It’s Friday, the end of the week. This evening I’m mostly contemplating philosophy: the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence. Or, to put it another way, as Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So, this evening I’m examining my life (briefly).
Starting work in the new year is always a bit of a challenge as far as I’m concerned. I switch off entirely over the Christmas and Hogmanay period. It’s comforting to know that, by and large, the world tends to grind to a halt as Christmas approaches; well, the Christian world does anyway. Taking 2 weeks off in the summer, however, is a nightmare; the world rushes on and when you get back to your desk you’ve 2 weeks’ work with which to catch up.
On the other hand, the challenge when starting back to work on or around the 3 January is, well, starting back to work. It takes me at least a week to convince myself that if I’m to pay the mortgage, fill the domestic oil tank to heat the house and have hot water coming out of the taps, contribute to Mrs Moraymint’s forays to the supermarket, pay my dues to the Shooting Syndicate, make my contribution to daughter Mary’s stipend whilst she studies at university, put fuel in the car, tax it, insure it and get it serviced etc etc, then I need to go to work. Don’t get me wrong: being fortunate enough to have work to do is a jolly good thing. It’s just that after 2 weeks of Christmas festivities one gets in to the swing of standing at ease, standing easy.
This first 2 weeks back at work has made me realise that if you’re not careful, it’s easy to let other people fuck up the quality of your life. I’m often amazed at how many folk, with whom I come in to contact, have a propensity to ruin my day. Do you come across these people? Since re-entering the working fray on 6 January I’ve been on the receiving end of an arrogant, incompetent prat of a civil servant; a gold-plated dick of a customer (who’s always right, of course); a plonker of a local government bureaucrat; a brace of utterly useless local government politicians; Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ transmitting black propaganda over the Classic FM airwaves exhorting my money from me, with menaces; another idiot civil servant who’ll cost me a small fortune in wasted time and money next week; and so it goes on.
When faced with the consequences of the actions and behaviours of idiots like these, it’s important to check your reactions. In other words, one mustn’t allow the actions and behaviours of people intruding upon one’s peace of mind to fuck up the quality of one’s life. Personally, as a ‘defensive pessimist’ (see my earlier post ‘Who’s Moraymint’) I find it rather difficult to suppress the tendency to beat myself up when others start messing me about, invariably through no fault of my own. It’s they who art the arseholes, not me. And yet I end up wasting time over-analysing the situation – when, in fact, the civil servants to whom I alluded are prats (categorically); the customer to whom I referred is indeed a plonker; the politicians whom I mentioned (in fact all politicians) are useless; HMRC is an institutionalised, legalised thief (no question about that), and so on.
What’s the moral of the story here? Well, the moral of the story is this: don’t let the bastards grind you down. Or, to put a more positive spin on the situation,