The closest I ever got to self help was reading a book called the Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. There was one chapter which talked about how creative people often have crazy makers in their lives, people close to them who sap all their energy and time with demands, crisis and otherwise high drama. Hmmm. Sound familiar.
The book recommends that you either cut these people out of your life completely or distance your self from them in order to nurture yourself. I have several of these in my life, we all probably do but instead of distance myself I have decided to mine my experiences for the blog, but sometimes it gets me down. I have a hard enough time managing my ridiculous career, my own expectations, a three year old, and I could go on but it wouldn’t be flattering.
My mother unsubtly suggested during a moment of unemployment last year that I become her friend’s personal assistant. It was never a career I aspired after or even looked up to nor would it be something that I would be good at because it would be really hard for me to have my heart in personal assistance and when it comes down to it, I am just too stuck up.
Maybe it was the threat of divorce or maybe it was the book’s advice but I finally came to the decision last year to re-home Piglet who had been driving the household crazy for eleven years with his bullying and fleeting attempts at murder of his brother, filicide . Everyone had finally had enough. It was me or the dog.
When Reza agreed to adopt Piglet I was relieved but I was of course inheriting another crazy situation, just different kind of crazy, crazy on a different day but still crazy, belovable crazy.
It became even crazier when someone ( not me) took Julie Cameron’s advice and decided to create some distance, and as of January Reza was out working on her own instead of for her brother’s company which before neatly took care of all her taxes and health insurance, depositing a sum every month in her account. Now she was out on her own, and Piggy was diagnosed with diabetes, all of which added to the stress of her situation and mine.
“Don’t worry, I am not worried, God will provide.”
So in January God lined up at the bank got a token and all the information, sat down at her computer with Reza, devised passwords and set up internet banking. God also typed up information sheets for all her clients to fill out with their details and contact information. God organized a photo shoot and designed a business card. God also monitored all her ashamble finances for the last two months, tracked down missing payments and worried about how she would pay her car registration or even get the car passed through TCD. God then realized that Reza had not signed up for health insurance, so God will take it upon herself to sign Reza up for the government program, and pay for it directly.
“God will provide.”
The problem with Reza is she is not an effective communicator. It took me weeks to understand the communications she had had with clients over the missing payment. She seems to commune with God just fine but he is not providing the translation. She also has a short temper which is made worse by hunger, sickness or tiredness and Reza like myself seems to always be afflicted by one if not more of those.
The other day when we did her photo shoot it took about an hour to get one usable picture because she was shouting and yelling and carrying on, sending one dog, east, another west, and at least three cowering. She was shouting at me, at her self, at all eight dogs and the sky. She was Fing and blinding and then apologizing to Eva who wasn’t even there.
Then there is the old station wagon God helped her buy last year and its various afflictions. Every car Reza has owned or driven has ended up with a bumper tied on by a piece of string. Reza’s impulsivity drives her to careen over small objects, perhaps even dogs, she has certainly mounted my small boundary wall every now and again. A ding or a dent in a car over the span of a year is hardly news worthy, but fifteen dents and the body work she had to organize before taking the car in for its test. To my sheer amazement, Reza told me the other day,
“You know I used to drive buses. I loved it.”
“You mean public buses with people on it, who pay for you to get them home safe and sound.”
“Lets not go back to that.”
I thought to myself it either didn’t work out because she was sideswiping customers or letting them ride for free, or both. When a bus took out a sidewalk of cars while I was away I was convinced Reza had taken a position as a substitute.
I lay awake nights waiting for the phone call from Reza and then it came one morning.
“The car has broken down, and I have no food or insulin for Piggy.”
“Reza we were just at the vet with Piggy for his glucose curve three days ago, I told you specifically that there is no need to be in this situation, you can charge on my account at any time, I told you to keep at least a week supply at all times. You know you cant mess around with a diabetic dog.”
“I know I know, I am just so worried can you get me the food and insulin.”
“I wasn’t planning on driving to town today, but I will- it will take me two hours out of my way, but I will deliver the food and put the insulin in the fridge.”
“Thank you Thank You Thank You.”
“Reza, don’t let this happen again. “
“It will never happen again.”
So instead of working I spent my Thursday afternoon driving up to the vet and without telling Reza got a case of food and a vile of insulin to keep at my house. I can say with Darwinian certainty that this will happen again.
It turned out to only be her spark plug, the week before she had been leaking oil down Speakers Drive, so we had her oil filter replaced. God provided again.
While I was at the vet I rested my head against the counter as they rang up my credit card and I thought… to myself,
“My god I need a personal assistant.”
Then my second thought made my mother’s suggestion bear fruit.
“My god, I am Reza’s personal assistant.”
This weekend when I came to visit Piglet, and brought Reza some vegetables from the family garden. ( my god maybe I am an enabler.)
She told me that by some miracle her car had passed its inspection. God gets a day off.
Then she started on about politics.
“Do you know that they are taking away our post office, did you know that we only got the post office in St. David’s in 1966, we were last, and now they are taking it away.”
“Reza, that was almost fifty years ago.”
She continued unabated.
“I heard the only reason they kept our medical center open was because they were going to put all the people with M-BOLA in St. David’s. Can you believe the nerve. I don’t want M-Bola.”
And she continued.
“And why did they close the Severn bridge, if something happens to swing bridge no one who lives in St. Georges will be able to get medical attention. They should have kept Severn bridge open, it was all made out of wood- it wouldn’t have cost anything to maintain.”
“Reza they closed Severn bridge in 1937, before you were born.”
She has a little backpack which had the PLP ( Progressive Labour Party) logo, and it was crossed out with a ballpoint pen and in her handwriting the letters OBA for the current government’s party etched on top. I imagined she would be crossing it out again soon and writing Say No to M-Bola.
I decided to try and steer the conversation away from politics and decided to bring up the lack of health insurance.
“You have to have health insurance Reza, so this is what is going to happen, when I get back I will set you up with HIP insurance and I will pay it directly, and then pay you anything else I owe you for walking Piccolo. “
“Okay, thanks that would be great but don’t pay me anything extra, you keep that, whatever it ends up being.”
“No Reza, I won’t keep it.”
“I want you to have it.”
“Are you trying to tip me Reza?”
“Well you should get paid something for being my secretary.”
There was nothing to do but laugh, so I laughed.
“My Secretary…. I think I prefer GOD.”