Good for the soul

I was sitting at my desk at 7.30 this morning. That’s quite an effort Monday morning, but I had little choice. It seems madness to me, but scheduled for 8am was a meeting with senior management I needed to prepare for. I’m not in favour of 8am meetings at any time, less so on Monday morning. You’ve just come from the weekend, after all, you’re a bit weary from playing up, and you’re in an entirely different mind-space. You need to ease into the week, but clearly, that’s not a philosophy shared by all. Doing it this way is the mental equivalent of running from the sauna and jumping into the icy lake – which, given that our CEO is Scandinavian, may be an apt metaphor.

I was not in the best mood regardless. It was inconvenient but shoot, life – and work particularly – is full of inconveniences. No, my mood was determined by other things altogether.

I travelled into work on the tram, listening to my music as always and looking into the blank faces of my fellow commuters, too early to be animated. I listened to music with only half a mind. The other half teased at things I had kept at arm’s length until then. Today I woke and I was having no more of that, and so I looked at things fair in the eye and got angry.

It was not volatile or fiery anger. It was quieter, more contained, but somehow more intense for that. Mixed in with the anger was a good deal of frustration. You know the feeling, you’re champing at the bit but you can’t do a thing. Not a fucking thing. You try and be philosophical about it and maybe that works for a bit, but ultimately that fails too. And so you want to do something and you can’t. And top of that you feel aggrieved, hard done by – for fuck’s sake this is unreasonable and wrong and I’m not going to stand for it. That’s how it was.

I walked into work, cooler today than days past, and through the marbled halls of my building quiet before the peak hour rush. It was quiet in the office as I set about preparing for the meeting. By now I had put aside my angst, ready to take it up again later. I did my things, sorted out a few problems, presented in the meeting and that was that.

Later I went to lunch and had an impromptu meeting with a mate. We sat down over a sandwich and yarned about the usual things. By its own accord what had troubled me before had subsided – true still, and fair, but, for now, irrelevant: I would find another way around, another solution. And in that spirit I began to speak to my mate, my conversation turning to some of the speculative notions of the future.

For months he’s been wanting me to move back over his side of town. I’ve wanted it to. I spoke of that, how it was now likely in the near future; and from that I went further, topping it all off with the one very peculiar idea I’ve had that in the weeks since has loomed larger and larger in my consciousness.

For years and years, I would have this little fantasy about opening up my own bookshop. I love books after all and know them pretty well backwards. In my mind’s eye I always had a very particular idea of how I wanted it to be. It was fantasy though, the escapist notion you briefly latch onto when the harsh reality proves too bitter. It was never for me though, so I thought, I needed the cut and thrust, I needed, in fact, to do battle with harsh reality and beat it. A bookshop was too quiet for me.

That’s maybe true still, though not so much. I have the opportunity now to look at things like that, to indulge a little in those fantasies: might it not be good for the soul? And so it is. I am looking, have been for weeks, and with each day passing consider it more seriously. It won’t change my life an awful lot: in the early days at least I would continue to work. I would put a manager in and maybe work weekends.

You never know. There it is then. Don’t know where it leads, but right now the notion leaves me feeling pretty serene.

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