Thursday, 8 March 2012

THE EXTRA MILE

There I was on the M25, stuck in a XX mile tail back because a car overturned blocking both lanes and a lot of the A3. I was due to be at the WI in Kent, Green Street, near Dartford. I was so looking forward to it. A chance to share what I know and hopefully sell some books (please!!) but every route I took was blocked with other clever drivers finding the alternative routes, and the alternative routes to the alternative routes and in one case the alternative to the alternative to the alternative..you get the gist. I arrived then couldn't find it and went round in circles trying to find a village hall. I stopped to ask directions. Twice. They directed me to two village halls. Just the wrong ones. And then I did what I never do. I gave up and went home. I never give up and I was furious with myself. I emailed the following day to explain I would return and apologised and they kindly understood but aa i drove round in circles realising I had driven all those miles, got a hire car and had to get it back by a certain time, had paid a lot in petrol and that I was doing this for love and not for the money, and that my bank didn't 'get' love just money, I thought, sometimes it is worth going the extra mile for and sometimes it isn't. I'll do it another day, in the summer and I'll take the train.

And sometimes going for the extra mile is worth it. I had supper with my ex. This is a landmark. I think we had one back in 2006, Im not sure. Could have been 2002. Not sure it will be repeated again for numerous reasons (my ex is the sort of person who would sting himself to death to forgo the pleasure of stinging others which might go some way to explain it). But it was a landmark given we have been divorced for well over ten years. I enjoyed it. We attended our son's parent evening which went very well. He's worked hard. We are both proud of him. The ex took the credit for his geography result so the geography teacher promotly thanked him for doing so well which I thought was very sweet of her. And I got the credit for his english comprehension not being so good, coz I'm the writer.... whatever. Our son is a Renaissance man they tell us.

I suggested we have supper afterwards. it was fine. We talked holidays and about our son. We used to have some very good and lovely times but that was when I did everything he waned before I got free will. The ex showed no expression, not even when we were talking very poignant stuff, so it was a bit like having a conversation with an opaque window.And then he suggested he give me a book on how to bring up children which I think even he realised was stupid rather than patronising. I think he was trying to be patronising but as there was no expression on his face (literally) when he was talking to me I can't tell for sure. And that he had read in this book that there is no such thing as natural talent and it's all down to hard work. It may have been a tactic to convince our son that he needs to work harder but he said it when he wasn't there so perhaps he genuinely believes it. (or that I should wok harder or he has no natural talent and he should work harder?) Or perhaps it's a subliminal message that we should work harder on our relationship as it doesn't come naturally. Whatever, I think it's bollocks. And secretly I think so does he. He didn't give me the book. When the bill came he looked at it and at me and said 'I shall pay for this yes?" to which I said yes please and thank you and smiled. This is a man who has The Fat Duck on speed dial. But it is strangely reassuring to know somethings don't change.

That evening our son realised he had left some important files at his father's that he needed the following morning. His father kindly came over very early the following morning which was very good of him. I thanked him and told him I had enjoyed the evening - which I had. Even the bit about the hard work book. He didn't respond. He said nothing. I will keep trying. He doesn't smile very much. I don't think it's just at me. I don't think he smiles easily. Perhaps it's the girlfriend. I think she gave him the book. But I will not give up. Windows, even opague ones crack evenutally... It's worth going the extra mile in some cases.

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