Thursday, 13 July 2006

Leave well enough alone

My childhood was peppered with parental comments that taken literally meant little to me, but the meaning and intent was clear enough from the accompanying inflection.

I left my Yorkshire birthplace to live in London when I was eighteen, and I have stayed south ever since. I left behind a broad accent and a colloquial language that said little; spoken with an economy of words in a series of stock phrases (which saved thinking creatively), but intended a lot, and the intention was indicated by inflection. The interpretation of inflection was crucial. My Derbyshire grandmother used the same word: 'mun' with opposite meanings, and because she spoke (to children) infrequently, usually to admonish, interpreting her inflection was crucial. For example: You mun do that - meaning 'you must NOT do that' and the opposite: You mun do that - meaning 'you MUST do that'; as an instruction. Maybe that is what happens to all women after bringing up eight children. With an outside toilet and no bathroom. Maybe there was no energy left to use language creatively.

So, the phrase which in my head I hear my mother saying to me: "leave well enough alone", up until today, had the meaning left over from useage in my childhood, which was used as a warning to keep off, keep away, keep quiet. The two words 'leave alone', would have sufficed, but were made more weighty, more dread, by adding: 'leave well enough'. It is so difficult to describe here what I can hear in my memory.

Today the phrase rang repeatedly over a number of situations, and so today after all these years, that phrase altered, expanded, to mean: ' leave that which is well enough, alone'.

During the two years I have used my wonderful IBM laptop, the pre-loaded Norton (I know!) automatic updates have kept the web-borne bugs at bay, until the live web based updates system failed to work recently. My cogdsyfunck'd brain saw the processing of the solution as a maze wherein it would be lost forever, so I decided to ask for professional help. He arrived an hour late at noon, but before doing what I had asked (contracted) him to do, he wanted to do something else. So he installed that and left it running on the laptop when I said sorry but I have another meeting soon. I had to virtually push him out of the door five minutes before the arrival of ...

My OT (lovely lady) attempted to make a REMAP designed swing away tilting table hold my laptop so I could use the table over my reclining chair. An exhausting hour later I (my tired brain) had explained and physically demonstrated why all her well meaning ideas were ... useless actually, but said more gently and politely by me. Back to using the laptop on the laptray on my lap. Only an hour's precious energy wasted. Leave what works well enough, alone.

Then the OT and I reviewed my ablution's needs. What I have now is not safe. It also exhausts me. Physical fatigue results in more brain fatigue. After taking a shower I cannot speak or think coherently for ages. Flushing the loo wipes my brain (a colloquial expression) due to Meniere's Syndrome. What I have asked my OT for in adaptations is expensive of money and space. OT thinks tinkering with what I have currently will meet my future (defined as twelve months in the legislation) needs and save money on the grants budget. An exhausting hour later when ... (repeat from above para lines 2-4) ... politely by me. Back to my solution, requested eighteen months ago. A second hour's precious energy wasted. Leave what I think will work well enough, alone.

Then my 'bump' swung by, after her (local) hospital consultation, which she had conserved all this week's energy for. She was so impressed that the consultant did not recommend more drugs or surgery for a chronic problem, but concurred with her ideas for management of that aspect of her ill health. Left what worked well enough, alone. Rare indeed.

She and I watched my laptop slaving away at the task the IT professional had set it. I said to her: its not working is it and she agreed. I said: he has caused more problems hasn't he and she agreed.

Pausing only for a handful of drugs to keep me going, a cup of caffeine and a wodge of high cocoa solids chocolate to keep my brain in gear, I phoned the IT man. Walking the few hundred yards down the village, he returned promptly. Two hours later he had demonstrated to himself what I already knew and had suggested six hours earlier. That my laptop would not be happy with what he wanted to install to fix a problem that he thought would be the source of the originating problem with Norton automatic updates, rather than what I had told him was the route (a maze to me) to finding a solution to the the problem. No progress had been made with that original problem I had asked him to look at. He had to un-install what he had installed. He had to clean up the mess his idea had left on my laptop. He had not left what already worked well enough, alone. Tomorrow I take my cogdysfunck'd brain for an scary journey of trying to solve it myself. If you don't hear from me for a while, I am still in the maze.

However, wouldn't you just know it - today's worst situation (which you really don't want to be bored by), that was not left well enough alone, was entirely my own fault. I should know better. I should never have tried to do it. Previously I had known enough not to ask the useless home help number two (sacked her anyway) to do it, as she would have made a mess of it, guaranteed. I thought I could do it. In just five minutes I made a complete b.... up of it. It was reasonably ok before, now it is going to cost me money to get someone to put it back to how it was before I thought I could make it slightly better. Oh flippin' 'eck.

Leave what works well enough, alone.


Blogger The Goldfish said...

Growing up in Suffolk, leave well enough alone always had that meaning. So it wasn't like being told off as in "Leave that alone!" but being given advice; "That's fine now; don't do any more to it."

Queer was a fairly problematic concept for me to understand growing up. My Yorkshire Grandparents used it to mean unwell - if you were looking queer, you were pale and sickly. My Suffolk Grandparents used it to mean impoverished (as in the expression, living on queer street). My folks used to mean homosexual, but also sinister. And still other people used it to mean perculiar in a more neutral way.

So when a character was described as queer, it could have meant anything at all...

Hope for a calmer day today. (She types, then notices it is already three in the afternoon - well I hope today has been calmer).

Friday, 14 July 2006 at 15:11:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Dear Goldfish, your calming words are appreciated.

No, 'thar's nowt as queer as folk', to quote 'Brassed Off'. I think my mother may have invented her own interpretation of the stock phrase I illustrated.

Friday was the (pre-booked) calm that set me up for the fray.

I will visit your's and others' pages soon.


Sunday, 16 July 2006 at 21:06:00 BST  

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