I’m of the firm belief that a person’s history is best told through their present state.
I understand that taking this approach to meeting people could well lead to prejudiced views – but it’s a habit that I’ve got into after many years of meeting fellow human beings and I’m not about to change it now. Yes – it’s always intriguing to find out someone’s personal history, but is it really as important as finding out who and what someone is right now? I think not.
Right now, the 17th February 2017, I’m sitting at home nursing a small hangover and a mug of coffee. Bill, my cat, is staring out the bay window at a particularly beguiling leaf being blown in the wind and I am enjoying the fact that I have the house to myself for another 6 hours. Constance, the proverbial ball and chain, is working and my children are either grappling with the complexities of Algebra or constructing paper aeroplanes. Why am I hungover? Because I spent last night finishing a bottle of excellent whiskey whilst having a heated debate with the BBC’s rolling news network.
I understand that if you were to currently judge me by my present state (Friday mid-morning, clad in dressing gown, slightly queasy, pallid skin and unkempt hair) you would no doubt mistake me for a man who has made some rather poor life choices. This is my opportunity, therefore, to dissuade you of this egregious judgement
It may well surprise you to hear that I’m an educated man. I scraped through my O-Levels and studied politics at Kent University in the 80s – memories of those golden years, spent draining cheap pints and arguing the finer points of Thatcher’s mistakes, still rattle around in my mind.
Unsurprisingly, the hundreds of hours spent in lecture halls and stuffy seminar rooms have somehow managed to slip through the floorboards of my mind palace.
After graduating with not so flying colours, I managed to secure a job in the big city for an investment firm. The late 80s were surprisingly productive years for men in my field.
At a time when Britain was struggling to assert its floundering economy, the Private Sector was doing a roaring trade in transactions, sales and bets. Before you reach for your pitchforks and torches – I would never describe my work in the city as the work of a banker. I was the polite, public face of a successful, if not slightly misguided, investment group that made me enough money to retire when my wife and I decided to have children.
Although I’d tried to convince my ‘better half’ that children in the country are much more likely to experiment with recreational drugs than children brought up in urban areas (an assertion that I’ve made of my own volition), she insisted that we move away from London for the sake of our children’s dialect if anything else.
So we left the city and returned back to the Garden of England, where we first met and where we would remain to raise our two sons – Jack and Saul.
Due to the positions that I’ve held throughout my professional career, I’ve made myself somewhat unemployable for jobs that fall below a certain threshold.
Although I’m quite attracted to the notion of pulling pints behind the bar at the village local, it appears that the local surly youths (who by all rights should be spending their time smoking oddly shaped cigarettes rather than working) have the monopoly on low paying part-time jobs. So I now play the role of home make. I have my cleaning systems in place.
The cat gets fed, the kids get to school on time and I, inevitably, have at least five hours free every day to think about my life and how crummy the world is getting.