Boxing Day Reflections

Well, Christmas Day was very calm and cheerful, except right at the end when our worn out neighbour couldn’t really welcome us for a little party…the less said.
Now we’ve awoken to a gorgeous-loooking Boxing Day (promises of 27degC and no wind), and we’re mulling over all the worst things in the world!
First, our house guests had been to Evangeline’s old childhood friend’s for some Christmas dinner. Sounds OK, but it didn’t exactly work out- it turns out that this friend had been suffereing for many years with Parkinson’s Disease and Evangeline had given up cleaning her house for her every Christmas because things were just getting worse from year to year. Omitting the tales of two mentally challenged offspring (one a huge “oaf”) and one who is rather a sadistic father to his three year old, A-J and Evangeline were “welcomed” into a total cesspit of a house. Apparently there was rotting garbage and dirty clothes from wall to wall, such that the “dinner” was being served in the barren and neglected backyard. The man of the house was a long, skinny, haggard streak of misery, frozen into a similar state to his wife and completely oblivious to the impression the place created in his guests- or maybe ashamed??
I could go on forever about the failings of society as a whole, our health and social services system- but where will it get me. WHy can’t we live in a world where citizens can help a little in being responsible for their less fortunate neighbours, where the health system is funded to care and not to cut and where social services are provided by people with practical minds and tough hearts- not emotionally over-wrought do-gooders?
I wrote to the state’s Public Advocate about a similar situation where a 93-year old woman (blind, with maggots in a spider bite in her leg) was living alone in absolute squalor, having given up fighting her way to the outdoor toilet, which could only be reached by crossing a backyard strewn with palm fronds and other vegetable debris (and past a talking parrot in a tiny broken cage). I haven’t even received an acknowledgment- and this guy used to be a friend and colleague!
Why have we come to this, in our apparently “affluent”, “civilised” society- one of the highest AVERAGE standards of living in the world? We spend the money on fighter jets and Abrams tanks and make experienced and worldly older people give up their jobs so we can employ young, naive idealists who wear out in 6 months when confronted by the realities. In response, public servants and politicians make rules- but nothing gets any better.
I’d better give up for now and catch my breath… but SRSLY- I wish there was something I could do that is within my physical capabilities, which could influence some of these things! Arrgghhh…!!!

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3 thoughts on “Boxing Day Reflections

  1. Yes indeed. This sort of thing is Society’s Shame. I fear we are becoming less and less interested in the fate of our fellows. It seems the bigger the society, the smaller our interest in one another. Easy to look the other way when you don’t know someone, and the worse things are, the easier we find it to ignore rather than get involved in something we see as impossible to fix. Sweep it under the carpet. As one of the richest nations on earth, we have the resources to make life easy for all, and yet some work overtime and some earn obscene amounts for really not much, while others have no job and no hope. If we shared out the resources and the jobs, we could all live comfortably and in good health. But we are too addicted to consumption as a goal — witness the only solution they could find to the Global Financial Cock-Up was to hand us some cash so we could keep spending! — and I fear we’ve built a system in which we must keep earning and spending and consuming, which condemns some to a life of poverty and neglect.

  2. 2009 has been challenging for me and I have seen such things as to leave me with such a sense of wretchedness,
    …at times I fell into despair!
    As for the 93 year old woman Edith, she is under the loving kindness of the exhausted neighbour Kay mentioned. A mother who took hours over the Christmas period to find a carpark in the city and sit with Edith, wash her hair and listen to tales of life through 2 world wars! Edith was bought to my attention when her adult son wanted a cleaner to “fix up” his mother’s house.
    The door opened and such a stench of rotting flesh slapped me in the face. Red back spiders living in the fridge! Maggots wriggling in the bath tub…1 tap in the kitchen but how to climb the debris to get to it!?

    As for my friend? Helping Hands gave her up as 20 years ago…all services claim she is a hopeless case…

    “if seven maids with seven mops
    swept it for half a year.
    “Do you suppose” the Walrus said,
    “That they could get it clear?”
    “I doubt it said the carpenter”,
    and shed a bitter tear.

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