Friday, 10 October 2014

Stop Me If You've Heard This One...

Every day a man returns home from work. He steps through the door, shrugs out of his jacket, and hangs it by the phone. Next he removes first one shoe, drops it to the floor, removes the second, drops it also, and collapses on the sofa. This goes on – day in, day out – until, one day, there's a hammering on his door. He opens it to find his downstairs neighbour standing there, irate.

“Christ, mate!” cries the neighbour, “every day! You want to stop dropping your bleeding shoes on my ceiling?”

I'm sorry!” apologises the man. He agrees to be more careful in the future and, somewhat mollified, the neighbour departs.

Over the next couple of days the man makes an effort to be more considerate, but one Friday he returns home exhausted and, unthinking, drops one shoe to the floor. Cursing, he places the second shoe down and settles down to watch an evening's TV... until, an hour later, “I can't take it any more!” an anguished voice cries, “just drop the other one already!”

My new job has been going so well, that's kind of how I'm feeling: just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm torn; on the one hand, the longer things continue to go smoothly, the more convinced the cynic in me is that karma is gearing up for one massive boot to the nuts...

There's a Molly Ringwald gif for every emotion

… But on the other, there is an increasingly persistent little voice that insists I just don't know a good thing when I've got it. On reflection, that's probably true.

The obvious example would be all those extra-curriculars I never bothered with. Ok, so no one would really expect a kid to spend much longer at school than they had to, but a Uni student? I've given myself a right mental drubbing for all those excellent opportunities I utterly failed to take advantage of. I can't explain it, except to say that I always sort of thought I'd get around to them eventually – and in the mean time, focused my energies on bitching about morning lectures and encroaching deadlines.

You see it in people's relationships sometimes, too. TV and films teach us that a truly historic relationship is a fraught, star-crossed affair, which makes for great watching, sure – but you've got to wonder just how much of the drama in a couple's life is genuine, and how much put on, because we're taught good things don't come easily.

My life has been fairly average – some people have had it harder, some easier – but even so, I wonder: have I learned to expect problems so frequently that now, when I finally catch a break, I go about creating my own? Just how much time and energy could be better spent if I could see a good thing for what it was, instead of the prelude to a karmic gut-punch?