The Pigeon – Patrick Suskind (1987)

20140619-211439-76479104.jpg

A little about the author – Patrick Suskind lives in Munich and was born on 1949. The pigeon was his second novel, first published in 1987. He is best known for his 1985 internationally best selling novel Perfume.

The pigeon is a short psychological story at 77 pages long. It is set in Paris and is a tale about a day in the life of a bank security guard Jonathon Noel.
Jonathan Noel is a character who has chosen a rather solitary existence for twenty years and his security net is his small Parisian apartment, which is no more than a room and a bathroom along a hallway which is shared with the other residents of the building.
His life is predictable, routine, safe and uneventful.
It is in stark contrast to his wartime childhood when his parents disappeared and he was taken into hiding until the war was over. Following that a disastrous marriage with his wife running away with another man.
With a mistrust of people and as a defence he has constructed his life withdrawing from society and an avoidance of other people. His contentment is in the sameness and predictability of his every day life.
One morning Jonathon’s life is thrown into complete disarray by the appearance of a pigeon in the communal hallway.
The very sight of the bird puts him into a state of panic, fear and total anxiety. It totally absorbs his mind to a point where he becomes completely irrational and his whole day is thrown into chaos and uncertainty due to this one unpredicted event. He feels that his life is completely ruined.
This book is a tale which examines fear, confronting it and the anxiety of losing control. A short and rather odd but compelling novel I would recommend it.

I have really neglected my blog lately! I have just been so busy so much going on in my life and things have been really difficult. I have been thinking about writing more openly about my life and the many life experiences I have had, I sometimes think it would be quite therapeutic and maybe some of what I have been through myself some people could relate too or maybe what I have learned from it all which is a lot, could be helpful to others that may be going through the same experiences themselves and it could be a good thing. I am just a bit scared of hurting people I love by being brutally honest, I don’t want to stir up painful memories but on the other hand I do feel that some people do need to confront the past, lay the ghosts to rest and try to find some peace of mind. The trouble is that it can be hard to do that by yourself unless you ask for help but some people will not ask or accept any offer of help or any counselling. They bottle it all up and it ends up destroying them and the truth is that they will never be able to find any happiness in life because they just become a prisoner of their pasts, caged in behind their memories of how things once were. Even the happy memories can tear you apart it is sad but it is true. But you have to let go.
In all honesty being a creative person has probably the one thing that has kept me sane amidst all the complications of the dynamics of my family and the bullshit of life. I hope to post some poems soon but really I have had no physical or mental energy lately to do much creatively. I am not one of those poets who churn out half a dozen poems every day. You know what they say you can’t rush art. I have also been working on a painting of Yoko Ono and John Lennon in which little spare time I have. And that is the problem when you are creative in more than one capacity and love both equally. One art suffers for the other and it is my writing that is suffering:

The Autism Picture

When you have got a child who is non verbal, PEC cards are a really invaluable way along with speech and language therapy of helping your child communicate.
It is a simple system of exchanging cards that enables your child to communicate their needs to you, and also for you to communicate verbally and through pictures with your child.

When I was waiting outside my son’s school with him the other day a few of the other mothers were talking about the PEC cards. They were all saying that they didn’t use them at home because they didn’t want their children to be lazy and not talk.
My feeling is and what I would say to any parent whose child has just been diagnosed with autism and is non verbal, or is going to start using the PECS system; is that you really do need to remember and consider how difficult your child finds it to communicate in a verbal way.

It is not because they don’t want to talk or that they are being lazy, it is just that they have difficulties processing language and sounds.
Think about how anxious you would be if you were not able to speak or communicate your needs yourself. Put yourself in your child’s shoes when they are trying so hard to vocalise and really would love to talk to you and communicate their needs but they really just can’t do it. It is extremely hard for them and often a trigger of a that full on mother of a meltdown may merely be because your child is unable to tell you what they want and they are so frustrated over not being able to talk.

