1. Cause and effect

Chapter 1 Cause and effect.

    “Good afternoon, everyone. It’s nice to see so many new faces here today”. It was the beginning of the Autumn term at the local U3A association. “For those who don’t know me, my name is Sam Mason. I’m a clinical psychiatrist, and I have for many years specialised in hypnotherapy to solve behavioural problems.” Before I could utter another word, someone’s phone started ringing. I stopped, looked around the room and saw the culprit was this lady sitting in the back row. As I watched, she picked up her very large handbag from the floor and, after fishing out the offending phone, instead of just switching it off, she started carrying on a conversation in a rather loud voice.

   Never one to ignore an opportunity, I just pointed to the lady with the phone and said to the whole class, “Who agrees with me that this is a prime example of bad behaviour and should we tolerate it in our society?”

   The lady in question, with all eyes on her, abruptly finished her conversation and mumbling. “Sorry,” put the phone away. I noted several others fish out their phones to either switch them off or put them onto silent mode.

   Naturally this phone interruption prompted a lively and somewhat heated debate concerning personal and civil liberties. Several of the class broadened the discussion that followed to encompass people on trains, who shouted while talking on the phone. As with every subject one discusses there are those for and those against. Nearing the end of the session I suggested that it would be beneficial if they took time to calm down before moving on to their next class.

   After dimming the lights, I explained I wanted everyone to sit comfortably with eyes closed and hands resting in their laps. Then using my most relaxing voice, I suggested they concentrate on their breathing. I asked them to start by take a deep breath then to let it out and once again in and then out. I continued to repeat this. Then after a while I told them to stop and hoped that they felt more relaxed. A couple said they had almost fallen asleep and several people came up to thank me. I had to smile when one man said he didn’t mind people using the phone but complained that he found it frustrating only hearing one side of the conversation.

   Whilst this was going on, I observed the phone lady leaving.  Something about her made me think of my grandma. Maybe it was the way she looked, smartly dressed, big bag and she had a stick.

   Who would have believed it, all those years ago when I followed Grandma Evans around, I’d end up being a qualified doctor?

   If you had asked William, my brother, what Sammy wanted to be, he would have told you a detective.



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