The world is full of lonely people
I’m scared to call up one of my friends because every time I call him all he does is give me a breakdown of his illnesses.
“Hi, it’s Shazia. How are you?”
“Oh I can’t wait till this month is over. First flu, then HIV, now diarrhea.”
“I don’t want a breakdown of your illnesses I just rang to see if I could have my lawnmower back?”
If I had diarrhea I wouldn’t want anyone to know let alone discuss it with who ever calls me up.
Then I made a business call a few days later, “Hi how are you?”
“Oh my eardrum burst, I’ve been in the hospital for weeks, then Lucy’s dad had a heart attack so we had to be at his bedside.”
Who’s Lucy’s dad? Why do I know the medical conditions of a 76-year-old man I’ve never met?
I just rang to know why you hadn’t paid me my £120-00.
I was on holiday recently when I started talking to a man who I had never met before. He said, “Oh I really needed this holiday, you know because I’ve been looking after my mother who’s 86, she has a bacterial infection. It’s very serious and common in old people, and it’s been a lot of work to look after her. I mean the bacteria are really active and they do some good damage.”
Its one thing to say your mum is ill but then to give me a diagnosis and tell me the exact bacteria involved, that’s some really weird behaviour.
He’s stalking me with his mum’s illnesses.
Why do you want me to know that? I wouldn’t bring up my dad’s piles over dinner.
Some people feel the need to tell strangers very deep dark things about themselves that they probably wouldn’t tell their own mother. I know it’s sometimes easier to tell people you don’t know how you feel.
But I’m never going to cure whatever they’ve got, it doesn’t make good conversation and it’s usually gross. And the next time that person calls me I’ll just be thinking about his scabs.
Then when there is something you want to know from them like, how much they earn, or how many people they’ve slept with, they get really offended and suffer memory loss.
The world is full of lonely people, and I understand people need to talk, get things off their chest to whoever is available. It may be a friend, the hairdresser, or an over caring priest.
I wonder what would have happened if everybody just said half of what they intended to say? I might take more notice and it might mean more.
When my bank manager asked me the other day, “How are you?”
I really wanted to say, “Well, there is mould growing behind my settee, the cheque I put in the bank last week hasn’t cleared, the man I love still hasn’t asked me to marry him, my hot water bottle burst, my washing machine has more rust on it, my accountant keeps harassing me, I’ve put on weight, I’m bored, I’m tired, I wonder if my mundane life is ever going to change, and my toenails need cutting but I don’t have the time.”
But I held back, because I was scared.
What if he replied, “Well Ms Mirza, I don’t really care. I’ve brought you in to discuss the awful state of your bank account; I don’t want to know about your domestic and emotional problems. This is not an appropriate place to discuss the dire state of your body parts, can you please exercise some discretion.”
I would have been really shocked and upset. So I decided not to risk it.
Although I believe a disease shared is not a disease solved, I realised how brave some people are to vocalise how they really feel.
It takes guts to do that. All of a sudden, I admired my friend for telling me about his diarrhea. Not that I wanted to know, or that I would ever encourage him to do it again, but I did have some wonder for him.
It’s amazing when someone is so open with you; you can’t help being open back.
“I’ve got a new mole growing in a very unusual place, plus my armpit smells of vinegar”
“So do mine!”
Shazia’s new stand up comedy tour ‘Cukooland’ has just started. For dates and tickets see: http://www.shazia-mirza.com
The author is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.
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