Good morning folks
I trust this finds you in finest fettle and that you had a spectacularly enjoyable weekend!
Here is your weekly round-up from land of chaos…
Last week I had a bit of a major moan about this place.
Lima is where I live and it looks like I’m going to be here for a while yet.
I do have some issues with some of my neighbours, basically as they are inconsiderate ar$es.
However, I am very grateful for the opportunities I have here and also the friends who I have made here. Lima does have some nice bits and the people I know and work with are all awesome folk. I don’t mean to criticise the place, I just wish it could reach its potential, but due to attitudes of many people, sadly it never will.
So, I am sorry for whingeing, Lima is my home now.
(I am not sorry to my imbecilic neighbours, those f#@k#%s can all go burn in hell for eternity!)
Basically I have had to give in and accept the way it is here.
I am amazed at times that people are not marching in the streets against some things that go on, but this is Latin America and things are different here.
By giving in, I guess it is a bit like when Lance Armstrong said that he wasn’t going to say that he hadn’t been taking drugs anymore, I’m just exhausted with fighting against everything.
If you don’t accept stuff here you just go mad or end up very, very bitter.
The day that I made this decision was the very same day that I slipped and almost broke my neck when I didn’t see the huge pile of doggy-do on the pavement.
Golden rule, keep your eyes on the road. I think it may have been left by a medium-sized dinosaur. I love Lima!
Last week saw the mandatory work medical check-up. Nil-by-mouth from the night before (and not a drop of coffee) made my first class a challenge, but by 11am it was all done.
The usual tests and measurements. I haven’t grown in the last two years. I confidently bluffed (guessed) my way through the colourblind (bubble) test, confusing the lady somewhat.
“21, 14, a badger, a big wheel, the letter “c”, 297…”
My eye test brought up an interesting result. I managed all the letters on the board down to the diddy ones at the bottom, but when I did a close-up test (first time I’ve ever actually done it), my right eye thought I was reading Chinese! This eye has always been sore since the time a drunken punter thrust a fag lighter into my eye when I was trying to defuse a situation in a kebab shop in Barranco, 13 years ago. At least my left eye works. Does a pirate’s eye patch beckon?
The psychology test was the usual random nonsense/confusion. In Spanish, I just hope I ticked the right boxes and come back as close to normal as possible!
A topic that I have been wanting to write about for some time and especially the last two weeks (where it was shoved on the backburner)…
What is OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
is an anxiety disorder in which time people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.
Affecting many people, including the rich and shameless likes of Trump (who refuses to shake hands with teachers, but that lad isn’t wired-up right in many other ways!)
Leonardo Dicaprio has a pavement phobia (cracks and chewing gum, he´d love Lima!)
David Beckham has issues with putting items in pairs. If there are three, one has to go! (Although reportedly he does have 3 fridges for food, drinks and salads).
Justin Timberlake has to line things up, Billy Bob Thornton has to relate things to numbers, Charlize Theron worries about “unexpected mess” (come to my house) and Jessica Alba has to check things…
Basically these are obsessions and compulsions that interfere with daily life.
It could be a fear of germs, necessitating extreme hand-washing, which often falls to pieces at some point in the lengthy route when the person has to touch something (eg, a door handle). It could be worrying (about things that many folk would think are not worth worrying about) or it could be compulsive checking…
I used to live with a friend who was a “checker”, we would leave the house and he would think that the door wasn´t locked properly, after checking it (it was locked) it would then lead to more uncertainty. “Did I leave the kettle on?” and this would start a whole cycle of checking, which subconciously rubbed off on me.
Doors, plugs and gas are my three main nemesis areas. I live in a flat, but the area is not brilliant, so I always give the lock three turns whilst waiting for the lift, but then I have to check whether the kettle is unplugged, but the hob is my main problem. “Off-off-off-off-off-off” over and over and over, it´s always off and it drives me nuts checking (as I know it will be off and I know it will waste time, but I have to do it…)
Living in Peru has driven me to the edge in all honesty.
I´ve spent/wasted too much time trying to suss out the national “psyche” What causes the people (here) to do what they do?
Unfortunately I have come to the unsatisfactory conclusion that it is not possible to suss out.
So, I´ll try and suss myself out to see if that makes any sense!
Checking, re-checking and re-re-checking isn´t a massive deal.
I always put my right shoe on first, I never eat more than seven bread buns, seven bananas nor sup more than 4 cups of coffee per day (but they are big cups). Habits or compulsion?
Working shifts for 7 years made me make my life as idiotproof as possible, better to say that when your brain is shot to pieces it is much easier if you do the same things each day.
It is my behaviour that got me thinking.
All of my life (since I was a bairn) I´ve always been really, really into one thing.
Different things; fishing as a lad, then running, then climbing/mountaineering, then music (psychobilly all got a bit mad, but they were very happy days), then ale, then horseracing (punting, generally unsuccessfully)!
The demon drink, but is it?
Like many/most teenagers the discovery of alcohol was pretty mindblowing. The fact that you could buy this stuff and the things it made you do (and the fact that all this was legal) was a revelation!
As I was tall (and a bit heftier as a youth) I found I could drink a fair bit.
“10p-a-pint” nights at Toff´s and Barnum´s were where it all started going downhill…
Working at the Library was brilliant as we were all a young bunch who all liked going out.
