7 November 2011

Fall seven times. Stand up eight.

Right. Onto a bit of a harder one today, because I'm all snug and content on the sofa and not writing this alone in my office.


X:

what's the worst date you've ever been on? Maybe apart from Bryan stories (unless you want) as, given what a right shit he is I'm sure there were some miserable dates.

Firstly - and not in the interests of defending him, but perhaps defending myself, dating Bryan was mainly fun, often brilliant, generally interesting, and overall a good time. I wouldn't have married him if he'd been a shit then. We went to a lot of gigs, art shows, out with friends, mad adventures.

It was years later all that stopped, long after the dates stopped.


Anyway, worst date - well, it wasn't a date, really. Didn't go on too many of those, if I'm honest. Not for lack of trying, but it wasn't easy once I'd joined up.



I was at a club, met a bloke. Well, I say met, I don't know his name. We picked each other up, anyway. Danced a bit, drank a bit, kissed a bit, then decided to leave together.

Didn't get very far. Things were a bit...heated. So we headed down an alleyway - I know, I know, last of the romantics, me - but I lived in the section house for my first nick, and he didn't want to go back to his for whatever reason, so there we were, all revved up, nowhere to go.

Except we didn't get very far because a bunch of blokes jumped us. Gave us a proper pasting, and luckily, in the end, something spooked them or they got bored and left us in the gutter.

I was just glad to be alive, mainly. We were both in a bad way, but he was together enough to start talking about going to the police. Which...well, sounded like about the worst idea in the world to me. I refused. He called me a coward, told me I'd regret it when those same blokes killed someone.

I couldn't tell him the truth - that I was the police, and I thought reporting it would at best lose me a lot of friends, at worst lose me my job. And anyway, he was right, I was a coward, just not for the reasons he thought.

So yeah, as bad dates go, that was the worst.

I think - hope - that my work as an officer, since then, has balanced out not doing the right thing then. I hope I've saved more lives than that endangered. I'll never know, of course, which is sometimes the worst thing.

And I always encourage people to report things. But I can't ever blame them if they don't. They'll blame themselves enough.

65 comments:

John H. D. Watson said...

I'm sorry, love. I wish I could go back and make your life easier somehow.

I think you've more than made up for it. And if it's left you with a better understanding of people who don't always feel they can report things themselves, well, that's something. It's the only thing pain's good for really, understanding other people better.

kholly said...

I hope I've saved more lives than that endangered.
Maybe you can't know for sure, but I can't imagine that it's not true. Everyone makes mistakes and bad decisions from time to time, it's part of being human. And maybe this choice feels like a particularly bad one to you. But you have been out there saving lives for your entire career. That has to balance out.

And sadly you might have been right. Reporting it might have cost you your job. Catching those guy in exchange for catching everyone you've caught since? I don't see it as a net gain.

I'm just glad reporting it vs. keeping your job isn't the kind of choice you'd have to make any more.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

You make my life wonderful everyday. And times are changing, I mean, look at us now, holding hands and going to pride and my whole team knowing I'm gay. I never believed that could happen back then.

You're right, of course. Understanding people in my job is always a plus. Even if sometimes you wish you couldn't relate quite so well.

REReader said...

That was, well, a good long distance beyond a bad date story. And it says so much about your character that you still think about it. But...

There's a saying from the Jewish sage Hillel, in Ethics of the Fathers: "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?" He put those three ideas together deliberately, and he put the first one first for a reason. It's true, you have to look out for others and not just for yourself. But you have to stand for yourself first, or you CAN'T stand for anyone else. It's a balancing act between self and others, between present and future, and it's never easy, you can only make the best decision you can at the time. And I would not say you made a wrong decision, because it means you are able to and do stand for others--many others--now. And with, as John pointed out, more compassion and understanding than you could have otherwise.

I hope I said that right.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

RR, if I was put in that exact situation today, I can't say I'd act differently, that's for sure

REReader said...

Yes.

And I'm sorry you were in that situation in the first place.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I like to think he might have given up on me, but still reported it himself. I sort of doubt it. But i like to think it.

X said...

Thanks for answering my question, Greg. I hadnt thought on the Bryan front about how the date part would have ended as the good times did, so thanks for answering my question twice, in a way.

I'm sorry that you were ever put in that situation: not only being jumped by those guys, but feeling that reporting it wasnt even an option. And while I can understand why it would haunt you, I have to agree with what others said before me -- we are the sum if all our experiences, good and bad. If you had lost your job, you wouldnt have saved the people you have, wouldn't have that experience to give you a broader understanding of the people you meet, and might not have met the Dangerous non-serial killer Dr. Watson.

