Moaning Minnie and her Groundhog Day

I’ve had a really weird day and although I’m not sure what surreal means and I’m too lazy to look it up – I think I would describe it as surreal.

Completely by chance one of the participants in a workshop I was running was a lady who went to the same school as I, who was in the same class and whom I have cause to remember in an unfond way as a right Moaning Minnie. How comforting to know that in a changing world some things always stay the same…plus ca change and all that.

Social niceties scarcely observed she launched into a “do you remember…” monologue where she recited in glorious technicolour detail all the perceived hurts done to her in the past. She remembered every incident right back into her childhood. I mean how much energy and effort does it take to keep all that alive in your mind, fresh and unsullied by an iota of fact?

She presented each hurt in such a tone of resentment and anger; she spoke in terms of “should have”, “ought not to have” and “if only I’d…” In essence she was inviting me to waltz with her and look at what “has been done to me”.

She didn’t mince her words about the part I played in causing her early emotional trauma because I didn’t sit next to her in Miss Malham’s class and she felt soooooooo rejected. Then I realised what a thoroughly bad person I am. All the while she was talking at me I set the day job aside. Instead of being the empathic coach I’m supposed to be, I started thinking what a great Dickensian-type character she’d make for a story or in a novel. But then I realised as I went over some of her most memorable whinges that it just wouldn’t work. Readers wouldn’t believe in her and for once truth really would be stranger than fiction.

It was ugly yet strangely fascinating. There she is, frozen in time and in memories that prevent her from living in the here and now. Yet if there is one thing I’ve learned from my own life changes over the past few years, it’s that, like it or not, life goes on with or without you. In some awe I recognised that Moaning Minnie had created her very own Groundhog Day.