29 April 2011

Confessions Of An Anti-Social Worker 1

I took this during my one and only visit to NYC, where I walked a long long way.

I read an article in the New York Times Magazine last weekend, that posited that the worst thing you can do for your health is work behind a desk and in front of a computer. The eight plus hours of inactivity, physical slothness, is terrible for you on a number of levels. Bad for your back, your heart, your circulation, your brain. When I'm behind a desk, it is usually because I am in the midst of writing a three paragraph summary of the turmoil a young person has been through that led them to the streets, then to me and my recommendation for an initial case plan. Primarily, it is a heavy thing to process trauma history for an individual, let alone several individuals a day, often with histories as horrendous as you could imagine. So I look out the window and there is very little there a high rise apartment building a MacDonald with its stars and stripes flapping in the pissing rain. Sometimes, there are some captivating cloud formations rolling in over the west hills. Sometimes, I watch the local drunks rolling around in their own piss, wondering if I'll have to call the Detox van for them anytime soon. 

I've also been watching this shit stain on a white wall slowly disappear. I actually saw the woman responsible for this stain in action. I was cycling to work, rounding the corner towards my building on a crisp winter morning. I saw her left up her skirt and I said to myself, "Please no. I don't need to see this right now." And then she bent over, arse against the wall and unloaded an holy liquid black on the white walls of the Jaguar dealership. I wondered about her health and welfare. I thought about other cultures that don't use toilet roll and then I rolled onwards myself, trying not to think about it anymore. But the shit-stain is still and I see it everyday, no matter how hard I try not look in that direction.  For months now, it is ever so slowly getting gently washed away by the elements.

So I take little moments to hide from such realities by watching web-clips of Dane Reynolds or Pontus Alv. With the internet, one things lead to another and suddenly I'm getting sucked through a labyrinth of links that stray me far from my original distractions. I view an idea, concept, image for a few seconds and then click onwards to the next, each time subtly re-wiring my brain. I might catch myself in this hypnotic mindset while being sucked through the 'ethernet' and consciously decide to find something else to concentrate on. I might look at my little note book, consider writing a poem or starting the next chapter in 'Confessions Of A Guilty Expat.' But its hard to focus on this type of thing, when you are always waiting for the  phone to ring with the next tragic situation for you to attend to. So it is easy to slip back into the internet in the name of research. Researching the history of Bahrain, literature... Dane Reynolds' most recent slob-air and there I am again.

Eventually, I'll get my paper-work done and feel pretty good about it. And if things are quiet, I'll take a walk. Sometimes, I think I can walk forever. I love walking. I love not-stopping. I love passing people and trees and the shit on the wall. I once told Alison I was going to walk to Alaska... this was before 'Into The Wild.' That kid, killed that dream.