Today is Thursday, but as well as that, it’s ‘are you OK?’ day.
This idea was brought to my attention by Checks & Spots. The concept is simple. On a Thursday, you reach out to someone you care about, or even just someone who looks like they’re struggling a bit, and ask them if they are OK. In the time it takes for you to maybe have a coffee or relaxing cup if tea with them, you can have a quick chat and see if there is anything you can help them with or just offer a bit of support and empathy in order to try to stop little problems becoming big ones.
Gavin Larkin founded this idea after his father, Barry, took his life at 55.
It’s a very rare occasion, but I am with my dad today. I am working from home (my mum’s home) and he is working from Birmingham in the UK, which coincidentally is the same house (he normally resides in Kenya). So I took the opportunity to check in on him. Apart from a little gout, I’m happy to report that he is doing pretty well. His oldest offspring, my brother, gets married on Saturday, he’s happily making me coffee and his projects abroad all seem to be flying. He’s super excited about them.
It was good to double check he’s alright though. Will get mum later too and maybe my brother and his wife-to-be as I’m seeing them this evening.
So, are you OK?
Feel free to drop me an email any time at Pose83@hotmail.com if you’re feeling a bit rubbishy.
Well, I think it is a nice idea but with a drawback. You are supposed to ask the question every Thursday. But what if you are fine on Thursday but then have a really crap Friday? You have a whole six days to go before anyone asks ‘Are you OK?’ You can’t really ask ‘Are you OK’ because it becomes a bit mechanical like, ‘Do you want a cup of coffee?’ Well since you are offering…
Anyway, I am the said father in the piece and I am also 55, which is clearly a very vulnerable age, so it was nice to be asked.
Now since you have posed the question I do have a bit of a gripe. I am in Cardiff at the moment, staying with daughter one. It is a lovely city, very international, i.e. lots of Welsh people, as you might expect. The old architecture blends in very well with the new and there are some excellent new buildings, many of which seem to be hotels. That should be the cue for a little quip, but I can’t find one so we will move on. Having a wonderful time with my daughter of whom I do not see enough. And there are some great restuarants. We had suchi last night which was splendid.
My complaint is the weather. Here we are, late September and it is wet and cold and grey and damp and wet. I know I mentioned wet twice, but that does sum it up. OK, it is ten years since I first left for Kenya the first time, but I always remember September as being very pleasant. Indian Summer and all that. It was around mid-October that winter used to set in. Now look what has happened? I blame Gordon Brown on the basis that he gets blamed for everything else from the Greek debt crisis to the Japanese tsunami so he probably won’t notice copping a bit more approbrium (big word that – like it – sounds a bit foreign – worth an additional half a grade at GCSE, if I’m not mistaken. Now where can I slip in schadenfreude?). So my question is not ‘Are you OK?’ but ‘What have you done to the bloody weather?’
People seem to think that Kenya is hot all the year round, straddling the equator, as it does. Well, firstly, Nairobi is at 5,500 feet, which makes it naturally cooler than say Mombasa at the coast, which, strangley enough is not at 5,500 feet, but at 0 feet. Think about it. If it were at 5,500 feet, that would be one helluva cliff!
So Nairobi rarely gets above 28 Celsius all year round. Yes, eat your heart our, Brits. However, we also have seasons and we were just coming out of the cold season as I left. Cold means dropping as low as 18 Celsius during the day and a certain amount of huddling up under blankets at night. The big disadvantage of the cold season is that Kenyan houses are not built for it. There is no heating system, although some houses do have an open fire, and the windows are not designed to resist draughts. Burglars yes, but draughts no.
So I will leave you with the though that as I depart these wonderful isles and my dear family on Saturday, you will all have several months of really crap weather to face, while I will be basking in the warm sunshine of Kenya culminating with a week on the beach (0 feet) at Mombasa over Christmas.