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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The advantages of slavery

...not for the slave, let me add quickly – I'm talking about for me me me. There's not much fun in being the slave.

   Hang on, you may well say – you've already got someone who's being a virtual slave for you. She showers you, dresses you, brings you food and caffeine-based beverages, constant drinks of water, your glasses when you forget them (too often), washes your clothes buys your medicines is your chauffeur researches things scans document takes-photos-puts-you-to-bedandaheapofotherthings....

   No. The problem there is that I hate how hard it makes things for her. I love her. I don't want her to have to run around after me twenty-four hours a day. It saddens me. It makes me feel guilty. And yes, I know I've said this before, but it shows what stays in my mind in spite of all the reassurances.

Oh, OK. I guess you'll have to do....
   See, I want as a slave someone I don't care tuppence about, like the good old days of Rome and the cotton fields of the Deep Say-uth. I want someone I can pretend has no feelings; at least, none worth taking into account. Someone I could call to get up in the middle of the night from their own deep sleep and readjust my bedclothes or switch on the lamp not half a metre away, or just tuck the blanket over my shoulder as I want. Scratch my nose if it itches five minutes later. Open my iPad and turn it on. Hand me the glass of water. Yesthat one I can reach but I'm a little bit tired.

   And I could do it with no trace of guilt because bad luck, slave. Stiff karma and all that, baby.

   But that's the problem too. I've lived for long periods in places of virtual slavery and surprise surprise, those people have feelings as well. It doesn't matter how much I pretend, I've grown up in a country where, in theory at least, there's a democracy of sorts about an awareness of every person's needs and wants. True, you wouldn't know it sometimes. But it's there.

   No. What I really need is something that will come too late for me. Not a human slave, but a robot that has no emotions programmed in except a desire to serve me for 1440 minutes of the day. An android that registers no more than pure delight at providing every service, however petty, that I hanker for.

   Pity. Instead, I have to put up with the nagging guilt feelings that accompany being served by my darling slave. So hard for me me me, isn't it?

   Peel me a grape, Beloved. (I did say please.)


  1. I guess we are all slaves, one way or another, Denis - the slaves of our moods, our guilt, our desires, the mores of the society in which we live, our religions. Only in the highly unlikely situation whereby we can live, think and speak with complete freedom, uninfluenced by the demands and expectations of others, are we completely free of some sort of slavery.

    If government without the consent of the governed is a definition of slavery,then voluntary slavery must be a definition of love.

    Just stop lusting after that robot! The demand that we type in a few nonsense characters at the end of your comments section is no guarantee that you are shielded from the march of the cybermen.

  2. Definition of "conundrum": "a problem or dilemma that has no solution". (WikiAnswers) This is the conundrum that Carers and Care-Recipients live with every day - and every moment of every day. The afflicted truly need a slave. And the slave only too gladly is that slave and wants no-one else to be that slave.

    The conundrum for us willing slaves is how to manage to keep in equilibrium all we are needing to be, do all we needs to do for the one we love, whilst paying attention to our deep desire to still be thoughtful, loving, wise, funny, kind, forgiving, generous, relaxed and centred companions?

    A tricky conundrum, but one that burnishes the soul of both, if we can manage to pull it off. Not easy. But we are damned well trying our very best. (Bless, Tracey)

  3. You express yourself about these eternal dilemmas so well and your gratitude is so wonderfully put that I think even the desired robot would develop some empathy. Good wishes to you and to Tracey. Anne P

  4. I really don't think you would want to be looked after by a robot, Denis. No love, no affection. Just cold hard surfaces. And besides, it wouldn't be able to post to your blog as it would have to prove it was not a robot.

    How interesting, though, that you should choose a photo of Jeannie in her bottle. Do you remember that whenever she got sick of her husband, she would retreat into her pillow-lined bottle, where he couldn't get at her, to be alone and refreshed.

    Every woman, slave or not, needs a bottle like that.

  5. For me that is the delight of being in the hospital rehab ward. The "slaves" there are well-paid professionals who go home at the end of their shifts.

    I need to remind myself that this is their job and keep a little distance (as I would with the robot!) but beyond that it's the rightest spot for crises.

    1. I forgot to mention, or did not make it clear, the degree of emotional shut down the ward requires.

      That is the dilemma, I long to be at home with my sweetheart, my condition rules her life and the ward offers the break I speak of. I guess that's the essence of respite. Not something to be hooked on, not something to fear and not, for us, something to miss out on.

    2. And therein lies the nub of the conundrum. I'm threatened as all get-up (ask any Carer) by with how much ease the efficient, professional, cheerful, never impatient, PAID, I-dream-of-Jeannie, marvellous nursing staff of the rehab ward take care of the aforementioned David Stratton. He doesn't need to take care of THEIR needs, their feelings, their levels of exhaustion. In the ward, Dave has a rest from feeling guilty (and, believe me, we all do) about all he necessarily needs to ask me to do for him (he has MS).

      All I can say is, I am always so happy that he wants to come home to me at the end of 10 days break. It's a "between a rock and a very hard place" situation that neither of us expected, want or need. It's just what is.

    3. These are vitally important points for me and totally enlightening. Thank you both. If I am able to continue on for an indeterminate time, even at this increasing pace of bodily collapse, then Tracey will have to have the respite that we had planned to begin a few days away from now, but was abandoned for good reasons.

      We are left with an option which I believe/hope will be similar to the conditions you speak of, Dave. I am apprehensive because we are speaking of what is the unknown for me.

      I know what you both mean. When it becomes a known, then we'll know better if our experience mirrors yours. You have reassured me, Dave, and in a good way, so have you, Ros. You both are fantastic.


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