Blog every day in May topic – If you couldn’t answer with your job, how would you answer the question, ‘what do you do’?
Hmm, this is a tricky one. What do any of us do, apart from our jobs or being in education? I just added it up and going to work (including travel and lunch hours and things) takes up just under half of my waking hours each week. It actually feels like far more than that so I’m a bit surprised, but I suppose you can’t argue with a calculator. So anyway, if I eliminate those hours I’m left with sleeping and whatever I do in between sleeping and going to work. I’m not putting sleeping as my answer, so here are some of the things that I do when I’m not sleeping and not at work and that make up who I am:
I love eating, and I really love eating out. If I could afford it and it wouldn’t make me massive, I’d eat out every single day. I like eating with friends, and finding new and delicious things and then eating them as often as possible. I don’t really cook very much, but I bake a bit and I like that you get a nice cake as a reward for your hard work when you do it.
I drink cocktails
I probably drink a bit more than I should, but I do like a nice cocktail after work or at the weekends. We have a bar area in our kitchen and I get quite excited when I see Chris is doing something over there as it might mean I’m going to get a drink in a minute. Sometimes when I’m sitting on the sofa a Martini will just materialise over my shoulder (the kitchen is behind me) and I am informed that it is Cocktail Hour. Who wouldn’t love that?
I learn bits of languages then stop and pick a different one
Languages used to be my major passion, but I don’t do this one quite as much as I used to. I do still love them though, and I’ve started lots of different languages over the years. The beginners bit of learning a language is the easy bit you can do on your own, and I generally learn enough to be able to talk a little bit about myself and to get the gist of simple texts and to understand how the grammar works. The grammar is the bit I like best really, and once you understand that you only need a dictionary to be able to make your way through most texts, even if you have to go really slowly. I find there is only so far you can go with self study though, so unless I do a proper course in a language I tend to stall at this point and then just start another one a little while later. The only language I’d say I really speak properly is French, and I can sort of wing it in Italian as long as they don’t say anything unexpected. I don’t mind that I’m not brilliant at any of the others though, it’s the learning of them that I like rather than their usage anyway.
I look after Chris
This is a bit of a funny one, because Chris doesn’t really need any looking after. He’s very low maintenance generally. I try to make sure I look after him a bit though and I devote quite a bit of energy to considering what might make him happy. I help him with things, just little jobs and favours really, as much as I can, so that he thinks that I’m useful and worth having around for a bit longer. I’m the only one who knows how to work our washing machine, and I’m holding that as my trump card as I’m sure he can’t do without that. If they ever invent a voice activated washing machine I’m fucked.
I support my Mum (and Dad)
This takes up more of my time than it really should. If my Mum is stressed or anxious, she rings me up. If she needs something looked up on the internet, she rings me up. If she’s bored or bickering with my Dad, she rings me up. If her printer won’t turn on, she rings me up. I’ve tried to be as kind and helpful as I can to them, and to be a supportive son since Mum got ill about 12 years ago, but I’ve sort of turned myself into a crutch for them and that’s probably not very good as I don’t know how they’d manage without me now. Mum says ‘I don’t know how I’d manage without you’ to me quite often, so it’s true. They would just manage, of course, because people’s stress expands as far as the people who will listen to it. People come to rely on however much support is available to them. But if I’m talking about what I ‘do’, I do this quite a lot.
I administrate things
I look after a lot of the administrative things in our life, and I wouldn’t want to give up control of them even if I could. I sort out the bills, I did all the mortgage and legal stuff when we bought our flat, I research where we can get the best rate on our savings and then move them around when needed. I could easily steal all of Chris’ money if I wanted to, because he trusts that I’ll put it somewhere safe and give it back to him if he asks for it. I like putting things in alphabetical order and arranging books on shelves (the correct way is to pull them all forwards until they are all flush with one another – none of this some shoved in more than others business). I suppose part of me doing all this is related to the section above about looking after Chris, because his job means he can’t make phone calls in the day or look things up on the internet whenever he wants, so it makes sense for me to do it. But also I just LIKE it. I like order. That’s why I like grammar – it’s ordered, and all the words have to line up in their proper places or be executed by red pen firing squad. I used to work in a library, and after university I was an administrator for quite a few years, and it suited me.
So what do I do? I eat nice things and drink nice things and sit with Teach Yourself Swedish on my lap. In between I file things and look things up and try to help the people I love by offering them administrative services. I don’t think I’ve ever summed myself up better in two sentences.