Disillusioned

I been coming to this gym for over twenty years. Seen a lot of changes, time was it was just us fellas together doing the weights or going for a run or just chatting.  Now it’s called ‘working out’ and posh blokes and birds now come in wearing fancy shoes and leo-tards.   No talking or nothing. We all do the press together; they look down their noses at us lot.  And those bloody headphones, puts me off my weights when I hear their damn music.  Mind you there’s some nice totty coming in; tried to talk so some of them and tell them how to use the weights n’ stuff.   Think they like my bod.  Should do I’ve done serious work on it.  Not like the puny fellas, ha!  Can’t see what birds see in them? ‘

‘We’re all off to a comp this week. Can’t bloody wait, came second last time to a fella from Leeds but only cos’ his abs moved more than mine.  Been working on them since then and got them sharp.  Have won about six comps but this is the biggie, south East championships.  Only one I haven’t got.   Me and John are going in his car.  Should take about 2 hours.  Gill won’t come, she hates the compos.  She don’t understand.  She likes the bod though, just don’t like me coming to the gym every night.  And she hates the shakes I drink, says she can smell it when we’re doing you know what.  I just don’t understand birds.

***

It’s the old folk I feel sorry for the most.  These young nurses hate having to deal with them. They can hardly muster a kind word.  I just don’t know what the world’s coming to when young people treat people like that.  They have to have degrees now of course, which is a good thing I suppose. In my day all you needed was to work hard and care about the patients.  Now it’s all about primary care this and secondary care that and loads of reports and statistics.  It seems to me like they’ve forgotten why we’re all here, for the patients, to make them feel comfortable and not so scared.  I’m tired of it all to be honest.   It used to be a great system with Matron and all us nurses.  Now ‘the management’ are more important than the patients.  Someone even said that we’re supposed to call them clients.  Can you believe that?’

‘I was brought up to work hard and do my best.  Seems to me that these graduate nurses know the theory of everything but not how it really works.  I heard a couple of them talking about how smelly one of the old guys was and how they hated changing his bedpan and sheets.  The poor old boy lost his wife last year and he got ill soon after.  It really made my blood boil listening to them.   Why can’t they just give him the respect he deserves?  I didn’t say anything though, not worth the effort really.  Some of the patients told me they don’t like the young nurses and only want me and Joan to deal with them.  We do our best to help but there are not enough of us to do it all.  Mary and Beryl took retirement last month and two more are going next week.   I’ve got another four years.  John says I should leave if I hate it that much, but I don’t hate it, I’m just fed up with all the changes.  I wish it was still like the old days.

[One of the OU Creative Writing workbook activities]

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