Saturday, June 09, 2018

People in crisis

Over the years I've seen lots of friends, acquaintances and colleagues in various kinds of emotional turmoil and crises. I'm talking about the kinds of things that happen to all of us, but only very rarely. Relationship turmoil would be one example, where one needs to break up with one's boyfriend/girlfriend, or where they break up with you. Another example would be being made redundant from one's job, or some kind of work crisis that means that one has to change jobs. Other examples include serious illness such as cancer, or the death of a very close relative or friend.

Talking to people as they go through these crises, all of which are completely different, I've noticed one common thread. Most people in these difficult situations won't listen to any fresh ideas on possible courses of action. I don't know what causes that attitude, perhaps it the shock of the situation that they find themselves in, but I'm always amazed at how closed people's minds will be when anyone makes a suggestion. It seems like people in a crisis somehow instantly decided what they need to do when the crisis first hits, and the only role of everyone else is just to listen to what's happening, and listen to the explanation of why the course of action that's been chosen is the right one.

One recent concrete example was a close friend called T who had been diagnosed with cancer.

"Actually I've been very lucky," says T, "it was caught very early. And the operation to remove it was a complete success :-)."

"Wonderful news :-)," I say, "so presumably you won't need chemotherapy after all."

"Actually I'm still going to have chemo," replies T, "and after chemo there'll be a course of radiotherapy too. For people in my situation, I've been told that the long term survival rate is 72% if I don't have the treatment, but 82% if I do."

"Really, you're still going to have chemo?" I ask. "Chemo has some terrible side effects".

"And regarding those statistics," I continue, "do they take account of the fact that you're a diabetic? It may be that for diabetics, the stress that all the treatment puts on your body actually ends up lowering your survival rate."

"But I'll cope," says T affirmatively, "I'll be starting the treatment before the end of the month."

The tone of voice made it was clear to me that the merits or risks of the chosen course of action were not up for discussion, which seemed odd to me. This was a real life or death situation, so surely one would want to consider everything. However, it became clear to me in subsequent conversation that the idea that the statistics might be different for diabetics was actually unwelcome, even though if true it would be very relevant.

Luckily, I'm not posting this because I'm in any kind of crisis at the moment. I'm still happily coupled with boyfriend K :-), and these days I'm happily retired from banking too. But the older I get, the more of these situations I've seen, and tonight I suddenly realized that there was a common thread.

P.S. Even though I'm now a retired banker, I'm not going to change the name of this blog!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Comments disabled

These days, the only comments on this blog are spam, so for now at I've disabled the ability for readers to leave comments. However, if anyone wants to say anything to me, my email address still works :-).

GB xxx

Monday, December 19, 2016

"Joiner visitors"

[Although I'm now a retired blogger, I feel the need to post this … ]

I like to think that I'm a (gay) man of the world. I've had a few boyfriends, and more than a few encounters with a varied selection men from all over the world, with a reasonable selection of activities too. So I don't think that anyone could call me naïve. Nonetheless, when I checked into a hotel with boyfriend K today, I didn't immediately realise what the following notice meant at the hotel reception:


"You do understand it, don't you?" asks boyfriend K with a cheeky tone in his voice, "the English is a bit weird!"

"Well, I saw on the hotel's website that they charge extra for 3 people in a room," I reply after reading it very quickly.

"Hang on," I continue, "what is a joiner visitor? A friend who arrives late?"

"Don't forget that we're staying in Pattaya tonight," replies boyfriend K helpfully.

For readers who may not know, Pattaya became famous during the Vietnam war as a place American solders went for prostitutes. And even though the Vietnam war ended a long time ago, the business continued.

"Wow," I say feeling very stupid, "I've never seen that before in a hotel, a policy about bringing someone back for the night!"

And when we get to our room, there's something else that I've never seen before in a hotel. A packet of condoms for sale in the bedroom, prominently visible, and proudly displayed on the mini-bar price list.


"Actually I remember now that one of my friends warned me about this," I say to boyfriend K after the baggage porter has left, "he told me that he always feels a bit dirty after a visit to Pattaya!"

Monday, December 05, 2016

Christmas charity donations

Christmas treeThroughout the year I make small charity donations, for example in response to specific sponsorship requests from friends. However, it's in December in the run up to Christmas that I make the biggest donations. Since 2007 I've been asking readers for charity suggestions (see Christmas charity donation posting category), and just because I'm now a retired blogger, I don't see any reason not to do a post here asking for suggestions. So all suggestions still welcome. I won't get round to making the donations before Friday 16th December 2016, so any comments made before then will be taken into account :-).

Update 21-Dec-2016: charity donations.

In the end, I decided to support some of the charities that I supported last year. Coming from a medical family, I guess Médecins Sans Frontières (UK charity number 1026588) is my favourite charity, so this year I gave them £1k. Apart from that, I also gave £0.5k to each of GMFA (UK charity number 1076854), Food Cycle (UK charity number 1134423), Against Malaria Foundation (UK charity number 1105319) and Shelter (UK charity number 263710).

As I was making these donations, it occurred to me that much of the work that these charities do relates to addressing the symptoms of problems rather than their causes. For example, MSF works in war zones and with refugees, but who is working to prevent the wars and the refugees that accompany them? Addressing the causes of problems would be better than treating their symptoms, but I guess that's a much harder thing to do :-(.

Anyway, a very Happy Christmas to everyone :-). Big kisses, GB XXX

Monday, October 31, 2016

Retirement as a blogger

Dear Readers,

I started this blog in 2005, and writing here has been great fun over the years :-). However, at the moment I'm finding it difficult to make the time for this blog, even though I've only been posting once a month. So for now at least, I'm not going to be doing any more postings. However, I'm still going to keep my domain name gaybanker.com, so for the foreseeable future I should still be contactable by email.

Hugs and kisses to everyone!

GB xxx