Heh, that's a very long-winded way of saying that not all regrets are bad things, since they affect the way we mI've forward.

Hope you're enjoying your day off -- you deserve it!

REReader said...

I like to think he might have given up on me, but still reported it himself.

He might well have done, actually--trying to talk you into it, he may have talked himself into it.

X said...

(apologies if this posts twice; my phone is being problematic).

Thanks for answering my question, Greg. I hadnt thought on the Bryan front about how the date part would have ended as the good times did, so thanks for answering my question twice, in a way.

I'm sorry that you were ever put in that situation: not only being jumped by those guys, but feeling that reporting it wasnt even an option. And while I can understand why it would haunt you, I have to agree with what others said before me -- we are the sum if all our experiences, good and bad. If you had lost your job, you wouldnt have saved the people you have, wouldn't have that experience to give you a broader understanding of the people you meet, and might not have met the Dangerous non-serial killer Dr. Watson.

Heh, that's a very long-winded way of saying that not all regrets are bad things, since they affect the way we mI've forward.

Hope you're enjoying your day off -- you deserve it!

Small Hobbit said...

I can understand why you acted as you did. And I would guess that even if you had reported it there was no guarantee that the perpetrators would have been caught. Which would have been of no use to you whatsoever. There is, unfortunately, a need to choose our battles wisely.

And as my internetty-friends (there should be a suitable word for this) above say, the fact that you still think about your actions gives you a much greater compassion for others.

REReader said...

my internetty-friends (there should be a suitable word for this)

My fellow netizens?

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Very good point that I mat never have met the dread pirate Danger Watson.

RR - given the general attitudes of the time, even if he did report it I can't imagine any coppers falling over themselves to help. Which is still sadly true today sometimes.

REReader said...

Yeah.

That makes it all the more important that you are where you are, doing what you do today. Just being a respected, effective person, with a face and a name, instead of a "them" makes a big difference.

Calliope said...

Well, the only thing I can add to the words of the well-spoken netizens above is: *hugs*

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Thanks Calliope. Danger is in charge of hug applications.

Sherlock is still asking why everyone (apart from criminals) doesn't go to the police straight away, no questions. Especially me.

The word 'why?' is being over used.

REReader said...

Oh, boy, what fun for you. No quick answers for that one.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

fun for me, John and probably Mrs T. Sherlock likes to seek second opinions, especially when the first isn't quite what he wants to hear.

REReader said...

Under the assumption that someone, somewhere, will give him the "real" answer?

(It occurs to me that he might even ask us. Should we brace ourselves?)

X said...

The dread pirate Danger Watson

It is always the right time for Princess Bride references. :D

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I think I'm too tired to make much sense on even basic questions, let alone Sherlocky questions about human nature.

Anon Without A Name said...

You can only make a choice from the options available. In a perfect world, you would have had different options. But you made a choice, and I'm not sure that here in the real world it was the wrong one.

You must have been quite young, still, if you were living in the section house? So you made a choice based on your experiences to date, based on what and who you knew - that's all anyone can do. I can certainly imagine many situations in which I would be reluctant to report an attack, even in these "enlightened" times.

And RR was quite right when she wrote [current attitudes] makes it all the more important that you are where you are, doing what you do today. Just being a respected, effective person, with a face and a name, instead of a "them" makes a big difference..

Anyway, count me as another person sending you a hug via John.

REReader said...

I could take a whack at it if he wants to take it to the netizens, but I'm sure he'd rather get an answer from you and John--he trusts you.

And human nature doesn't make much more sense at 50 than at 6. I've just given up on expecting good sense from most people, and he hasn't.

piplover said...

Thank you for sharing this, Lestrade. As others have said, you were in a situation that was pretty much no win. Even if you had reported it, there was no guarantee that it would have done any good.

All we can do in our lives is the best we can, with what we have at the moment. I think that you've made a far bigger difference with your actions as a detective than you would have if you had been prevented from continuing with your career.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

thanks.

it's been remarkably therapeutic sharing this with all of you, actually.

You're very kind people.

(and feel free to keep the questions coming)

REReader said...

We're hearing about John learning to ride a bike (and I'm looking forward to hearing more about that, John!)--how about how you came to learn how?

Elizabeth said...

I humbly repeat my request for tales of your work in that one bar. Also the bar's name.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Elizabeth - I'm thinking about that one. And how I can tell it on here. Maybe tomorrow...if I survive John's next bike lesson.

John H. D. Watson said...

