Fear and self-loathing in Liverpool
I am terrified of snow. Paralysed with fear. (Well, not of the snow itself, obviously. Snow is white and fluffy and innocent. Hardly the stuff of nightmares.) No, what scares me is that the ground will be slippery and I might fall. And hurt myself. More. And worse.
"But, Editor!", I hear you cry, "you have a (frankly rather dodgy) IT set-up at home as part of your reasonable adjustment. You won't need to go out: surely you can work at home?".
Er, yes. Ordinarily. But I'm actually on leave tomorrow. My professional commitment isn't connected with the day job. It's Something Else Entirely. I have committed myself to sit on an interview panel for a different organisation with which I'm involved on a voluntary basis. And I've had to let them down so many times before that, frankly, if I have to do so again tomorrow, I'll feel that I have no option but to resign.
Remember what Westley, when he's still disguised as the Dread Pirate Roberts, says to Inigo Montoya when he's bested him at sword fighting? "Get used to disappointment." And I have. Trust me, I am used to disappointment. I've lost count of the things I've missed because I've been in too much pain, or too ill, to go. I spent an entire day queueing on the phone to get front row seats to see Patrick Stewart at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, and I couldn't go because the doctors couldn't work out what was preventing my blood sugar levels from balancing. I missed Paterson Joseph's Othello at the Royal Exchange. After six months of agonising pain, I missed Adam Hills at the Neptune because I'd picked up a sodding stomach bug the day before. It sucks at the time, but I've become very skilled at rationalising these things, and convincing myself - in the teeth of a mass of wholly contradictory evidence - that it was all for the best, and that I hadn't really wanted to go anyway.
But things are a bit different when other people are involved. If I miss something I wanted to do, well, it's just tough. Life's like that for ouchy crips, and there's no point being bitter and twisted about it. But if I miss something I was doing for other people, well, that I can't rationalise away. I probably should be able to, and it's probably a Great Failing in me that I can't, but I can't. The bottom line is, with the best will in the world, I'm just not reliable. Hell, I wouldn't take me on, regardless of how impressed I was by my knowledge and skills. (I would, of course, take on somebody else with exactly the same impairments: but one is always harder on oneself than on others.) I am, frankly, neither use nor bloody ornament. To anyone. And, yes, I am stupid enough to risk my health to avoid confirming my belief that I am neither use nor bloody ornament.
So, what is an Editor to do? Well, I spoke to Pop. Pop was not pleased. He was Stern Pop. He frightened the pants off me (er, in a manner of speaking). He had to, I suppose, because he's got to make me more scared of what he will do if I go out in the snow than I am of the snow in the first place. And, as I think we've already established, I am very scared of going out in the snow. So he'll be phoning tomorrow morning, and I've no doubt that he'll be Stern Pop again if he thinks it's necessary. And I am now, of course, consumed with guilt for having bothered him when he's away on business in Perth. Which, in itself, is more indicative than anything else I've written of just how much of a state I've got myself into over The Snow Issue. As if it matters where Pop is, as long as Pop is somewhere. And has his phone with him.
So, that's it. There's nothing I can do but wait for the morning and see whether the forecasters were right. And pray (in an entirely agnostic way, you understand) that they were wrong.