Then I discovered rugby (league), well not discovered it, I’d always been a long-suffering Barrow RLFC fan since I was a young lad, all seven of us piling in my Grandad’s mate’s Rover and heading down to Craven Park in the late 70′s.
Playing it was a different matter!
Coordination has never been my forte. Playing with the work’s (Library) team was excellent, although as Civil Servants we were always pitched against semi-pro outfits such as “North West”, Leeds Post Office, Garth Prison and other teams that used to trounce us every time. We did have some very good players (and usually a few ringers) but up against sides who played/trained together each week was a different matter.
However, it was a Wednesday afternoon off work, into the (subsidised) bar by 4pm and out into York by teatime, always ending up in a midweek drinks promotion in some nightclub (and somehow functioning at work the next day!)
Obviously enthusiasm will only take you so far, as many things actually require talent (not something I actually possess!)
I somehow got involved with a good team in York, who trained extremely hard (and got results) and I found that if I also trained hard I could sometimes make the sub’s bench (!) These lads were a step-up in craziness but a broken ankle (Tenereefeee, Champagne Sangria related) forced my retirement there and later injuries brought it all to a halt. I had always run, but then stepped it up getting into long distance fell races and mountain marathons. Training got heavier and heavier and it became increasingly obsessive (which always resulted in an injury-frustration-return-injury cycle).
That is about where I am now!
Like most crocked runners, I am an absolute nightmare to be around, it is a very vicious cycle to be in, but at the end of the day, I supposedly do it for fun, so what is the problem when the wheels fall off?
Is this compulsive behaviour or just trying to push things as far as possible, without them breaking? (Like a mate once said to me, when you strip a thread when fixing a Clunk, that moment when your spanner slips is the moment you want to go back in time about one second! You never realise until it is too late).
The Mongol Rally was another classic example, it all started an obsessive trail that got to the point where I often thought that other people were talking about it, when of course it was just me in my own little world! Not a day goes by when I don’t daydream about it, but it isn’t something that you would do and then forget about!
The problem is when you put all your “huevos” in one basket, when that thing goes pear-shaped, you quickly need something else to fill that void left gaping open.
Drinking is a tricky one. As someone once said, “What is the point in one pint? One pint is never enough…”
I did manage to go out for a “quiet” drink on Saturday with my good mate James B.
Avoiding the dodgy cocaine bar that spiked us last outing. Drinking is a beer-only affair these days, anything else (don’t mention the Christmas Party) spells trouble!
Although I do love my job, work is one thing that I have never, ever become obsessed about!
Sometimes you say “yes” when you really, really mean “no, way”.
At work a student asked me if I would do an interview (in Spanish) as part of his university project and Tuesday was the day when I had to try and put all the words I don’t understand/can’t pronounce into some kind of logical order, in front of a camera!
It started with a normal interview about how/where I learnt Spanish and all the related difficulties, I kept up with this but then we had to do some acting/roleplay, which I hope got chewed up in the camera…
When I first arrived here in Lima, I quickly worked out that it was often cheaper (and infinitely quicker) to eat in restaurants/cafes. However, when I asked for the menu, it never actually appeared and I always seemed to be given an assortment of food that I hadn’t chosen. Starter-main course-pudding-drink, all arriving together.
This happened every time and although luckily I’ll eat almost anything, I couldn’t work out whey I was never given the choice to choose! The waiter always looked at me blankly when I asked, but it was when I asked a friend that I found out that the “menu” is the word for a set meal, whereas I should have asked for “la carta” if I wanted to make a selection!
This situation was what we were trying to recreate in front of the camera.
I don’t think I’ll be asked back to the University of Lima for some time…
Finally seems to be having its resolve broken! It never rains in Lima, but it’s poured down all week here. The sun started to show its face on Saturday and as spring starts today, it is one of the few things that is actually punctual here! (I may be speaking way too soon here…)
(10 days? I’ve been trying for 45 years!)
Hamstrung (again) after coming back too soon (again) and pushing too-hard-too-early (again).
This seems to be developing into a chronic injury and always happens on the same speed (!) session, whenever I whisper the words “half-marathon”. I was aiming for a race in November, but that’s scuppered now. Time for a rethink.
Met up with Darwin Dave and Olly (an ex-stuntman, turned cameraman) fresh back from THE MONKEY RUN
for some tucker on Sunday. It sounded an absolute riot!
The Monkey Bike is probably the most underpowered Clunk you can find. Somewhere between the BHP of a skateboard and a pushchair and about the right size for a nipper.
This didn’t stop 20 intrepid Monkey Runners from charging their steeds all the way from Ayacucho (mountains) to Atalaya (jungle) crossing some lofty (4500m or 15000ft in old money) passes en-route, taking between 8-12 days and getting up to all manner of mischief on the way!
Here are some pics courtesy of Sir Dave Fry. This man is a legend!
To round off, I leave you with this little beauty. I have used it before (it’s not the wheel-change-rave, but that is my No.1 all-time youtube favourite!)
If you’re ever having a crap day, watch THIS
Have a superbly splendid week.
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper
p.s. When I said that I had finally entered the 21st century with a smartphone, it was rather a limping entrance. Whatsup, messenger, FB messenger and texting all get a bit mixed up, please bear with me!
p.p.s. If I had writing OCD, I would go back and sort out the paragraphs/formatting in this blog, but WordPress just isn’t playing of late. I will get it fettled one day. Thank you for your patience