Leafleting for Labour. Such is politics, where I am- doing what I can to achieve what I want. The first house I come to has a stiff brush inside the sprung letter box, and I push the leaflet through. As I have my hand inside, a dog bites the base of my finger, drawing blood. I try not to bleed too much on the leaflets, or get them scrumpled pushing them through. I have a heavy bag of leaflets to empty. Saliva on skin makes a natural antibiotic, so I suck and lick the wound. The dog must be a Conservative.
Then I notice the mail box on the wall.
These houses have long drives. There is intermittent light rain. I plod grimly on. In a front yard I cadge a plaster off a man. He has a first aid box in his car, so gives me a wipe to remove the dried blood, and asks if my tetanus is up to date. As we talk of what happened, I note myself explaining. I wanted not to scrunch up the leaflets, but push them through neatly. I am a perfectionist. I start to cry.
-Perhaps you should go home and finish off another day, he says.
-Oh, I am emotionally labile, I get like this.
On. I note the self-talk. I would, perhaps, rather not cry in that situation, but I do not rebuke myself as cruelly for it as I would have, once. It is how I am. When I permit my weeping rather than fighting it, I can stop. I was doing my best, and I was hurt. I resent these long drives, and how the breaks in the fences to give the postman a shortcut between doors have often been blocked up. I note myself grizzling. I am peeved at the blockages, the residents are mean, why have those stiff brushes anyway? Houses need ventilation, do they want to accumulate argon gas? Again, I might not want to be heard grizzling under my breath like that, but find it tolerable. I sympathise with myself- what a skill that is!!- allow my whinging, and can laugh at it when it gets out of proportion. I don’t like people walking in front of my front window either. How lovely to find that man! How lovely, his kindness!
It feels great to empty that bag of leaflets. I note where I got to and will continue later. I phoned up the GP: Americans should note this is the NHS, paid for by taxes, free at the point of use. British people should note the NHS is still paid for by taxes, free at the point of use, and not yet privatised, and should vote accordingly. The GP is of Polish origin: how wonderful that EU citizens come here and work in our NHS! Her computer was not working this morning, but is now. She tests function of my finger, which is all OK, and gives antibiotics; the nurse washes out the wound and gives a tetanus jab. The bandage is only necessary because the small wound is at such an inconvenient position.