Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Garbo Sings!

I believe this was the tagline on a movie poster from the halcyon days of Hollywood. It was felt remarkable since the famed actress was notoriously laconic, so her going one better than merely talking on screen was deemed near miraculous.

We've had a similar moment here in Ambridge this week. Greg, rather than Greta is our silent starlet. Silent, and reclusive. Greg, in all honesty, like Greta before him, "Just want(s) to be left alone!"

Yes folks Greta maintained that these were her words, rather than the terser, much mimmicked "I vant to be alone!"

Greg's problem is his desire to be left alone in a rotting mausoleum of a bungalow that remains a shrine to his dear departed mother. If it had been a Hollywood mansion or a New York pied a terre, no-one would have been at all bothered. But it's an Ambridge bungalow where the roof has leaked and the ceilings have fallen in, and his family are becoming concerned.So concerned they keep ringing us up (from a separation of some sixty miles) to insist that "something" be done.

By "something" they mean "lock him up in the asylum until he sees the error of his ways". Greg himself feels they are interfering in his chosen lifestyle to an unwarranted degree. But the debris of fallen plaster that lies strewn throughout his chosen abode rather gives the lie to this. The family are quite right. Something has got to be done. But Greg remains compos mentis enough to say IWTBLA*. So there we have it. The classic Mexican (or perhaps Swedish in this case) stand off.

In fairness the psych's wont take our referral because he is not suffering from one of the classic madnesses. The Social Workers won't either because he's neither under age nor over age, and therefore, without one of the classic madnesses, he can't possibly be vulnerable can he. And so, in the end we have been left with no option but to refer him to a, to me, entirely new service, the "Floating Support Worker".

Now I suspect it's just me, but I can't help getting a mental image of a fairy god-mother at this point. Then again maybe that's exactly what Greg needs, cos like the man says in the song,

You can't always get what you want....

*"I want to be left alone!", but you knew that didn't you.


Shinga said...

I have family friends who have relatives like this who are as fiercely protective of their right to live their lives as they want (i.e., in the sort of dwellings that would be rejected as implausible and too much of a hazard to public health by C4 extreme cleaning programmes).

I'm not sure that there is a ready solution that placates a family that feels that 'something must be done' (albeit by people other than themselves - sometimes for very good reasons) and respects people's individual rights. I must admit, if his house is that much disrepair, I have a squeak of feeling for the neighbours who must worry about it becoming a bolt hole for vermin that spread to their own properties.

Your notion of the Floating Support Worker is very sweet - my first response was for something more nautical/punitive in the shape of those ships that were mooted as being used for overflow prisoners sometime back.

Regards - Shinga

Bother - Garbo Talks/Speaks was Anna Christie. But Garbo Sings? Was that Camille (the piano sequence to drown out the sound of her lover's knocking) or The Mysterious Lady (did she or didn't she sing Vissi d'arte)?

stitchwort said...

If Greg is compos mentis, perhaps it's the bungalow that needs fixing?

Wendz in France said...

Yep - maybe that family should stop calling you and get off their behinds and sort out the house!

Doctor Jest said...

shinga- on reflection- well ok google- it appears I may have been confused. there is a musical which takes the title Garbo Sings! I suspect in direct reference to the "Garbo Talks" poster you correctly identified. Aricept here I come ;-(

stichwort / wendz-- you're both quite right. more help with the fabric of his residence would do more for Greg that I can do from the consulting room.

Shinga said...

Oh, that's OK. I thought that there was a piece of Garbo esoterica that I didn't know.

Not a film buff - but my ability to name a classic film in 2 frames has given me that reputation in my social circle. I'm hopeless with modern films.

Regards - Shinga