Talked About Sailing During A Health ForumWhat i'm going to talk about happened last year , when my class had to go to a health forum to be instructed about nutrition, or what to do in case of a fire ,the dangers of unprotected sex, etc.
So we went to different rooms , and were seated, and some volunteers would start talking about their subject and answered our questions.
Near the end, after talking with firemen and nutritionists , we finally got to our last meeting : drugs. After a quick introduction about the different types of drugs and addiction a 40 year old man that had been sitting in a chair at the back of the room stood up and started speaking .
That guy had been a drug addict for the last 25 years. He'd grown up in a harsh environment , was initiated to heroin at 15-16... as his story continued he talked about how while working in a hospital he would steal the morphine in the cupboards to shoot himself with it, how he'd killed a woman under the drug effects by injecting her the wrong dose of medecine . And it got worse and worse : the violence he did to his partner , the huge pile of debts he was now in ....
But there was one thing he talked about that made his face shine for a second, which was the sailing he used to do before he got into this whole pile of ****.He'd loved it so much when he was a kid, he said.
It touched me that that guy was speaking from his heart, and more importantly, how much he regretted . You could see the guilt spread out on every muscle of his face and in how awkward his posture was.
And then at one moment i looked at the person who was directing the conference.The testimony was taking too long - the speaker wanted to tell us so much he didn't think about his timing- and he was fidgeting, shooting him dark looks, signaling out to him that he had to end the lecture soon without meeting any success.
And then came the time for questions , and a lot of hands were raised.
"How did you managed to get reemployed in another hospital after killing someone ?"
"Did you know anything about drugs before you took them ?"
"You said you did detox therapy twice- what happens during these therapies ?"
I understood the questions- and didn't at the same time .Even if these type of questions were expected of us, couldn't they see how tired that person became while answering them? Asking these, i had the feeling my classmates were treating him like a mere source of data and not like an actual human being who had suffered and who still had feelings .
I was the last to raise my hand up, and when i was allowed to speak , i said :
"Have you started sailing again ?"
The addict looked at me, and i could see the light coming back in his eyes again. And he said yes, he'd started to do some once or twice a year.As everyone was getting out of the room, he asked me if i did some myself. I talked about how i windsurfed every summer , and would like to try catamaran .A (very) short conversation about sailing ensued, after which i had to run out to keep up with my class. So i bid him good bye .No " good luck ", no "i hope you get over it", just a friendly "thanks ! " and a smile.
And he smiled back.