Wednesday 17 April 2013

Sometimes doing nothing is best

It's a curious week this one is.  For the first time, possibly ever, The Cat's Mother and I are not going out of an evening.  Not one single time.  For some people that's not unusual, for us it's something we've been craving.  We've over done it this year, on a merry go round of Bacchanalian pleasure, but we'd reached a stage of saying...we need a breather, we need a holiday.  Frankly, it's a bit silly when you get to the stage of finding an evening out a bit of a chore, and there's a risk you may just fall asleep.  So last night we watched the penultimate episode of Broadchurch...we've been watching it develop, and it's been a bit painful really.  It started off with critics hailing it as the British 'Killing', but meandered around without going anywhere, with some ropey characterisation hopeless sub-plots.  However, it's coming to the boil nicely now, and we'll see the murderer revealed next week...I just hope I'm not too distracted by David Tenants apparently dyed hair.

We were out with friends a few weeks ago, and we got to talk about the guy's father.  The father had left home many moons ago, and there had barely been any contact was interesting how the conversation evolved because although we continued talking about his father, in my mind was my own relationship with my father.  As the discussion developed I became more forceful in saying that before it was too late they should be reconciled. It was not that I had become estranged from my father, but in fact my brother had.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of their fall out, as my father lay in a hospital bed with his life spirit draining away I tried to get him to agree to my brother, his son, coming to see him.  He wouldn't allow it.  He was adamant.  Absolutely.  I was upset at the time...but I hadn't realised how upset.  Tellingly, very quickly after his death, I couldn't remember when he died...not the day, not the month, and soon not the year.  It was an act that I've found impossible to forgive.  In death, my father and I have become estranged.  I feel nothing for him.  My brother, interestingly, having spent a lifetime of under achievement and rebelliousness brought on I believe by fatherly neglect has flourished.  I think he is happier, more content and more fulfilled than he has ever been.  He has become the person he could have been fifty years ago...he's someone I'm very proud to call my brother.

Another epiphany moment occurred a couple of weeks was less of a moment, more of a long-drawn out thing.  For reasons yet to be divulged I was trawling slowly through photographs of the last twenty years...thirty five if you include the few that I had from my student days, before I got the bit between my teeth and would photograph anything that moved...or didn't.  It managed to intrude quite sharply into The Cat's Mothers and my week down in Brighton...many were taken in the days before digital photography, so I was having to scan in the chosen few...and turned into a mammoth exercise which carried on late into the night.  It was a remarkable opportunity to remember good times and bad, happy memories and sad...and perhaps with the addition of perspective give context and balance to the progress of life to date.  I came away feeling in my heart and soul a different person...more relaxed than I've ever been, a gentler person with a different view of the world.  Weeks on, I still feel the same...obviously you can't avoid the the antagonisms of daily life, but hopefully a more positive way of looking at things will remain into the future.

There's a fly in my ointment though, and I just don't know how to deal with it.  I have worked for a few years with the most interesting and exciting client I've ever worked with.  When you've worked as long as I have, that's a big statement.  They're a terrific bunch of people and the work they do is meaningful....they help change society for the better  I've worked hard, very hard with them and have achieved a lot for them.  I've spent time working for them, when I should have been doing other things.  But a few months ago they took on a new person - another external consultant like me -, and he has made the relationship difficult.  It's odd because we're not a threat to each other...and working more closely would benefit us all.  The first thing he said to me was that he was not here to review my performance in that meaningful way that suggests he was doing exactly that.  He's blocked giving me the information I need to operate, and acts as though he's my boss.  I've tried several times now to build bridges and make the relationship work by going out and chatting over coffee.  In one meeting he said "I know we all have to watch our backs"...which is something that had never occurred to me with this client before...I'd always felt that doing a good job was all that mattered...I still think that.  The last time, I was totally open about what I was doing, how I was doing it, why I was doing it...he wouldn't divulge a thing.  I said I was organising a meeting with someone else in the company to organise a way forwards for a project...he asked if he could come along and I said yes...but by the time I'd got back to my office he'd sent out a note calling the meeting, setting the agenda and suggesting it was his idea.  Duplicitous is the word that came to mind.

It has thrown me completely.  It's causing me sleepless nights.