Sunday, 7 February 2016
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I had a phone call on Friday from a young woman who works for the Crown Court system of the UK, telling me that they had over-ordered jurors for the time I had been summoned, and she could offer me two options: to have my service deferred, or be excused altogether. I opted for the latter, and am now overwhelmed with relief about it. I had not realised how tense I had been about the whole thing.
Partly it was the requirement to be awake and alert in Bristol at 9.15 am every morning for at least two weeks ('It is very rare that a case lasts longer than 200 days...'), and partly the scary notion that one unconvicted criminal is able to decide on the ultimate fate of another, even with strict legal guidance.
Things like this on the horizon actually loom over me for weeks in advance, blocking out more of the light as each day goes past. They become milestones seen from a great distance.
I know people who - having booked a holiday well in advance - carry on working right up until the hour they are due to leave for the airport. I start mentally fretting at least one week before I am due to go, and this interrupts my work to the extent that I can concentrate on nothing else.
The Boy recently advised me that I should spend more time in 'the present', but I had to tell him that it was because of spending too much time in the present in the past, that my future holds so many uncertainties. There has to be a balance, but - as yet - I have not been able to achieve it.
When I was about 24, I had my horoscope drawn up. The first thing the astrologer said was that it bore a striking resemblance to Hitler's - a great, sweeping horseshoe around one side of the chart.
The next thing she said was that I was capable of achieving anything that I set my mind to, or my heart upon. Isn't everyone?
Anyway, what a thing to tell an immodest and arrogant young man, unless you want to see them fizzle out into obscurity by resting on laurels they have not yet won.
Posted by Tom Stephenson at 05:05