Rosa Benchez and Paranoia

Cats

Rosa awoke later than she liked to which indicates a control freak element in her personality.She had stayed at her desk till the sun was rising writing her intriguing diary. which she hoped would rival Sylvia Plath’s.

She got up gingerly and made herself a cup of tea in a china mug on a work surface in her lovely peach and teal kitchen
Passing water into a small bottle for the doctor to have analysed was a task even the most brilliant find hard.Rosa was not even the averagely brilliant amongst the brilliants of history like Plataho, Aristittle ,Simone de Boredwoy or Blazed Rascal not to mention St Coal,

.She grabbed her mobile as a dying man at his wife’s hand and rang the cab service. she used now she was unable to see properly or ride her bike.
Hello,it’s Rosa Benchez here.Can a driver pick up my urine sample and take it to the surgery for me.Thank you so much.
No problem, the manager told her and soon afterwards a young man with dangling earrings arrived.She showed him the sample hidden inside a Sainsbury’s shopping bag.He looked puzzled but agreed on payment of £259.89
She realised she had not eaten any breakfast so decided to have an early lunch instead

.As she ate her toasted cheese and snake oil she fell into a daydream.She was with her online man friend walking through a huge field of her favourite flowers,cyclamen.They were walking along companionably without holding hands but together whilst also being apart which was delightful.This was agreeable since she had never met this very charming man in the flesh.He was called XY Matrix although his parents had never studied algebra as far as historians can tell.Could it be a pseudonym?
Maybe he was being raised to be a mathematical prodigy but he became a writer and musician and managed to earn a good income and he had a beautiful detached house filled with antiques and ceramic lamps like Freud’ study.In fact ,he had copied that from historical photos and descriptions and one day he planned to become a therapist.

Rosie and Fox as she called him got on well and shared a liking for poetry and music.Sometimes he had sent her music as attachments on his emails.He seemed to love Wagner and Britten which is a curious combination to the British woman.He loved Britten’s Donne’s Sonnets sung by the stunning tenor Ian Bostridge.

worst-book-covers-titles-7
After lunch, Rosa opened her laptop.She found an email from Fox.
You have been here and broken all my windows and my bath is ruined,he wrote.I am moving house to get away from you.And I am having plastic windows.
Rosa was alarmed as it defied common sense She did not know where his house was and it was in another country.So she emailed him back,
What is wrong ,dear?You only said 2 days ago that my poetry had helped your sick friend when you went to visit him in the hospital
Waiting anxiously for his answer, she sipped some coffee and looked at her friend Dolly walk by, dressed in a pink suede jacket and black linen culottes with matching red boots.

Where is Dolly going she wondered pensively,feeling like a cloud floating over Rydal Water in the winter not knowing which way the wind might blow it
After two hours of utter silence, she decided to wait until the evening when she had put away the groceries and written a triolet or two.She was keen to do it before she lost the impetus
The whole evening went by so she emailed him again.But again he did not reply.
The next morning she found a letter on the doormat.

1,Rancour Villas
Horror Lane
Dumbtown

Dear Rosa
I thought you would be kind and gentle like your poetry but you have wounded me.You asked me what date my dental appointment was which was an invasion of my privacy.You told me you would not mind if your son was gay whereas to me it is a sin to indulge those sick appetites and you should not encourage him
Signed XYM

A dental appointment? It’s not as if she had asked him if had a sexually transmitted disease or whether he believed in Jesus as his Saviour.Nor had she asked him if he liked to smoke cigars in bed nor if he let Lassie his sheepdog sleep on the bed and cuddle with him

.For all she knew, the dog might be his partner or even his wife
She emailed him as she felt anxious in case he was having a breakdown.He replied, saying she was not who he thought and he was finished with her.
I wonder who he thought I was, she asked herself as she sat with tears in her eyes feeling concerned about what was really going on in his dear mind.Her cat Lucy ran up and sat on the arm of the chair gazing frenziedly at her owner and mother
Don’t worry Lucy.I am sure I will soon be ok.This must be a mistake.I think he has got paranoia which gets worse and then better

Dowrick book

Rosa looked on Amazon and found a book called

Kantor MD, Martin
Having read a little of the book online she decided it had some useful tips which could also apply to people who were not paranoid ,like always being polite,never telling lies and never arguing.As it was only £1899 she placed an order.If her friend was really ill she did not want to make him worse.
On the other hand ,who knows what his real motives might be.He could be a sadist or have got many women friends and not enough time to keep them all happy.He might even be gay and be using her to see if he could love a woman at a distance better than one in the flesh.
We have to admit that often none of us know why we do certain things.As a friend used to say
It seemed a good idea at the time.
And so cry all of us.
Sob,sob.

