasps
Nested outside the window
And now exploring the room
Which also vibrates with the heavy throb of diesel engines from day-trip coaches
With their cigarette smoking drivers coughing and comparing tachograph notes in high volume above the rumbles
While they wait for passengers keen for a pilgrimage
To a local pagan shrine, like Stonehenge, Silbury, Avebury, or Glastonbury Tor
Or perhaps just the Cobb at Lyme Regis, then Weymouth for the beach

“Not so funny now, is it?” I suggest
You lift an eyelid, shift sleepily from your bed
Slide yourself under my sheet
And wiggle up close, laughing again
Pointing out that the mirror is now just the right height

.

n.b. www.napoiwrimo.net Day 28 prompt: bedroom.

Christopher Perry

28th April, 2020