Rosa Benchez and Paranoia


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.

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

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.

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


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

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

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