Niche Market for a Manual

Saturday 1st May, 2010.

I was going to bed. I made the fatal mistake of investigating the ‘blip’ (Tweetdeck new message) … and now the blood is pumping again and I know I won’t sleep until I’ve got this down.

I bought the Little One a 3-in-one tent and tunnel set yesterday from the supermarket .. on offer, a cheapy-cheapy affair – actually damned good for the money, except that at first glance, it was just a bundle of poles & canvas with apparently no instructions. Tutting a ‘well you get what you pay for’ I juggled bendy sticks for a few minutes before returning to my desk, disappointed that the precariously mounted Teepee would only last 5 minutes before falling down, but rather too preoccupied with a deadline to be irritated for long. This morning, however, I happened upon the ‘waffer-thin’ leaflet that had sailed out of the box unnoticed yesterday and realised, on closer consultation with it, that I had wrongly assigned the base poles of the two tents. Now the correct way round, we could play Gladiators in the Teepee and it would stand, solid as a rock … well, solid as a cheap, supermarket tent anyway.

After a tweet exchange with a follower in trouble this evening, I got to thinking about how, in this day and age, everything we acquire comes with a set of instructions ..  If it has a switch: ‘On’ and ‘Off’, there is a guaranteed tree’s worth of recycling in 8 different languages showing us where to push and when; (I spent 13 years in the IT industry and believe me, there, everything comes with a manual … RTFM being the last thing everyone wants to do first, but the manual is there. Somewhere. Just in case.) We can’t avoid it, living as we do in a technological age, increasingly dominated by industry standard methodologies, where everything has to be quality approved and where there is a step-by-step process and a bullet-proof (questionable) set of instructions for every single task, activity and project … BUT, no technical achievement is more powerful in essence than the person who thought it up! Is it not ironic, then, that, we, the people behind civilised development,  the brainchild of every respective product of genius, do not, ourselves, come with our own personalised manual?  ‘We are all individuals’, we declare with glee, there is no ‘industry standard’ which can be applied to us .. no way of generically dealing with a particular human trait and no one definitive way of instructing a person on how to behave in a certain situation. We have words such as ‘subjective’ and ‘relative’ and ‘context’ … which give rise to individualism, but which also set the stage for ‘injustice’ and ‘abuse’ depending on the angle we are looking from.

So what is my point?

I guess I’m simply leading to the question: how are we supposed to deal with that. 1000s of generations just have. Fact. As long as we have existed, so much serious injustice has simply been left, unhandled, unresolved, unpunished …. swallowed up by time – maybe in some part documented as ‘lessons learnt’ but what of the real victims? At an everyday level, what of those people who have had money stolen from them as a result of card/internet fraud, are beaten up with no possibility of charging the perpetrators, are left unjustly with someone else’s debts, or are suffering their life being dragged away from them after a messy relationship breakdown?

For the mundane things we get help – a button to click, or a support-line number, but what if there is no help to be had through these means and lawyers’ bills are too expensive … or when the police simply says ‘there is nothing we can do’? What happens to us emotionally, when we are not taken seriously, are misinterpreted, or misunderstood … what then? How do we direct the anger? the frustration? the bitterness? the loss of pride or dignity? the mandatory submission of control when a decision is made against us, based on an incorrect assumption? Who wrote the manual for that??

For my part, I don’t know.

I’m not into the idea of revenge, but I have been wronged in the past. More than once. How did I deal with it? Probably badly. Each incident ate me for a long while until it was dulled only by time. But that can’t be justice? In Europe, we belong to a ‘civilised’ society and yet there is still no law for individualism…. no law for individual people with unique cases. If you don’t fit into a box, you are automatically cast out of the box. You have no voice. Where do you go when it’s their word against yours but they are still walking away with the goods!

Someone really needs to write that manual then: How to deal, emotionally, with being wronged, when no-one else believes … or more to the point, when no-one ‘officially’ gives a damn enough to do something about it.

This blog was inspired by several of my Twitter correspondents, who have, themselves been victim to a form of personal injustice and are still fighting to come to terms with this emotionally.  MJM.

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