The plants speak, a story

Charlie Blogge had gone away to visit his aged parents for a few days down in Cornwall so Rosa Benchez,his fiancee was alone except for her three cats and four houseplants which she had just brought indoors.Though she could have written a bit more in her new book
Linguistics and Peace on Earth.
Can plants feel emotion? she asked her oldest cat, Lucy who was a pretty tortoiseshell
Definitely ,said Lucy.I have known plants to get depressed when in a dark corner.
Oh,dear,said Rosa,it’s the weekend so the surgery is shut.I hope these plants don’t go into a downward spiral in their mood now that the days are shorter.I suppose I could ring 999 if they were desperate.
They won’t allow plants in the hospital,Lucy mewed.
Why not,asked Rosa angrily.That is sheer discrimination.We pay our contributions.
But the plants don’t pay ,do they.Lucy retorted cheerfully.Cats don’t get free healthcare either.
Socialism made a big mistake there, cried Rosa.Since the English prefer animals to people they would have won the Election if they proposed free pet care on the NHS
Imagine, it would have created more jobs as well, she continues academically.And plant care is needed as plants can feel ill at times.
Yes,we can, cried the Peace Lily.I feel ill knowing there is not much peace in the world.
Humans don’t realise they may win a war but the conflict makes their health suffer even if they are too old to fight.And within families ,it is just as bad.
You are so right,Peace,Rosa said thoughtfully.We always assume it is our inner conflicts that make us neurotic or physically ill,but it may be that at the back of our minds we are aware of all the wars, the refugees, the suffering.Outer conflict makes us all sick to some degree.And quarreling relatives and people who can’t apologise.
Do you have any rain water,Peace demanded.I feel thirsty.
Is that enough,Rosa cried.I can make you some weak tea if you like.
Oh,go on then, the plant told her.Give me a teacup full of tea with no sugar. nor milk How about you, she carried on turning to her sister Pax.
OK.Pax told her.Whither thou goest…
She’s Jewish,said Peace to Rosa.Her real name is Ruth.But nobody uses it as Pax is shorter.She won’t grow on the Sabbath,though.
Will you miss talking to the trees in the garden while you are indoors? Rosa asked, before any more Bible references were offered.
Yes,definitely.Can you buy a few tall,male looking plants like bamboo or even grape ivy?
We like a mixture.All living beings like a mixture of friends.
How about human friends or even cats,Rosa said tactlessly
Yes, as long as they talk in soft musical voices.And we don’t like to watch violent films on TV nor to see cats fighting on the sofa.,Peace informed her.Violence hurts our inner core
And so say all of us

He said I can keep the box

Mary was in the teal coloured kitchen of her almost detached house making a jam sponge pudding when the doorbell rang.She wiped her hands on her new purple trousers because she didn’t want to dirty a clean towel.
She found her colleague Dr Rosa Benchez standing nervously outside shivering
Come in , Mary cried.

Would you like a cup of tea? You need to sit by the fire and get warmer
I’d love that, Rosa said politely but distantly
A few minutes later they were sitting looking out of the bay window watching a blackbird sitting on the fence;they hoped it would start to sing
May I talk to you,Mary? I have got rather more agitated than ever before

.I am wondering if I need counselling or maybe shooting, she joked morosely
OK,said Mary cautiously.Has anything unusual happened ?
Yes, my sister has had her driving license taken away because of big panic attacks she had crossing the Humber Bridge …. you know how huge it is.She got out of the car and screamed,Help! Help!
That was dangerous with so much traffic about
She is furious and says we live in a Nazi state and is writing to the Times
Well, it can happen that you lose your licence,Mary said,but when she has learned to deal with the attacks she can re-apply and get her license back.Simple things like not eating and being tired can bring that on so I have heard.And fear of fear, too.
As well as that,Rosa said,my son has got a recurrence of cancer and is going onto some new drug-type chemo.My ex husband is very distressed and so am I as it was unexpected.
And even worse my new fiance Prof. Charlie Blogge has broken off our engagement with no reason.I can’t think of any at all.Shall I ever trust a man again?
He said I can keep the ring which is a blue sapphire ,supposedly, but when I had it valued they said I was mistaken and you can buy them on amazon for £57 and less.
So she took off the ring and hurled it into Mary’s coal fire where it looked very nice as it got hotter and hotter glowing like a lighthouse off Portland Bill in a sea storm or a banger about to explode