I'll try especially hard not to give you a heart attack. I want to hear that story too.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I'll try especially hard not to give you a heart attack.

Oh, but I like you coming back to bed without pyjamas!

(Or did you mean with the bike?)

REReader said...

Oh, but I like you coming back to bed without pyjamas!

But not with bombproof pants.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

i'd just consider them a challenge.

REReader said...

As tired as you are now, they might be a bit beyond you. :)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Nah. Just a case of softly softly catchy monkey (or catchy Nanny), I think. They're designed to guard against sudden explosive attacks, not sneaky infiltrations.

Anon Without A Name said...

RR: my money would be on Lestrade being capable of getting past any pants, including bomb-proof ones, even if he was so tired he was actually asleep.

REReader said...

An excellent point, Nameless!

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

You think I can charm the pants off the Doc?

Rider said...

They're designed to guard against sudden explosive attacks, not sneaky infiltrations.

well a sneaky young goat nearly got past them, the sneaky old goat will find them no trouble.

(although I suspect nibbling through them might present a bit of a challenge!)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Admittedly I might find it a challenge in a helicopter full of soldiers.

But I think I'd find it hard if I did manage to nibble my way in...

Small Hobbit said...

But don't you relish the challenge. And no-one noticed what the goat was doing in the helicopter, so ...

Rider said...

Good thing John doesn't want to keep Lestrade out, he'd have to have stainless steel underwear for that.

REReader said...

Pfft. A full suit of armor seems unlikely to do the trick.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Ha. Happily he's got a far stronger forcefield than that. Words like 'Stop' and 'no'.

Anon Without A Name said...

You think I can charm the pants off the Doc?

I was assuming that you already had...

REReader said...

Words like 'Stop' and 'no'.

True. (I don't imagine he uses them often.)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Nameless - it's a work in progress. He still wears them too often ;)

RR - I'm glad to say he doesn't.

And with that, I need to try to force my body to accept that we're now working on 'normal' time again. And need to get up early enough in the morning to floss properly, and prepare myself for a lecture on drinking too much coffee from the dentist...(after my morning cup or two of coffee)

REReader said...

Sleep well, guys! (And good luck with the dentist!)

Desert Wanderer said...

Telling something like that to people who are supposed to love you is hard enough, let alone to people who are not even required to like you.

I don't think there was a right answer. Just some not-wrong answers. All we can promise ourselves.is to try to do better tomorrow. And look at you now...

hsavinien said...

I'm sorry to hear that such a thing happened to you. You're part of the reason it happens less, though. You're absolutely making a difference.

Anon Without A Name said...

Good luck at the dentist, Lestrade. Hope you and John have fun on the bike afterwards :-)

On the question front, I think you've answered it a bit in the comments here, but I'd still be interested to know what impact you think that blogging about your life so openly has had on you.

(Captcha gave me "pantm". It's sentient, I tells ya)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Cheers. I'm sure Danger will give me a reward if I'm a good boy :)

Small Hobbit said...

Just don't tell the dentist what you've been chewing lately ;)

Desert Wanderer said...

Maybe a nice lolly, Lestrade?

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I survived. All my teeth certified healthy. Apart from a crack in one molar.

We're going for lunch now.

REReader said...

What does a dentist do to fix a crack in a molar? It sounds like a Not Good kind of thing. Congratulations on the otherwise clean bill of dental health, though!

By the way, did you manage to explain the relevant aspects of human nature to Sherlock's satisfaction between last night and this morning?

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

He said to leave it unless it started hurting. Which I'm happy to do!

And no, not really, but I think he's given up on me.

REReader said...

I'm always happy to follow a medical professional's advice to "leave it", myself! :)

Wonder who he's going to go to next? Because Sherlock doesn't strike me as someone who lets questions go.

Pere said...

What is 'softly softly catchy monkey'?

And between John's story and your jokes on his blog, I'm frightening my roommates with my giggling. My mum always used to call me her 'little goat'...

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Softly softly catchy monkey means...I suppose sometimes you have to go slow, steady and carefully to get to your goal, rather than rushing in all action stations.

I hope your mum's nickname for you had nothing to do with you nibbling doctors...

Desert Wanderer said...

Why not? Seems to have worked out well for you...

REReader said...

Ha! Very true, DW.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Not all doctors enjoy being nibbled, I wouldn't imagine.

But I'm no expert.

REReader said...

I would imagine it would have a great deal to do with whom exactly is doing the nibbling. ;)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Some doctors I've had to deal with looked they were chewing wasps...

REReader said...

That sounds rather painful.

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