Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tuesday 23rd March 1943

I went around the other wards just after lunch, collecting canteen orders. There they all were, my mates – Ghandi and Jock talking amusing nonsense each in his own language; King Kong slow and confused (“You, good man. These no good. This man (poor Jock) too strong for me. What can I do? You teach me.); the Sailor quiet; Taffy with his brilliant eyes moving restlessly; Hamad alert – too alert – flourishing a hand in salute; Joe Louis and Gasasini chuckling at something; Ed Din worried and misunderstood; Mizraha depressed yet quick; Paras asleep with stern expression and folded arms; And the two “specials” in separate rooms – the Greek sergeant, excited and voluble; the nigger sergeant sitting sullenly on a mattress, without a bed in his room.

For the first time perhaps, I was able to look at them impersonally, objectively. They were all magdnoon, in varying degrees. They were like Isobel and others. But – one result of this hospital sojourn is that I'll not again be afraid of crazy people. There is nothing uncanny about craziness. Never again shall I feel a creepy shrinking when I meet someone abnormal. They are too interesting, different and amusing to engender any feelings but interest, sympathy and gaiety. A queer mixture! How colourless, flat, dull and irritating, normal people seem now!

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