Tommy Lusk works as a Social Care Assistant and is from Dumbarton. This is his story of life and work during the lockdown early last year.
Ma work ethic helped me through lockdown in the Spring of 2020. Ma work ethic is to work as little as possible by spending as little as possible.
It began a few years ago as a kind of experiment when I was made redundant. I was scunnered by the community sector a worked in, and decided a was goin’ to use the payout to not work for as long as possible. A managed to go eighteen months before a was forced into the labour market once more.
Durin’ they eighteen months a honed my skills in bargain hunting, charity shopping and living without a car. Inadvertently, reducin’ ma environmental “footprint” by more than a ever managed when a was tryin’.
A now work on a sessional basis as a social care assistant. A get regular work with regular clients and a retain some control over when a work. The “sessional” status has not been a problem as there is always plenty a work.
Well, at least, that was the score before the pandemic. Even now, a year later, many colleagues are on reduced hours because people are shielding, we work in bubbles and activities are curtailed. Am no sa bad. Av nae dependents, have some savings, and don’t need too many hours a week to get bye.
Workin’ durin’ lockdown was not stress free, but it was good to have a purpose and a reason to go out. At the same time, it was good to also have the time to enjoy the sunniest spring ever. A spent many a lovely day up the hills, reading a book and bathing in the warm sunshine. It was also a joy to cycle on traffic free open roads without getting a mouthful of petrol fumes. But, a also discovered that a could not only breath deeper, a could think deeper.
The best example a this was when a was out one day enjoying a quiet spring walk. By this point, time wasn’t really a thing anymore, as there was no where to go or people to meet. The part of ma brain that worries if I’m on time, got enough time, or am where I should be at this time, was pretty much redundant. This meant the part a ma brain that gets lost in thought or conversation had free reign.
On this particular day in May a was concentrating on boggy bits in a field churned up by cows. A balanced on a dry ridge of earth while a looked over the terrain for ma next stepping stone. One wae a good chance a keepin’ ma feet dry. Progress was slow but time didn’t matter.
Thoughts on dry clumps a earth turned to A Tenant Ballot we were subject to during lockdown. Next thing a know am a bystander as ma mind starts joinin’ dots. A stood amazed as ma mind found the maist pertinent bits a information a had consumed on the subject, and sorted them intae a deeper understandin’ a whit wiz actually goin’ on.
A know from experience I’m tilting at windmills when I challenge The Housin’. Even so, a negotiated the remaining cow pats and mud wae a renewed spring in my step. Far below, The Clyde from Dumbarton to Greenock seemed to sparkle brighter.
This was our second ballot in five years which is unusual. Now a understood why they needed it, and a wanted to test ma revelation wae the “Independent” Tenant Advisor.
Is it true, a asked them, that Caledonia are ballotin’ tenants because, although they already own Bellsmyre Housing Association, they don’t yet own the actual deeds to our homes? Do they now need the deeds so they can use them as collateral on loans?
The other thing ma mind had shown me was that they’d messed up on commitments they’d given us in the first ballot. So, while they spent a lot of time assuring us they were very efficient, their own newsletters demonstrated they now planned to demolish flats they’d recently spent substantial amounts of money improvin’. A asked the ITA to confirm this as well.
A would have been very surprised if a had got a clear admission from the ITA or Caledonia. In the murky world of tenant liaison, success is judged by how squirmy the response is. How much of a brass necked body swerve is necessary to maintain the status quo. So, a knew I was on the right track when it took two complaints to the Housin’ Regulator before I even got the body swerve reply.
A asked for more help from The Regulator to get clear answers and a requested help from ma MSP. However, it’s not a vote winner, so that was the end of that. Am often asked why a bother.
It’s partly because a cannae help masel, and partly because it feels good for ma soul, to have a good clear out of the things They want us to believe. Testing their version of the truth to find your own truth never done a tenant any long term harm. As far as a know.
Anyway. That’s no the main point am makin’. The point am makin’ is that ma brain functioned better when it was allowed tae function. It’s as if a hostile environment is not only maintained for asylum seekers and benefit claimants. Maybe “normally” we’re all subject to a hostile environment, so we don’t think too deeply about what’s actually goin’ on.