Good grief, said Mary.No wonder you are agitated.We may have to phone Dave the bisexual lovable paramedic available on the NHS 24 hours a day.Or we could have our hair permed and dyed red instead, she murmured to herself
Which of these events bothers you most,Rosa? She continued gently while hoping she would cope.
It is my own feelings that worry me most.I wake up feeling very sad and nervous;I wonder if I am having a breakdown.Then I feel worse as I turn it over in my mind trying to decide what to do.Then I get up and get food into me and think it all over and over again while drinking my tea.
Well, you know it is normal to feel sad, anxious or distraught when bad things happen,Mary told her.
But most people look happy when I see them in the town , Rosa shouted angrily
That is because being outside they put on a mask.They could be feeling worse than you.Anyway, why bother about that? We are all different.Some people think I am very calm but they don’t see me when I’m not.I go stiff like a piece of wood.Then I pass out
So what do you do? Rosa asked her nervously,twirling a golden ringlet around her finger as she watched her engagement ring melt in the fire.
I don’t do anything,Mary said.This is one of the fundamental errors in our society that action is needed for so many things and especially for negative feelings.But it’s usually part of life.Things pass.
I pretend I have a big round box inside me and I let the anxiety live in there nice and cosy until my mind has absorbed and dealt with the pain.Once my box was quite small but it has grown bigger now and so it has room for mad or bad feelings.I do little tasks and listen to music.
Then if I feel really bad I listen to Leonard Cohen and tell myself, he had it worse.But he made money out of it! Not that you can make money out of yours. though it’s worth musing about
Well,Rosa replied.Thank you,Mary.I am glad I am not the only one who feels so anxious sometimes.I shall try to get a box like yours.
You are welcome,said Mary jovially.Come round on Sunday for tea.Emile is out hunting but he loves to see you and so do I
The women hugged cautiously and Rosa went out looking less cold and nervous as she bravely carried her box away .It was invisible to the people walking nearby

Life

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/sep/21/life-is-hard-by-kieran-setiya-review-philosophical-self-help

Can philosophy help us with worldly troubles? Ancient philosophers thought the answer was obvious. Philosophy is a “medical art for the soul”, Cicero tells us. Its compassionate task is to lead us from suffering towards a life lived well. Contemporary philosophers are likely to be more circumspect. Wouldn’t it be presumptuous to think that my training in philosophy equips me to offer advice? The only CPR I know is the Critique of Pure Reason and the tools of my trade – a careful distinction here, some logic-chopping there – seem laughably inadequate to the fears and worries of modern living.

In his new book, Kieran Setiya disagrees. Through carefully crafted examples, he makes the case that philosophy can 

Starting again

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/04/well/plan-your-life-again-but-keep-it-simple.html

When the pandemic started, Ben Michaelis, a clinical psychologist and the author of “Your Next Big Thing: Ten Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy,” advised his clients to stop planning. To survive the tremendous changes happening, he told them not to think about any future beyond the next week or so. “Planning was working against them,” he said.

As the pandemic continued, the usual markers that define lives and help close one chapter and enter another — birthdays, graduations, weddings — took place over video,…………..

Uncovering layers of rage in ‘Defiance’ – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/arts/02iht-defiance.1.19000454.html

Ed 8

The triumph of the three Bielski brothers, Tuvia, Zus and Asael, who fought the Nazis in the deep forests of Belarus and saved 1,200 lives, was unlike anything I had ever read about that dark time. Rather than victims wearing yellow stars, here were fighters in fur chapkas brandishing submachine guns. Instead of helplessness and submission, here were rage and resistance.

I knew of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, yet it seemed to stand alone in the popular imagination as the only moment in which organized opposition took root. Yet I have learned that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the impulse to fight back was everywhere: from the streets of Vilnius to the forests of Bialystok, even unto the concrete slabs of Sobibor and Treblinka, thousands of Jews doing whatever they could, whether seeking refuge in the sheltering woods or recklessly taking up arms against overwhelming odds.

Learning of these defiant acts awakened in me something utterly primitive and deeply personal, a wave of awe, humility and admiration.

And outrage, too. Why, I wondered, had I not known these stories while growing up? Could it be that the necessary commemoration of six million dead had so 

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