The grass is always greener

I have a small, 2m by 4m square of grass outside my flat. It’s not exactly a verdant jungle of tropical vegetation. It was some turf laid the week before I moved in. I had the high and righteous principle of not watering it cause wasting water is a waste and I didn’t want to waste money on a hose when I could easily spend it on… well whatever it is that people spend money on, I haven’t worked that out yet. And anyway I hate grass cause it’s pure aesthetic and no functionality and I felt the need to take a stand on functionality. Anyway it got sunny and the grass died and I felt bad cause it’s the owners grass and not mine and therefore guilt wins the day and I bought a hose for 4 quid and now spend a daily session watering it.

Now the grass is quite dead. It has been for some time. This isn’t one of those water your grass metaphors, that only works when you’re dry and need of refreshment – goodness this is turning into one of those dry grass metaphors. This grass is dead. The grass doctors have called time and packed up the defibrillator. All the family have come in and said goodbye. Even the funeral directors have been in to sew the lips together so the mouth doesn’t hang open. (things they don’t tell you in med school no. 478).

So watering it is doing little but make the mud a little muddier. But I like it. Just cause it’s a little time of the day to sit my bum on the kayak and think. Some would say I do far too much of that already. Some would say, me being a leading voice amongst them, that that’s what got me into this mess in the first place. Whatever that mess may be.

So I sit there and try not to look at the fat guy walking about the in his pants in the flat opposite and hope he can’t see me do the same. And I ponder life, the universe and everything. I think about my life, mainly cause I’m a self-centred (descent into swearing and needless adjectives….).

And I think a lot about catharsis. Which is a word most of us, including me, don’t really understand. It’s not the stuff you get up your nose – another C word I spell badly. I think a lot about my life and my job as being cathartic. At least I did till I looked up what it meant. Well, to be honest I still do, but I reconsidered it for a bit.

Of course where else would I turn for a definition but google. Which incidentally is what we use in work to find out stuff about diseases we (or I) don’t really understand. I have based treatment on stuff found on google. And so the first definition of cathartic that I find in the ‘Free online Dictionary’ is:

Noun: 1.cathartic – a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels

And that kind of said it all for me. There was me thinking I could be profound and use big words and say deep stuff and then you find that. There’s definitely someone with a sense of humour up there and it ain’t me.

Thankfully, the definition continued:

Adj: 1.cathartic – emotionally purging

Somehow that was a little closer to the money. If you watch House (which I just watched four episodes in a row of, which stimulated this whole thing) then you realise that he can be a bit cathartic about the whole thing. Or just uncaring and bitter, not sure which. But that the medicine somehow keeps him going, that he vents the pain in his leg through his medical practice. Or something like that, I get confused.

I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Which if I ever took up real adrenaline intravenously would lead to a brief, cold palmed and sweaty end to my life. Now I’m not the traditional sort that jumps off buildings with a pair of stretchy knickers round my ankles or driving motorbikes or eating the sausages from those ‘fresh food served daily’ cabinets in petrol stations.

I’m more of an emotional adrenaline junkie. The highs and the lows, the sweet and the sour and the bitter and the sweet. That’s why I like medicine and dealing with all types of scary stuff cause it makes me feel alive, and makes me think of more than the price of cheese or what colour to paint the dining room. I think that’s why I like being alone cause I like feeling alone and depressed and miserable. And I only enjoy these cause I’m only playing at them. I’ve never been lonely, depressed or miserable in my life. I remain the luckiest and most blessed human being on the planet and I think I just dabble in it for the experience.

The other underlying, and if it was possible, even more sinister reason that I like catharsis is that it gives me a sense of achievement, progress and yes here it comes – atonement. Which lies behind so many of my actions. That I’ve skipped past the first 11 chapters of Romans just to get to the ‘live your lives as living sacrifices… and be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ bits. Cause I love self-denial and being zen and pursuing nirvana by the elimination of the self and all that. Because it’s all so wonderfully self-centred.

So I’ve decided not to think about catharsis any more. I’ve better things to be getting on with. And now that I’m fully equipped with a working definition then I’ll have more reason to believe that most of what I think about is closer to the noun than the adjective.

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December 2006

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