Well, there goes another week. I work serving lots of old people and they are fond of phrases such as “I can’t believe it’s the end of February already” and “It’ll be Christmas again before we know it” and we are hearing that all the time at the moment. (Actually, they are also quite keen on loud lectures about Brexit keeping “foreigners” out but we are working on them keeping that sort of thing to themselves as all those debates are not exactly adding to the gaiety of the nation at the moment) It is also difficult to believe that this time last year we were dealing with the Beast from the East as we have eaten breakfast at a cafe by the sea today – wearing sunglasses and pretending we are a bit cool.
It has been a fairly uneventful week. Aged Parent had what I think she would refer to as “a bit of a turn” but it seems that it had a lot to do with her trying to tidy out a clothes cupboard and getting a bit of dust on her chest. Either that or a new, slightly troubling development of putting meat into the slow cooker and eating it after eighteen hours because she has forgotten about it. As I was working, HOH went to see if she was ok and later I found a slightly exasperated message from him on my phone saying “Your mother is like Captain Scarlett – she is indestructable. She is downstairs in the coffee lounge gossiping about how much of a drain on the NHS the man in the flat upstairs is.”
Other than that I have spent a lot of the week being irritated by members of my own sex. There is the newspaper columnist who was complaining about having to give up smoking because she wouldn’t be able to stand outside the pub where all the interesting people are. Well, my Aged Parent has smoked on and off for most of her adult life. Once, when she had to have an X-Ray, they had to send for a specialist from Leeds to have a look at it because her lungs are so scarred, the doctors couldn’t decide if she had cancer or not. Interesting is not the word I would use.
That’s before we get to baby showers that cost £350, 000, female politicians who claim to be adults trolling other MPs or Instagram “Influencers” messing about with their photos making them impossibly glamorous and living lives more exciting than anyone could possibly live – thus making ordinary teenage girls feel even more inadequate than they already do. (HOH says that I am a bit hard on the Duchess of Sussex and that some of the criticism of her is rooted in racism. This is undoubtedly true but £350,000 is a lot of money and her Mother-in-Law – her Majesty the Queen to you and me – keeps leftover lamb in Tupperware in the fridge for goodness sake)
However, I just read an extract from a new book due in March. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. In it, the author Caroline Criado Perez examines how much of the world is physically designed for or naturally leans towards men – with dangerous results for women. For instance – she says that there is no mandatory rule that says some crash dummy tests should be on a female dummy. Consequently, we are not sure if seat belts are as safe as they could be for the female form. Gadgets are geared towards men – the average smartphone is 5.5 inches. It comfortably fits into a man’s hand but not a woman’s. Voice recognition on gadgets is 70% more likely to be able to understand you if you have a deep male voice. The standard symptoms for a heart attack – chest pains radiating down arm etc are more likely to be male. A female can often present with stomach pains, breathlessness and headache apparently. Who knew? Not me and this is obviously dangerous. And it has all gone on quietly forever. There is loads of this stuff. No wonder we women can be bonkers. It’s a jungle out there. (HOH would like me to stop slamming kitchen cupboards as he claims it is not his fault)
Does the world drive you mad when you think about it for too long? In a world where there are so many secret agendas, where churches are found to be conspirators in child abuse, where political parties embrace cultures which demonise the poor or certain races – even down to estate agents who engage in sharp practice as a matter of course (Don’t get me going) – I do geninely sometimes feel as if the ground under my feet may not be able to be trusted.
I have though taken some comfort from this verse in Isaiah – it isn’t glib – it doesn’t say that disappointing things won’t happen or that everyone is basically open hearted and trustworthy really- but here is a promise of something good, pure through and through without any side to it saying that despite everything that I or anyone else might do God means what he says. Works for me.
For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart