It turns out that a person utterly secure in themselves would not be irritated by others’ neediness (see yesterday). But it’s a New Year in my mind, and I am full to the brim with excitement and anxiety at what will be swept in the door. Welcome in. Let me show you round.
Effectively, the situation is this: someone is paying good money for me to read things and have good ideas, and though I’m very glad that I get to do this, I’m not convinced they’ve got the right person for the job. In particular, I’m occasionally quite lazy, and I’m not yet sure that I can remember anything (ANYTHING) for longer than a year. It’s quite possible that by the end of a PhD, everything I read at the beginning will have dropped out of my head. I’m also thoroughly desperate for approval, so what will I do when I no longer get marks out of twenty to measure myself with?
Add to this kind of thought the following situation: I am not the most organized or tidy person in the world, nor do I have limitless energy. So days sometimes tax me, even though they’re desperately ordinary. Today I did the following: took Phil up to his regular appointment at the hospital and ran to Morrisons, before dropping him at work. Desperately tried to find a parking space to take Charlie to his music group at 9.30. Dragged him protesting into the toilet with me when we arrived; why are my simple bodily functions a battleground? He fell asleep on the journey home, so I left him in the car while I ran to the Post Office in Cupar to pick up a parcel. They told me I needed the Royal Mail; I inwardly cursed and nipped next door, thinking all the while that if I passed a car and saw a toddler unattended in it I’d think pretty badly of its parents. Got in the door ready to bake by 11am. Charlie kept grabbing my hand and dragging me through to the lounge while I tried to stir pan of chocolate melting on the hob. When eventually I ignored him he first climbed onto the dining room table, got hold of the breakfast cereal and spread handfuls liberally on the table and floor. He then took the wire rack and chopping boards from the kitchen and tried to drop them all down the backs of radiators. I had to make him cry to make him eat his lunch. Then I had to put him, protesting loudly all the way, to bed for his nap. He napped for two hours; I ate lunch and tried to clean up, then had to wake him and hurry out to make it back to St Andrews for a leaving do, in a park, where I ate too much cake and yet also spent most of my time about a hundred yards away from everyone else, rocking a massive metal horse backwards and forwards.
I’m not quite sure I’m cut out for any of this, frankly, but I’ll give it a good shot, because it makes me quite happy at the same time as nearly giving me a nervous breakdown. It’s not surprising, is it, that at 9.15 I went for a bath rather than to sweep the kitchen floor?
I took Wolf Hall to the bath, because I’m finally reading again. To be honest, I had some far more interesting thoughts to share with my readers, about how Mantel’s novel had suggested to me that I find the UK’s virtuoso female authors (Ali Smith, Nicola Barker, Sarah Waters, to name a handful) more absorbing and seductive than its great and masterful men. But instead of that, I’ve given you a post about prams in the hallway. I’ve dwelled in my own anxieties rather than, like some husband striding off in the morning to his job at the bank, rising above entirely and proclaiming upon higher matters. Bringing me full-circle right back to the beginning again: full up, right to the top, of stomach-turning anticipation.