PECS are so useful and they are such a big help. They truly do reduce a child’s anxiety. Something that is giving your child a tool to communicate with is such a good thing for them and you as a parent. PEC cards are not going to make your child lazy or make them not want to talk. A lot of children with autism do start to talk once they have started with PECs. Some children don’t but that is not because they can’t be bothered it’s just because of the autism.
As with all aides to help a child with autism or indeed with any child and parenting in general, you have just got to be really consistent in order to help your child in the best way you can. With an autistic child you have to ensure that there is consistency with all family, friends and people who work with your child, because other wise it is too confusing for them.
I always use PECS along with speech with my little boy and I can really see the benefit and it’s so lush as he will now at the age of nearly 5 occasionally say a word. He has only said bubbles, wash, mummy, daddy and thanks. He has said bubble about 10 times now which is the most he has ever said anything.
It is so great and the amount of joy it gives me when I hear him say a word is beyond words. It really makes my heart sing. I do believe the PECS have made a difference. They give your child a mental picture of what you are saying or of what something is. They help them understand language. My little boy is always giving me his sign for biscuit lol.

20140515-130350.jpg

Music and time travel

I love how music can just take you right back and remind you of people, places and funny happy times. I have been to the 80’s and 90’s today. It’s like time travelling in your head. Thinking it would be good if you could actually time travel and in the future instead of booking a weeks holiday to Spain or where ever you could book a holiday reliving a week in time. Like you could say – can I have a week in April 1986 please or whatever week you wanted and you could go and relive it. Music it so good essential for your general well being and good for your soul.

I welcome my break

I welcome my break.

It is always busy here on the weekends.

This afternoon seemed busier than usual, maybe because of the unusually hot weather, but we had three children’s parties booked too, We were rushed off our feet.

It was really hectic, we had people queuing all the way to the door.

I quite enjoy the busy periods, the job is boring when it is quiet, and we are standing around with not much to do.

Generally the customers are just regular people, who wait patiently to be served. They stand talking in relish as their eyes savour the menu. Small children tug on their mother’s clothes excitedly, wondering which toy they will have with their kid’s meals. However, occasionally you get the odd rude obnoxious customer with a super sized mouth, but you just have to grin and bear it. After all – the customer is always right, and you’ve got to smile sweetly.

It was like that this afternoon.

He was slightly balding, a little overweight, and his attitude was large, the customer from hell. He was tutting and rolling his eyes as I served the couple in front of him. As he approached the counter I could see the anger and impatience fizzing up in his face.

He snarled – “One regular chicken burger meal, a large fillet of fish, regular fries, one large cola and a kids meal.”

“The fillet will be about fifteen minutes, would you like to wait?”

“No! I’ve been bloody waiting long enough as it is, this is ridiculous. It’s pathetic, twenty minutes I’ve been waiting and you’ve got fuck all here!”

I feel like asking him if he’d like a burger to go with that massive chip on his shoulder, as he erupts into a calorific hissy fit over the fillet of fish.

And then after the pleas of what looked like an embarrassed and long suffering wife for him to shut up, He says – “I’ll have a large burger, no relish.”

“What kid’s meal would you like? Nuggets or cheese burger?”

“Cheeseburger.”

I feel sorry for his wife and child, who looks up to his mother and says “But I wanted nuggets.”

“Well I’ve ordered the cheeseburger now, you will eat it if you’re hungry.” The customer from hell snaps.

I smile at the wife symoathetically.

“Drinks?” I enquire.

“I just told you! One large cola.”

“Sorry I mean which drink would you like with your chicken burger meal and your kid’s meal?”

“Cola.”

“Eating in or takeaway?”

“In.”

I scurry about preparing his meals, I hear him whining to his wife, and he is not bloody coming here again. Thank God! I ask Julie to pass me a large burger no relish. I put his meal on the counter,

“Enjoy your meal.” I smile and begin to take the next order.

I watch him slope off to a table. Still grumbling. There are empty cartons on the table from a couple that have just left. Moaning to himself, he strides over to the bin and launches the rubbish into it.

Meanwhile I serve my next customers, a young couple, two large mega burger meals.

“That’s eight pound fifty please.”

I am giving the customer her change when the customer from hell storms over, he slams his burger down on the counter, just as the children for the first birthday party enter the restaurant, they are all wound up with excitement.

“Can’t you get anything right? I asked for a burger no relish.” He complains.

“I am sorry sir, I will get you another burger now.”

“I don’t want another burger! Where’s the manager?”

“She isn’t here at the moment, but I will get my supervisor.”

I go to talk to my supervisor. My head is pounding. He goes to placate the irate balding man, and tells me to go for my break.

I go out the back, through the fire exit, and have a cigarette.

I can’t wait to get home and get the smell of chip fat off me, another three hours yet until my shift is over.

Two more children’s parties to get through, and another queue full of people.

I welcome my break.