Friday, December 08, 2006

Ending Up

Original Susan is already worrying about her thirtieth birthday – she turns 30 in March. I like to think of myself as a decent and humane colleague, so I made some efforts yesterday to counsel her and to bring to light the positives that such maturity brings.

I began by describing my own 30th. As I fell further into this story I realised that it wasn’t really the best example to use. I spent the evening of my 30th in a darkened room with a take-away curry and a half-written, overdue, Masters Degree essay. It wasn’t even my house. I was house-sitting at the time for some friends. The house was Georgian and was blessed with shutters which definitively blocked out the outside world. Maude was merely my girlfriend then and she called round to try and cheer me through my crisis. After the food she was soon distracted - happy to occupy herself in rifling through our friends’ possessions. I applied my aging, shrinking brain to an essay on ‘myths of masculinity in contemporary culture’.

I awoke in my thirties the following morning to the familiar sound of Maude screaming. She had set a bath running and promptly fallen asleep in front of morning television. The sound of fusing electricity had roused her – as water seeped through the light fitting above her head. I spent the rest of the day drying out the house and trying to find the fusebox. Maude thought it would be a shame for us both to be confined to the house – as it was so close to the shops of the city centre. I found the fusebox at teatime – after an exhaustive torch-lit search of the dank cellar.

Susan was heartened by this story. She did, however, go on to note that it was a shame I didn’t seem able to mend my career with 'a bit of fusewire’. She didn’t really, she smiled, want to ‘end up’ like me. I thanked her for her well-intentioned observations and reminded her that I had not yet ‘ended up’ anywhere. I was just ‘passing through’ – using the Arts Council for my own ends: funds, company…. biscuits.

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