Running on empty
Part of the problem of being self-employed and having a child who occasionally needs looking after is that the two worlds often intersect. Normally, that is no problem, as I have reasonably good powers of concentration and can usually regain my focus after interruptions. Recently, however, that has been a little less true; today, it was polar opposite.
I was working away on quite an interesting job, actually, thank you very much – doing a case study for an NGO in its response to the COVID-19 crisis in its overseas programmes. Started away on into it, when around 10 a.m. there is a little knock on the door and the face of innocence appears, asking if I wanted to kick a football around.
“I do, but I can’t,” I said. And away he went.
Could I get back to work? Could I buggery – so, remembering my Anthony Burgess quotation (“the only engagement you need to write is between the arse and the chair”) I sat and tried to concentrate on the inevitable flow of words to come.
At noon, three words further on, I gave up and went to kick a ball around. Bloody hopeless. Still, I thought, at least I have scratched this itch, I’ll be able to get back at it this afternoon.
Away I go. Blank. Then at 3 o’clock, the same little face around the same door with a similar question: “Dad, is there a match on today?”
“Can I watch it with you?”
“Yes, I want to.”
I looked at the page, which now registered 58 words, sighed, and said yes.
What followed was a complete disaster, a 4-0 defeat in a game we should have won, but didn’t because we were incapable of hitting the target. I could sense the frustration rising as Mané miskicked the ball completely in front an empty goal, as Salah chose the wrong option, as Robertson followed the ball across the field like a dog chasing a bitch on heat… in the end, the game was the perfect reflection of the work day.
And then I remembered it was my wedding anniversary, so went down to face the music.
Photo is of the cat whisperer muscling in on my cat again.