When the time has come

I had the nearest thing to day off yesterday than I’ve had for ages. I still worked in the morning, but was gone by 1pm to get my hair cut. After that I visited JV. We had a coffee at a nearby cafe then back to his place for a glass or two of wine and the footy on the box.

I went from there to the Cheeses. We had a Grolsch to celebrate Hollands big win over Spain in the WC, then dinner. It was nice to be in civilised surroundings once more.

We talked a little. I was interested in other opinions. I get the sense that I intimidate people sometimes, mainly men. I asked about that, expecting it to be pooh-poohed. It wasn’t exactly. I was told I could be intellectually intimidating. I didn’t think to ask if that was an occasional or regular thing.

The other thing I brought up is my attitude in recent months. I’m aware of how combative, and occasionally belligerent I’ve become. Not with friends, not with normal people, but certainly with those arrayed against me out there.

I find it bemusing sometimes when I get someone hostile on the phone trying to extract something out of me. Mostly I take it equably, a wry smile on my face, a good luck pal attitude in my voice. These situations make you philosophical at least.

Occasionally when they rile me I bite back. It’s not what they expect – there’s a lot of bullying in the collections industry. I’m meant to be all yes sir and no sir and I won’t do it again sir and instead I’m basically telling them to fuck off. (There are some very reasonable operators too, who have my complete respect). It’s not in the script and it throws them.

There’s enough force and intent in my voice that more often than not the roles are reversed. I go hard, harder than you would expect of a man in a position of extreme vulnerability – but then perhaps it’s that vulnerability that allows me to go hard – what the fuck, I’m not going to cop this.

Strengths are sometimes weaknesses. Truth of the matter is that I would not have survived so long or battled so hard if I was not combative. It’s been a necessary evil, and I’ve done it well. It may be what has saved me.

I look forward to the time, however, when there is no need to be. I am this person because circumstances demand it of me, but it’s not who I want to be. I’ve gained strength from this travail, and I’m glad to have it – but come the day when all this is done I want to be the person of strength who embodies it quietly, and with humility.

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