Self destruction

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A few days ago one of our next-door neighbours asked if she could dispose of her ‘green’ waste in our wheelie bin. We have two bins as quite often they both get filled between collections. One we keep in the rear garden and the other in the front but as the rear garden produces more waste we transfer it to the front when it gets full and replace it with the one there which isn’t. It all depends upon the time of year if we need to switch them around. As it was when she asked the bin in the front garden had nothing in it whilst the one in the rear garden was half-filled. It meant she could put her waste in the front bin. It wasn’t a large amount and only filled the bin to a third of its capacity. She brought the waste in two black bags though neither of them were full. E had answered her call, she phones us even though we live next door, I was in the front lounge and I opened the window as she arrived with the bags. After she had emptied the bags she tried to thank me but was gasping for breath. I apologised for not collecting the waste myself but I doubt it would have made much difference as she probably would have still moved it herself. The bags were not heavy as it turned out. Our neighbour suffers with emphysema and has to use an oxygen bottle for sixteen hours in the day, though eight of those hours are taken whilst she is sleeping. Her condition was brought about because of her smoking habit and though she was diagnosed with the condition several years ago she continued to smoke. In more recent times she has made an effort to stop and as far as we knew she had stopped but quite often we would see her in her garden with a cigarette. E tells her off but it seems not to have made much impact, at least until a week or two ago when I had occasion to call at her house only to find her sitting on the bench smoking! E was livid and once again had words with her. So far it seems to have worked but for how long? I know it is difficult to stop the smoking habit for many people and whether their life depends upon it or not makes little difference. My own mother died with cancer through her smoking and I remember she found it difficult to stop even after she knew she had cancer. It is easy to talk about overcoming addiction if you’ve never been an addict yourself and in today’s society there are many things which are addictive. Educating young people to encourage not taking that first cigarette or drug does not always succeed. Some people are hell-bent on self-destruction even when they know the possible consequences.

Shirley Anne

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